Tag Archives: 100m hurdles

Track Beauty of the Week: Brigitte Foster-Hylton

Brigitte Foster-Hylton is this week’s Track Beauty!

In the run-up to the London Olympic Games, Foster-Hylton was having a stellar string of performances. Her 12.51s clocking in Kingston (5/5/2012) was inferior only to Sally Pearson’s 12.40, 12.49s, and 12.49s in the season top list. At 37-years of age, with a complete collection of World Championship medals in her curriculum vitae, London was Foster-Hylton’s last shot at Olympic glory.

Click this link to read the full article…

Sally Pearson’s Heartwarming Gesture

It was heart-wrenching to see Brigitte Foster-Hylton crash out in the qualifying heats of the London Olympics. The evergreen Jamaican has a season’s best of 12.51s and was one of the favorites to land a medal in the Games.

Understandably, Foster-Hylton was almost hysterical when she crossed the line. Lolo Jones tried to console the dejected hurdler, but Foster-Hylton fell on the track in despair the moment Lolo touched her.

The eventual Olympic Champion, Sally Pearson, cut short her post-race interview the moment she saw Foster-Hylton. The Australian put an arm around the Jamaican as they walked off the mixed zone together.

“It was really hard,” said Pearson in an Associated Press report. “She’s trained with me for a long time. Rough sport.”

People admire Sally for the way she hurdles and wins titles. Her display of sportsmanship, camaderie, and the Olympic Spirit has endeared her to millions more.

Sally Pearson. Respect.

“You are my adversary, but you are not my enemy.
For your resistance gives me strength,
Your will gives me courage,
Your spirit ennobles me.
And though I aim to defeat you, should I succeed, I will not humiliate you.
Instead, I will honor you.
For without you, I am a lesser man.”

– Adversary, from the IOC’s Celebrate Humanity Campaign

Michelle Jenneke: The Dancing Hurdler

My college coach suggested that I take up dancing classes a few years back, to improve hip mobility. I’m not really the dancing type, so I ignored his advice! I chose hurdle drills over dancing lessons! But then again, hip mobility is imperative for efficient hurdling clearance.

Michelle Jenneke obviously doesn’t share my dancing shyness. The Australian junior has become the latest internet sensation, thanks to a viral Youtube video of her doing a pre-race dancing jig before her qualifying heat.

Click here to read the full article…

“London Olympics Preview: The Sprint Hurdles” by Joboy Quintos

Photo from Nigel Chadwick

Women’s 100m Hurdles

Sally Pearson is the overwhelming favorite for Olympic gold. The Australian is one of the best – if not, the best – hurdling technicians of all time. More importantly, she possesses the necessary flat out speed to sprint over the barriers quickly. This combination of fine hurdling technique and brute sprinting power makes Pearson a difficult hurdler to beat.

Sally Pearson wins the 2011 World title. (Photo from  Erik van Leeuwen)

Her loss to Kelly Wells at the Aviva Grand Prix was surprising indeed. However, when an athlete is in the midst of 30 race winning streak, she is bound to lose one way or another. The bad British weather made Pearson a little worse and Wells a little better. In times like these, the race could go both ways.

True enough, women can get away with deficient hurdling form in light of the considerably lower barriers in the ladies’ races. All things being equal, a technician has a definite edge over an untidy hurdler. Lolo Jones is an excellent example. The 2008 Olympic Gold was hers to lose (Dawn Harper and Sally Pearson won gold and silver, respectively). Her less-than-ideal hurdling conked out when it mattered the most.

Read: “Lolo Jones vs. Susanna Kallur”

Read: “Sally Pearson vs. Susanna Kallur”

Although Wells is a top class hurdler in her own right, Pearson’s better technique over the barriers gives the latter the consistency to win race-after-race, including those that matter the most. The difference in technique is minute: Wells’ trailing arm tends to flail in flight, compared to Pearson’s efficient up and down movement.


Wells (L) and Harper (R). (Photos from Daylife/Getty Images and Erik van Leeuwen)

The 2011 World Champion is owns the fastest time of 12.40s this season. Pearson is the only athlete to have run sub-12.50 in 2012. The evergreen Brigitte Foster-Hylton (12.51s) and Wells (12.54s) trail the Australian. Britain’s best bet in the sprint hurdles, the American-born Tiffany Porter, is tied with the defending Olympic champion Dawn Harper at 12.56s.

The Canadians have a formidable trio in Jessica Zelinka (12.68s), Phylicia George (12.72s), and Nikkita Holder (12.80s). Zelinka will do double duty in the heptathlon and the 100m hurdles. She is surprisingly triumphed over a stellar cast of specialist hurdlers in the Canadian Olympic Trials.  George and Holder are experienced competitors, being finalists in the Daegu World Championships.

Crowd favorite Lolo Jones has a season’s best of 12.74s, way outside the top 10 performances this season.

In terms of lifetime bests, Pearson is ahead of the pack thanks to her impressive series in Daegu: 12.36s in the semis and 12.28s in the final. Only the world record holder Yordanka Donkova (12.21s), Ginka Zagorcheva (12.25s), and Ludmila Engquist (12.26s) have run faster times than the Aussie. Jones, recently recovered from an injury, has a four-year old personal best of 12.43s from the Beijing Olympics. Foster-Hylton (12.45s), Harper (12.47s), and Wells (12.50s) round up the next three.

Barring any unforseen hitches or hurdle crashes, Pearson is my top choice for hurdles gold. Wells, Harper, and  Foster-Hylton are medal contenders as well, but the cool Aussie has my vote because she is every inch the refined hurdling technician.

Top Three Predictions:

Gold: Sally Pearson

Silver: Dawn Harper/Kelly Wells

Bronze: Brigitte Foster-Hylton

Men’s 110m Hurdles

With three men under 13 seconds this season, the 110m hurdles finals is guaranteed to be a nail-biter.


Liu (L), Merritt (C), and Richardson(R). (Photos from Brackenheim [Liu], Paalso Paal Sørensen [Merritt], and Erik van Leeuwen [Richardson])

Aries Merritt, the 2012 World Indoor Champion, is the world leader with two clockings of 12.93s. The comebacking 2004 Athens Olympic Champion, Liu Xiang 刘翔, has a season’s best of 12.97s. Liu actually drew level with Dayron Robles’ world record of 12.87s in Eugene last month, but the wind was over the allowable limit. Jason Richardon, the 2011 World Champion, ran 12.98s in the semifinals of the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Read: “Daegu 110m Hurdles Final – Controversial”

Merritt is the revelation of the 2012 season. The former U.S. collegiate champion has been around the circuit for quite some time, having been part of numerous major championship finals. The humble hurdler’s breakthrough came in Istanbul, where he won over Liu in the 60m hurdles. Merritt’s twin 12.93s performances is a strong statement that he’s out to win nothing less than gold.

Merritt is now the eighth-fastest hurdler of all-time, tied with the great Renaldo Nehemiah.

The world record holder and defending Olympic champion has been bedeviled by injury. Robles has a relatively modest season’s best of 13.18s, in a defeat against young compatriot Orlando Ortega (13.09s). He has competed sparingly this season.

The third American, Jeff Porter, is fourth with 13.08s. The newly-crowned European Champion, Sergey Shubenkov, is one-hundredths of second slower than Porter at 13.09s. France’s Garfield Darien (13.15s) and Jamaica’s Hansle Parchment (13.18s) could secure places in the Olympic final, judging by their season’s bests.

Save for a back niggle that forced him to pull out from the Aviva Grand Prix in London, Liu is my top pick for Olympic gold. He limped out of the Bird’s Nest in pain four years ago. Now fully recovered, Liu is running faster than ever, as shown by his emphatic performances in Shanghai and Eugene against the best hurdlers in the world.

Merritt, Richardson, and a healthy Robles are Liu’s strongest challengers.

Amongst the big four hurdlers, Liu’s technique is a cut above the rest. In an event where the margins of error are small, the finer things – the hurdling nuances – could spell the difference between Olympic glory or ignominy.

Read: “Liu Xiang vs. Dayron Robles”

Read: “Liu Xiang vs. Colin Jackson”

The youthfully exuberant Shubenkov could eke out a surprise. He is a technically sound hurdler who is capable of running below 13 seconds in the near future.

Top Three Predictions

Gold: Liu Xiang

Silver: Aries Merritt

Bronze: Jason Richardson/Sergey Shubenkov

Article by Joboy Quintos



The Manchester Mix-Up

I was dumbfounded to read about the organizing gaffe at the 2012 Manchester GreatCity Games. Jessica Ennis, the poster girl of Britain’s Olympic campaign, had just run a personal best in the 100m hurdles – albeit over nine flights of hurdles, instead of ten. Naturally, Ennis was “annoyed.” The diminutive heptathlete had beaten the 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper and 2011 World Championships silver medalist Danielle Carruthers.

Read: “Jessica Ennis denied personal best at Great CityGames in Manchester”

Things could have been much worse for Ennis and the rest of the hurdling ladies in Manchester. The race organizers could have set some of the hurdles closer than the standard marks, like what happened at a regional track meet in Anchorage, Alaska.

The sprint hurdles is all about rhythm, speed and constant repetition. Hurdlers take three steps in between barriers as fast as possible. Once the barriers are moved closer (or farther) – unbeknownst to the athletes – a hurdles crash is a certainty. The boys in Anchorage were fortunate to finish the race without any bones. In hindsight, Ennis et. al were much more fortunate than the lads in that Anchorage race.

With the London Olympics barely three months away, the Manchester mix-up is a black eye for the novel street-racing event.

10-for-10: Isabelle Pedersen

Isabelle Pedersen is a fast-rising athletics talent from Norway. At such a young age, Pedersen has won several major age-group titles, the most notable of which are the World Youth and World Junior crowns in the 100m hurdles. In 2009, the Norwegian edged out two American athletes to win the U18 100m hurdles (0.765m) gold, stopping the clock in 13.23s. In Moncton the following year, and competing against older, U20 athletes this time, the compact sprint hurdler again won gold. Her time of 13.30s over the 0.838m barriers was a national junior record.

Click here to view Trans World Sport’s feature on Isabelle

In the women’s event where the barriers are lower, speedsters tend to get away with glaring technical flaws, relying more on their flat out speed than hurdling form.  At such as young age, the Pedersen has developed a fundamentally-sound hurdling technique, comparable to her older compatriot, Christina Vukicevic. To date, Pedersen’s personal best stands at 13.21s – a national junior record and six-hundredths of a second off the Daegu World Championships standard.

Her ebullient personality on the track and the sheer enjoyment she exudes in her races highlight Pedersen’s love for the event. She is every inch the happy hurdler – and happy hurdlers, epitomized by Liu Xiang himself (and most recently, Pascal Martinot-Lagarde) are formidable competitors.

As the World Youth and World Junior Champion matures physically and psychologically, the prospects of success in the senior ranks look bright.

Pedersen takes time to answer this blog’s 10-for-10 feature:

1. How did you get started with athletics?

When I was younger my mom thought I had ADHD, but it turned out I was just a girl with a lot of energy. Doing sports was therefore an easy choice. My first meeting with athletics was at the age of ten. I walked by some teenagers training and I was fascinated by the sport. I remember I asked my mom what kind of sport they were doing and she told me it was the same sport she did when she was younger. Since that day I knew athletics was the sport for me as well.

2. What’s the most memorable moment of your track career?

When I discovered that I have won the final [of the 2010] World junior championships. The last thing I remembered was the starting point, the rest [was] just black.

Click here to view the full results of the Moncton 2010 100m hurdles final

I had a dream to defend the gold medal from youth world championships the year before, but [I] never thought I’d make it. I was number 15 on the list before the championships started.

3. What’s your life-long dream?

I´m living it now, I’m living out my dream everyday. Track, hurdles [are] my passions. And the dream of everyone else, [to] become as good as possible.

4. Let’s lighten up a bit! What would you rather wear and why? Short shorts or tights?

Hehe, tights is the thing I guess.

5. If you could be a Glee cast member, who will you be? And what song will you sing?

Glee cast? Sorry, honestly I’ve no idea what that is…

6. How I Met Your Mother or F.R.I.E.N.D.S.?

Tricky… both are greats shows! Why choose when you can have both?

7. What’s the best pump-up song of all-time?

I have a new list every season, and there a no favorites, they are all part of the warm up.

8. If you could spend the rest of your days at any place in the world, which would you choose?

I haven´t raveled much to the big cities of Europe, but Paris has inspired me a lot. Would like to live in a city that inspires me as much as Paris to my last breath. Maybe I will movie back to my home town Bergen, I haven´t planned it yet!

9. Name three things you just can’t live without.

I think I will pass this one, I still have the world in front of me ;)

10. Who’s your athletics role model/idol?

I don’t have one. I’ve always just done it because it’s fun. Haha. But Susanna Kallur is a great hurdler.

Additional Links:

Isabelle’s Website

Isabelle’s Twitter account (help her reach 1,000 followers!)

Isabelle’s All-Athletics Profile.

Video Credit:

Trond Knaplund

Sally Pearson vs. Susanna Kallur

The women’s 100m hurdles (0.838m) features comparably shorter hurdles than its men’s equivalent, the 110m high hurdles (1.067m). Hence, a gifted sprinter could get away with glaring technical flaws in women’s event, according to Coach Steve McGill of Hurdles First fame. The short distance hurdle races are essentially a sprinting event. The lower hurdle heights of the women’s event puts less emphasis on technical profiency than being fleet-of-foot. Hence, it is unsurprising to see century dash Olympic champions like Gail Devers power their way to sprint hurdling dominance, albeit in an erratic fashion.

Australia’s Sally Pearson and Sweden’s Susanna Kallur are two of the most prolific hurdling technicians the modern athletics world has seen. Gifted with speed, these ladies have amassed a considerable amount of medals between themselves.

Pearson is the most illustrious of the two, stamping her class at the 2011 World Championships, becoming the fourth-fastest sprint hurdler of all time (12.28s). The older Kallur is the world record holder in the 60m hurdles (7.68s) and holds a personal best of 12.49s in the outdoor race.

With the Swede being hampered by injury since 2008, Pearson has improved dramatically. Whilst Kallur crashed out of the Beijing Olympics in tears, a jubilant Pearson won an unexpected silver medal.

Should a healthy Kallur clash with an in-form Pearson, whom amongst the two would prevail?

Hurdling Technique: An Even Match

One cannot find fault in their flawless hurdling techniques, unlike some of their top tier competitors. The way both Pearson and Kallur clear the hurdles is picture perfect, and a joy to watch for this hurdling aficionado.

As long as the athlete gets the fundamentals – leading with the knee, the lean, the lead leg snap, the squared trail knee, the swooshing lead arm, the stable trail arm, and the trail foot being parallel with the hurdle crossbar – the differences in technique boil down to the hurdling nuances.


Photos from couriermail.com.au and newsgab.com

Hurdling is an art form. No two works of art are the same.

Although I prefer Sanna’s more pronounced lean over the hurdles, this nuance – this slight improvement or advantage, I dare say, is practically trivial in light of Pearson’s results. After all, one doesn’t need to lean too much over the shorter hurdlers.

Sprinting: Pearson

In terms of flat-out sprinting talent, Pearson has the upper hand. Sally started out as a sprinter first, before expanding her repertoire to the hurdles. At the World Youth Championships in 2003, the Aussie won gold in the 100m hurdles. A year later at the Grossetto World Junior Championships, Pearson landed third in the flat 100m while narrowly missing out on the 100m hurdle bronze.

Through the years, Sally has been a standout sprinting talent, winning numerous national titles in her native Australia. At the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, Pearson would have won the 100m-100m hurdles double, had she not been disqualified in the century dash for a false start.

Kallur’s sprinting curriculum vitae aren’t as rock-solid. The Swedes best sprinting finish in a major international sprinting event is seventh place at the 60m dash final at the 2007 European Indoor Championships. Pearson, in contrast, is a 100m dash semifinalist at the Osaka World Championships, on top of her World Junior bronze medal.

Sally has a 100m dash personal best of 11.14s (2007) compared to Sanna’s 11.30s (2006). The gap is even bigger at the half-lap, with Pearson’s PR of 23.02s (2009 and 2012) superior to Kallur’s 23.32s (2006).

Speed/Hurdling Endurance: Pearson

Italy’s Marzia Caravelli, herself a talented hurdler and sprinter, pointed out that Kallur tends to fade at the latter parts of a race. At the 2007 World Championships, the future 60m hurdles world record holder had a terrific start to snatch the lead.

Susanna was actually leading until the ninth hurdle, when the troika of Michelle Perry (12.46s), Perdita Felicien (12.49s – SB), and Delloreen Ennis-London (12.50s – PB) caught up with the Swede. She missed the bronze by one-hundredths of second, but still clung to a then personal best of 12.51s.

Pearson is peerless at the latter stages. In her groundbreaking races at the Daegu World Championships, the Australian ran 12.53s and 12.36s at the heats and semifinals, respectively. She seemed to go faster as the race progressed. She had a lightning fast start and was able to maintain her lead. She had the race from the gun to the tape.

How Pearson maintains her speed and form over the barriers could be attributed to her extensive experience over the 200m dash. Since both the sprint hurdles and the half-lap involve rhythm, the two events complement each other. An examination of Kallur’s IAAF biography show much less race exposure in the 200m dash compared to Pearson.

Verdict: Pearson

With both athletes possessing impeccable hurdling technique, Pearson’s flat-out sprinting power, sprinting experience and speed/hurdling endurance makes her the superior hurdler – an obvious understatement considering the Australian’s achievements and stature.

But then again, one often wonders how an injury-free Susanna Kallur would match up with Sally Pearson. Kallur was at the cusp of Olympic success in 2008, as evidenced by her sterling world indoor record. Had she been healthy in 2008, would she have eventually ran at the same level as Pearson did in 2011?

At 32 years of age, Kallur is far from being a spent force. Should the Swede regain her top notch 2008 form, such a match up would be one for the books.

Additional Links:

Sally Pearson’s IAAF bio

Susanna Kallur’s IAAF bio

Women’s 100m hurdles All-time Top List

Women’s 60m hurdles All-time Top List

“10-for-10: Marzia Caravelli’s Balancing Act” by Joboy Quintos

I first took notice of Marzia Caravelli at the run-up prior to the 2011 Daegu World Championships. In this day and age of professional athletes, the Italian sprint hurdler stands out because she has a full-time job and still manages to excel. According to an IAAF article, the Italian “works as a teacher for deaf children and trains only during the evening.”

Photo from Marzia Caravelli

A late bloomer, won all her four national titles after she turned twenty-eight years old! The Italian 200m dash and 100m hurdles champion won her first continental medal at the 2011 European Team Championships, stopping the clock in 13.10s to place third overall. A month later, Caravelli ran an impressive 13.01s – twice.

To cap off her breakout 2011 season, Caravelli made her debut at the world stage in Daegu, finishing 26th in qualifying. Marzia eventually set a new Italian record in May 2012. In an athletics competition in France, Caravelli stopped the clock in 12.85s. She bettered the old record by an astouding twelve-hundredths of a second!

Marzia’s unique balancing act shows that elite sports and full-time employment are not mutually exclusive.

1. How did you get started with athletics?

When I was 14 I was practicing Rhythmic Gymnastics. But in one year I became too tall [to] enter the hoop and to bend and twist my body, so I decided to start with athletics, because my sister was already practicing athletics. I went with her a few times, and then [I learned to] love [athletics].

2. What’s the most memorable moment of your athletics career?

When I reach[ed] qualifications for World Championship, two years [after] my ex coach told me I [won’t have a] future in athletics. And when I was third in the European Athletic Team championship, [the] same year!

3. What’s your life-long dream?

An Olympic participation, and then when I will finish my athletics career to find a job that gives me the same excitement of athletics.

 4. Let’s lighten up a bit! What would you rather wear and why? Short shorts or tights?

I used to train really dressed a lot! But while competing absolutely short shorts! I need to [set] my legs free!

 5. How do you manage to balance your athletics training with a full-time job?

I know I have not [much] time to train because I have to work. I know that my colleagues have all day to train and all [the] time to live as professional athletes. This makes me very angry!

Finally I’ve learned to turn that anger into strength of will. And so my two daily hours of training are intense, because I am hungry of demonstrating that all of them were wrong with me. But the truth is that my super-coach can manage the time we have in the best way, and in those two hours he is able to plan and make me do everything (or almost) I need. And until now, we have been right!

[And] last, if you add that I do a job I like, this also helps!

6. What’s your top three pump-up songs of all-time?

I don’t listen to music when I warm up or run, I prefer to be in contact with the world near me.

7. If you could spend the rest of your days at any place in the world, which would you choose?

Italy, in the south near the sea! I think I couldn’t give up our food!!

8. Name three things you can’t live without.

Pasta, Coffee and Cell phone

9. Who inspires you?

Do you Know The Ugly Duckling story?!

10. If you weren’t a hurdler, you’d be a: Sign Language Interpreter…ops, but I am!

Article by by Joboy Quintos

Track Beauty of the Week: Sally Pearson

Sally Pearson nee McClellan is this week’s track beauty!

Last night’s events immortalized the Australian amongst the sprint hurdling elite. Prior to Daegu, Pearson was having a stellar season – her most successful to date. She had reigned supreme in countless Diamond League meetings, as she edged out the formidable cabal of American hurdlers. In Birmingham last July, Pearson gave the world a sneak peak of what’s to come as she clocked a highly competitive 12.57s against a 1.9m/s headwind.

A victorious Pearson celebrates in Daegu (Photo from Wikipedia)

The undefeated Pearson breezed through the World Championships qualifying. The Australian wasn’t threatened as she clocked tantalizingly fast times of 12.53s and 12.36s in the heats and semifinals, respectively. Her performance in the semis was the 12th fastest time in history. Only the world record holder Yordanka Donkova, Ginka ZagorchevaLudmila Engquist and Gail Devers had run faster. It was the fastest time in the world since the great Devers stopped the clock in 12.33s back in 2000.

Not even the cover curse of Daegu could stop Sally! In the video above, her Aussie teammates threw the Aussie flag and a copy of the programme (with Sally on the cover!) to the victorious Pearson.

Click here to view the semis

Click here to view the heats

There was more to come. A few hours later, Pearson blazed through the final in 12.28s, propelling the Australian speedster as the fourth fastest hurdler ever, overtaking the Devers.

Pearson first came to international prominence when she won the 100m hurdles at the 2003 World Youth Championships. She followed this up with a bronze at the flat 100m at the Grosseto World Junior Championships a year later. In 2008, she won a surprise silver medal. Pearson attempted a 100m dash – 100m hurdles double in the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, but a faulty start and a subsequent protest saw her lose the sprint title.

The Australian is the ideal sprint hurdler. She possesses blazing speed in between barriers and technical prowess above the sticks. In a sense, she’s a hybrid of Gail Devers (who ran 10.82s in the 100m dash) and Susanna Kallur (a great technician). In an event where athletes could get away with major flaws in hurdling form (thanks to the relatively low height of the barriers), Pearson dominates with her picture perfect hurdling clearance. Her more than adequate flat out speed works hand-in-hand compounds her potent hurdling talent.

Indeed, Pearson is the perfect sprint hurdler.

Additional link:

Official 100mH results from Daegu

Track Beauty of the Week: Alina Talai Алина Талай (Alina Talay)

Alina Talai Алина Талай is this week’s track beauty!

The Belorussian sprint hurdler is an upcoming talent in the event. Still only twenty-one years old, Talai had racked up her experience level in high quality meets. She has a personal best of 12.87s from 2010, ranking her among the elite of the 100m hurdles.


Photos from klbviktoria.com and belmarket.by

Talai’s best finish in a major international competition was semifinals appearance at the 2010 World Indoor Championships in Doha. She has been more successful in the European senior competition, having barged into the final of the 60m hurdles at the Paris European Indoor Championships.

The Belorussian missed out on a podium finish at the 2008 World Junior Championships, but redeemed herself by landing a bronze at the European U-23 Championships against older opponents a year later. Talai edged out the more fancied Swiss, Lisa Urech (who had set a PB of 12.62s, sixth fastest time in 2011), for the European U-23 hurdles crown. En route to her continental title, the Belorussian stopped the clock in season’s best of 12.91s, against Urech’s 13.00s.

Talai has shown marked consistency in the 2011 season. It is important to note that despite the worst of conditions, the Belorussian had managed to keep her form together, as evidenced by her sterling performance at the European Team Championships where she placed a fighting second. This is certainly impressive, in light of her unexpected exit at the Barcelona European Championships after clipping a hurdle.

The hard-working Belarussian hurdler finally barged into the top 3 of a major international event. She clocked a season’s best of 7.97s to win bronze at the Istanbul World Indoor Championships, behind the prolific Sally Pearson (7.73s) and Britain’s Tiffany Porter (7.94s).

After the race, it turned out that Talai was clueless on her ranking in the final. Asking the mixed zone interviewer regarding her placing, Talai was pleasantly shocked to learn that she won bronze! It is a touchingly authentic scene rarely caught on tape!

Track Beauty of the Week: Lisa Urech

Lisa Urech is this week’s track beauty!

The 21-year old is Switzerland’s top sprint hurdler. She has personal bests of 12.81s in the 100m hurdles and 8.00s in the 60m hurdles. Most recently, Urech qualified for the finals of the highly competitive 2010 Barcelona European Championships, where she finished 7th overall. She stopped the clock at 13.02s.

Photos from blick.ch and nzz.ch

In about a month’s time after the Euro’s, she ran a lifetime best of 12.81s in Zurich. Urech is just five-hundredths of a second off the Swiss national record, held by Julie Baumann (12.76s, 1991).

Read Swissinfo.ch’s Overcoming hurdles to reach the Weltklasse

Remarkably, Urech’s breakout 2010 season started on a low note, with the Emmental-born athlete breaking her collarbone at the start of the year! Indeed, this shows that Urech is made of stern stuff.

Urech had improved dramatically since competing at the 2008 World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz (13.72s. In 2009, the stately Swiss – then only 20-years old – notched a new personal best against seasoned senior opponents (13.36s). It is impressive to note that Urech broke the 13-second barrier barely two years since running in the high 13’s as a junior.

Photo from gab-bellinzona.ch

Should she correct some technical flaws in her form, Urech has much potential to barge into the top ranks of European hurdling.

Video credits:




SVT1 Direkt

16th Asian Games – 100m Hurdles

South Korea won another gold medal, this time on the track. Lee Yeon-kyung 이연경 (13.23s) held on to  first place, edging out Natalya Ivoninskaya (13.24s) of Central Asian powerhouse, Kazakhstan.  Fast-finishing Sun Yawei was three-hundredths of a second behind the Kazakh, hanging on to bronze. The promising Japanese Asuka Terada 寺田 明日香 faded in the last three barriers and clipped the 10th hurdle, stumbling towards the tape in fifth place (13.29s).

It was an exciting race, despite the relatively modest time.

Results from gz2010.cn

Rena Joshita 城下 麗奈 ran 13.48s in the semis, but opted not to compete in the finals, probably because of her fall in the qualifying rounds.

Read Track Beauty of the Week: Reina Shiroshita (城下 麗奈 Rena Joshita)

Video credit:


Track Beauty of the Week: Christina Vukicevic Љубица Вукићевић

Christina Vukicevic (Љубица Кристина Вукићевић) is this week’s Track Beauty!

As a junior, Christina won silver medals at the European and World Junior Championships. She also topped the European U-23 Championships in 2009. The then 20-year Vukicevic made her major championship debut at the Osaka World Championships. The Norwegian did not progress beyond qualifying, but clocked a then personal best of 13.07s.

Watch: “Christina Vukicevic (Љубица Вукићевић) Interview”


Photos from Bjarte Hetland and Paal Sørensen

The young Vukicevic had the makings of a championship performer, it seemed, as she shaved off two-hundredths of a second from her erstwhile lifetime best at the Beijing Olympics. Although she fared a little better at her heat (4th place), the Norwegian still did not progress to the next round.

A year later at the Berlin World Championships, Christina made it as far as the semifinals, where she clocked yet another personal best! At the 2010 European Championships in Barcelona, the Norwegian record holder missed out on a podium finish, as she finished in fourth place. The hurdler clocked a competitive 12.78s, four-hundredths of a second from her lifetime best of 12.74s.

Christina finally won her first major championship medal as a senior at the European Indoor Championships in Paris. She set a new Norwegian record of 7.83s in the 60m hurdles.

Article by Joboy Quintos



“Lolo Jones vs. Susanna Kallur” by Joboy Quintos

Both athletes are without a doubt, certified track beauties and top calibre sprint hurdlers. In a hurdles race, however, my money’s on Kallur.

On paper, Lolo Jones has the better 100m hurdles time (12.43s). Susanna Kallur is five hundredths of a seconds slower at 12.49s. The roles are reversed in the shorter, indoor distance (60m hurdles), with the Swede owning the current world indoor record of 7.68s.

Photos from earclops.com and beijing2008.cn

I don’t like Jones’ tense disposition during the race. She grunts and grimaces with each clearance. In fact, Tyson Gay pointed out Lolo’s Sharapova-like grunt in a SpikesMag interview. Also, the 2008 World Indoor Champion’s trail arm hangs much too far from her body. Lolo’s hurdling style borders on the wild side; hence, she’s susceptible to race-ending errors like her unfortunate fall in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Lolo makes up for this slight facial dis-figuration with her post-race million dollar smile!

Photo from radiocontempo.wordpress.com

Kallur, in contrast, is a much better technician. How her lead arm draws a wide “C” – much like a graceful, sabre slash – is a fine example of textbook hurdling. The way her trail leg squares over those hurdles is just perfect. Sanna is also a prolific sprinter, being a consistent member of Sweden’s 4x100m relay squad. This potent combination of form and power makes Kallur one formidable hurdler.

Jones has a fine hurdling form too (she wouldn’t be World Indoor Champion if she has crappy form), albeit not as graceful to watch as Kallur because of the former’s grimace and tense demeanor.

Read up on Coach Steve McGill’s prolific piece on women’s sprint hurdling

A healthy Kallur and a consistent Jones in one race? Now that’s a must see.

Article by Joboy Quintos

Track Beauty of the Week: Lolo Jones

Lolo Jones is this weeks track beauty!

Lolo has both the looks and the killer speed. She has had her fair share of life’s down moments (Lolo once lived in a church basement). Jones lived with four different families in high school and juggled school with track training and part-time work.


Photos from Erik van Leeuwen and KDSanders

Even at the pinnacle of sprint hurdling, disappointment reared its ugly head once again. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Jones badly clipped a hurdle coming into the last few meters of the 100m hurdles final, causing her to drop from first to seventh place – losing the Olympic gold.

After the botched Olympic final, she faced the post-race cameras like a true professional athlete. Afterwards, shots of a despondent Jones crying her heart out were shown on air. She bounced back two years later, topping the 2010 Doha World Indoor Championships in stellar fashion.

Jones is one of the most colorful figures in the athletics scene, with her witty tweets passionate demeanor on the track. She exudes so much energy that its infectious, endearing herself to the fans.

%d bloggers like this: