Tag Archives: Daegu

Liu Xiang’s 刘翔 Hurdling Warm-up Routine

Routine is important for a hurdler. In an event where one is required to take the same number of steps (more or less, 35 in each race), hurdlers are creatures of habit. To the novice hurdler, a close look at Liu Xiang’s 刘翔 routine is an eye-opener.

Lawrence Clarke, one of Britain’s best hurdlers, posted an interesting clip of Liu’s hurdling warm-up routine. The video was taken at the Daegu World Championships last year.

1.) Leisurely Five-Steps:

Still wearing his jogging pants, a relaxed Liu easily clears five hurdles. Despite keeping himself relatively high over the barriers (and the movements a tad slower), the suppleness of his hurdling clearance is evident. The 2004 Athens Olympic Champion also takes lightning fast baby steps in between the hurdlers, perhaps to simulate the quick cadence of a race pace.

He even smiles over each hurdle!

2.) Intense Five-Steps:

Liu takes his hurdling several notches higher. The former world record holder’s face puts on a mask of seriousness as he buckles down to business. With each hurdling clearance, the lean, the lead leg extension and the trail snap are executed like one smooth, rhythmic action.

3.) Flat Block Starts:

To prepare himself for full-speed hurdling, Liu then sprints beside the hurdles from a block start.

4.) Single Hurdle Block Starts:

The 2007 World Champion clears one hurdle from a block start, highlighting the importance of this crucial phase of the 110m high hurdles.

5.) The Full Monty!

With every facet of sprint hurdling broken down and rehearsed to perfection, Liu performs the a full-speed rep over three barriers. Liu is mentally and physically prepared for the task at hand – to run in between the barriers as fast as humanly possible, in the most efficient manner imaginable.

Unless someone knocks you off balance.

Click here to view the Daegu 110m High Hurdles Final

P.S.

Through the years, I’ve developed my own routine vastly similar to Liu’s. Although my hurdling is light-years away from the hurdling great, it’s good to know that I’ve been doing it right!

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Track Beauty of the Week: Katya Kostetskaya Екатерина Костецкая

Katya Kostetskaya (Ekaterina Kostetskaya Екатерина Костецкая) is this week’s track beauty!

She had a tremendously successful career as a junior intermediate hurdler, winning the European Junior title in 2003. A year later, she followed this up with a more prestigious win at the World Junior Championships in Grossetto, running a personal best of 55.55s to top the final.

Photo from Zimbio/Getty Images

Katya attended Texas State University for her college degree. While in the United States, her IAAF records indicate that she dabbled in the 100m hurdles and the 800m run, clocking respectable times in both events. Her 2003 best in the two-lap race (2:05.95) was quite impressive for the then 16-year old.

Kostetskaya eventually specialized in the 800m when she turned professional. She is well-known in Australia for being the girlfriend of 2008 Olympic Pole vault champion Steve Hooker. Her achievements speak for themselves, though, as the Russian belongs to the elite of middle distance running.

She placed 2nd at the 2011 European Team Championships, helping Russia wrest the overall crown yet again. Kostetskaya qualified for the highly competitive 800m final in the recently concluded World Championships in Daegu, notching a respectable fifth place.

Article by Joboy Quintos

“Christophe Lemaitre, retour des championnats du monde 2011 et rentrée universitaire!”

With three European titles and two medals from the Daegu World Championships, it is fascinating to think that Christophe Lemaitre is just a youngster. At twenty-one years old, the Frenchman had just begun his university studies, days after his groundbreaking performance in Daegu.

Matt Stroup of Universal Sports had some interesting thoughts on Lemaitre’s possible conduct in class.

With his fourth place in the 100m dash, a bronze in the 200m dash and a silver in the 4x100m relay, Lemaitre had announced his arrival at the global stage. Indeed, he is no fluke – no mere one-hit wonder. His relative youth, as shown by the clip above, belies his potent speed on the track.

French Athletics Commentators Rock!

As a hardcore athletics junkie, I satiate most of my track & field cravings through Youtube. Aside from the times when Eurosport Asia airs the Diamond League or a high-level European meet, I have to settle for clips uploaded on the popular video streaming site. Since athletics is a predominantly European sport, the broadcasters I encounter come from a hodgepodge of countries.

Amongst the myriad of languages, I prefer the French commentary over the rest (after the English feed, of course). In the countless times I’ve watched athletics clips online, the French almost always stand out for their unbridled passion and sheer excitement. The British and American pundits tend to be more restrained. The French seem more animated, at some point even shouting with much fervor (please watch the clips below).

Perhaps my preference for French stem from its exoticism to my English-reared ears. See and hear for yourself. Be the judge!

* For consistency, I chose the 2011 Daegu World Championships Men’s 100m dash final.

1.) French:

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“Usain Bolt does the Party Rock Shuffle”

I must admit that I’m not a fan of Usain Bolt’s pre-race tomfoolery, but the great man sure does makes excellent post-race celebratory moves! Take a look at the following clip after the 4x100m relay in Daegu.

Gutted: Thoughts on the Daegu 2011 Men’s 4x100m Relay

The Men’s 4x100m relay was bizarre, to say the least. At the last baton exchange, Darvis Patton (USA) clipped the elbow of the massive Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (GBR). The Doc lost his balance and fell to the track, rolling over to the adjacent lane of the Trinidad and Tobago quartet. Richard Thompson (TRI) narrowly missed running over Patton. Aikines-Aryeetey apparently went out too early. Marlon Devonish (GBR) failed to catch his compatriot, throwing the baton in frustration. The Americans also failed to finish, negating a splendid world-leading performance in the semis. The unfortunate Trinidadians were the unassuming collateral damage of the sprint relay carnage, as their quartet finished dead last.

The Usain Bolt-anchored Jamaican team was unstoppable, en route to breaking their 2008 world record. A pumped-up Bolt stopped the clock in a blistering 37.04s. The French and the quartet from Saint Kitts and Nevis emerged victorious with the minor medals. The prolific Christophe Lemaitre added a relay silver to his 200m dash bronze, whilst the evergreen Kim Collins hauled another bronze medal to his collection.

The Americans, even with a healthy Tyson Gay in the fold (and a smooth baton exchange), would have been hard-pressed to win over the Jamaicans. Nevertheless, the loss of any major championship medal was heartbreaking. Prior to these championships, I never really found the time to sympathize with these oft-brash American sprinters. But reading the Doc’s posts and tweets, I felt gutted – not just for the US team, but for the Trinidadians and British as well.

One can pillory these professional athletes for certain lapses of judgment. Before hitting the “enter” button in Twitter, Facebook or your blog, find the time to go over the words of the athletes themselves. They’re only human, after all.

Additional links:

Official results of the Men’s 4x100m relay

Mail Online article

Telegraph article

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

Athletics Junkie 2.0

Since I live in a country ignorant of athletics, televised competitions are a rarity. Before Eurosport Asia started airing the Diamond League events and the European Team Championships, Star Sports/ESPN offered the occasional track & field event (such as the 2010 World Indoor Championships). Don’t even get me started about local and regional meets. Local broadcasters don’t even bother to show athletics events (Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games) featuring Filipino athletes. If I’m not mistaken, the coverage of the 2002 Busan Asian Games was the most comprehensive.

The advent of Youtube and Twitter has done wonders for this athletics fanatic. Nowadays, I can watch clips of the most obscure European races, thanks to the kind souls who find the time to upload. The micro-blogging site, Twitter, has given new dimension to how fans and athletes interact with each other. Those in the immediate vicinity provide a constant stream of updates, whilst the athletes themselves post their thoughts freely online. In a sense, this heightens the sporting experience, despite being oceans away from the scene of competition.

Hence, I was particularly pleased when my suprisingly fast broadband connection (we subscribe to the cheapest package. I used to be able to download stuff at 40 KB/s. Now it has ballooned to 90 KB/s!) became sufficient to stream the ongoing World Championships in Daegu. I spent the past two days glued to my computer watching the live feed from South Korea.

My humble, no-frills set-up!

While watching the events unfold, I make it a point to read various tweets from relevant tweeps. The dedicated sports websites (Athletics Weekly) and the journalists (Joe Battaglia and Tom Fordyce) provide the most concise tweets. Certain elite athletes, both active (Kelly Sotherton, David Oliver and Felix Sanchez) and retired (Ato Boldon and Kriss Akabusi), offer unique and oft-poignant perspectives. The viewing experience can be likened to watching a sports event in an (online) sports bar. These, in conjunction with live updates from the IAAF detailing each and every discipline, provide an informative set-up. Surely, this beats reading news articles and watching Youtube clips!

Nothing can ever compare to being in the actual venue, but this combination offers this Filipino track fanatic the next best alternative.

Darya Klishina Дарья Клишина with the Filipino jumpers!

The Philippines’ top long jumper, Henry Dagmil, posted photos of him and Marestella Torres with none other than Darya KlishinaДарья Клишина !

 

Salamat sa litrato, Kuya Dags!

Koji Murofushi strikes gold!

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.

Read the IAAF article here

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Deja Vu: 2010 World Juniors 110m High Hurdles Final

My initial reaction after seeing Liu Xiang 刘翔 and Dayron Robles make contact at that controversial sprint hurdles final last night was one of sympathy for the two hurdlers. Stuff like these happen all the time in the hurdles.

A good example is the 110m high hurdles final of last year’s World Junior championships. The United States’ Caleb Cross was leading the race until the fast-finishing Pascale Martinot-Lagarde caught up at the ninth hurdle. Lagarde was running in lane eight, with Cross in lane seven, similar in circumstances to the Daegu sprint hurdles final.

Cross lost his rhythm for a split-second. As he dropped out of the lead, Lagarde, Jack Meredith and Vladimir Vukicevic overtook the erstwhile leader. Like Robles, Lagarde immediately apologized to Cross after the race. The Frenchman wasn’t happy with the unintentional contact, but then again, such occurrences are part of the high hurdles.

Cross and Lagarde both led with their right legs. But Cross, being a raw junior athlete, still displayed a wildly flailing trail arm (his right arm). Cross’ upward-jerking trail arm was bound to hit Lagarde’s lead arm (his left) – which swung at a wide “C” – at some point in the race.

Daegu 2011 110m High Hurdles Final: Controversial

Dayron Robles was well ahead of everyone when the gun fired.Towards the latter parts of the race, Liu Xiang 刘翔 caught up, with Jason Richardson trailing closely behind. As the fast-finishing Liu cleared the penultimate hurdle, Robles’ lead arm (right) accidentally swiped Liu’s trail arm (left). The Chinese gets off-balanced because of the contact, causing him to lose his rhythm in between the barriers (a crucial mistake since Liu was gaining!). Then it happened again over the tenth hurdler.

Click here to view the results

The Cuban (13.14s) padded his lead over Liu (13.27s) as Richardson (13.16s) overtook the Chinese for silver. As Liu sprinted the last 14.02m to the finish line, he was glaring at Robles. The contact visibly irked the 2004 Athens Olympic Gold medalist.

Having been a keen observer of Liu Xiang’s technique since 2002, I’ve noticed that he tends hug at the left-most section of his lane (never veering off the designated lane of course). Never since 2002 have I seen Liu hit another hurdler because of the aforesaid preference. As Liu closed the gap between him and Robles, some contact was bound to occur in an event like this. (since a sprint hurdler’s lead arm swings widely, as the lead leg snaps down). Contact between sprint hurdlers is common.

Initially, I was defending Robles, saying that the contact was accidental. Come to think of it, would a sprint hurdler hurtling at full speed over 1.067m high barriers even bother to grab a competitor’s arm? The high hurdles entail an uncanny level of concentration. Such a deplorable action would surely break one’s rhythm. This merited a closer examination of the slo-mo clips.

Liu and Robles were almost abreast when they cleared the eighth hurdle (which Robles clipped. Take note in the photo below that Robles right arm swings normally.

With Liu breathing down Robles’ neck, the Cuban’s lead arm swung a little higher, hitting Liu’s arm in the process. Was this deliberate? I don’t think so (Liu and Oliver also opine that the contact was unintentional. See the quotes below). Perhaps the pressure of a head-to-head duel somehow tensed up Robles (he did clip the seventh hurdle). Like I said, grabbing someone’s arm was probably the last thing on Robles’ mind at this point.

Both athletes lost their balance, as a result. The sideways movement was more apparent in Liu. With Robles veering into the right side of his lane, a more forceful contact was made between Robles’ widely swinging right arm and Liu’s trail arm, impeding the latter.

China then filed a protest, with Robles getting disqualified to obstruction. Cuba reacted with its own counter-protest, but this apparently was also thumbed down by the officials. With this development, Richardson and Liu were elevated to gold and silver, respectively. Briton Andy Turner (13.44s) climbed to bronze.

In my opinion, it wasn’t so much because of the clash of arms that got Robles disqualified. hell, hurdlers do this all the time (especially the ones with the flailing arms). The fact that his arms veered into Liu’s lane as it made contact was the most probable cause.

I’d rather wait for these emotions to die down – and for the official reports to get published. Although I’m a hardcore Liu Xiang fan, a disqualification is a harsh move, in light of the nature of the discipline. I’d love to hear the official statements of both Liu and Robles to put some light into the controversy.

As an athlete myself, I’d hate to win by a technicality. I’d rather win on the merits of my running, not because of a rule book.

I’ve watched the clips countless of times the past hour. Robles’ actions after the race imply that the contact was unintentional. As Robles crossed the finish line, he put his hand to his forehead in an apparent act of frustration or regret. He slowed down abruptly (instead of running all the way to the curve as victors of the 110m usually do) to hug Liu, in an apparent gesture of apology.

David Oliver: “People who think Robles did it on purpose are crazy and haven’t seen his races, late in races he’s been getting wide with his arms. Hitting that 8th hurdle just made it worse and why would you do something intentionally that us going to mess you up as well.”

Andy Turner: “‘I want to cry, but I don’t want to cry – I didn’t want to win a medal by default, but I have won a World Championship bronze medal and I’m over the moon with that.”

Liu Xiang: “Robles hit me twice, at the ninth hurdle he pulled at me but I’m sure it wasn’t intentional. I lost my balance when I came to the 10th hurdle because of the bump. If not for the incident, I would have been the gold medallist.”

Jason Richardson: “Whatever reward I get from doing my best, I will accept. If it’s gold, silver or bronze, it doesn’t matter.”

Daegu 2011 110m High Hurdles Heats Recap

There were hardly any surprises after the 110m high hurdles heats. The defending champion from Barbados, Ryan Brathwaite, took an early ignominious exit (13.57s). But then again, his 2011 has been less than inspiring.

The trio of Liu Xiang 刘翔 (13.20s), Dayron Robles (13.42s) and David Oliver (13.27s) made it through, but it was Jason Richardson who topped all qualifiers with his 13.19s time. I’d have to say that both Liu and Robles look in-form, as they practically jogged through the heats. Oliver, in contrast, was a tad tense (well, he always hurdles that way).

The semis are scheduled at 7:00 PM Daegu time, with the finals being held at 9:25 PM.

My fearless forecast still sticks: Liu Xiang for gold and Dayron Robles for silver. Expect Richardson and Oliver to figure in a tight battle for bronze. Casting aside (momentarily) my obvious bias for my idol Liu Xiang, picking a someone amongst the stellar cast is a difficult task.

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The Blade Runner is Daegu-bound!

Oscar Pistorius stops the clock in 45.07s in Italy. The Blade Runner shaved off a good half second from his erstwhile best of 45.61s en route to meeting the “A” standard for the 2011 Daegu World Championships. After years of controversy and misses, the South African double amputee finally achieved the elusive qualification standard – in the nick of time!

Read: “The Blade Runner”

Read the BBC article here

The post-race celebration was especially touching. This would have to be one of my favorite moments of the 2011 season.

Congratulations, Oscar!

P.S.

Pistorius is a nice guy indeed. He sends direct messages to each and every tweeter who sent their respective congratulations!

Track Beauty of the Week: Svetlana Radzivil Светлана Радзивил

Svetlana Radzivil Светлана Радзивил is this week’s track beauty!

The 23-year old is a former World Junior Champion, winning the U-20 crown in 2006 with a 1.91m clearance. The lanky 6’0 Uzbekistani athlete placed 18th at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, failing to match or at least go near her 1.98m Asian senior record (a mark which she shares with two other women).

Photos from Zimbio/Getty Images and India Times

Radzivil’s first major international victory came at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou. The Uzbek bested compatriot Nadiya Dusonova (1.93m). Dusonova is the joint holder of the Asian record.

Photos from Asian Athletics, Daylife, and uza.uz

The Uzbek jumped 1.95m – a season’s best – to claim first place. Aside from her Asian Games gold, Radzivil got 3rd place at the same Aoti Stadium during the 2009 Asian Athletics Championships.

Photo from Zimbio/Getty Images

The high jumper reached a new milestone in her senior career in 2011. Radzivil qualified for the high jump final in Daegu, placing 8th place overall with a best leap of 1.93m. The Uzbek has recently set a new indoor personal best of 1.95m at the ongoing World Indoor Championships in Istanbul.

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