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 Tuesday, August 30, 2005 

Pub to Pub run raises $60,000

Nearly $60,000 was raised for charity in the annual Pub-to-Pub coastal run at the weekend on Sydney's Northern Beaches.

More than 1500 participants lined up at the Dee Why Surf Club on Sunday morning, with Richard High winning the 13km men's race along the beaches to Mona Vale in 45 minutes. Tom Richardson was second and Tim Ashby third.

Yvette Clements won the women's event from Cathy Swarzes and Elisa Henshaw.

Organiser Michael Olofinsky said he was thrilled with the number of people involved.

Proceeds will go to charities including local surf clubs, hospitals, the SES and NSW Rural Fire Service.
From The Manly Daily

Posted at 08:24     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, August 28, 2005 

Kokoda Track challenge underway

The speed hikers are under way in a gruelling challenge race to be the first person to traverse Papua New Guinea's Kokoda Track on foot in less than 24 hours.

Four Australians, a New Zealander and 21 PNG nationals started from the village of Kokoda at midday Saturday, each aiming to be the first across the Owen Stanley Range to finish before midday Sunday.

A local favourite to win is Osborne Bogajiwai who has walked the track as a guide 270 times and is keen to win back his title of fastest track walker won in 1986 when he did it in 28 hours and 14 minutes.

Last year, Australian Brian Freeman set a new record of 24 hours and 59 minutes on his 40th birthday, sparking the challenge race to do the track in under 24 hours.

The 96km trail is a gruelling trek over high jungle-clad ridges where Australian soldiers conducted a tough fighting withdrawal before the tables turned and they pursued retreating Japanese back to the north coast.

The organisers of the Rusty's Super Kokoda 24-hour Challenge hope it will become an annual event.

Early in the race, residents of one village stopped competitors passing through in a bid to win compensation from organisers but police ordered them to desist and the race went on after a slight delay.

The trail from Kokoda to Owers Corner just north of Port Moresby usually takes more than a week and has become popular with Australian adventure trekkers keen to get a taste of what World War II diggers on the track endured.

Bogajiwai, now 43, said he was 19 when he set his record and the arduous walk would tell if his age would count against him.

But he said he was still fit and determined to win his record back and claim victory for a PNG national to restore local pride.

"It will be very, very painful but that's OK. We know the terrain and the rugged and steep bits."

The Australians and New Zealander in the race have teamed up as the "Anzacs" and expect the night-time hiking by headlamp to be a big challenge after so many hours on the go.

The race's oldest competitor, 51-year-old Charles Chambers of Kyneton in Victoria, hopes his endurance race experience will stand him in good stead.

He competes in many cross-country events and is current World Masters Half-Marathon champion but knows his first Kokoda walk will be hard and strenuous.

Complete article at The SMH

Posted at 15:03     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, August 27, 2005 

Mottram eyes Commonwealth Games medal

Kennenisa Bekele, the world's greatest distance runner, walks through the mixed zone and hardly a head is raised in his direction.

On a wet night in Zurich the Ethiopian superstar has just won again but it is the third placegetter who the assembled journalists want to question.
Craig Mottram is the man they are all want to hear from. Athletics buffs from across Europe and America are intrigued by the sight of a tall white guy taking on, and beating, the Africans in distance races.

Everywhere he goes, the former triathlete from Geelong is asked: How do you do it? What is your secret? Why can you do it when so many others have failed?

In Helsinki earlier this month, Mottram became the first non-African to win a medal in the 5000m at a world championships for 18 years.

The fascination with the Australian is put into perspective when you hear stories about how white kids who had ideas of trying to be a distance runner in Britain or America were advised to try other events. The African dynasty could not be broken, history showed that, so why waste your energy?

This night at Zurich's prestigious Golden League meeting, it is some German reporters who are searching for answers because the last white man to win a medal over 5000m at the Olympic Games was their own hero, Dieter Baumann, who won gold at Barcelona in 1992.

He was later found to be a drug cheat and Mottram is less than impressed when compared with the German.

"I'm nothing like him, I'm clean," he states firmly. "I just work hard."

That's his point in a nutshell: there is no great secret to his success. He doesn't have Thorpie's big feet or a heart like Phar Lap, but what he does have is an unwavering confidence in his own ability, a burning desire to be the best in the world and an insatiable appetite for work.

"I'm committed," Mottram said. "I'm prepared to spend seven months a year away from home living in London because I realise that for the next 10 years of my life this is what I want to do. I think it is more about commitment than me having a freaky body."

That 188cm and 71kg body hasn't been scientifically tested, although the fitness tests he can remember doing always came out with a rating at the elite level.

"I've got long legs, as a kid I used to run a lot, played a lot of different sports and then triathlon. The one thing I do have is a very strong mid-section so that may play a part, but I don't really know," he said.

As he winds down his breakthrough year on the international scene -- he will continue racing in Europe until October -- Mottram knows his biggest challenge is to make sure he gets his body and mind to the start line for next year's Commonwealth Games in his home town in the same working order.

"Running around is easy," he said. "The difficult thing is getting to the start line in the frame of mind to be able to get it out of you. That's going to be a little bit different in Melbourne.

Complete article at The Herald Sun

Posted at 12:30     [Perma-Link]

Bekele pulverizes 10,000m World Record

Brussels, Belgium – World and Olympic 10,000m champion Kenenisa Bekele capped a marvellous night at the 29th Memorial Van Damme meeting – TDK Golden League – with a staggering World record of 26:17.53 to slice nearly 3 seconds off his previous best time in front of a capacity crowd of 47,000 in the Stade Roi Baudouin.

It is increasingly difficult to put words to the achievements of the Ethiopian, who we have to remember is still only a youthful 23 years of age. Bekele, the IAAF World Ranked event number one, re-writes the meaning of world class distance running with nearly ever step he takes, let alone race he runs. Bekele’s 10,000 this evening in a chilly temperature of 12C was pure brilliance, indescribable magic.

Ahead of World record pace by 5 seconds at the midway point (5000m - 13:09.19) when following his pace-making brother Tariku, Kenenisa Bekele kept that advantage when running alone through 6000m (15:44.66), and while his advantage slipped to 4 seconds though the 7k and 8k (18:23.98 and 21:04.63), and to 3.5 by the 9th (23:45.09), his perseverance paid off as he pursued his goal without weakening in a blistering last few laps to win in a World record** of 26:17.53. His last 400m was 57 seconds. His bonus for the feat, US $50,000.

Bekele’s last 1500m tonight was clocked unofficially as 3:52, which matches Paavo Nurmi’s World record time (3:52.6) for that distance in 1924!

1 Bekele Kenenisa ETH 26:17.53 (WR)
2 Kiprop Boniface UGA 26:39.77
3 Wanjiru Samuel KEN 26:41.75
4 Kemboi Nicholas QAT 26:51.87
5 Kipketer Sammy KEN 26:52.60
6 Bett Mark KEN 26:52.93

Complete results here

Complete article at The IAAF website

Posted at 12:24     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, August 26, 2005 

ACT Runners take out competitive Sydney Trailwalker

Despite the Hong Kong-based Cosmo Boys and highly rated Oxfam Trailwalker NZ teams being the official tips for the winning position, the ACTRUN team lead from the start to finish in a touch under 12 hours. Weather conditions were perfect, clear bright skies, but not too warm and a good condition track assisted runners (and walkers) this year.

The winning team (named after their internet email list they mostly belong to) is composed of top athletes all with a speciality experience of rough bushtracks, all being national representatives in either Ultramarathon running or Rogaining : David Baldwin, Jonathan Blake, Trevor Jacobs and Tim Sawkins.

Despite the ACT covering a small area in comparison to NSW and VIC, there is a huge proportion of very talented off-road athletes that compete in the World and National class of competition. Trevor Jacobs, the most senior of the team, has spent a lot of time over many years building up a strong squad of runners that are now beginning to excel in team and individual events. Emma Murray, World Mountain Long Course champion and current Six Foot Track Marathon and Mt Wilson to Bilpin course record holder is just one of the elite athletes coming from this group.

Top places:
1 Actrun 11 hrs : 59 min
2 The Sunshing Cosmo Boys 12 hrs : 17 min
3 Striderama 12 hrs : 41 min
4 Big Canoes 12 hrs : 54 min
5 Oxfam Trailwalker NZ 13 hrs : 01 min

- More result details here

- Comments here

Posted at 22:28     [Perma-Link]

Kiwi athletes combine to take on Australian Trailwalkers

A dream team of top Kiwi ultramarathon and trail runners are aiming for a top-line finish in the Sydney Oxfam Trailwalker being held at the end of August (August 26-28, 2005). Competing against 1600 Aussies, the Kiwi athletes, Graeme Butcher, Al Cross, Dave Keen and Jack Koenen, will be facing stiff opposition from the winners of last year’s Hong Kong and Sydney Oxfam Trailwalkers. The team, a mix of mountain runners, multisport and ultramarathon athletes, is confident of completing the event in less than 10 hours.

Oxfam Trailwalker, which began as a military training exercise for the Nepali Gurkhas 25 years ago, is now Oxfam’s top fundraising challenge in Australia, Britain and China. The event has so far raised more than $45 million for Oxfam’s humanitarian, development and campaigning work.

Complete article at Scoop NZ

Posted at 09:30     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, August 25, 2005 

Verlinden could be new torch bearer for Women's Sprinting

By Mike Hurst
Laura Verlinden is the smiling face of athletic potential.

Unbeaten, unbowed and unspoiled by flattery or fortune, the 16-year-old from Sydney's west is among those who carry the hopes of Australian women's sprinting. Yet she treads lightly.

The torch carried by Marjorie Jackson, Betty Cuthbert, Raelene Boyle, Cathy Freeman and others with the gift of speed has yet to blaze in her mind's eye much less incinerate her plans.

But a rare event - a home Commonwealth Games - is coming to Melbourne this summer and the cupboard at the senior international level among women sprinters is next to bare.

It is in such stark contrast to Australia's golden girls in the pool - where eight different women came home from the swimming world championships in Montreal with a gold medal at 50m or 100m.

Lauren Hewitt's elimination in the first round of her 200m race at the recent world athletics championships in Helsinki merely confirmed the poor state of affairs on the track.

So the door to the national team is wide open and enticing youngsters like Verlinden, the 200m silver medallist at the Commonwealth Youth Championships in Geelong last summer, winner also of the Australian all-schools under-17 sprint double (100m, 200m).

"Commonwealth Games selection is not beyond the realms of possibility," her coach Rob Medlicott said.

For such rookies, the first step towards such an honour starts in September when a series of tournaments will be staged, including the CHS (Sep 8-10), ISA (Sep 13), CCC (Sep 16), CAS (Sep 15), GPS (Sep 17), CIS (Sep 19) and the Australian Institute of Mathematics NSW All Schools (Sep 22-25), which double as team trials for the Pacific School Games in Melbourne from November 29 to December 3.

Verlinden said of the Melbourne Games "It has crossed my mind. I've got so many other competitions to focus on, but it would be so good."

Verlinden didn't watch the world titles on TV - "too busy studying or training" - which may have been a good thing.

Complete article at The Advertiser

Posted at 23:37     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, August 22, 2005 

Aussie Mottram wins 2 mile race in Sheffield

Australia's Craig Mottram continued his strong European form with victory in the two-mile event at the British Grand Prix in Sheffield overnight.

Mottram set a national record in dominating a field bereft of many of the top middle-distance stars.

The Australian came home in a time of 8 minutes and 11.28 seconds, ahead of Kenyan duo Boniface Songok and Shadrack Korir.

The win caps of a terrific month for Mottram who finished third in the 5,000 metres at the world athletics championships in Helsinki, and last week placed third in the men's 3,000m in Zurich.

Complete article at Seven Sport

Posted at 07:56     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, August 21, 2005 

Moneghetti rates Craig Mottram

Steve Moneghetti rates Craig Mottram's effort in infiltrating Africa's distance-running cartel as astonishing, comparable to any recent accomplishments in Australian sport.

He says Mottram, 25, is on the brink of a long and prosperous future that might even lead to the mental and physical torture of the marathon. He finished third in the 3000 metres at the Golden League meeting in Zurich yesterday.

Mottram's bronze at the world athletics championships was the first time in 18 years a non-African had claimed a medal in the 5000m.

The former triathlete from Melbourne had Kenya's Benjamin Limo and Ethiopia's Sileshi Sihine in front of him and 11 Africans behind him. He proved it was possible to compete with them in a race they had made their own, and maybe even beat them.

"I didn't think I would see an Australian do what he is doing," Moneghetti said. "To have an Australian under 13 minutes for five kilometres is unbelievable. He's done it twice and topped it off with a world championship medal. It's good for the sport in Australia and on a world scale."

Mottram's best time of 12 minutes 55.76 seconds is the second quickest over 5000m for a non-African in a race Africans dominated to such an extent that they held every place in most major championship finals.

"It used to be just the Kenyans," Moneghetti said. "Then it became the Kenyans and the Ethiopians. Now it's spread out between quite a few African nations. There are the Eritreans and people from Qatar . . . they're all probably Kenyans and Ethiopians anyway, but they've defected. Instead of having four of five of them in races, they are basically the whole race.

"This is a watershed moment. Craig got a bronze but that was a win. I don't want him or the Australian public to be disappointed with finishing third because that is such an outstanding performance. To get among them is incredible. It's a win in itself."

Complete article at the SMH

Posted at 18:21     [Perma-Link]

Disappointed Mottram says legs let him down

Craig Mottram conceded that his legs were not in it, and his head might not have been either, as he finished third in the 3000 metres at the fourth Golden League meeting of the season in Zurich on Friday.

Five days after he became the first non-African runner in 18 years to take a medal in the world championship 5000 metres, Mottram ran seven minutes 38.03 seconds — outside his Australian record of 7:37.30 — to finish five seconds behind Ethiopian great Kenenisa Bekele (7:32.59) and Ali Saidi-Sief, of Algeria (7:37.5).

"I wanted to come here and put the record so far out of reach that even I'd struggle to get it," a disappointed Mottram said later. "(But) once Bekele got away, we were racing for second."

Asked if it was tough mentally coming back from last Sunday, Mottram said: "No, not really; I was looking forward to coming here after I fell over here (in the 1500) last year. I like the 3000, it's seems perfect for me, but unfortunately it didn't go that well for me tonight."

Mottram said that he had enjoyed his new status as a world championship medallist. "It's good to come back here and walk around as somebody. Everyone knows a white man has won a medal in the 5000 metres."

Mottram said he had been switched on for the race, but added: "It took me a long time to find my legs."

Mottram will race over two miles in Sheffield today, but said he was undecided about the 5000 metres at the next Golden League meeting in Brussels on Friday.

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 18:13     [Perma-Link]

Oswald Revelian wins 2nd Noosa Half

Tanzanian, Oswald Revelian today took out the Noosa Journal Half Marathon for the second year in blistering style while Jodie Willett was stunned to take out the women’s, event taking three minutes off her time from last year.

The 23-year-old Revelian has had a heavy racing schedule since arriving in Australia on June 27 contesting the Gold Coast Marathon where he finished a credible 6th then backed it up with a win in the 4.5km event at the Bridge to Brisbane then recorded a top ten finish in last weekend’s City to Surf.

"I am really happy with my run today as it was 2 minutes faster than last year and now I hope I can also do a 2:17 in The Sydney Marathon," said Oswald.

The Noosa Half formed part of his preparation for trying to claim his third successive victory in the Sydney Marathon on September 11 and if he is successful in running 2:17 he will take three minutes off last years time (2:21).

Oswald took it out from the start and was joined by current Queensland Half Marathon and 10km champion Brian Livingston in the early stages but he jus fell off the pace in the second lap to finished third.

"I would have liked to have gone better but gave it all I had today and have to be happy with third," said Livingston.

Livingston has got the Queensland Run series sewn up with that win taking out the first leg at Jetty to Jetty with the final event in the series on at the River Run on September 18 in Brisbane.

Christopher Reeves ran a solid race to again finish second two years today behind Revelian but nature called at the 17km mark and he couldn’t make up the distance. The 20-year-old from Eastern Heights is one of our most versatile runners covering 5km through to the half marathon distance. Reeves recently ran an Australian 5km qualifying time, won the Ipswich Half marathon and took out the 10km event at the Gold Coast Marathon.

"I was a little disappointed with the brief interruption at 17km because I was on a PB at the 10 mile mark to do a 66:40 but these things happen. I don’t if I’d beaten Oswald today but I know that I would have given him a good nudge," said Reeves.

Willett was inspired by her partner currently on deployment with the Australian Navy in the Persian Gulf, "He text me this morning a 4am to say he won a 7km run in Dubai so I had a huge incentive to win here today, I’d never hear the end of it," said a delighted Willett who is coached by Pat Carroll.

Willett will now have a bit of a break to try and get over a niggling injury then concentrate on building a solid base and focus on next years Gold Coast Marathon.

Bethany van Loenen had a fantastic run today finishing second to Willett by 54sec with Antoinette Minniti rounding out the top three.

Krishna Stanton was one of the pace makers in the half marathon on the 1:40 target. "This is one of the best things I’ve ever done. I was more nervous pacing than if I was racing". Known for loving a chat Stanton was talking the group up at all the key time splits. "The group was fantastic and actually liked me chatting to them, it was a real buzz at the finish with everyone thanking us and one couple from Swan Hill in Victoria bettering their PB by 10mins by not going out too fast. It has really inspired me again and reminded me of why I love running," said Stanton.

British former world record holder and Olympic Gold Medallist Steve Ovett was on hand to present the medals and winners cheques. Ovett now resides in Noosa, "I love living here, it’s a much nicer pace for me these days," said Ovett.

The 2005 Noosa Half which incorporated The Noosa Journal Half Marathon – 21.1km, Noosa 10km and Wide Bay Australia 5km Run/Walk attracted a big field in each event with nearly 2300 competitors, this included 8% of international entrants the largest from New Zealand but also the UK, Sweden and the USA.

Following The Noosa Journal Half Marathon was the Noosa 10km. Again a big field turned out to compete in the 10km, with temperatures now warming up and the crowd swelling, the day was proving a huge success.

The 10km event was just one lap along Noosa Sound and it didn’t take long for Andrew Connors to stamp his authority in the race. Connors set a cracking pace in the warm conditions and won comfortably from Keith Williams with Ben Holland finalising the podium positions.

Another top notch performance in the women’s event saw Rebecca Wade convincingly claim victory from Caloundra’s Jenny Young and Erika Weiner.

The final event of the day was the Wide Bay Australia 5km run/walk. A huge turnout for this event where competitors ran, jogged, walked and pushed prams, some out for a serious run but most just enjoying the morning stroll. Peter Bock took out his third successive 5km today although the time was slower than last year it was good enough to take first. Sarah Bach was the winner of the women’s division.

The kids from St Andrews school again won the two video cameras kindly donated by Noosa Fair Shopping Centre.

The 2005 Noosa Half was an enormous success according to event organisers, "We are thrilled with the support from sponsors, competitors and the local community, without the input from all of these people it wouldn’t happen and would like to thank everyone," said Donna Murray, General Manager USM Events.

Results - Noosa Journal Half Marathon

Male
1. Oswald Revelian Tanzania 1:06:58
2. Chris Reeves Eastern Heights, QLD 1:07:43
3. Brian Livingston Surfers Paradise 1:08:09
4. Steven Page Goomeri 1:12:26
5. Ron Peters Brisbane 1:14:24

Female
1. Jodie Willett Morningside 1:22:54
2. Bethany van Loeen Indooroopilly 1:23:48
3. Antoinette Minniti Wollaton 1:24:41
4. Vanessa Smith Vermont South 1:25:23
5. Zoe Lawrie Southport 1:26:15

Noosa 10km Run

Male
1. Andrew Connors Brisbane 32:53
2. Keith Williams Thorneside 33:52
3. Ben Holland Twin waters 34:21

Female
1. Rebecca Wade Foritude Valley 38:15
2. Jenny Young Caloundra 39:46
3. Erika Weiner Glen Iris 39:57

Wide Bay Australia 5km run/walk

Male
1. Peter Bock Mooloolaba 15:25
Female
1. Sarah Bach The Gap 17:57

Posted at 13:15     [Perma-Link]

Melinda pumps up Mottram

Former athletics pin-up girl Melinda Gainsford-Taylor has implored Athletics Australia to make Craig Mottram the face of track and field.

Largely unknown in his own country, Mottram last week became the first non-African to win a medal in the 5000m at a world championships for 18 years.

It was also Australia's only medal of the Helsinki meet, further underlining this country's struggle to compete on the international athletics stage.

But Gainsford-Taylor says Mottram's success could prove a turning point.

"It is incredible what he has achieved because usually it (the 5000m) is dominated by the Ethiopians, Kenyans and Moroccans," said the former sprint queen.

"For him to come through with bronze is extraordinary. He's incredibly marketable, he's intelligent, he's good looking and most importantly he's an extremely good athlete.

"I think they should definitely market him. I can't see anything else happening but him becoming the face of track and field."

Just days before his historic medal, Mottram lamented publicly that his great strides in the tough event had been virtually ignored in his homeland.

Complete article at Fox Sports

Posted at 09:57     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, August 20, 2005 

Craig Mottram - Bonzer, extra grouse and fan-bloody-tastic

Peering around her forest of gladioli, Dame Edna, as mild and meek as ever, has proclaimed: "In the world of success and failure/ Have you noticed the genius spark?/ Seems brightest in folk from Australia/ We all leave an indelible mark."

As we watched the tall, gangling paleface, Craig Mottram, ambling along among an ocean of Africans and matching them in the 5,000 in Helsinki, we were just as astounded as Sir Les Patterson, whose mouth was as dry as a Kookaburra's Khyber. Or, more appropriately, he was bonzer, which is Aussie-speak for beaut, extra grouse and fan-bloody-tastic.

And leaving that indelible mark, Mottram was the interloper among the usual swarm of Africans who have long been monopolising distance races. Mottram was upsetting an applecart that has lasted for 20 years.

Then there was the cricket, where England were cruising to victory against a totally outplayed Australia until the Aussies got piggy stubborn and defied the odds to draw the match.

In English sport, as you know, failure is all the rage - and we won't mention Denmark!

Which brings us to the Irish where, poor us, we're quite unspoiled by failure.

All our wars are merry and all our songs are sad, which is a lot of whooey when you think about it. The fact is, we have never won a single battle, ever.

Need I mention Kinsale, the Boyne, the Races of Castlebar, or recent Eurovision Song battles?

Craig Mottram has the same facilities for preparing for the World Championships as our fellows. But he has that unique Australian outlook, that mental strength that means he runs his races with the front-runners and not at the tail of the field where that nonsensical PB (personal best) is the acme of our ambitions.

Or, take another example from the land of Dame Edna, an even more remarkable instance of Aussie tenacity, the story of Herb Elliott, potentially the greatest miler/1,500 metre runner of all time. Potentially? He retired at the ridiculously early age of 22.

"Poetry, music, forests, oceans, solitude - they were what developed enormous spiritual strength. Once I satisfied myself that my spirit could dominate my body, there was no reason to continue," said Elliot.

He had, at 20, shattered the world record in that famous Santry Stadium mile in 1958. Two years later at the Rome Olympics, Percy Cerutty, his utterly eccentric coach, invaded the track to wave a white towel to encourage Elliott to a world 1,500 record.

He didn't really need any incentive from a towel. He was already 15 metres ahead of the field and, as the police arrested Cerutty, Elliott proceeded to a 20-yard winning margin and a world record.

From 1954, when he was a mere 16, until his retirement in 1960, Elliott won 44 consecutive 1,500/mile races.

So what about that, Shane Warne and Dame Edna and Sir Les? And all of us from Malin Head to Mizen Head?

Complete article at the Irish Independent

Posted at 16:12     [Perma-Link]

Pommie heart transplant recipient to run Sydney Marathon to encourage more organ donors

A heart transplant recipient from Ashford is to compete in the Sydney Marathon in September to encourage more people to become organ donors.

Father-of-four John Fisher, 43, of Parkland Grove, is currently running up to 50 miles a week in preparation for the marathon on September 11.

John, who runs a DJ agency, said: "Having the heart transplant has made me more determined to live my life to the full and competing in the Sydney marathon is my way of celebrating five years post-transplant.

John has completed six marathons since his heart transplant in 2000, and his £700 fare to Australia is being paid for courtesy Outback Steakhouse restaurant in Staines.

John added: "I am looking forward to taking part and hope to finish the course in under four-and-a-half hours. I aim to raise awareness of the benefits of heart transplants and also encourage people to become donors."

Complete article at The Staines Guardian

Posted at 08:38     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, August 19, 2005 

Mottram seeks revenge in Zurich

It's back to business for world championship bronze medallist Craig Mottram in Zurich tonight when he takes on Kenenisa Bekele over 3000m.

Mottram had only one day off after his 5000m heroics in Helsinki on Monday morning.
His coach, Nic Bideau, couldn't wait to get back out on the track for a shot at Bekele and Kenyan Benjamin Limo, winner of the 5000m world title.

"He looked good in training and he wants to have a go at Limo in a fast run race and see if he can get some revenge," Bideau said.

Mottram became the first non-African to win a medal in the 5000m at a world championships for 18 years when he was beaten in a close finish by Limo in Helsinki.

The final was run at a muddling pace which set it up for the Kenyan swooper, but the inclusion of Bekele in Zurich promises a much faster race.

Bekele pulled out of the 5000m at the world titles after earlier winning gold in the 10,000m.

Bideau said Mottram was aiming at breaking his own national 3000m record of 7min 37sec.

"While the pressure is off and he can relax a bit, we still want to get something out of every race he has left in the European season," Bideau said.

"He believes he can run around 7.30, so it should be interesting."

Complete article at The Herald Sun

Posted at 04:46     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, August 18, 2005 

Victoria Mitchell runs A standard 3000m

Little-known Victoria Mitchell took a giant stride towards next year's Commonwealth Games by winning silver in the 3000m steeplechase at the world university games in Turkey overnight.

The 23-year-old Victorian secured Australia's first medal in the 11-day event being contested by 9,000 university students from more than 180 countries.

Mitchell's time of 9min 47.54sec was a personal best and well below Athletics Australia's A qualifying standard for next year's Melbourne Games of 10min 05sec.

Hungarian Livia Toth won the non-Olympic event in 9min 40.37sec ahead of Mitchell and home favourite Turkan Erismis.

Mitchell attends Butler University in Indianapolis and won the coveted National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) division 1 title in June.

Posted at 18:43     [Perma-Link]

Pace Team leaders for the Blackmores Sydney Marathon and Half Marathon

Start to finish events are looking for Pace Team leaders for the Blackmores Sydney Marathon and half marathon. They are looking for leaders for the following times:

Half marathon
1:20
1:40

Marathon
3:00
3:15
3:30
3:45
4:00
4:30

The leaders will receive a New Balance singlet, shorts and cap and can but New Balance shoes at the wholesale price and a 5 issue subscription to Runner's World.

Any Pace Team leader will also receive a free entry to the event, if already entered they will get a refund.

Please send your replies to Terry O’Halloran at t.ohalloran@ausrun.com.au

Posted at 17:16     [Perma-Link]

World record holder Kipketer decides to call it a day

Wilson Kipketer - the Kenyan who lives in Monaco, runs for Denmark and is best known for breaking Sebastian Coe's 'unbreakable' 800 metres world record - has announced his retirement from athletics.

On the eve of tomorrow's Weltklasse Zurich meeting, the venue of his most famous run eight years ago, Kipketer has finally conceded that he no longer stands a chance of challenging for the Olympic title that has eluded him and that he will not be able to race through to Beijing.

It was at the Letzigrund Arena on Aug 13 that Kipketer, 34, finally broke Coe's time of 1min 41.71sec, which the Briton set in Florence in June 1981. It had long been considered one of the best records in the book.

Kipketer had gone close on three occasions in the previous two seasons and had equalled the record in Stockholm the previous month. He finally made it his own with an unstoppable run from the front, lowering the mark to 1:41.24, a time he improved to 1:41.11 in Cologne 11 days later.

With a modest personal best of 46.85sec in the 400m and an even more modest 3-42.80 in the 1500m, Kipketer was a two-lap runner pure and simple and demonstrated none of the ability of Coe or Steve Ovett to double up in the middle distances. He concentrated solely on the 800m and has recorded seven of the nine fastest times in history.

Competitively, he enjoyed most success in the World Championships, winning three titles, in 1995, 1997 and again in 1999. He was a hot favourite to win the 1996 Olympic title in Atlanta but objections by the Kenyan federation over his perceived defection to Denmark resulted in him being declared ineligible.

"There are no regrets about that," he said yesterday. "I knew from the start that I would not be able to run in the 1996 Olympics. It was totally my decision. Also not going to the Atlanta Olympics provided my motivation for the successful events of 1997. I had to prove I was still the best even though I was not Olympic champion."

Kipketer won an Olympic silver in Sydney, after overcoming career threatening bouts of malaria and pneumonia in 1998, but only managed a bronze in Athens and has not been seen on the international circuit since.

"What I will miss is the way I felt when running 800 metres," said Kipketer, who is already an International Association of Athletics Federations ambassador. "The way I felt when controlling the race, the feeling of leading a race, the atmosphere - this is what I am going to miss.

"I want this inner feeling to be known by the younger athletes, so they understand what that love of running is all about. I want to pass on my love and feeling for running. I would like younger runners to understand earlier than I did that winning a gold medal is not always the difference between success and failure.

"If you do anything in life to the utmost of your ability you are always a winner, whether you come first in the race of life or not. Self- achievement is the key to happiness and well-being. It is a key which has unlocked my life and I would like it to do the same for others."

Factfile

Full name: Wilson Kipketer Kosgei
Born: Dec 12, 1972 in Kapchemoyiwo, a village in Kenya's Nandhi Hills.
1990: Took up permanent residence in Denmark.
1995: IAAF allowed him to compete for Denmark, but Kenya banned him from entering the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta because of a row over his citizenship.
Jan 1998: Seriously ill with malaria. Did not run again until August. Granted Danish citizenship.
1998: Granted Danish citizenship.

Achievements
1997 Set world 800m record, which still stands, of 1min 41.11sec in Cologne.
Set world indoor 800m record at World Championships in Paris, 1997 - 1min 42.67sec.
World Championship titles: 1995 in Stockholm, 1997 in Athens, 1999 in Seville.
European champion: 2002 in Munich.
Olympics: Silver 2000 in Sydney, bronze 2004 in Athens.
World indoor champion: 1997 and 1999 and runner-up in 2003.

From the UK's Daily Telegraph

Posted at 15:23     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, August 17, 2005 

Marathon Jan wins Bridport classic (TAS)

Marathon runner Jan Lynch proved her stamina with a brilliant win in the blue ribbon French Pine Scottsdale to Bridport half- marathon on Saturday conducted by the Launceston Athletic Club.

Lynch is in training for the Melbourne Marathon in October, which will be her ninth journey over the gruelling 42km event. Fellow marathon training partner Debbie West ran into second place, with David Lynch third.

Mark Jackson was fastest in 1:10:57 with Anna Gleeson fastest woman in 1:26:35.

Evergreen Trevor Hextall maintained the rare distinction of not missing a Scottsdale to Bridport classic, completing his 24th finish in the race.

Charlie Croft won the division 2 event over 2.5km from Emma Lynch and fastest male Todd Nankervis in 9:58. Fastest female was Annelise Towns in 9:45. Jacob Birtwhistle was first and fastest in the division 3 event over 1.5km in 5:38 from Evan Lawrence and Jordan Watson. Fastest female was Ashlee Watson in 5:37.

Encouragement awards were presented to Danielle Nankervis and Savannah White.

Congratulations to LAC State cross-country representatives, Annelise Towns, Ashlee Watson and Jacob Birtwhistle, who will compete in Adelaide on 27th August.

Saturday's LAC event is the Royal Park 5km, with the Alex Walley Memorial division 3 event to start at 12.15pm. Seniors 1pm. Inquiries 0408128467.

¤¤¤ Former Launceston Football Club player David Booth, 53, bolted to the lead to take the prizemoney in the Newstead Harrier Club's inaugural Tasmanian Alkaloids 8km feature event at Westbury on Saturday from Susan McClenaghan and Ron Clarke who held out Alice Fullerton in a sprint finish.

Fastest male was Charles Gunn in 26:24 and fastest female was Barbara-Anne O'Byrne in 34:03.

Oscar Coker won the 4km from Katharine Parish and Tom Goddard with Josh Harris fastest in 13:30 and Libby Clarke fastest female in 14:33.

Amelia Towns won the 2km event ahead of Eleanor Lyall and Grace Mitchelson. Fastest male was Josh Stokell with Zara Bussey fastest female.

Complete article at The Tasmnaina Examiner

Posted at 12:20     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, August 16, 2005 

Australia's World Championships campaign was a flop

If not for Craig Mottram and the men sprinters, Australia's world championships campaign would have been a disaster. Instead, it was just a flop, with Mottram's 5000 metres bronze the only medal won, Australia's worst world titles haul since the 1991 team left Tokyo empty-handed.

Australia's 20-member team finished 33rd on the medals table. No Australian set a personal best in mostly wet conditions at Helsinki's Olympic Stadium, though the sprinters did encouragingly well.

A rejuvenated Patrick Johnson finally lived up to some of his promise by coming sixth in the 200m final and leading the 4x100m relay team to fifth. John Steffensen was the find of the championships, coming eighth in the 400m and emerging at 22 as a potential major medallist.

The task for both Johnson and Steffensen is to maintain their performances, not just for next year's Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, but beyond to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Josh Ross made the semis of the 100m and Daniel Batman reached that far in the 200m. Kris Neofytou made a promising debut as the third runner in the relay.

With the strictest selection criteria applied, only the very best Australian athletes went to Helsinki. But, apart from Mottram, the very best fell to injury and did not compete.

Defending 400m hurdles champion Jana Pittman, the world's leading pole vaulter this year, Paul Burgess, the No.1 20-kilometre walker of the year, Nathan Deakes, and top-five shot putter Justin Anlezark were medal chances but were injured.

"I was quite optimistic we had a group of stars who were going to do good things for us," said Australia's high-performance director Max Binnington. "They weren't here and yet the others have stepped up. Some people did things we wouldn't expect of them. Certainly Patrick Johnson was one of them, Daniel Batman, John Steffensen, Josh Ross.

"We had a lot of our stars falling down one way or another through injuries or not performing up to what their expectations were. This group's going to be the core of the Commonwealth Games team."

Complete article at The SMH

Posted at 15:04     [Perma-Link]

Mottram takes giant leap towards ending Africa's run

As Craig Mottram soaked up the attention after his ground-breaking bronze medal in the world championships 5000m, much was made of his feat in beating a host of African runners to the line. "Get used to it," he retorted.

Mottram did what many thought impossible when he became the first non-African runner since 1987 to win a 5000m medal at the championships. He placed third in a thrilling finish behind Kenya's Benjamin Limo and Ethiopia's Sileshi Sihine, and beat 11 other Africans in the final.

But if others are shocked at his momentous achievement, Mottram is not and warns it will become a habit.

"I am only going to get bigger and going to get better and stronger and fitter and faster, and this is just the beginning," Mottram said. "The whole season has been a big message to a lot of people around the world, a lot of African runners and a lot of European runners that it can be done. I know I've put in the hard work and will be competitive in years to come in all kinds of races."

Lack of appreciation at home for his achievements in the athletics heartland of Europe has been a sore point for Mottram and his coach, Nic Bideau.

Bideau hopes Mottram's efforts will inspire a new wave of distance runners.

"For me it is one of the biggest achievements in Australian sport - people go to the moon more often than they get medals in 5000m races when they are not from Africa," Bideau said.

"It is incredibly difficult, but it is not impossible and the sport really needed that, to see a guy who comes from a similar environment to Europeans and New Zealanders and Americans to show it can be done. Hopefully he is going to be a leader for a generation of athletes in his event who aren't from Africa."

For nearly 20 years, athletes born in Kenya, Morocco and Ethiopia have dominated the 5000m and 10,000m at world championships and Olympic Games. Germany's Dieter Baumann was the exception when he won gold at the 1992 Olympics.

A Finnish journalist said to Mottram after he qualified second fastest for the Helsinki final that most Europeans had lost interest, believing they would never beat the best Africans.

Mottram, who grew up in Geelong and was a champion junior triathlete before switching to distance running in 1998 at the age of 18, has never listened to the doubters.

Complete article at The Australian

Posted at 15:00     [Perma-Link]

Nic Bideau gets black eye

Cathy Freeman's feisty former coach and lover Nic Bideau, isn't known to walk away from a fight. When he arrived at the world championships in Helsinki with a black eye, his wife, Irish Olympic distance medallist, Sonia O'Sullivan, asked who had punched him. Bideau, who now coaches Craig Mottram, Australia's sole medallist who won bronze in the 5000m, denies he's been in any dust-ups but had an argument with a knob at his hotel. "I got back in the dark and didn't turn on the light, and went crunch into the door handle," Bideau said. Bideau's modus operandi when faced with scandal has always been "deny, deny, deny".

Seen in the Australian newspaper

Posted at 14:54     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, August 15, 2005 

Mottram - first non-African 5000m medal since 1987

Australia's Craig Mottram won a bronze medal in the 5000m at the world athletics championships to become the first man in 18 years to break the African stronghold on the event.

Mottram flew home to finish third in 13min 32.96sec, behind Kenyan Benjamin Limo who won in 13min 32.55sec. Ethiopia's Sileshi Sihine was second in 13min 22.81sec.

Mottram is the first non-African man to win a medal in the 5000m at the world championships since Portugal's Domingos Castro took silver and Great Britain's Jack Buckner the bronze in 1987.

"There's that history about it, the Africans have been the best over the last 10 years or so, but not any more," said Mottram.

"It's a relief, to be honest. It's been a really long day and I was really looking forward to getting it out of the way and to come here and perform in front of a crowd that's probably more excited about my bronze than the winner."

After the race was run at a very slow pace, Mottram made his move with 300m to go and raced for the front.

He was in a tight pack going round the final bend with Limo, Sihine and Kenya's defending champion, Eliud Kipchoge, and turned into the home straight in second place.

But the Africans swept by him and he faded to fourth with 50 metres to go and looked headed for fifth before pushing home strongly to reel in Kipchoge with five metres to go and touch him out for an historic medal.

"I thought I was gone, I thought I was going to finish fifth," said Mottram.
"Then they just started slowing down and I got there.

"The plan was to go before the bend and get in a winning position and I did alright, I couldn't quite get in the lead and I was just trying to stay relaxed down the bend and save something to come on in the straight with.

"It worked, we didn't quite win but I'm pretty happy with a bronze medal.

"Any medal was going to be a big win for me."

Now that he has made the breakthrough, Mottram, 25, said he is confident he can win more medals, including gold at major championships in the future.

"Definitely, I'm only going to get bigger, better, stronger, fitter, faster," he said.

Mottram's bronze was Australia's only medal at the championships, the worst performance since the 1991 team came home from Tokyo empty handed.

Complete article at Fox Sports

Posted at 11:23     [Perma-Link]

Mottram takes bronze in Helsinki

Australia's Craig Mottram won bronze in the men's 5,000 metres final at the world track and field championships in Helsinki overnight.

Mottram recorded a time of 13:32.96 to finish third behind Kenya's Benjamin Limo (13:32.55) and Ethiopia's Sileshi Sihine (13:32:81).

The race was run at a slow pace until the final lap when a series of runners, including Mottram, kicked away from the rest of the field down the back straight.

Limo and Sihine moved clear with 100 metres to go while Mottram slipped back to fifth place before launching a final sprint to pip Kenya's defending champion Eliud Kipchoge and Algeria's Ali Saidi-Sief for the bronze medal.

Mottram is Australia's first medallist in the 5,000 metres at either a world championships or Olympic Games.

The 25-year-old Australian said he had been waiting to pounce in the straight.

"I just waited for the last 250m and finish, where I gave it all I had," he said.

For his part, Limo said he would name his new-born son 'Helsinki' in honour of his 5,000m victory.

"I had a baby son on Monday and I'm going to call him Helsinki," he said. "I've been an athlete for a long time without winning a major title, so I'm very happy."

Sihine, who seems destined to be forever a silver medallist having finished second in the 10,000m Olympic final, said he thought he had the title in the bag.

"I was confident coming into the final lap with my kick," the 22-year-old said. "I'm a little disappointed not to have won. My tactics were to wait until the final lap and up the speed. I was expecting competition from the Kenyans."

Limo had led at the 800m mark, setting a snail-like pace shadowed by Sihine with two of his Kenyan team-mates on the outside - Kipchoge and Isaac Songok.

However Limo was replaced in the lead by Tanzania's Fabiano Naasi at the 2000m mark and the Kenyans lost their prominence as Qatari import from Kenya, James Kwalia, moved up into second.

With five to go Naasi still led from Limo but a lap later Norway's Marius Bakken surged from last to first to set the pace.

No challenge was forthcoming as the runners were content to let him go ahead as he led from Sihine and three of the Kenyans.

Tariku Bekele started his move at that point, clashing with Songok who gave him a shove after which Bekele - younger brother of distance phenomenon Kenenisa - did well to keep his balance.

Bakken still led with two to go but with 600 metres to go he was drifting back and at the bell it was Sihine leading with Mottram in third.

Sihine led as they approached the finishing straight but Kipchoge then unleashed his burst and looked like passing the Ethiopian only for Limo, a Commonwealth Games and Africa Games silver medallist in 2002, to come with an even stronger run down the outside.

Sihine tried to repel Limo but he had little left in the locker after his selfless running for the elder Bekele in the 10,000m and did well to hang for yet another silver.

Kipchoge only had himself to blame as he looked to his right focussing on Qatari runner Ali Saidi-Sief while ignoring Mottram and the big 25-year-old Australian crept up on him and stole the bronze as they dipped.

Bekele could not go with the last lap pace and faded to finish seventh.

Complete article at The ABC

Posted at 11:06     [Perma-Link]

City swell carries African to his quiet, smiling hat-trick

More than 60,000 Sydneysiders and interstate trippers, including pink fairies and pyramid salespeople, comic-book heroes and Australian Federal Police led by the Commissioner, Mick Keelty, gave it their best shot. But once again, on another postcard-perfect winter day, it was the Tanzanians Patrick Nyangelo and Dickson Marwa who ran away with the 35th City to Surf.

On a weekend when Australia's rugby players and cricketers showed further signs of almost unimagined fallibility, it seemed somehow appropriate.

It was the third consecutive win for Nyangelo, 20, an affable young man of big smiles but few words, hardly any of them English.

As in 2003 and 2004 Nyangelo - who was discovered by a foundation named for the Tanzanian marathon hero John Akhwari and spearheaded by Australians - revealed that he was "very happy" with his performance. So he should be.

Though his time was more than a minute outside the record, he was fast enough to cross the finish line before some had crossed the start line.

The only glimpse the back markers would get of the whippet-thin student would be on the evening TV news. But the locals who finished third and fourth, Martin Dent and Steve Moneghetti, had a better view of the Tanzanians. Even if, ultimately, it was their disappearing backs.

They stuck with the two Africans for most of the 14-kilometre trip to Bondi before Moneghetti, the crowd favourite and record-holder, and, in the last few hundred metres, Dent, dropped off.

Moneghetti, 42, who was wired to provide live television commentary, cheerfully admitted that he felt like he was "going backwards" towards the end. Was he getting too old for this sort of thing? No.

Dent, just half his age, was thrilled just to have beaten his hero for the first time in several starts. "I thought I heard him telling the television people 'I'm gone'. That's when I went, put my foot down," he said with a laugh.

The women's race was less of a contest, the three-time Olympian Kerryn McCann winning by more than a minute.

Though she had run "flat out" in temperatures nudging into the low 20s, within an hour of the finish she had towelled down, lifted a huge trophy, collected the kids, Benton, 8, and Josie, 21 months, and was preparing to return home to Coledale, near Wollongong.

Did she like the hilly course? McCann, who lists her favourite television programs as Desperate Housewives and Mythbusters, grimaced. "I can't say I like it that much. But I love being here, and I love the people here."

It's impossible not to.

Complete article at The SMH

Posted at 11:01     [Perma-Link]

Dent makes waves at Bondi in beating veteran Moneghetti across the line

He ran into a London fence two years ago, ran a marathon in Chicago last year and ran into the record books yesterday as the first Australian across the line in the 2005 City to Surf race in Sydney. Canberra's Martin Dent conquered Heartbreak Hill and sprinted away from semi-retired Steve Moneghetti.

However, the 26-year-old failed to drop defending champion Patrick Nyangelo or Dickson Marwa, who finished one-two for Tanzania in the 14km race. Only seven seconds separated Dent and Nyangelo, who claimed his third City to Surf victory.

"The times were close," Dent said. "But I think particularly the guy that won, he wasn't flat out, I don't think he was stretched out at all. He's won the past two years, so it wasn't a fluke."

Before the race, Dent said it would be a tough feat just to beat 43-year-old Moneghetti, who finished fouth, but hoped his youth would win out. "He'll be a year older so maybe he might be a bit easier to beat."

After sharing the lead with the three-time Olympian, Dent broke away with the Africans as Moneghetti dropped off the pace on the 3km descent into Bondi Beach.

"It's good for Australian running I think but someone had to beat him to stop the domination. When the best runners are 43 years old it's a bit of a shame," Dent said.

While his finishing time was still adrift of Moneghetti's race record 40min 03sec, Dent recorded 41:19 which was a one minute improvement on last year's performance and a personal best for the distance.

"It wasn't easy," Dent said. "I wasn't really sure how I'd go so obviously it was a lot better than my expectations."

The City to Surf race was his first major competition since placing 13th in the Chicago Marathon last October.

Having trained through a problematic Achilles injury for most of this year, Dent said he ran pain free yesterday.

He also explained how such injuries can often be a blessing.

"Having a break has been good as your body can fully recover from what you've done to it and sort of build up again stronger and faster. In the past I sometimes got a bit too obsessed with getting runs in, getting up running 180km a week, but lately I've been running as much as I've felt comfortable with."

Dent left his finance office on Friday as a policy advisor for the Australian Government, but will return today as a minor celebrity.

"It's good for corporate recognition at work. You could come third at World Champs and everyone would be impressed obviously, but coming third in the City to Surf would be just as big for them."

However, there was no hope of Dent retiring to pursue a running career full-time as no prize money was offered for the event.

"I got a trophy," he said. Dent would also reward himself with an "easy week" of training before aiming to break the course record at Dunrissol Drive in the ACT Cross Country competition next weekend.

Complete article at the Balarat Courier

Posted at 10:56     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, August 14, 2005 

Nyangelo wins third City to Surf

Patience played major dividends for Tanzanian Patrick Nyangelo who won his third successive City to Surf Race on Sunday.

Nyangelo crossed the line at Bondi Beach in 41 minutes 12 seconds, with countryman Dickson Marwa three seconds behind in the 14km race.

Martin Dent was the leading Australian in third place ahead of evergreen Steve Moneghetti.

Australian Olympian Kerryn McCann was a comfortable winner of the women's title in 46:27 ahead of countrywomen Lisa Jane Weightman and Lauren Shelley.

The 20-year-old Nyangelo played a waiting game sitting behind the front runners and unleashing an overpowering sprint in the last 200 metres.

Moneghetti, Dent and Marwa had challenged for the lead throughout the race until they reached Bondi where Nyangelo took charge.

"With three kilometres to go I thought I could win. I didn't push at the beginning but just sat behind and waited," Nyangelo said.

"The hardest part of the race was at the start of Heartbreak Hill. I wasn't worried by the two Australians but I still had to watch them closely."

Nyangelo and Marwa will move to the United States where they have won two-year scholarships at Phoenix University but Nyangelo plans to return to contest the 5000m at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games next March.

He joins John Farrington and Moneghetti as the only runners to score three successive wins in the 35 years of the City to Surf.

Dent said he tried to break down the Tanzanian duo early because he knew they were quick on the flat stretches.

"I tried to hang on as long as I could and my time was a big improvement on previous races," he said.

Moneghetti, who turns 43 next month, couldn't match it with his younger competitors over the final stages.

"I tired over the uphill stages and began to struggle and couldn't get early speed. I always knew the others would be tough," he said.

"We need someone to run under 41 minutes and attack. It's about time we had an Australian winner."

McCann boosted her Commonwealth Games prospects with a personal best time which was nearly two minutes better than her winning effort seven years ago.

"I really wanted to break 46 minutes and needed the other top women to push me," she said, commenting on the late withdrawals of Susie Power and Haley McGregor.

Complete article at Seven News

Posted at 16:37     [Perma-Link]

City to Surf Results


Male
1. Patrick Nyangelo (TANZ) 41:12
2. Dixon Marwa (TANZ) 41:15
3. Martin Dent (AUS, ACT) 41:19 (in CoolRunning singlet!)
4. Steve Moneghetti (AUS, VIC) 41:34
5. Simon Field 42:20
6. Scott McTaggart 42:45
7. Damon Harris 42:56
8. Barry Keem 43:06
9. Oswald Revelian 43:21
10. Louis Rowan 43:37
11. Anthony Haber 43:48
12. Erwin McRae 43:52
13. Rod deHighden 44:24
14. Stephen Brown 44:32
15. John Kent 44:36
16. Paul Arthur 44:40
16. Kevin Robertson 44:40
18. Trent Harlow 44:46
19. Dean Cavuoto 44:52
20. John Meager 44:54

Female
1. Kerryn McCann (NSW) 46:27
2. Lisa Jane Weightman (VIC) 48:40
3. Lauren Shelley (NSW) 49:02
4. Melissa Moon 50:13
5. Liz Miller 50:32
6. Belinda Wilsher 50:43
7. Lucinda Chapman 50:48
8. Jane Miles 51:25
9. Lisa Dick 51:42
10. Helen Verity Tolhurst 52:22

Posted at 10:12     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, August 13, 2005 

Nyangelo targets City to Surf hat-trick

Dual City to Surf winner Patrick Nyangelo will use Australia and the City to Surf as a stepping stone to representing Tanzania in the Beijing Olympic Games.

Nyangelo, who has won the 14 kilometres race for the past two years, will become only the third competitor in its 35-year history to win three times in succession if he succeeds on Sunday.

John Farrington (1972-74) and Steve Moneghetti (1988-91) are the only others to have completed the hat-trick.

"I'm looking at a good fast time. Winning will come after it," said the 20-year-old Nyangelo. "I would like try for the Olympic 5000 metres but the longer distance of this race doesn't worry me. I enjoy running and have been training well."

Nyangelo has recorded three good runs so far this year, winning the Gold Coast half marathon, second in the Kilimanjaro half marathon and third in the A Series 5000 metres in Melbourne.

His major opposition will come from teammate Dickson Marwa and the evergreen Moneghetti.

Marwa was second in the City to Surf last year and earlier this season was beaten on the line by Nyangelo in the Gold Coast half marathon.

"I led most of the way on the coast but Patrick put his leg in front in the sprint to the line and I lost by 0.6 seconds," Marwa said. "We train together but I'm not sure I can beat him."

At the age of 43, Moneghetti should be satisfied with his accomplishments in running and enjoy his retirement from the international scene.

He made every Australian team from 1986-2000, including four Commonwealth Games, six World Championships, four Olympics and the 1989 World Cup in Spain.

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 16:42     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, August 12, 2005 

Ben du Bois - top class running in European Mountain Race

Wollongong's Ben du Bois of the Kembla Joggers Athletics Club has achieved the best ever performance by an Australian in a World Mountain Running Association Grand Prix race. On Sunday in the Schlickeralmlauf 11.2km race at Telfes in Austria, du Bois, the 2003 and 2004 Australian champion, finished 2nd in 59:24 behind world champion Jonathon Wyatt of New Zealand who clocked 58:40.

Former world champion Antonio Molinari of Italy was third in 60:04, half a minute behind du Bois. Du Bois's outstanding performance follows the sensational win by Canberra's Emma Murray two weeks earlier in the World Long Distance Mountain Running
Championship in France. Murray has been named the ACT's Sports Star of the Month for July.

Top ten:
1. Wyatt, Jonathan 72 NZL 58:40 1. M30
2. du Bois, Ben 75 AUS 59:24 2. M30
3. Molinari, Antonio 67 Atletica Trentp Cavit 1:00:04 3. M30
4. Krupicka, Robert 78 CZ 1:00:21 1. M20
5. Capitan, Vicente 74 E 1:00:42 4. M30
6. Schiessl, Helmut 72 D 1:01:16 5. M30
7. Heigl, Thomas 80 LCC Wien 1:01:40 2. M20
8. Cox, Martin 69 LC Mittenwald 1:01:45 6. M30
9. Kröll, Markus 72 LSV 1990 Kitzbühel 1:02:43 7. M30
10. Heinzle, Florian 82 A 1:03:02 3. M20

From Ben:
"A promising result for me at the 4th GP race in Austria on the weekend. (http://www.schlickeralmlauf.com/) I finished 2nd, 44 seconds behind world champion
Jonothan Wyatt and I believe the best result by an Australian at a Mountain Grand Prix. I am not sure what has happened to the European "summer" there was snow for the last 4km but that suited me nicely. Next race is Challenge Stellina in Susa, Italy in 2 week's time".

Posted at 11:20     [Perma-Link]

Determined to finish Shepparton Marathon

Shepparton athlete Sue Olley is willing to put herself through hell and back in order to prove a point. Olley, who later this month will contest her first Shepparton Marathon, is not afraid of hard work.

However, the scars of her inaugural marathon earlier this year still haunt her.

"I hit a wall," Olley said. "I'm dreading the Shepparton race. Last time I got to the 37 km mark and that was it. I couldn't go on, there was no way that I could go on."

With just 5 km of the race remaining, the Wilmot Rd Primary School teacher pulled the pin on an event that pits mind over matter. With her muscles screaming and her body at breaking point, Olley threw in the towel and decided enough was enough.

But just four months on, Olley will face her demons for the first time since that fateful day in Canberra as she attempts to climb her own Everest.

"It's all about finishing for me," Olley said. "I'm not going to break any course records because I'm a pretty slow runner, but that's not the point. The point is crossing the line."

In anticipation, Olley has been rising at 5 am during the past few months to pound the pavement with a group of friends. On any given morning the quintuplet of runners can be seen pushing themselves through 10 to 20 km of gruelling training.

"I wouldn't even be running in this race if it wasn't for them," Olley said. "They're really keen to do these kind of things and I kind of get dragged along. It will be interesting."

The Shepparton Marathon will be held on Sunday, August 28.

Complete article at Shepparton News online

Posted at 10:39     [Perma-Link]

Mottram 2nd in 5000m heat - into final

Every man wearing an Ethiopian or Kenyan uniform who lined up for tonight's 5000 meter qualifying heats advanced to Sunday's final setting the stage for a potential African sweep of the medals. Indeed, of the 15 men who advanced all but three were born in Africa.

Kenyans Isaac Songok (13:20.36) and defending world champion Eliud Kipchoge (13:12.86) won the first and second heats, respectively, to lead the Kenyan team. Veterans John Kibowen and Benjamin Limo also advanced. The Kenyans had four athletes competing because the defending world champion automatically gains entry to the meet.

Ethiopians Tariku Bekele, a younger brother of Kenenisa Bekele, Dejene Berhanu and Sileshi Sihine led the charge for Ethiopia to the final.

Australian Craig Mottram, the Oceana record holder, finished a comfortble second in heat 2 (13:12.93) and could break up the potential African medal sweep.

"That's the easiest 13:12 I've done in my life," Mottram told RRW confidently.

For the Americans, however, it was a tough day. Neither Tim Broe, Ian Dobson nor Ryan Hall advanced. Hall was an early leader in heat 1, but faded badly to finish 16th. Dobson, who ran in the same heat, fared better, staying with the lead pack for most of the race and finishing 10th in 13:27.16. His legs were bleeding badly from being spiked on the shins.

"All I can do was hope to stay in the middle and not get passed," he said explaining his approach in his first world championships.

For Broe, who ran in heat 2, the disappointment was the most intense. He contracted a sinus infection three days ago and was forced to take a few days off. He did his best to stay in the race, even leading some of the early laps. But he felt progressively worse, jogging the last three laps, and even contemplated dropping out.

"I really gave it all that I had," said Broe who is also nursing a plantar fasciatis problem on his left foot. "I should have stepped off, but I'm too proud."

Posted at 08:17     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, August 10, 2005 

Mottram a 5000m chance

A huge opportunity has opened up for Australia's Craig Mottram at the world athletics championships with 10,000m winner Kenenisa Bekele withdrawing from the 5000m.

Mottram was already Australia's best chance of a medal at the championships but with world record holder Bekele joining ill Olympic champion Hicham El Guerrouj in missing the 5000m, his hopes of getting onto the dais have risen sharply.

Bekele won his second consecutive 10,000m world title in sodden conditions at Helsinki's Olympic Stadium tonight and announced he would not attmpt the double because he was too tired and still grieving over the death of his fiancee in January.

"It's not possible to do the 5000 for me," Bekele said. "This year I don't want to do the double because I'm not preparing very well. This year is a difficult time for me because I lost my fiancee. I'm tired, the 10,000 is good enough for me."

Bekele's 18-year-old fiancee Alem Techale, a former world youth 1500m champion, died of a suspected heart attack while the couple were training together in Ethiopia a few months before their planned wedding.

"It's difficult for me emotionally because I love her very much, she's very important for me, so when I lose her I'm very tired. It went crazy that time, I didn't believe how it could be like that, she passed away. I came back to the race, thanks God."

Bekele came out of the traditional Ethiopian 40-day mourning period to win his fourth successive four kilometre and 12km world cross country double in March in France where he said he ran with both grief and joy in his heart. As the world record holder in both the 5000m and 10,000m, he was a short priced favourite in Helsinki to take the double, which was last achieved at a major meeting by another Ethiopian, Miruts Yifter, at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

Despite his vow not to attempt the double, Bekele, 23, may still face pressure from the Ethiopian athletics federation to compete in Thursday's heats of the 5000m.

Mottram has come to Helsinki in strong form, running Bekele close in the 5000m in London on July 22 and beating Kenyan champion Isaac Songok over the distance in Seville in June.

He finished second in London in 12min 56.13sec, with Bekele kicking away in the last 200m to win in 12min 55.55sec.

But Bekele would not rate Mottram's chances when asked whether the Australian could threaten the African stranglehold on the event, hoping his brother Tariku could bring home a family double.

"I hope it is my brother," he said. "Anyone could win, it could be the Ethiopians, the Kenyans, the Moroccans. It depends on the weather."

Complete article at Fox Sports

Posted at 08:28     [Perma-Link]

'Long guy' not short on form

By Len Johnson

When Craig Mottram went within a whisker of beating Haile Gebrselassie in the legend's farewell track race in England last year, the ever-smiling Ethiopian was shocked. "Wow! Who was that long guy," he exclaimed to a television interviewer.

This year the "long guy" has started to cast a shadow.

Mottram has beaten all the world championship's main contenders in the 5000 metres this season and with 10,000 metres winner Kenenisa Bekele not running in the event at these championships (the heats of which will be run tomorrow) a huge opportunity has opened up.

Mottram opened the season with a win at 5000 in Seville over Kenya's big hope, Isaac Songok, in the fastest time of the year to that point. He won a low-key 1500 in Gothenburg, followed by a close approach on his own national record for 3000 metres in windy conditions in Cork.

He reduced his 1500 personal best to 3:34.80 in Madrid in July, just pipped on the line by Augustine Choge of Kenya, and later set an Australian and Oceania record in the mile in Oslo of 3:48.98.

But three years ago, Mottram was frustrated by his inability to mix it with three good Kenyans over the final stages of the Commonwealth Games 5000 metres.

Two years ago, the tall Australian was even more frustrated as he sat out most of the Paris world championships year with a leg injury. Last year, he got beyond the first non-African category and began to figure in the mix.

Now, Mottram comes to Helsinki poised to challenge any runner in the world over 5000.

Over three years, Mottram and coach Nic Bideau have plotted a course during which Mottram has risen from just another runner chewed up by the Kenyans and Ethiopians, to one who could run with them and defeat some, and now to one who can run with the best.

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 07:44     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, August 08, 2005 

Benita Johnson shock in 10,000m

As much as the women's 10,000 metres was a triumph for Tirunesh Dibaba, it was a devastating disappointment for Australian Benita Johnson.

Dibaba, who has ambitions of establishing the sort of domination of women's track distance running that fellow Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele has in men's, won in 30 minutes 24.02 seconds, leading Berhane Adere and the new champion's elder sister Ejegayehu Dibaba to an Ethiopian sweep of the medals.

Johnson, who came to the world athletics championships under a health cloud, was lapped and finished a distant 19th of the 27 starters in 31:55.15.

"I just don't know what's wrong," Johnson said afterwards, adding that she did not think she was "100 per cent healthy". Eleven days ago, a lethargic Johnson finished 13th place in a 5000 metres in Stockholm.

For Johnson, it was a far cry from the eighth place in Paris two years ago, much less the world cross-country championships in Brussels in March last year, where she beat Ejegayehu Dibaba into second place in the long race.

Johnson also narrowly lost to Tirunesh Dibaba in a cross-country in Edinburgh in January, her only loss in a five-race tour of Europe. She then returned to finish seventh in the world cross-country, won by Dibaba.

Johnson's ambitions were tempered even before she got here. She never went with the leading group, hoping to run on strongly off the second pack. Instead, she was left behind that group in the second half of the race.

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 08:01     [Perma-Link]

Johnston takes Townsville Marathon

Former 3000m steeplechaser Colin Johnston defied a restricted eight-week preparation to claim yesterday's Tony Ireland Holden Marathon at his first attempt in the gruelling 42km event and his first race for 12 months.

Johnston, a former Townsville resident who holds the record for the most King of the Castle victories with six, only committed to running at the running festival eight weeks ago and was coming off a year-long layoff with an achilles tendon injury.

But the determined Sydney competitor proved far too strong, shrugging off early challenges from pre-race favourite Lazhar Hamadi and Bradley Smith to win in a record time of 2hrs 33mins 54secs.

Smith (2:34.52) held on for second while 2003 winner Kevin Hill (2:36.16) broke his former race record to finish third.

Remarkably, Johnston had planned to run the shorter 21km half marathon up until the day before the race before changing his mind. His preparation was restricted even further after arriving back in Australia from a 10-day business trip to Saigon last Sunday.

"I was only supposed to do the half but when I found out Gemechu (Woyecha) was doing the half . . . I've raced against him before and I was like 'I've got no chance of beating him' because it's my first race back so I did the marathon.

"I actually raced against Hamadi all the time down there (Sydney) so when I got up here and they said Hamadi was the favourite for the marathon I thought 'okay, I can take him'.

"People told me I was crazy for doing it but when people tell me I can't do it I'll go out and do it."

Johnston said not even horror stories told by other marathon runners could prepare him for the testing journey.

"I wanted it to be as slow as possible being my first marathon," he said. "With 5km to go (my legs) were burning, just screaming. But I looked down at my watch and thought I've got 5km to go and 20 minutes to go and I can get the course record. I was telling the legs to pick up, I was driving the arms and because I was trying to pick up my pace I was seeing stars and going dizzy."

In the women's marathon, Palm Cove runner Danielle Florens continued her domination of the event by smashing her own course record by five minutes to win her third straight Townsville Marathon in a time of 2:50.04.

Highly fancied Ethiopian-born Woyecha, who is based in Canberra, also set a record in the adidas Half Marathon when cruising to victory by more than nine minutes in 1:06.24.

Woyecha bettered Paul Wilson's mark of 1:10.02 set last year to win ahead of North Ward competitor Max Fegan (1:15.34) and Roger Moresi (1:16.01) from Prahran while Vanessa Smith claimed the honors in the women's half marathon in 1:24.55.

Complete article at The Townsville Bulletin

Posted at 07:55     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, August 06, 2005 

Kalgoorlie set for Perth City to Surf

In keeping with past years, local fitness buffs are expected to provide solid representation in this month's City to Surf fun run among an expected field of more than 26,000.

A record 23,810 entrants contested last year's 30th anniversary program across three categories - representing a 100 per cent increase on the 2000 event. Since the inaugural 1975 event, the City to Surf has become WA's biggest community sporting event, and the second largest in Australia.

This year's challenge has been set down for Sunday, August 28 and will include for the first time the HBF Schools' Challenge - an initiative aimed at encouraging Statewide schools to put a team together.

All teams registering will go into a draw to win one of 10 $500 sports equipment vouchers or one among 20 $150 consolation vouchers. This year's event carries a total prize pool of $12,000, with all participants also to be included in a random draw for a new car, valued at $25,000.

Among the major drawcards is four-time Olympian Steve Moneghetti, who will be attempting to wrestle the title from defending champion Alastair Stevenson.

Stevenson, from Queensland, is a two-time winner of the race. Other significant names include Olympian Hayley McGregor, current women's 12km titleholder Helen Verity Tolhurst and seven-time winner and paralympian Paul Nunnari.

Interested people can register on the City to Surf website at www.citytosurf.activ.asn.au.

Complete article at Kalgoorlie Golden Mail

Posted at 16:58     [Perma-Link]

Australian women can certainly swim, but why can't they run ?

After 17-year-old schoolgirl Danni Miatke rocketed from being an unknown Darwinian into a world champion swimmer this week, she confirmed for all to see Australian female swimmers are in sizzling form and, once again, another crop of rookies has stepped up in class.

Jodie Henry, Jade Edmistone, Libby Lenton, Leisel Jones and Jessicah Schipper all beamed broadly and victoriously from the Montreal world championships pool.

This week the world championship venue is Helsinki for the track and field edition. And the comparison, which athletics fans hate, but which is too obvious to ignore, is that the Australian women will be scarce. The happy smiles will be rare. The team of just six women is so small it will fit into an under-the-stairs Finnish sauna.

Indeed, the Australian team management is bigger, comprising manager Max Binnington, assistant Craig Hilliard, coach Tudor Bidder, relays coach Cliff Mallett, doctor Karen Holzer, physiotherapist Shane Lemcke, masseur Bruno Rizzo and media manager Katie Hodge. There are no new faces, just the same handful of hopeful medal contenders and the odd "team tourist" who has done enough to get fitted for a tracksuit, but probably won't get past the second round.

The true world-class runner, cross-country champion Benita Johnson, is battling an iron deficiency which may impact on her in the opening day's 10,000 metres, although Australia's hopes are still firmly pinned on her matching the talent of Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba, a crop of Kenyans and Britain's Paula Radcliffe. Tatiana Grigorieva is about 40 centimetres off the height the very best pole vaulters are achieving, and walker Jane Saville is dependent on the judges and their inexplicable system. The omnipresent sprinter Lauren Hewitt has been around for a long time but is highly unlikely to crack a final of a major competition. It doesn't help that she hasn't had the domestic rivalry of a Melinda Gainsford, or Nova Peris or Cathy Freeman to contend with.

Then there is heptathlete Kylie Wheeler, who is still improving but has a way to go to match the Australians who have gone before her, Jane Flemming and Glynis Nunn, let alone contend with the spectacular Swede, Carolina Kluft.

Where is Jana Pittman, the 400m hurdler? Instead of defending her world title after clocking the third-fastest time of her career last month, she will be recuperating from a back stress fracture in London. Star long jumper Bronwyn Thompson is similarly sidelined with injury.

For more than a decade, athletics officials have explained away Australia's relatively poor showing on the global stage to poaching from other sports. The lure of the dollar is too great for male teenagers with speed, with spring or with strength, and they venture into the football codes.

Athletics Australia chief executive Danny Corcoran told the Herald: "We have to ensure we get our share of the talent pool. It is time, we have to bite the bullet and put our limited resources into development of talent."

But in the women's ranks there isn't the professional equivalent to diminish the numbers. The solid, largely amateur alternatives are netball, basketball, tennis, swimming and hockey.

So what is going on? Where is the Cathy Freeman-inspired generation of women wanting to emulate its Sydney Olympics hero? Athletics Australia has been under constant upheaval and criticism since those Games and, despite two comprehensive reviews, restructures and much gnashing of teeth, the sport has yet to show any improvement at the elite level.

Yet it receives about the same amount of money as swimming - and that is where the rankling starts.

Track and field coaches contend that their sport is really 20 different sports and because of its true global status - nearly every country in the world competes in the sport at the Olympics, compared to about 70 countries that compete in swimming - it should get more funding. And any comparison with swimming results is met with a dark stare.

Australian head coach Binnington told reporters in Helsinki the current athletics lull was not a major concern. "I don't think it's all doom and gloom," he said. "We're in a bit of a lull at the moment, I'm not slitting my wrists."

Glynis Nunn-Cearns is on the IAAF women's committee, an international body, and recently managed the Australian team at the world youth championships in Marrakech, Morocco.

She said a small percentage of women may turn to team sport in their teens for social reasons. But she was upbeat that track and field had turned the corner and there would be improvement. But, she warned, there would be a time lag before those athletes made the leap into senior ranks.

"In Morocco we had the best-performed team to ever leave the country and the girls simply shined," Nunn-Cearns said. "We were fifth out of 180 countries and some of those [athletes] have already qualified for the Commonwealth Games team and they aren't even yet 18."

Complete article at The SMH

Posted at 16:33     [Perma-Link]

Athletics chiefs look to 2012

Australia's track and field hopes lie not in Helsinki this week but as far away as the London Olympics of 2012.

As an injury-hit team limps into the world championships at Helsinki's Olympic Stadium on Saturday with few medal hopes, athletics bosses admit Australia is seven years away from being internationally competitive.

Injuries to Jana Pittman, Paul Burgess and Nathan Deakes have taken out Australia's three best medal chances, leaving Craig Mottram in the 5,000m and Jane Saville in the 20km walk to lead the team's hopes.

But as they look to the future, Athletics Australia performance director Max Binnington and Australian Sports Commission chairman Peter Bartels are hopeful.

They have an eye on the team which brought home two gold among seven medals from the recent world youth championships as they try to pull Australia out of the athletics doldrums.

"The Sports Commission chairman said to us 'we think realistically 2012 is when you should be delivering' and if you talk Olympic cycles, I think he's right," Binnington said. "I think by Beijing in 2008 we should start to see some signs. If this current crop of world youth athletes continue to develop and perform at the level they are now we will have top athletes popping up. I think we have to be delivering by 2012."

For the present, however, Australia is relying on a team of only 20 athletes, including a worryingly small band of six women, in Helsinki.

Complete article at The Daily Telegraph

Posted at 14:49     [Perma-Link]

Athletics' biennial showpiece is likely to be a lacklustre affair, symptomatic of the sport's wider malaise

Have the World Athletics Championships ever caused less of a stir than the event beginning in Helsinki on Saturday? A year after the Athens Olympics commanded our attention, the International Association of Athletics Federations is supposedly bringing the world's greatest athletes together once again in an attempt to repeat the feat. But there is a distinct impression of the whole thing having an after the Lord Mayor's Show feel about it, both for the fans and some of the athletes.

Last week, while covering the Bislett Golden League meeting in Oslo, I bumped into a crowd of Finns who were enjoying their £7-a-pint lagers after travelling to the Norwegian capital to watch a U2 concert. They were a young, happy-go-lucky bunch, apparently with no shortage of cash in their pockets. And they were sports fans who knew their athletics. But they had made no plans to watch the games in Helsinki's old Olympic Stadium, even though the world championships were in their home town and Finland is supposedly a country that loves athletics.
The IAAF likes to say its games are the world's third biggest sporting occasion, after the Olympics and football's World Cup. But the claim is looking more than a little thin with tickets still on sale only a few days before the championships are due to begin. It isn't as though there is a cavernous stadium to fill. Now the old benches have been ripped out to be replaced by plastic seats, Helsinki's Olympic Stadium accommodates just 40,000, with some 15,000 of those places being set aside for VIPs, athletes, officials and the media. And still they can't sell the remainder.

Perhaps the public is frustrated that some of the biggest stars will not be there. The list of top athletes who will not be competing seems to have been growing by the day. The world 100 metres record holder Asafa Powell has pulled out, double Olympic gold medallist Kelly Holmes never really looked too likely to make it, while Hicham El Guerrouj, who scored his own double gold-medal triumph in Athens, has gone missing this season, apparently lacking both motivation and conditioning.

All season, events across Europe have failed to garner the headlines of previous years. Performances, with the notable exception of Powell's world-record run in an almost empty Athens stadium back in June, have been largely unexceptional. A sizeable crowd turned out for the Golden League meeting in Paris, where thousands of tickets were said to have been given away by organisers keen to impress International Olympic Committee delegates with a full Stade de France before the vote on the 2012 bids. And there have been sell-outs at Stockholm and Crystal Palace, two events where promoters have shunned attempts by the IAAF to make them part of the unwieldy Golden League series. But others have been badly attended and the press corps, perhaps weighed down by the Balco investigation, has been unenthused.

You do not have to go too far in the sport to hear mutterings about a lack of leadership within the IAAF. One insider told me: "The organisation is treading water. And it is losing ground against other sports that are marketed more professionally." In the ever more competitive world of advertising and endorcements, it should be a worrying observation for those who fear athletics, the backbone of the Olympic movement, is in danger of losing its way.

Six years have now passed since the death of Primo Nebiolo, the autocratic leader of the IAAF who, in his 18 years as president, masterminded the transition of athletics from amateurism through to full-blown professionalism. It would be overstating the Italian's power to say he ever left horses' heads in the beds of his opponents, but there was something about Nebiolo that Mario Puzo, Marlon Brando and Francis Ford Coppola would have appreciated. He was feared, even hated, and one reporter once memorably observed that going for dinner with Nebiolo and his wife was a little like having an audience with the Borgias.

But Nebiolo got things done. It was Nebiolo who was behind the decision to stage the World Athletics Championships every two years after 1991 - they had previously been held only every four years - to increase revenue flowing into the sport's coffers. And he was instrumental in the development of the grand prix circuit. But I feel sure that the old dictator would have been taking urgent moves to make his sport more competitive in the world market if he had still been alive today.

There is talk of a restructuring of the Golden League, with the IAAF talking about a series of 20 meetings or more around the world, culminating in an annual Grand Prix final. But I believe the change has to be even more radical. Meetings need to be repackaged to be more appealing for the fans, using the highly successful Norwich Union London Grand Prix as the template. With the distinct possibility that this year's World Athletics Championships will struggle to rise above the less than enthralling entertainment of the last post-Olympics games in Edmonton four years ago, surely serious thought should be given to making a decision to revert to the days when the championships were held only every four years.

Complete article at The Guardian

Posted at 14:43     [Perma-Link]

Rough chance for decimated squad

Sprinter Patrick Johnson predicts Australia could find a few "diamonds in the rough" among its 20-member team, the smallest sent to a world championships since their inception in 1983.

It has been a difficult build-up for the team. Medal hopefuls Jana Pittman and Paul Burgess withdrew injured, while Olympic bronze medal winning walker Nathan Deakes pulled out of his pet 20km event with a hamstring problem.

But Johnson said the Australians were putting all that behind them and concentrating on performing at their peak in Helsinki.

Johnson, who will run in the heats of the 100m when competition starts today at the 1952 Olympic Stadium, said the small team size meant there was more pressure on every athlete.

"It is always tough without a big team, but it is a close-knit team that will support each other," Johnson said. "The expectation is hard on everyone but there could be a diamond in the rough where you get a couple of people coming out and performing well."

Athletics Australia's national performance director Max Binnington takes the same view. He nominated 20km walker Luke Adams, who finished fifth at the last world championships in Paris, as one who could surprise when his event is held tonight.

Even distance running coach Nic Bideau, who has criticised the management of Australian athletics in the past, said a small team did not necessarily mean there would be fewer medals or top-eight placings than previously.

"I think we might end up doing pretty well. The team is more than just Pittman and Burgess," said Bideau, who coaches 10,000m hopeful Benita Johnson and Craig Mottram who is searching for a medal in the 5000m.

Two years ago Australia sent a team of 38 but came home with only one medal - Pittman's gold in the 400m hurdles.

Complete article at The Australian

Posted at 14:40     [Perma-Link]

Mottram the great white hope

Sport throws up some mighty challenges like winning a cricket series in India and taking a set off Roger Federer at Wimbledon.

And then there is the herculean task facing a lanky lad from Geelong at the world athletics championships in Helsinki.

Craig Mottram's Mt Everest is trying to beat a group of brilliant Africans - up to nine athletes of Kenyan origin and three Ethiopians - in the 5000m final tomorrow week.

In fact, it will be harder than climbing Mt Everest. That has been done. But a non-African man winning a medal in a distance event at an Olympics or world championships?

It's not possible, according to most pundits, because no one has done it for more than a decade.

In 1992, Germany's Dieter Baumann (who later tested positive for banned substances) won the Olympic 5000m race.

Since that race, only Africans, mostly from Kenya, Morocco and Ethiopia, have won medals of any colour in the 5000m and 10,000m events at the Olympics and the biennial world championships.

"They have something unique about them that makes it very difficult," Mottram's coach, Nic Bideau, said. "People do think it is impossible. We take the view that it is not. We have got the only guy in the world who has shown he is able to do it. He has beaten them and he can beat them in Helsinki. He is a very talented, strong determined guy and he might just pull it off."

Bideau reckons if Mottram wins a medal of any colour, it will be as big as Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute mile, or Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, and better than any gold medal in the swimming pool.

"You can't say an Australian winning the 1500 metres in the pool is a big deal. Before Hackett, Perkins was doing it, before that (Glen) Housman was doing it. We always have someone doing it, it is easy for us to do," Bideau said.

He is provoked to comparisons because he is frustrated there is not enough understanding or recognition in Australia of Mottram's achievements at important European track meets.

Complete article at Fox Sports

Posted at 14:36     [Perma-Link]

Townsville Marathon men have records in their sights

Course records will be broken at the BHP Billiton Townsville Running Festival tomorrow if all goes to plan for Lazhar Hamadi and Gemechu Woyecha.

Nigerian-born, Sydney-based runner Hamadi will contest the Tony Ireland Holden Marathon bright and early tomorrow morning while Woyecha, winner of the 2004 Gold Coast Marathon, will line up in the adidas Half Marathon.

Both athletes have expressed a desire to rewrite the record books.

"We both want to break the course record," Hamadi said. "(My performance) will depend on the weather. I am hoping to run about 2:26-2:27 but I would be happy to break 2:30 if it's really hot."

Hamadi holds a personal- best marathon time of 2:30.05 and needs to beat 2:37.26 to make Townsville Running Festival history.

With a 1hr 4mins half marathon personal best, Ethiopan-born, Canberra-based Woyecha is aiming to beat 1:10.20 tomorrow. The three-time winner of the Canberra Marathon will have a fight on his hands with Townsville product Colin Johnston also eyeing off the half marathon record.

The festival marks Johnston's comeback race after 12 months on the sidelines with an achilles injury.

The six-time winner of Townsville's King of the Castle said it was a hard decision not to attempt his first marathon on home soil.

"I am wanting to step up and start training for marathons," he said. "I do want to give it a go here but my training buddies were saying how tough it was and it might be a tall order for my first race back."

Complete article at Townvillle Bulletin

Posted at 12:29     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, August 04, 2005 

Mottram wants respect

No recognition. No respect. No interest. That's how Craig Mottram believes he and his sport are being viewed by the Australian public, just two days out from the start of the world track and field championships in Helsinki.

The distance star is convinced that most people don't have any idea of who he is or the fact that he is currently one of the world's best and a potential gold medallist.

And Mottram, who now lives in London for seven months a year, claims he would be $1million better off if he represented England which is still a possibility down the track given he holds a British passport.

"At the moment no one knows who I am, no one cares," he said. "I would be better known here than I would be in Australia."

Mottram is saddened by the state of his sport and how far its profile has dropped over the past five years compared with swimming and the respective football codes.

He knows that back home the fact he is the only white man able to take on the African domination of distance running rarely registers a beat, whereas in the more track and field savvy Europe, he is almost a god.

"They can't believe what we are doing [over here], they are excited about it and like it," he said. "In Australia they don't get excited about it like they do over here.

"It is just not in their face enough. The funny thing is if a footy team came over here and was doing what I was doing [against the best in the world] or a swimmer came here and was doing it, they'd get noticed back at home.

"In Australia I am probably respected among those who know about the sport and those that know about sport in general but the general public don't know me, they don't know anything about what I do.

"They can't appreciate what it is that I'm doing on the track. They might see that I've come second or third in a race and think, 'Oh, he didn't win', but it's not that easy to win.
"Yet the weird thing is when I go and run a record of the Tan [running track in Melbourne], it goes berserk. It's on every TV channel and in every paper."

Complete article at Fox Sports

Posted at 08:37     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, August 03, 2005 

Iron injection steels Benita Johnson

A lack of iron has been identified as the cause of distance star Benita Johnson's mysterious flop in her final lead-up race to the world championships.

Johnson, one of Australia's few genuine medal chances, was left shattered and confused last week in Stockholm when she faded badly over the concluding stages of the 5000m event to finish 13th.

"I was very upset," Johnson said yesterday. "I just got really lactic and felt like I was going to collapse. I really didn't know what was wrong because I thought I was in 14:50 shape so it was pretty disappointing to feel that way given it was my last race before the world championships."

However, after several days of medical tests and soul searching the former world cross-country champion is predicting a significant turnaround when she steps onto the start line in Helsinki for the 10,000m on Saturday.

"I am confident that I can get back and run really well at world champs," Johnson said after completing an impressive track session at her London training base yesterday.

Blood tests revealed that Johnson's iron levels were dangerously low, a problem she had experienced at last year's Athens Olympics after another uncharacteristic performance.

"The doctor has told me I will have to keep my iron levels much higher than the average," she said. "I've had an iron injection to help top it up but it is something I have to keep an eye on."

Complete article at The Advertiser

Posted at 12:01     [Perma-Link]

Oswald Set To Defend Noosa Half Title

Tanzanian, Oswald Revelian today confirmed he will return to defend his Noosa Journal Half Marathon title on August 21.

The 23-year-old Revelian will contest this weekend’s Bridge to Brisbane and back again the following weekend in Sydney for the City to Surf.

The Noosa Half forms part of his preparation for trying to claim his third successive victory in the Sydney Marathon on September 11.

Since arriving in Australia on June 27 along with his team mates Dickson Marwa, winner of the 2005 Gold Coast Marathon, Sarah Majah who claimed third in the same race, Revelian finished a credible sixth and Patrick Nyangelo won the Gold Coast Half Marathon, it has been a successful trip despite their coach Sulemain Nyambui Mujaya being unable to accompany the group this year. Due to commitments back in Tanzania with the TAAA and TOC along with his involvement in the Tanzanian National Athletics Championships at the end of July and preparing the national team for the upcoming World Championships in Helsinki this month.

Nyambui was a silver medallist at the 1980 Moscow Olympics 5000m and Indoor World Record holder of the 5000m for 17 years. He now heads up the John Stephen Akhwari Athletics Foundation.

Despite a full racing program in the next two weeks, Revelian is looking forward to returning to Noosa. “I had a fantastic time last year and the course was beautiful, so am looking forward to return and putting on a good performance.”

Revelian would prefer a longer break between racing it is difficult for athletes from a third world country and the prize money make a huge difference to them.

The Tanzanian squad has been based at the Runaway Bay Sports Super Centre on the Gold Coast.

Following the Sydney Marathon Revelian may contest the Burnie Ten before returning to his job as police officer in Moshi, near Mt Kilimanjaro.

However, Revelian will have to overcome the current Queensland 10km and Half Marathon Champion Brian Livingston who has also confirmed his intention to race.

Livingston recently won the Jetty to Jetty run which doubled as the Queensland 10km Championships despite a battle to contain the lead group in the early stages.

"My strategy is really not to have one. I just run as hard as I can and once I got to the front today I didn’t to be complacent so set my sights on the lead cyclist," said Livingston.

Livingston who how hails from the Hollywood Hills in California is now a permanent resident in Australia and resides on the Gold Coast where he works full time in retail.

After studying in Canberra in 1998-’09 he made the decision to move to Australia permanently to pursue his love of distance running.

"My aim is to run 67 minutes but anything under that would be a bonus," said Livingston.

Revelian’s time last year was 1:08:08 but the race record is currently held by Scott Westcott set back in 2000 - 1:03:03.

If the Half Marathon is a little to long for you then there is the 10km or Wide Bay Australia 5km run/walk.

Entries for this year’s event are open through the secure on-line entry form available at the official web site, www.usmevents.com.au or phone USM Events for a printed entry form (07) 5449 0711.

Posted at 08:11     [Perma-Link]

Australian medal hopes bleak

By Len Johnson
Jana Pittman and Paul Burgess are out of the Australian team for the world championships, and Nathan Deakes is in danger of missing his pet event, the 20-kilometre road walk.

Big stars Hicham El Guerrouj, Christian Olsson and Asafa Powell are out, too, but the world can get along without these three superstars much more easily than Australian track and field can get by without Pittman, Burgess and, possibly, Deakes.

It has not been a happy lead-up to the world championships for Australian athletics. After the wide-ranging review of the sport following the 2004 Olympic Games, incoming chief executive Danny Corcoran and new national performance director Max Binnington would have been hoping for better news than they have had in the past week or so.

But there are bright spots. Corcoran saw one last Friday night in Oslo when Craig Mottram capped a perfect preparation with a national record in the mile. Mottram is in the 5000 metres in Helsinki, as tough an event as any on the program, but he is in the form of his life.

Even if Deakes does not take part in the 20-kilometre on Saturday's first day of competition, Luke Adams, who was fifth in the event in the Paris world championships two years ago, is back, and Ballarat youngster Jarred Tallent has made significant improvement this year.

Burgess, the only man in the world to have cleared six metres in the pole vault this year, has back-up, too. Dmitri Markov was 2001 world champion and although his form is not as consistent as he would like, he still is capable of challenging the best. Steven Hooker cleared 5.87 metres in Melbourne this year and has been consistent around the 5.60 mark in Europe. Either, or both, could be around at medals-deciding heights.

Pittman's absence, along with that of Burgess and probably Deakes from his main event, robs this team of its three best medal chances.

Melbourne 2006 has also cost Australia as far as Helsinki 2005 goes. It was near to official policy following the Athens Olympics that Helsinki be downplayed in favour of a focus on Melbourne. It has cost this team several strong contenders individually as well as collectively — the men's 4 x 400 metres relay, for example.

But the 20 Australian athletes in Helsinki may spring a few surprises. Joshua Ross and a resurgent Patrick Johnson look capable of making the semi-finals of the 100 metres.

Daniel Batman is capable of reaching the 200 final and John Steffensen, the only one of the Olympic silver medal relay team competing, should make at least the semis of the 400.

The women's team has only six athletes remaining. The best, Benita Johnson, is under an illness cloud after a below-par performance in Stockholm last week. She competes in the 10,000 metres on Saturday night.

Olympic bronze medallist Jane Saville competes in the 20-kilometre walk and must be rated a chance.

Lauren Hewitt in the 200 metres and Tatiana Grigorieva in the pole vault are both potential finalists.

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 08:04     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, August 02, 2005 

Telstra Athletics Assistance Fund Goes Live

Athletics Australia’s principal sponsor, Telstra, are once again offering grants to assist clubs/centres.

This project is designed to supply grass roots athletics clubs/centres throughout Australia with essential athletics equipment. The Telstra Athletics Assistance Fund will be targeted towards clubs/centres that are able to most closely meet the selection criteria set down in the application form.

A total of $200,000 + GST will be distributed to registered clubs/centres nationwide with a maximum of $5,000 allocated to each successful club or centre.

The fund will be offered to Little Athletic centres/clubs and senior athletic clubs who are currently registered with their relevant state association.

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website

Posted at 15:55     [Perma-Link]

Benita Johnson To Defend BUPA Great North Run Title

Benita Johnson will defend her BUPA Great North Run title on September 18, organizers announced today.

Last year, the 26-year-old Australian won the Newcastle to South Shields, England race in 67:55, defeating Kenyans Edith Masai and Susan Chepkemei. It was the second fastest half-marathon performance of 2004.

"It has always been our policy to invite past champions to defend their titles", said athletics director Matthew Turnbull. "Now that she is definitely competing I can whittle down the number of elite international athletes who have asked to be considered for the meeting. I have my own ideas of who I really want and when the World Championships reach a conclusion next month and athletes re-assess their fitness and intentions, there will be more announcements."

The Great North Run is the world’s largest half-marathon. At last year’s 24th edition, a record 38,374 participants finished. 50,000 runners will start the race this year.

Posted at 12:22     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, August 01, 2005 

Aussies dropping like flies from Helsinki World Champs

Jana Pittman's withdrawal from the world athletics championships has exposed one of the weakest Australian teams to enter a major championships in years.

Pittmans absence from the 400m hurdles due to a back injury leaves a lean 20-member team without its only defending champion and strongest medal chance when it contests the world titles in Helsinki starting next Saturday.

Australias best hopes for medals now rest with walkers Nathan Deakes and Jane Saville, while Craig Mottram faces a mountainous task against the Kenyans and Ethiopians in the 5000m.

The injury to Pittman comes a week after pole vaulter Paul Burgess, one of the few other medal hopes, withdrew from the championships.

"Undoubtedly Jana not being able to compete is a huge disappointment for everyone," performance director Max Binnington said. "Shes a huge loss, she was a potential gold medallist. Jana was going so well, progressing well and then suddenly there's this injury."

"Paul Burgess, he was a real chance, a genuine six metre vaulter, if he gets over six metres he could very well win it. Suddenly they're both not there."

Without Pittman and 1500m runner Sarah Jamieson who pulled out last week also with a calf injury, Australias female representation in Helsinki is cut to six, with Olympic 20km walk bronze medallist Saville the only realistic chance of a medal.

Blood tests revealed distance runner Benita Johnson had a bacterial infection and she isnt expected to fare well.

Complete article at The Border Mail

Posted at 16:08     [Perma-Link]

Mottram tunes up with mile record

Craig Mottram is confident he can beat anyone who lines up against him in the 5000 metres at this week's world championships.

Mottram's final preparation went to plan when he broke the Australian mile record at Friday night's Golden League meeting in Oslo, Norway.

Only a part-time mile racer, Mottram was satisfied enough with his fifth placing in 3min 48.98sec, a little over a second behind winner Daham Bashir of Qatar (formerly of Kenya) who won in 3:47.97, the fastest mile in the world this year.

Mottram's time surpassed the Australian mile record of 3:49.91 set by Simon Doyle in 1991, also in Oslo. With all his training geared towards longer distances, Mottram was excited about his mile pace.

"It was a great time, but it wasn't that surprising, we thought I could go under 3:50," Mottram said. "It couldn't have gone any better than a PB and a national record, but the big show's in a couple of weeks and that's what I really want."

The heats of the men's 5000m are on August 11, with the final on August 14, the last day of the world championships.

Mottram will continue training at his base in London and head to Helsinki on August 9.

Complete article at The Australian

Posted at 16:00     [Perma-Link]


This page last updated: Monday 29 August 2005


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