Tag Archives: David Rudisha

A Long Shot: Asian Hopes at the Daegu World Championships

The Daegu World Athletics Championships is just around the corner. South Korea will play host to the most prestigious gathering track & field athletes after the Olympic Games, the third time for an Asian country to do so.

Sprinter Usain Bolt, in light of his spectacular array of world records, is the undeniable front-act. Other crowd drawers are triple jumper Teddy Tamgho of France (a stress fracture prematurely ended Tamgho’s season, unfortunately), high jumper Blanka Vlasic and javelin thrower Andreas Thorkildsen of Norway. The Kenyan 800m runner David Rudisha, fresh from a slew of world records last season, is on the hunt to rewrite the two-lap mark once more. The sprints, as always, will provide fast-paced action as the rest of the world pits their sprinting might against the dominant Jamaicans and Americans.

Read the rest of the article on InTheZone.com.ph

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

The Finnkampen/Ruotsi-ottelu

When I first heard about the Finnkampen/Ruotsi-ottelu years ago, I must admit that I wasn’t all that impressed. Back then, my concept of a dual meet was laid-back competition between two schools, something akin to a time trial.

I was dead wrong.

As my concept of athletics widened throughout the years, I’ve realized the fact that track & field (as us Americanized Filipinos call the sport) is most popular in Europe. All the world’s elite athletes trot their stuff at the highly competitive (and financially-rewarding) European circuit. From the Diamond League, the IAAF World Challenge to obscure Estonian meets, Europe has it all, attracting the professionals from all corners of the globe.

Whilst going over my daily athletics morning fare, I watched Youtube clips of the recently concluded IAAF World Challenge in Rieti and the Finnkampen (the Swedish term is much easier to speak/write for this English speaker). David Rudisha had again broken his two-week old world record, running away from the field at 1:41.01s. The sizable Italian crowd was ecstatic, the meet directors even more so.

But there was an artificial quality to the spirit of competition. Perhaps it irked me how one of the organizers herded Rudisha right in front of the giant digital timer for a photo op – right after his world-record race! It seemed as if everything – from the post-race celebration to the post-race handshakes – were performed in a perfunctory manner. But then again, it is understandable that the unbridled passion one sees in major championships like the Olympics, the Worlds and the Europeans are absent from just another stop at the European circuit.

The Finnkampen, despite the dearth of world-class performances, had that distinctive small-town charm. With 54,000 spectators spread over two days of competition, it was apparent that this dual meet between the Scandinavian neighbors is not just another speck in the athletics calendar. In fact, the 2007 World Champion Tero Pitkamaki and two compatriots immediately went to the historic Helsinki Olympic Stadium to compete, after their flight from the Meeting Van Damme in Belgium. Finland’s top pole vaulter, Minna Nikannen, shrugged off a troublesome calf to clear the highest possible height – a testament to the raw emotion of this storied competition.

The loud cheers of the crowd and the all-out performance of the athletes gave goosebumps to this athletics fanatic thousands of miles away. In this day and age of specialization, where professional athletes reign supreme at their respective fields, I’ve developed a certain fondness for the amateur (probably because I’m an amateur myself!) As the Finnish sprinter/hurdler Gustav Klingstedt said in reply to one of my previous posts, the Finnkampen is “probably the only athletics competition where the great majority of athletes are amateurs which still gathers over 10,000 spectators every year.”

Whilst watching Finland’s Matti Räsänen battle Sweden’s Oscar Käck in a classic dash to the tape at the 5000m, I was awestruck at the intensity of their furious finish. In the clips that I’ve seen, teammates from both sides were quite vocal in cheering their respective sides. This is a sight devoid from those big-money meets. In fact, such a display of support is more akin to a heated college-level competition. In the Philippines, the closest example is the basketball rivalry between Ateneo and La Salle. In a sense, the Sweden-Finland dual meet can be likened to an Ateneo-La Salle finals game – multiplied a hundred fold!

Additional links

Wiki

IAAF article

EAA Day 1 write-up

EAA Day 2 write-up

Finnkampen.se/

Suomiruotsimaaottelu.fi

Photo credits:

Finnkampen.se

Video credits:

MrFinlandsuomi

StreamHartza

tyketylerTV

David Rudisha sets new 800m WR!

Before I went to bed last night, I saw some tweets saying that 21-year old David Rudisha, this year’s world leader at 1:41.51, had broken the Kenyan-born Wilson Kipketer’s world record (at the ISTAF Berlin meet held at the historic Olympiastadion). I scoured the net for news articles and video clips, but I wasn’t able to find any.

Kipketer’s erstwhile world record was special. And a little out of this world, considering the fact that before Rudisha, only three men had gone below the 1:42-barrier.

One has to credit the superb pace-making of Rudisha’s teammate, Sammy Tangui, who ran the first lap blazing at 48.68s! Rudisha was alone at second place, with the rest of the pack comfortably behind. By the 450m mark, the Kenyan took matters into his own hands. He was unchallenged as he made like a man possessed to the finish line, rewriting the record books.

Additional link:

IAAF article

Photo credits:

IAAF

Video credits:

ISTAF Berlin

%d bloggers like this: