Category Archives: European Athletics Association

EC2012 Triple Jump: Olha Saladukha (Olha Saladuha Ольга Саладуха) takes gold

I love watching the triple jump because of its highly technical nature. The way the athletes hop, skip, and step to amazing distances is a graceful exercise that evokes wonder for this athletics aficionado.

However, the event has not been given the same attention as the more popular disciplines like the men’s 100m dash. I got thoroughly pissed off while watching the Adidas Grand Prix, a Diamond League meeting, last month. The directors of the telecast opted to air round-after-round of a pedestrian long jump competition over the women’s triple jump competition!

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Ivet Lalova’s Comeback

Ivet Lalova Ивет Лалова was one of the favorites to win a medal coming into the 2004 Athens Olympics. She had just set a new personal time of 10.77s, drawing level with Irina Privalova as the sixth fastest sprinter of all-time. Ivet, however, fell short of the podium in Athens. She finished in fourth place behind Yulia Nestsiarenka (Юлія Несцярэнка Юлия Нестеренко – 10.93s), Lauryn Williams (10.96s), and Veronica Campbell-Brown (10.97s).

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The Versatile Rosolova

I first learned about Denisa Rosolova while watching last year’s European Indoor Championships. It was remarkable how a former champion heptathlete and world class long jumper shifted to the quarter mile and strike gold! I admired her athletic talent and versatility. More importantly, Rosolova has the audacity to try something unorthodox. For this, she has reaped dividends.

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Marathon Athletics Coverage

I’ve always rued the lack of athletics coverage here in the Philippines. When there is a major championship, I almost always watch the festivities from those bootleg live streaming links. But thanks to Destiny Cable and Eurosport, I’ve been getting consistent coverage of the Diamond League circuit and the European Championships.

It’s quite weird, really, how my track & field addiction seemed to have grown exponentially after I hung up my spikes. Hence, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time staying up late to watch the aforesaid athletics competitions.

Eurosport’s coverage of the Helsinki European Championships is admirable. My favorite channel has been showing ALMOST EVERY SINGLE FRIGGIN’ EVENT. Because of the time difference – and my rekindled athletics addiction – I’ve been burning the midnight oil since the Euro Champs started last Wednesday. With the European Football Champs and Wimbledon also ongoing, I was tempted not to turn off the boob tube and shun sleep!

Despite the fact that I’m probably the lone Filipino losing sleep over the European Athletics Championships, I am a truly happy athletics afficionado!

Tiina Lillak: Finnish Javelin Legend

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.

Tiina Lillak circa 1983. (Photo from Jos Hendrix)

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.



Track Beauty of the Week: Denisa Rosolová (Denisa Ščerbová)

Denisa Ščerbová-Rosolová is this week’s track beauty!

The Czech athlete originally started out as a heptathlete, but shifted focus to the long jump. The then 16-year Rosolová leaped 6.40m to win silver at the World U-17 Championships. A year later, she was crowned as the World junior champion, notching a 6.61m jump in the final.

Photos from and Denisa Rosolová

The skilled Rosolová went back to the multi-events in 2008 (her best mark in the heptathlon is 6,104 points). According to an EAA article, injuries sustained from the grueling discipline saw Rosolová shift to the 400m.

Photos from Denisa Rosolová’s Facebook fan page and Daylife/Getty Images

Rosolová had won numerous Czech national titles in the long jump and heptathlon. Despite winning the European indoor long jump silver in Birmingham back in 2007, triumph seemed to elude Rosolová in both the jumps and the multi-events.

In 2010, Rosolová made the big shift to the quarter-mile. Success was immediate for the versatile athlete. At the European Championships in Barcelona, the Czech went tantalizingly close to 50 seconds in the 400m, finishing 5th (50.90s) in the highly competitive final.

At the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Paris, Rosolová nipped the fancied Russian duo of Olesya Krasnomovets Олеся Александровна Форшева and Kseniya Zadorina Ксения Ивановна Задорина in the last 60m, winning her first major senior title. The 24-year old ran an indoor personal best of 51.73s en route to the gold, bettering her 2011 season’s best by a massive five hundredths of a second.

Denisa, however, wasn’t as successful outdoors in 2011. Despite notching a new personal best in the 400m dash in Ostrava (50.84s), the Czech could only muster a semi-finals finish in the Daegu World Championships, exiting the competition in 52.53s. At the 2012 World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Rosolova qualified for the finals (her first in the worlds as a quarter miler) and finished in sixth place.

Article by Joboy Quintos

Track Geek

My morning routine consists of reading the latest business news, local and foreign. Doing so is imperative in my line of work. In my first year as a bond trader, I read nothing but news about finance and the economy. Tidbits about sports, much less track & field were a rarity. Come to think of it, I’ve been out of the athletics loop since Beijing 2008 – that’s two years’ worth of track & field hibernation.

A remarkable thing happened back in early 2010. As I immersed myself in sports (basketball) yet again, I found myself browsing through my old cyberspace haunt – the International Association of Athletics Federations website. Soon enough, I was watching all sorts of track & field videos again, not just those from my past as a college-level hurdler.

I rediscovered a fountain of happiness. I no longer felt such a pretentious prick, making do with the tall man’s sport of basketball. As I picked up my spikes again, I felt so much at home. Indeed, it feels good to be honest to oneself.

Nowadays, I’m even more of a track & field geek than before. Prior to reading Bloomberg, Business World and the Inquirer’s business section, I start my morning news run with athletics updates – lots of it.

I start off with the IAAF, of course and browse through the following sites for interesting articles:

  1. European Athletics Association – in-depth and informative content from the hotbed of athletics.
  2. Spikes Mag – a lighter view on the sport. Plenty of interesting (and funny!) features.
  3. Universal Sports – An American site which has superb coverage of most major meets. I love the up-to-date video section and those fiesty blogs.
  4. Eurosport (Athletics) – mostly updates about British track.
  5. Athletics Australia – I love reading about the athletics scene down under.

Aside from the aforesaid track sites, I also follow the superb blogs of sprint hurdlers David Oliver and Derval O’Rourke since it has that personal touch devoid of most other athlete-oriented websites. I also read the following Filipino sports blogs for non-track & field content: (1) Bleachers Brew and (2) Fire Quinito.

In fact, I read so much track & field that I feel the constant urge to blog about most of the stuff I read. Thank heavens for Twitter since I could instantly post tidbits of track on the micr0-blogging site. It helps to control what little free time I have for my main blog. Besides, my blog is NOT a track & field news blog (although I post some interesting reports from time-to-time). The blog is supposed to document the travails of a former college-level athlete juggling career and training amidst the tumult of quarter-life.

With all these track & field content stuck in my head, finding a friend to talk about the latest track news is a daunting chore! In my years in the sport, I’ve only met a handful of people who can keep up with my athletics addiction!

I’m fortunate to live in this day and age of information, where everything – and I mean everything – is at the click of a mouse. Drat. That’s why I can’t stand NOT having an internet connection!

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