Tag Archives: Christian Reif

“London Olympics Preview: The Long Jump” by Joboy Quintos

The long jump is one of the most exciting discipline in athletics. The London Olympics will feature a good mix of upcoming and current athletes, going head-to-head for a memorable competition.

Photo from Nigel Chadwick

Women’s Long Jump

Brittney Reese (7.12m SB outdoors, 7.23m SB indoors) has dominated the women’s long jumping scene the past few years. Reese made her international debut at the Osaka World Championships in 2007, where she placed eighth in the final, as the Russian troika of Tatyana Lebedeva (Татьяна Лебедева), Lyudmila Kolchanova (Людмила Колчанова), and Tatyana Kotova (Татьяна Котова) made a clean sweep of the medals. Since then, the unorthodox former basketball player had won two World titles (2009 and 2011) and two World indoor crowns (2010 and 2012).

Reese at the 2010 World Indoor Championships. (Photo from Erik van Leeuwen)

Although the American has shown chinks in her armor in some long jump competitions, Reese has displayed nerves of steel in the championships that count the most. Only an Olympic medal eludes her collection. The rest of the long jump field will be hard-pressed to top a motivated, healthy and techinically-proficient Brittney Reese.

This is hard for me to say, considering that I’m a big fan of Darya Klishina Дарья Клишина: The American is poised to win the Olympic long jump title.

But then again, Reese had shown erratic jumping in the past. She could be beaten in a major championship. The in-form Russian, Olga Kucherenko Ольга Кучеренко (7.03m SB outdoors, 6.91m SB indoors); the defending Olympic champion, Maurren Higa Maggi (6.85m SB); and the prolific Darya, are at the vanguard of Reese’s challengers.

   

Klishina (L), Kucherenko (C), and Maggi (R). (Photos from Erik van Leeuwen, sport-vlg.ru, and Agência Brazil/Janine Moraes)

Kucherenko, who has a personal best of 7.13m from 2010 and the silver medalist from Daegu, has displayed sterling form this year. Reese, Anna Nazarova (7.11m), Chelsea Hayes (7.10m), Nastassia Mironchyk – Ivanova (7.08m), Kucherenko, Janay DeLoach and Veronika Shutkova have all gone beyond 7 meters this season. Brazil’s Maggi has experienced a resurgence the past two years. A 7.26m jumper at her best, The 36-year old Maggi had gone tantalizingly close to 7 meters in 2011.

Note: Klishina and Kucherenko did not make the Russian Olympic Team.

These athletes are in the running for a spot on the podium.

Sostene Moguenara (6.88m SB outdoors) and Shara Proctor (6.84m SB outdoors, 6.89 SB/PB indoors) have also displayed excellent form in 2012.

Although slowed down by an ankle injury last season, the 21-year old Klishina has the makings of a future champion. The 2011 European Indoor champion has an outdoor personal best of 7.05m from 2010. Darya is the second-best junior long jumper of all-time, behind the great Heike Drechsler. A healthy Klishina could foil Reese’s Olympic dreams.

But then again, Klishina and Kucherenko were not selected to the Russian Olympic Team, as they finished below the top three at their Olympic Trials. The Russian squad possess such depth that they can make do without a talented junior and an in-form athlete.

A total of eight jumpers have gone beyond 7 meters this season. Reese is my top choice for Olympic gold, with Nazarova and Mironcyk-Ivanova for silver and bronze, respectively.

Top Three Predictions

Gold: Brittney Reese

Silver: Darya Klishina Anna Nazarova

Bronze:  Olga Kucherenko Nastassia Mironchyk – Ivanova

Men’s Long Jump

If Dwight Phillips (8.74m PB), the 2004 Athens Olympic Champion and four-time World champion, did not figure in a car accident last May, he’ll be the favorite for the Olympic title. But then again, misfortune had plagued the long jump legend’s 2012 preparations.

C’mon Dwight! Time to go on Wolverine mode! (Photo from Erik van Leeuwen)

Hence, the field is wide open for a flurry of names to rise to the occasion. The farthest jump this season is just a relatively humble 8.35m by the host country’s Greg Rutherford and Russian junior Sergey Morgunov, who rewrote the World junior record. Sebastian Bayer and Marquise Goodwin have respective season’s bests of 8.34m and 8.33m. A mere four centimeters separate the next six athletes in the 2012 rankings: Godfrey Khotso Mokoena (8.29m A), Mitchell Watt (8.28m), Henry Frayne (8.27m), Christian Reif (8.26m), Will Claye (8.25m), Jinzhe Li (8.25m), and Aleksandr Menkov Александр Меньков (8.24m.

The newly-crowned World Indoor champion, Mauro Vinicius da Silva of Brazil, has a season’s best of 8.10m.

 

Mokoena (L) and Watt (R). (Photos from Petritap and Erik van Leeuwen)

The contenders, save for the 34-year old Phillips, are a young bunch. The oldest is the 27-year old Reif, the 2010 European Champion. Will Claye, attempting the triple/long jump double is the youngest at 21-years old.

If the clock runs out for the recuperating Phillips, the battle for long jump gold will be two-pronged. Mokoena, the 2008 Olympic silver medallist, has the most considerable experience and the farthest lifetime best at 8.50m. Reif (8.47m PB) and Watt (8.45m PB) round up the next two.

   

Claye (L), Rutherford (C), and Reif (R). (Photos from Erik van Leeuwen and Eckhard Pecher/Arcimboldo)

Bayer has an indoor personal best of 8.71m from 2009. Although he had won the 2012 European title with his 8.34m leap, the European indoor record holder has been unable to replicate such high-quality jumping in major championships. Should Bayer get his act together, he could finally live up to his huge potential. Then there’s the young Russian Morgunov, who leaped to new World Junior Record of 8.35m. Should he be able to display the same level of consistency, he could figure in the top three.

Phillips is my sentimental favorite to win the long jump gold. Had he not been injured, he would have been a strong contender for the top spot.

Mokoena is the next best choice for top honors because of his edge in championship experience. The exuberant Claye could figure in a tight battle  bronze (or even silver). Rutherford, who has jumped personal bests of 8.35m twice this year, is another contender for a spot on the podium. The in-form Briton might just pull-off a Jai Taurima, albeit with none of the “cigarettes, pizza, and late nights.”

These jumpers certainly are capable of leaping beyond the humble season’s best of 8.35m. The prospects for the Men’s Long Jump competition are indeed exciting due to its unpredictability.

Top Three Predictions

Gold: Mitchell Watt/Godfrey Khotso Mokoena

Silver: Greg Rutherford/Sebastian Bayer

Bronze:  Will Claye/Christian Reif

Article by Joboy Quintos

Sources:

2008 Beijing Olympics Results

2011 World Championships Results

2009 World Championships Results

2007 World Championships Results

2012 World Indoor Championships Results

2010 World Indoor Championships Results

IAAF Top List – 2012 Men’s Long Jump

IAAF Top List – 2012 Women’s Long Jump

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2011 SPAR European Team Championships Wrap-up: Day 1

I was looking forward to three hours’ worth of athletics action, thanks to Eurosport’s live coverage of the 2011 SPAR European Team Championships (ETC) in Stockholm, Sweden. Alas, it started feebly enough, with Eurosport airing a pre-Wimbledon tennis match for the first thirty minutes. The live feed finally started at around 9:30 PM, but stopped abruptly by 10:00 PM! It was annoying to say the least.

The European Team Championships is innovative in the sense that it’s a team competition, as the name suggests. This is in stark contrast to the Olympics, where total medal standings are not officially observes by the IOC, since the object of the Olympics is individual performance. Participating countries earn points depending on the performance of its respective men’s and women’s teams. Various European countries are divided into separate divisions (1st to 3rd divisions), with the cream of the crop slugging it out at aforesaid big league. The top performers of each division are promoted, whilst the minnows are relegated.

Read my post on the 2010 SPAR European Team Championships here

I was able to watch the women’s 100m dash, men’s shot put, men’s long jump and men’s 400m dash. After which, Eurosport showed nothing but tennis. Thanks to Youtube, I could still catch up with the highlights of the exciting, high quality competition.

The following is a brief rundown of my favorite athletics events:

1.) Men’s 100m dash:

The highlight of Day 1 would have to be Christophe Lemaitre’s 9.95s performance, his second national record in barely month’s time. Lemaitre had just ran 9.96s in Montreuil, almost beating Yohan Blake at the tape.

In Stockholm, Lemaitre sported a vastly improved start. The mercurial Dwain Chambers (10.07s) had a narrow half-step lead by halfway mark, where Lemaitre turned on his afterburners to set the fastest time by a European since the 2004 season, according to an EAA report. Nigerian-born Portuguese Francis Obikwelu, the European record holder at 9.86s, was a distant third.

2.) Men’s 400m Low Hurdles:

Britain’s Dai Greene stamped his class on the one-lap hurdle field, winning in a new Championship record time of 49.21s. Greene, the British team captain, is fresh from a successful 2010 season where he won both the Commonwealth and European outdoor crowns.

3.) Men’s Long Jump:

The 2009 European Junior Champion, Aleksandr Menkov Александр Менков of Russia, won over the host country’s Michel Torneus and Britain’s Chris Tomlinson.

Menkov flew to 8.20m a mere centimeter away from Torneus’ 8.19m. The 2010 European Champion, Christian Reif of Germany, was in fourth place at 8.10m.

4.) Women’s Pole Vault:

Germany’s Silke Spiegelburg lost to the veteran Anna Rogowska of Poland on countback. Both vaulters set world leading times of 4.75m, with the former having one failure at the previous height.

Jiřina Ptáčníková of the Czech Republic (4.60m) and Aleksandra Kiryashova Александра Киряшова of Russia (4.50m) both set respective season’s best performance to round up the third and fourth place spots.

5.) Women’s Triple Jump:

Ukraine’s Olha Saladukha Ольга Саладуха set a new world-leading mark as she hopped, stepped and skipped to a new championship record of 14.85m.

Italy’s Simona La Mantia placed second with a best jump of 14.29m.

At the end of the first day, defending champion Russia is perched comfortably on top with 213 points, followed by Germany (183.5) and Britain (166).

I’ll be watching the replay of Day 1 later this afternoon and the live feed of Day 2 this evening. I wish to the high heavens that Eurosport won’s screw up this time!

Additional links:

Home page of the SPAR European Team Championships

Read the EAA Day 1 Wrap here

View Youtube videos here and here

View Eurosport Asia’s TV sched here

Verena Sailer: Das ist unsere neue Sprint-Königin!

Verena Sailer and Christian Reif appear in a German talk show. No subtitles, sorry. I would’ve gladly written a translation, but my German is horribly basic. Ich spreche nicht gut Deutsch!

Grabbed this post’s title from sportbild.de.

2010 BCN Wrap-up: Underdogs and Finishing Kicks

The past two weeks have been quite exciting for this track & field buff. I had fun watching the future of athletic strut their stuff at the 2010 Moncton World Junior Championships. A week later, the Barcelona European Athletics Championships took place. And boy, did I have my fill of high caliber track & field action.

Despite the absence of marquee names such as Usain Bolt, Tyson Gay and the African distance specialists, the quality of the competition was superb since the cream of the crop of events like the heptathlon, the throws and the jumps originate from this storied continent. Europe, after all, is the hotbed of track & field.

Even though I’m thousands of kilometers away and every inch an Asian, I became so engrossed at the Euro Championships that I devoured every single video clip and news article that piqued my interest. Thanks to broadband internet, it seemed as if I was actually amidst the crowd, savoring the championship festivities.

Experience a panoramic view of the Barcelona Olympic Stadium

What I liked best about the 2010 Euro Champs are the underdog victories and last-ditch bursts of speed to the tape.

The Monstrous, Finishing Kicks (or last ditch leaps)

3.) 4x100m (M): Martial Mbandjock’s anchor leg:

2.) Long Jump (M): Christian Reif rewriting Robert Emmiyan’s championship record with his final jump:

1.) 200m (M): Christophe Lemaitre erasing Christian Malcolm’s lead:

The Underdogs

7.) 1500m run (W): Nuria Fernandez’s first major championship crown:

The 33-year old overcame fast-starting world leader Anna Alminova in a free-for-all dash to the tape.

6.) 4x400m (M): Russia wins first-ever 4x400m relay medal since 2002 – a gold at that!

5.) 200m dash (W): Myriam Soumare’s golden half-lap:

The French sprinter had the slowest PB among all finalists, but still managed to shave off a significant chunk of her previous best to win the gold:

4.) Decathlon: Romain Barras‘ Decathlon victory!

Barras hung-on to a 5-point lead coming into the 1500m run – and his first major crown.

3.) 4x100m (W): Ukraine grabs relay gold:

Ukraine, with its nifty passing, wins the 400m relay crown – without a Top 10 sprinter in its lineup!

2.) 400m dash (M): Kevin Borlee does a Marc Raquil:

The “other” Borlee twin came out of nowhere all the way to first place, ahead of his more illustrious brother, Jonathan, and two Britons.

1.) 100m dash (W): Verena Sailer’s decisive dive (and Soumare’s unexpected bronze)

I’m just a sucker for underdog stories. The football movies “Rudy” and “The Replacements” are one of my favorites. There’s an infectious magic found in those unexpected victories. It doesn’t have to a gold medal. Once an athlete exceeds his/her expectations and does the improbable, the sheer joy the athlete exudes is indeed priceless.

Being an athlete myself, I know how it feels to chase something distant, to give your all for a single larger-than-life goal.

Perhaps that’s why we love sports so much. Despite its fair share of scandals, sport brings out the best in our being human. Those Herculean feats inspire and sustain, enables us to smile more often amidst the reality that is life – to dream a little bit higher.

Video Credits:

EuroSport

Photo credits:

Yahoo News

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