Tag Archives: 800m run

Istanbul 2012: Top Seven Performances

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!):

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The Man From Seychelles: Gaylord Silly

I missed most of Day 1 of the World Indoor Championships in Daegu because of the Philippines – North Korea AFC match. While browsing through the tweets of Athletics Weekly for updates, I saw a reference to someone named “Gaylord Silly” ranking higher than Jessica Ennis in Twitter trends. At first, I thought it was some British fad I was unaware of.

Then I read more tweets about the unlikely name.

Read the Telegraph’s article on Silly here

It turns out that Gaylord Silly competed in the 800m run heats in Istanbul, setting a national record of 1:54.90 for Seychelles. A cursory Google search unearthed more information. The French-born Silly works as a tree surgeon. The 26-year old is a veteran of several international events – three editions of the IAAF World Cross Country Championships and the 2009 World Half Marathon Championships.

And Silly also competes in the steeplechase! He’s also a hurdler – in a sense.

Photo from lanouvellerepublique.fr

Thanks to his unorthodox name, Silly has become a bit of cult phenomenon amongst athletics circles!

Additional Links:

Silly’s IAAF biography

The Gaylord Silly Facebook Fan Page

The Gaylord Silly Fan Club

Track Beauty of the Week: Georgie Clarke

Georgie Clarke is this week’s track beauty!

Athletics is a sport where mature, full-developed athletes rule. In fact, athletes below 16 years old cannot compete in the Olympics or the senior IAAF World Championships. Clarke is a rare, once in a generation talent. As a 16-year old, the Aussie competed in front of thousands of her screaming countrymen during the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Clarke talks about her Olympic experience (Runner Space)

The Geelong-born middle distance runner went as far the semifinals – a big achievement for any athlete, especially for a teenager. Clarke narrowly missed the third slot in the 800m run, losing out to veteran campaigners.

Photos from Australia Athletics, Life and Geelong Advertiser

Clarke won her first national title at the age of 14. As a 16-year old, she ran the second fastest 1500m by an Australian (4:06.77). Her personal best in the 800m run in 2000 was a world class 2:01.73, faster than middle distance greats Steve Ovett, Steve Cram and Sebastian Coe when they were at the same age, according to a Cool Running article. Prior to the Sydney Olympics, Clarke lived in Europe to compete at the prestigious European circuit. An informative feature article by Running Times Magazine, accurately depicted the athletics prodigy’s difficulties in living out the elite athlete life. At such a young age, she was uprooted from her comfort zone. Clarke was unhappy, according to the article.

Photos from Geelong Advertiser, 101 West Photography and Running Times Magazine

Since her stellar performance at the Sydney Olympics, Clarke has been hounded by injuries, missing the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. She suffered fractures in her spine. There came a point where the once-promising middle distance prospect could hardly walk without pain. But still, the 2001 World Youth Champion persevered. In 2008, despite running with a stress fracture on her foot, she missed qualifying for the Beijing Olympics by two-hundredths of a second. A few months later, her foot broke.

A lesser person would buckle under the pressures of constant defeat and chronic injury. Despite the pain of it all, Clarke did not waver. The following quote from Running Times captures the essence of the sport completely: “I always would look back to why I started to run. It was for the pure reason that I loved it, for the freedom and simplicity of it.”

True enough, Clarke is still at it. Most recently, the now 26-year old former child prodigy is at the top of the distance category in the 2011 Australian Athletics Tour. She ran a competitive 4:17 in the 1500m to finish first palce in the Brisbane Track Classic.

Indeed, her running days are far from over. With the London Olympics barely 2 years away, the prospects for an injury-free Georgie Clarke are bright.

Article by Joboy Quintos

Sources:

Running Times Magazine

Cool Running

Video Credits:

Runners’ Tribe

Runner Space

Blanka Vlašić at the IAAF World Gala

Ace high jumper Blanka Vlašić is at her prettiest in the photo below:

Photo from Zimbio and Getty Images

The Croatian is with 800m world record holder David Rudisha (2L), IAAF President Lamine Diack  (L) and Monaco’s Prince Albert II (R) at the IAAF World Gala. Vlasic and Rudisha are this years’ Athletes of the Year awardees.

Read the IAAF write-up here

Read “Brava, Blanka!”

Video credit:

outdoorsportchannel

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