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Category Archives: Throws
December 23, 2012Posted by on
Vira Rebryk is this week’s Track Beauty!
The 23-year old Ukrainian is the reigning World Junior record holder for the javelin throw. She set the U20 standard of 63.01m at the World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz back in 2008. Naturally, her track record as an age-group athlete was immaculate, having won World Youth and World Junior silvers and the European Junior title on top of her World Junior gold medal.
October 7, 2012Posted by on
Goldie Sayers is this week’s Track Beauty!
Amidst the pouring British rain, Goldie stamped her class on a loaded javelin field a month before the London Olympic Games. Sayers threw a new personal best of 66.17m in Crystal Palace to snatch the win at that particular leg of the Diamond League. But her emphatic victory came at a huge cost, as Goldie injured her right arm in the process.
September 15, 2012Posted by on
Yargelis Savigne is this week’s Track Beauty!
The Cuban has been a fixture of elite-level women’s triple jumping for the past decade. To say that Savigne’s achievements are impressive is an understatement. With three World Championships medals to her name, two of these back-to-back golds, Savigne is undoubtedly one of the big guns in the contemporary athletics circuit.
September 8, 2012Posted by on
Ásdís Hjálmsdóttir is this week’s Track Beauty!
Hjálmsdóttir is Iceland’s best female javelin thrower. The 26-year old has a personal best of 62.77m from the qualifying rounds at the London Olympic Games. Thanks to Ásdís’ classy throw, she barged into the final of the highly comeptitive event. She eventually finished in a respectable 11th place, notching a best throw of 59.08m in the final.
August 8, 2012Posted by on
As if the monsoon rains here in Manila were not enough, Liu Xiang’s shock exit at the 110m hurdles dampened my mood. Thankfully, the events in the evening session did much to lift my spirits.
Since Robert Harting memorably tore off his vest and manhandled the mascot Berlino at the 2011 World Championships, the German has been one of my favorite athletes to watch. He did not disappoint in London, snatching the gold from the prolific Iranian Ehsan Haddadi احسان حدادی in the fourth round.
Harting ran to his coach to celebrate. He posed for photos for a bit. When someone threw a couple of German flags to the victorious discus thrower, Harting paused, grabbed his vest by the neckline before tearing it apart in his signature post-race celebration!
He took his celebration a couple of notches higher by side-clearing all of the 10 hurdles set out for the upcoming 100m Hurdles final! Said Harting in an IAAF interview: “Maybe Sally Pearson won because she copied something from my technique!”
What a great guy!
June 28, 2012Posted by on
When I was watching the javelin qualification rounds of the Helsinki European Championships, I noticed a prominent banner. Written in bold letters were the words: “Finland the Javelin Country.” Indeed, the javelin throw is a national past time in the Nordic countries. Of the sixty-nine medals awarded in the event since 1896, a staggering thirty-two medals had been won by troika of Sweden, Norway, and Finland. In fact, Finland had swept the medals twice in Olympic history.
The Euro Sport announcers then went on to talk about a certain Tiina Lillak, and how she snatched the inaugural World Championships gold on her final throw – in front of thousands of ecstatic Finns.
Britain’s Fatima Whitbread threw down the gauntlet at the first round, throwing the spear to a distance of 69.14s. Lillak was in second place, with distances of 67.34m and 67.46m achieved in the first and fifth rounds. As the legendary Finn prepared for her final throw, the camera focused on Lillak. She was the portrait of sheer determination. Just from her expression, it was apparent that Lillak was summoning something grandiose.
And it was an epic throw, indeed. The moment the Finn released the javelin, the crowd let out a collective roar. When it struck the ground, beyond the Briton’s erstwhile leading mark and beyond seventy-meters (70.82m), the tens of thousands in attendance cheered even louder.
Coming from a country where athletics is nothing more than a fringe sport, the thought of a jam-packed stadium and a dramatically triumphant hometown bet gave me goosebumps.
The Euro Championships Men’s Javelin final will be held tonight. The resurgent 2007 World Champion Tero Pitkämäki and the exuberant Ari Mannio lead the Finnish charge. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed as I cheer for hometown duo, hoping to witness an epic in the making.
May 12, 2012Posted by on
Berta Castells is this week’s track beauty!
Castells owns the Spanish national record in the hammer throw. She threw 69.53m at the 2011 Spanish Championships in Malaga. The 28-year old is an experienced international campaigner. She has represented Spain from regional, continental and in all the major championships.
Her best ever finish in the majors was 18th at the Daegu World Championships last year, where she threw 67.74m. She qualified for the finals at the 2010 European Championships, in front of her home crowd in Barcelona.
Castells had a fruitful career as youth and junior athlete. She struck World Youth silver and European Junior bronze in 2001. Two years later, the talented youngster again won third at the European Juniors in Tampere, Finland. That same year, the then 19-year old Castells made her major championship debut, finishing in 37th place at the 2003 World Championships in Paris.
March 13, 2012Posted by on
Amongst the major international athletics championships, the World Indoors is the most underrated. Big name stars like Usain Bolt usually opt out of the biennial meet, especially in crucial Olympic years. Indoor athletics has a far smaller reach than its outdoor counterpart, with the smaller venues usually found in the frigid countries of the northern hemisphere.
Photo from Wikipedia
Nevertheless, it has that obscure charm. When I first saw the start lists of some events, I thought that the rest of the non-European, non-American world was underrepresented. I thought wrong. As soon as the 60m dash heats came out, a cacophony of athletes from small countries – from Mongolia in the Gobi desert to Fiji in the Pacific – competed amongst their more illustrious counterparts.
Even if I had to rely on live streaming links and my less-than-perfect internet connection to watch the World Indoors, I must say that I had a grand time. Despite the absence of most of the track & field titans, the festivities were certainly not devoid of memorable athletics moments. The three-day event has seen former World Indoor champions like Elena Isinbayeva Елена Гаджиевна Исинбаева, Justin Gatlin, and Valerie Adams re-emerge on the big stage, whilst playing host to bevy of promising talent.
One Gold, Three Silvers (Photo from Zimbio/Getty Images)
The women high jumpers deserve special mention too, as the troika of Antonietta Di Martino, Anna Chicherova Анна Владимировна Чичерова, and Ebba Jungmark shared a the second spot on the podium, behind the champion, the come-backing Chaunté Lowe (1.98m). The three athletes had equally identical sheets, with each clearing 1.95m.
The United States topped the overall standings with a staggering 18 medals, 10 of which were gold. Great Britain had 9, while African distance powerhouses Ethiopia and Kenya won 5 and 4, respectively.
The following list enumerates my favorite performances from Istanbul (aside from the 60m hurdles, of course!):
November 16, 2011Posted by on
I’ve been reading about the Philippine athletics results in the ongoing 26th Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia. To date, Filipinos have won only two gold medals, courtesy of Marestella Torres (Gold, Women’s Long Jump) and Rene Herrera (Gold, Men’s 3,000m Steeplechase). Other defending champions did not fare as well as Torres and Herrera, with the likes of Arniel Ferrera (Silver, Hammer Throw), Rosie Villarito (Silver, Javelin Throw) and Henry Dagmil, To the casual observer, the initial reaction would be one of disappointment. After all, two gold medals is way off the target of six set by the NSA president, Mr. Go Teng Kok.
Come to think of it, we’ve been relying on these marquee names for the past decade. Most of our top athletes are in their thirties. The sport demands much from one’s body. Hence, it is unsurprising to see the likes of former champions win silver medals, instead of golds. Considering the fact that athletics in the Philippines is a fringe sport, our sporting heroes should be lauded. Aside from lucrative, mainstream sports, being a Filipino athlete isn’t exactly the most lucrative of careers.
Despite missing the fighting target, it’s good to see young turks like Melvin Guarte and Archand Bagsit excelling in regional competition. The 20-year old Bagsit snatched the silver medal in the 400m dash, thanks to a blistering finish, on top of his 4x400m relay silver. Guarte, still a junior, won silver medals in the 800m and 1500m runs, setting national senior and junior records in the former.
Regardless of how disorganized our local athletics scene is, the exploits of our young athletes speak volumes about the enormous potential of Philippine track & field. Should the ills of athletics and Philippine sports be miraculously cured, expect the Filipino athlete excel not just in the Southeast Asian Games, but also in the world stage.
August 30, 2011Posted by on
Casting thoughts of the 110m high hurdles final aside, I am ecstatic for Koji Murofushi 室伏 アレクサンダー 広治! I grew up reading about (and occasionally, watching clips) of the great Japanese hammer thrower. To see him strike gold in the world stage is heartwarming.
Thanks to a live streaming link, I was able to watch Day 3 as it happened (well, it was around three to five minutes delayed, thanks to my slow connection). Murofushi grabbed the lead at the onset and clung to it until the finish. He threw the hammer to a massive 81.24m in the third round (and in the fifth!). This was Murofushi’s best throw in three years, and the fourth best mark in the 2011 top list.
August 1, 2011Posted by on
The Daegu World Athletics Championships is just around the corner. South Korea will play host to the most prestigious gathering track & field athletes after the Olympic Games, the third time for an Asian country to do so.
Sprinter Usain Bolt, in light of his spectacular array of world records, is the undeniable front-act. Other crowd drawers are
triple jumper Teddy Tamgho of France (a stress fracture prematurely ended Tamgho’s season, unfortunately), high jumper Blanka Vlasic and javelin thrower Andreas Thorkildsen of Norway. The Kenyan 800m runner David Rudisha, fresh from a slew of world records last season, is on the hunt to rewrite the two-lap mark once more. The sprints, as always, will provide fast-paced action as the rest of the world pits their sprinting might against the dominant Jamaicans and Americans.
July 16, 2011Posted by on
Leryn Franco is this week’s track beauty!
Franco shot to worldwide fame at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where she became an internet sensation. With her good looks, she stood out amongst the field of competitors. But then again, to say that Leryn is good-looking is an understatement.
Photos from Leryn Franco’s Facebook fan page and Oscar Munoz Badilla
The approachable Leryn is no stranger to this blog, having been one of the first elite athletes to answer the 10-for-10 quiz, despite her busy schedule.
Some people might dismiss Franco as nothing more than a pretty face. However, competing in two Olympic Games and the World Championships are achievements in themselves. Among all the athletes in the world, not many could say that they had competed on the world’s biggest stage!
Although Leryn’s best finish in a major international event is 24th place back in the 2003 Paris World Championships, the Paraguayan javelin thrower is a force to be reckoned with in South American athletics. As a junior, she set national U-17 records in both the javelin throw and the triple jump – a testament to her versatile athleticism! In 2001 and 2004, she won Junior and U-23 continental titles in the javelin, respectively.
Her detractors might have dismissed Franco as a has-been after her dismal 45.34m throw in Beijing (she placed 51st). But the competitive Paraguayan crawled back from the slump of 2008, setting a new national record of 55.66m, en route to winning the silver medal at the recently-concluded 2011 South American Championships – while having a vibrant career as a fashion model.
Indeed, Leryn Franco is more than just a pretty face. She is a certified track (or in this case, field) beauty!
July 15, 2011Posted by on
Before going to be last night, I watched clips Trans World Sport’s features on various track & field athletes. Aside from the regular Diamond League and Athletix Mag airings in Eurosport Asia, we Filipinos don’t get much athletics-related shows. The next best thing is Youtube. In this day and age of HD videos and broadband internet, the live-streaming site is the next best thing!
And of course, Usain Bolt!
The aforementioned athletes are quite a combination – even if you take Bolt out of the picture. Hooker is the reigning Olympic, World, World Indoor and Commonwealth Games pole vault champion. Then there’s the versatile Felix, who can excel in all the flat sprinting events. Gill, Barshim and Pedersen are all World Junior titlists from Moncton.
Among all the athletes featured above, I’d have to say that I’m most impressed with Jacko. To be able to throw the 7kg shot beyond twenty meters at such a young age, that’s certainly historic! For a sprint hurdler who has scant knowledge of the throws, seeing a teenager heave the youth shot put beyond twenty-four meters is interesting, to say the least!
Watch at least one clip and you’ll get an instant dose of extrinsic, athletics motivation!
July 13, 2011Posted by on
The Asian championships were held in the Japanese city of Kobe from 8-11 July 2011. This is the region’s most prestigious competition, a good warm-up for the Daegu World Championships in August. The big guns of Asian athletics took center stage, despite the absence of a few. Japan (11-10-11), according to an IAAF report, topped the medal standings for the first time since 1981, edging out powerhouse China (10-12-5).
Liu Xiang 刘翔, as expected, lorded it over the sprint hurdles field, setting a new championship record of 13.22s. Shi Dong Peng 史冬鹏 (13.56s) was a far second as he overtook South Korean veteran Park Tae-Kyong 박태경 (13.66s). Thailand’s Chamras Rittedet was the fastest Southeast Asian as he went under the thirteen second barrier (13.96s). Malaysia’s Rayzam Shah Wan Sofian ran 14.03s.
Mutaz Essa Barshim‘s 2.35m winning mark in the high jump was, without a doubt, the highlight of the meet. The reigning World Junior Champion tied the second best mark in 2011, en route to setting his nth Qatari record. Barshim, at merely 20 years of age, is a potential medalist in Daegu – should he overcome the nerves of high-level senior competition.
The Philippine delegation came home empty-handed, as defending long jump champion Marestella Torres missed out on a podium finish. The Filipino record holder could only managed a best leap of 6.34m in the fourth round, way off her 6.51m winning jump in Guangzhou two years ago. Torres has a season’s best of 6.38m, set in Bacolod during the PNG. Rene Herrera clocked 9:12.34 in the 3,000m steeplechase, good enough for eighth place in a race dominated by naturalized Africans. Arniel Ferrera, meanwhile, narrowly missed the sixty-meter mark in the hammer throw (59.25m), placing ninth in a field of eleven. Ferrera set a season’s best in Kobe. Heptathlete Narcisa Atienza scored 5,041 points and ranked seventh.
As expected, Japan’s 2009 World Championship bronze medalist Yukifumi Murakami 村上 幸史 dominated the javelin throw his 83.27m fourth round flick. Murakami’s third round throw of 80.93m was also better than Jae-Myoung Park’s 80.19m.
Host country Japan stamped its class on every single relay event. The winning margins were quite massive. The Japanese men won by a straightforward eight-hundredths of second in the 4x100m relay over the Hong Kong squad, which surprisingly beat regional powers China and the slick-passing Thais.
In a high quality men’s long jump competition, four men went beyond eight meters. Su Xiongfeng won gold with his 8.19m leap second round leap. The 2009 World Youth Champion, Suphanara Sukhasvasti, clinched second with 8.05m. According to Jad Adrian, this is the best ever jump by a Southeast Asian.
Despite the absence of 2010 World Indoor Champion Olga Rypakova, Xie Limei 谢荔梅 entertained the Japanese crowd with her world-class 14.54m mark in the women’s triple jump. Uzbekistan’s Valeriya Kanatova (14.14m) placed second as India’s Mayookha Johny മയൂഖ ജോണി won bronze en route to setting a 14.11m Indian record.
June 20, 2011Posted by on
Thanks to Eurosport, I missed a good one-half of the final day events. But then again, watching an athletics meet on the boob tube (live at that!) is a rarity in the Philippines.
The conditions were a lot harsher than the bright, sunny first day. Winds were blowing as strong as 3.0m/s. The Men’s Pole Vault was even moved to an indoor venue, away from the rain-soaked Olympic Stadium in Stockholm. From the live updates of the EAA site, as well as informative on-the-go Twitter updates, I stayed updated with my favorite events.
Andy Turner makes it a hurdling double for the British, as he took victory in the sprint hurdles in 13.42s. Despite running into a 2.4 m/s headwind, the European champion won by a massive margin over France’s Garfield Darien (13.62s).
The Czech Republic’s Petr Svoboda, who had a fine indoor season, did not take part.
Russia’s Tatyana Dektyareva Татьяна Валерьевна Дектярева took the 100m hurdles over an in-form Alina Talai Алина Талай of Belarus, finalist at the 2011 Paris European indoor championships. The Russian stopped the clock at 13.16s to Talai’s 13.19s. Dektyareva and Talai ran in different heats. The Belorussian took the scalp of American-born British record holder Tiffany Ofili-Porter (13.28s) in the “A” race.
An in-form Carolina Klüft won second place behind the magnificent Darya Klishina Дарья Клишина at the long jump, as the former registered the best jump of her career since 2008, according to an EAA report.
Note: There are clips of Kluft’s and Klishina’s final jumps at the 100mH video above.
Christophe Lemaitre ran a classy 20.28s despite running into a 2.8 m/s head wind, giving France the full complement of twenty-four points as double sprinting champion.
Germany’s reigning world champion, Robert Harting, took the men’s Discus (65.63m). On the distaff side, Ukraine’s Kateryna Karsak (63.35m) took gold over Russia’s Darya Pishchalnikova Дарья Витальевна Пищальникова (61.09m)
Emma Green-Tregaro, fresh from beating the great Blanka Vlasic in New York a week earlier, clung on to a narrow 1.89m first place victory in the high jump. Green-Tregaro, struggling in the terrible conditions like the rest of the athletes, failed to clear 1.93m. Ruth Beitia and Irina Gordeyeva Ирина Гордеева finished second and third, respectively, with identical marks of 1.89m, but lost on countback to the in-form Swede.
Ukraine’s Maksym Mazuryk Максим Мазурик took the men’s pole vault, clearing a season’s best of 5.72m to edge out Germany’s Malte Mohr (5.72m) who lost narrowly lost on countback. France’s Renaud Lavillenie, the European indoor champion, languished at a dismal fifth place (5.50m) after missing all three attempt at the winning height.
Russia took both relays, solidifying its grasp on the overall championship. There was some controversy in the women’s 4x100m relay, with the British team getting initially disqualified then reinstated. In the men’s races, the British 4x400m squandered a potential podium finish after a bungled final baton exchange.
Russia scored a massive 385 points over Germany’s 331.5 points. Britain fell to fourth place (289) after the relay fiasco, finishing behind the inspired performance of Ukraine (304).
In general, the quality of the competition was quite high, as several world-leading marks and championship records were set. Despite the relatively low turnout of spectators, the team spirit was electric. Groups of athletes wearing the same colors were seen bunching together whilst watching the festivities. There was one particularly touching scene where Barbora Špotáková, fresh from competing at the javelin, gave a high five to compatriot Zuzana Hejnová, who had crossed the finish line after winning the 400m low hurdles. The Team Championships is a rare take on mostly individually oriented sport.
The next SPAR European Team Championships will be held in Britain in 2013, as Helsinki holds the European Outdoor Championships next year.