Sunday, 15 September 2013

2013 Great North Run – Medallist Quotes

Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) – winner:

“My injury was over three years and this time they are over and I’m recovered so I did good training and did well. I would like to run London if I’m invited.”

Mo Farah (GBR) – second place:

"Kenenisa’s a great athlete and has great experience. At some point, I honestly thought we’d dropped him and I said to Haile, the gap wasn’t enough for him not to catch us. You don’t want to lose but he’s a great athlete and it came right to the line.

“For me, my main aim this year was the World Championship but it was a great race with us all taking it on, it was awesome having the three of us.

“When Kenenisa went, I didn’t respond but you learn and now I’ll take my break and get ready for the marathon.

“It’s very exciting with Kennenisa stepping up to the road as well. We all get on well together, this is what the sport needs.”

Haile Gebrselassie (ETH) – third place:

“I know when I reached 18km, I don’t have enough speed to my only chance was to push.

“The two gentlemen did a good job, my time wasn’t too bad and I broke the world masters’ record by two minutes.

“I congratulate the organisers for creating this wonderful race, it’s a wonderful moment for all of us.”
Prischa Jeptoo (KEN) – winner:

“It’s a special day for me as I didn’t think I’d run such a special time so I’m very happy. I was very happy to run against them as they are very strong. Next I have the New York marathon in November.

Meseret Defar (ETH) – second place:

“I am tired from the World Championships so I had no time for recovery but I ran my best time and Prischa did very well. This is my last race for the year so now I will recover.”

Tirunesh Dibaba (ETH) – third place:

“I ran a good race, it is a good result for me at the end of the season.”

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Winners Quotes - 2013 Great North CityGames, Newcastle-Gateshead

Sally Pearson (AUS) – winner of the 100m hurdles and 150m:

“The hurdles was ok, at least I’m running consistently so I’m happy.

“I can’t be excited by my season but it shows me there’s a lot to look forward to when I’m in shape next year.

“I was down to run the 150m all year and I’m always running sprints and it was good to do something different in my last race.”

Mike Rogers (USA) – winner of the 150m:

“I’m happy with today’s race, I’m really tired - it’s been a long season.

“It was a lot of fun, I enjoyed it here and I hope to come back next year. It’s my first time here, I did the Manchester CityGames two years ago.

“It was my best season ever and I’ve been very consistent. I was hurt last year but this year I was fit and hopefully I can do something special in the world indoor’s (in Poland in March).”

Ashleigh Nelson (GBR) – winner of the 100m:

“Me and my coach, Michael Afilaka have been working really hard this year, we know if I can stay injury-free then anything’s possible. We believe that I can do what the top girls do.

“It’s a great venue and crowd, I’m amazed by how many fans are out here.

“Now I’ll work at it all winter then see what the summer brings, hopefully the Commonwealth’s and European’s.”

Garrett Heath (USA) – winner of the one mile (road):

“It was good, the two Kenyans took it out pretty hard but I just settled behind until 1200m so then I decided to give it a go and leave it all out there.

“I was running out of gas on the final stretch on the track. I’m next racing New York (the Fifth Avenue Mile) next week.”

Jonnie Peacock (GBR) - winner of the IPC T44 100m:

“It could have gone better but it was a good way to finish off the season.

“It’s awesome and really special to be racing against the best in the world and for us to keep getting these opportunities to race.

“All I’m thinking about now is going on holiday, enjoying myself for a few weeks and not think about athletics for six weeks.”

David Oliver (USA) - winner of the 110m hurdles:

“This season was a learning process and it was definitely the best season of my career, especially coming back from injury.

“It was great to finish my year here with winning six races in a row. I was healthy this year and performed well when it mattered – at the world’s and winning the Diamond League.

“I’m now looking forward to spending a lot of time on my couch then starting again ahead of the World indoors.”

James Dasaolu (GBR) – winner of the 100m:

“It’s a nice, fun meet with the fans so close, I love it out here. It’s great to clock another good time and bring home the win.

“I’ve been healthy for 18-months now and it’s been a good season for me. I’m going to let the body recover for a month to six weeks and then possibly go for some of the three big champs to pick from next year.”

Chris Tomlinson (GBR) – winner of the long jump:

“To be honest, I’d actually prefer for the season to go on, what with not going to the World’s and I enjoy my athletics. It’s nice to finish my season in the north-east with lots of friends and family here to support me.

“Moscow was the first major champs I missed since 2002 so it’s rejuvenated me and there’s a big carrot there next year to do the three major champs.”

Monday, 29 July 2013

Reliving Olympic Memories

This past weekend, it was fantastic to revisit the London Olympic Stadium for the 'Anniversary Games', which provided a wonderful opportunity to relive my many happy memories of London 2012.

One year from the date of the Olympic Games' opening ceremony, British Athletics held a two-day extravaganza of world-class Olympic action and it was a pleasure to join the organising press team once more.

Working alongside a plethora of experienced and all-round lovely bunch of athletics media professionals, I joined the flash-quote team for trackside interviews, which - just like in Gothenburg and Gateshead earlier this year - was certainly a fun way of both witnessing the performances and gauging the initial reactions of the athletes.

I am looking forward to returning to the stadium when it reopens in 2015 and particularly, heading back there for the 2017 World Championships...!

Now, as the season almost reaches its' close with the Moscow World Champs and few remaining Diamond Leagues on the European circuit, it's time for me to reflect on a fabulous indoor and outdoor season which included five major championships and trips to four different countries before a long-awaited holiday to Rome with my beau next month...

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Boys' medley relay final report - Donestk 2013


Jamaica toppled favourites USA for victory in the Medley Relay, storming to a 1:49.23 World youth best* in the process.

Improving the USA’s 2011 winning squad’s 1:49.47 time, the Jamaican quartet were led off by Waseem Williams - who finished seventh in the 100m final on Thursday (11) - on the 100m leg before Michael O’Hara took over on the 200m stage of the race.

O’Hara, the 200m gold medallist from earlier in the evening and 100m silver medallist, established a slight lead from the USA outfit, as Okeen Williams took over with 300m to run.

It was then down to Friday’s (12) 400m gold medallist, Martin Manley to take charge with an unassailable lead over his one-lap run for home, finishing almost a second clear of the runners-up.

Surprisingly, Jamaica have only ever won bronze in this event at the Ostrava edition in 2007, whilst the USA team’s fine tradition was upset following their six victories in the eight editions of this championship. 

The USA’s 400m silver medallist, Ryan Clark could not match Manley’s closing speed, as the American joined forces with Jaalen Jones, Noah Lyles and Taylor McClaughlin to claim the silver medal in 1:50.14.

In bronze, Japan clocked a 1:50.52 personal best as Daiki Oda, Shunto Nagata, Kakeru Yamaki and Kaisei Yui took their nation’s fifth medal in the history of this event.

*Subject to the usual ratification procedures.

Girls' heptathlon report - Donetsk 2013


With an inspired second day, Germany’s Celina Leffler used her leading performances in the long jump, javelin and the 800m to grab victory in a 5747 championship best.

The 17-year-old’s score was a lifetime best by 67 points, finishing over 150 points ahead of Sweden’s Emma Stenlof, who in turn recorded a 5590 personal best for the silver medal.

Leffler’s team-mate, Louisa Grauvogel moved from fifth to third place after the final event courtesy of a 2:19.26 800m lifetime best, her score culminating with 5581.

The winner in Donetsk, Ukraine was almost 300 points adrift of Britain’s Morgan Lake at the end of day one following world youth leader, Lake’s impressive 1.90m high jump to head the outright 2013 global youth list by 2cm.

But as day two began, Lake suffered disappointing performances in the long jump (4.73m) and javelin (30.81m) and so decided to withdraw from the final discipline of the heptathlon competition, looking visibly devastated.

For Leffler meanwhile, today kept on getting better with a 6.09m long jump personal best, a 40.95m javelin lifetime best and a third dominant performance in the 800m to take the gold.

Her title is Germany’s second in the 14-year history of this championship, following Annett Wichman’s victory in Debrecen, 2001 and the nation has additionally taken three silvers and three bronze during the eight editions of this event.

Claiming Sweden’s first ever medal in the world youth heptathlon, Stenlof enjoyed a consistent series of events on both days.

The 17-year-old high registered three personal bests in the high jump (1.78m), shot put (13.84m) and javelin (38.81m), before improving her heptathlon score by 8 points.

In a great competition for Germany, Grauvogel too set new marks with a 44.65m javelin effort and her two lap time to finish only 9 points behind silver. 

Australian pair Aliyah Johnson and Alysha Burnett finished in fourth and fifth, respectively with personal best scores of 5547 and 5505.

Boys' octathlon report - Donetsk 2013


Smashing his lifetime best by over 500 points, Norway’s Karsten Warholm stole the show in the boys’ Octathlon, recording no less than six lifetime best performances over the two-day competition.

With a 6451 score over, the 17-year-old fell only 40 points short of the World youth best and finished almost 200 points ahead of Russia’s Feliks Shestopalov (6260) and the Czech Republic’s Jan Dolezal (6222) in silver and bronze with a personal best each, respectively. 

For 17-year-old Shestopalov, the mark represented an improvement of over 200 points courtesy of six lifetime best scores, whilst – like Warholm - taking his nation’s first ever medal in this event in the 14-year history of this championship.

Dolezal, meanwhile with six lifetime bests also, took the Czech Republic’s third medal across the eight editions of this event, following silver in 2007 and bronze in 2003 for the nation.

For Warholm, the event was an opportunity to establish his dominance from the offset, which he did in speeding to a 10.86 100m personal best as the fastest qualifier of the day before producing a solid 7.30m long jump.

Later on day one, he threw another lifetime best in the shot with 12.94m to maintain the overall lead, before extending his margin again in the final event of the day, the 400m, by running 48.09 for the quickest time and a personal best to boot.

Warholm therefore held the overnight lead with 3347, with Shestopalov further adrift in fourth with 3137 and Dolezal in sixth with 3124.

Beginning the second day with the fastest time in the 110m hurdles via a 13.86 personal best before jumping another best with 2.02m in the high jump, Warholm fell over two metres short of his best in the javelin with a 42.53m effort but enjoyed a strong enough lead going into the final event, the 1,000m to have a glimpse at glory.

Speeding to a 2:57.93 lifetime best, the Czech finished behind Dolezal’s strong 2:48.15 personal best mark but it was by far enough to enjoy a comfortable victory.

Girls’ hammer throw final report - Donetsk 2013


As predicted, Reka Gyuratz and Helga Volgyi continued their intense rivalry and achieved a Hungarian 1-2 in the girls’ Hammer Throw final, surpassing the 70m mark on seven occasions between them as the rest of the field could not contend with their dominance.

Having thrown an impressive 76.04m lifetime best and world youth lead last month, Gyuratz – who has improved by a staggering six metres this summer – claimed the gold medal as expected courtesy of a 73.20 championship record in the second round.

The 17-year-old World junior finalist enjoyed a consistent series of efforts including 72.46m, 71.49m and 70.90m as Volgyi joined her team-mate on the medal podium with a 71.95m best on her third attempt.

Almost two and a half metres down on her personal best, Volgyi went over 70 metres on two other occasions with 70.81m and 70.49m to open and close her campaign.

Competing with the new 3kg implement, Gyuatz now leads the duo’s head-to-head battle 9-8, and following Friday’s (12) 71.72m championship record in qualifying before her 73.20m victory, she has taken Hungary’s first medal in this event since Andrea Keri won the 2001 title in Debrecen.

Taking the bronze medal, Ukraine’s Valeriia Semenkova delighted her home crowd with two lifetime bests.

The 17-year-old first threw 67.55m in the second round and then 68.62m to snatch third place. 

Meanwhile, Norway’s Beatrice Nedberg Llano finished fourth with a 68.31m personal best, the 15-year-old improving by over five metres ahead of Greece’s Dimitra Zotou in fifth place with 67.20m – a mark which represented an astonishing nine metre improvement in 2013. 

Boys’ hammer throw final report - Donetsk 2013


Croatia’s Matiji Greguric unleashed a mammoth 79.38m effort to snatch victory in the sixth and final round in a competition which saw the lead being exchanged several times with huge distances in the latter stages. 

The 16-year-old shot from fifth to first place courtesy of his impressive best mark, pushing the current leader Australia’s Matthew Denny (78.67m) out of contention as Belarus’ Pavel Paliakoy’s 79.02m last–gasp throw then snuck him into the silver medal position, thus leaving Denny to take the bronze.

Greguric enjoyed a consistent series including 76.19m, 76.62m and 78.37m efforts before taking his winning throw to clinch Croatia’s first ever medal in this event in the 14-year history of this championship.

Paliakoy meanwhile, progressed from fourth to second place with his best effort, following 77.05m, 78.45m, 77.92m and 77.60m marks.

Denny, who leads the discus world youth list, will attempt to make amends with gold in that event on Saturday (13), having fell almost four metres short of his 81.44m best this evening.

The 17-year-old Australian fouled three times and could only open his campaign with 77.66m and 77.37m, respectively – eventually going a metre further on his fifth attempt. 

In fourth place, Raman Zholudzeu of Belarus registered a 78.55m personal best, whilst Qatar’s Ahmed Amgad Elsify threw a 77.33m lifetime best for fifth. 

Girls' discus throw final report - Donetsk 2013


China’s Yuchen Xie smashed the championship record by over a metre en route to claiming the girls’ Discus gold medal, claiming a popular victory in a superb 56.34m to continue her nation’s fine showing in the history of this event in the World Youth Championships.

Having taken the 1999, 2001 and 2009 titles, China placed high hopes on Xie’s shoulders and as expected, the 17-year-old replicated her countrywoman, Li Shanshan – the 2009 winner’s – winning performance in a dominant display in Donetsk, Ukraine.

In the only girls’ throwing event where athletes compete with the senior implement, Xie led a world-leading 1-2-3 as Germany’s Claudine Vita grabbed silver (with a 52.59m personal best) from China’s Xinyun Liang who clinched the bronze medal with a 51.50m lifetime best.

For 17-year-old Xie, her winning mark represented the icing on the cake following a strong series of efforts including 53.24m, 55.01m and 54.06m in the preceding rounds.

Indeed, the victor enjoyed a successful day all round, having led the qualifying rounds with a 52.94m throw in the morning session, thus setting the scene for a scintillating final ahead. 

Girls' shot put final report - Donetsk 2013


Turkey’s Emel Dereli has dominated the girls’ Shot Put this year and last month threw a fine 19.99m so it was no surprise to see the 17-year-old capture the World youth title in thrilling fashion.

Following a 19.18m effort to lead the qualifying round this morning (11), the World Junior Championship eighth place finisher threw a superb 20.14m championship record and World youth best in the first round of tonight’s final to clinch her nation’s first ever medal in this event during the eight editions of these championships.

Competing with a 3kg implement for the first time in the World youth event and thus her qualifying throw becoming a championship record before her mammoth throw in the final, Dereli – who has improved by over a metre this season – was followed by Russia’s Alena Bugakova (18.60m) and the USA’s Ashlie Blake (17.57m) in silver and bronze, respectively.

Dereli had so much distance to spare over her compatriots that she could afford to register three fouls and decline to take her sixth and final attempt.

Sixteen-year-old Bugakova meanwhile, with a lifetime best of 19.17m set last month, went over 18-metres three times and finished clear of her American rival, who only finished 40cm adrift of her personal best.

Taking Russia’s first ever medal in this event, Bugakova has improved by over four metres this season, whilst Blake’s bronze medal represents the USA’s first medal in this event since World indoor bronze medallist, Michelle Carter took the 2001 title in Debrecen with 15.23m.

The 17-year-old, who additionally failed to qualify for the final of the discus in Donetsk, finished clear of Germany’s Anika Nehls in fourth with 17.23m, as Poland’s Klaudia Kardasz placed fifth with 16.98m.

*Subject to the usual ratification procedures. 

Boys' shot put final report - Donetsk 2013


With a consistent series of impressive throws, Patrick Muller led a German 1-2 in the boys’ Shot Put final, taking the World youth title with a 22.02m lifetime best from Henning Prufer (21.94m).

The 17-year-old opened the competition with a 10cm improvement of his best with the almighty 22.02m mark to follow in the footsteps of his countryman, current World champion David Storl, who clinched the 2007 World youth title in Ostrava with a 21.40m effort.  

Muller will hope to go down the same path as Storl, as the 22-year-old went on to claim the World junior crown the following year ahead of taking Olympic silver in London last summer.

Executing a strong series of throws including marks of 21.63m, 21.85 and 21.20, Muller – who qualified first with 21.25m earlier in the day – will enjoy the company of teammate, Prufer on the medal rostrum following the latter’s personal best performance by over one metre.

The 17-year-old’s fine 21.94m throw was followed by four fouls before a final 2XXX effort to comfortably take the silver medal ahead of Egypt’s Mohamed Magdi Hamza, who threw 20.58m for bronze.

The 17-year-old enjoyed two other 20m-plus throws with 20.11m and 20.43m in the third and fifth rounds, respectively and in turn took his nation’s first medal in this event since Yasser Ibrahim Farag finished runner-up in the 2001 event in Debrecen.

Further back in fourth, Croatia’s Martin Markovic registered a best of 20.54m whilst World youth leader, Konrad Bukowiecki of Poland will be disappointed to finish fifth with 20.10m – over two-metres down on his 22.33m lifetime and season’s best.

Girls' javelin final report - Donetsk 2013


Australia’s Mackenzie Little won a dramatic battle with Cuba’s Yulenmis Aguilar in the Javelin Throw final, with both athletes swapping ownership of the championship record and the lead in a thrilling tussle for gold.

Competing with a lighter 500g implement, the 16-year-old opened her campaign with a fine 57.29 championship record before Aguilar responded with a 59.94 championship record and lifetime best.

Determined to regain her lead, however, Little dug deep into her reserves to unleash an astounding 61.47m in the fifth round, thus smashing her pre-event personal best by almost five metres.

Her victory is Australia’s first in this event in the eight editions of these championships since Kimberly Mickle won in Debrecen in 2001, and follows Monique Cilione’s bronze medal in Lille two years ago.

In third, Latvia’s Anete Kocina threw a best of 54.26m in round one to narrowly push Hungary’s Reka Szilagyi (54.24m) into fourth, while Turkey’s Eda Tugsuz placed fifth with 51.56m.

Boys' javelin final report - Donetsk 2013


Slovenia, Hungary and Spain each claimed their first Javelin Throw medal in the 14-year history of this event, as Slovenia’s Matija Muhar unleashed a 78.84m lifetime best to take the victory.

The 16-year-old has improved by almost seven and a half metres this year and he continued his breakthrough season by grabbing gold ahead of Hungary’s Norbert Rivasz-Toth (78.27m).

Muhar launched the spear to his personal best in his opening throw followed by two fouls, and only 67.04m and 68.98m, before declining to take his final effort.

Rivasz-Toth meanwhile, saved his best for the fifth round as he cleared 73 metres on five occasions following his 12th place finish in the World junior final last summer but he will be disappointed not to get near his 79.82m best mark from May.

Taking the bronze medal, Spain’s Pablo Bugallo threw 76.63m as he exceeded the 70 metre mark four times, as Finnish duo Oliver Helander and Lassi Saarinen finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

Helander reached a best of 75.36m, whilst Saarinen recorded 76.63m – two metres down on his qualifying distance.

Girls' pole vault final report - Donetsk 2013


Fifteen-year-old Robeilys Peinado defeated girls two years her senior in taking the pole vault crown by 10 centimetres, despite finishing below her 4.35m lifetime best.

The Venezuelan cleared a best of 4.25m before failing at her one 4.30m and two 4.36m attempts, as Russia’s 17-year-old Alena Lutkovskaya claimed the silver medal with 4.25m.

Capturing only her nation’s second ever medal in the 14-year history of this championship, Peinado’s silverware follows Keisa Monterola’s silver medal in the discipline at the Marrakech, 2005 event.

For Lutkovskaya meanwhile, she follows in the illustrious footsteps of world outdoor record-holder, Yelena Isinbaeva who won the 1999 title in Bydgoszcz. Despite not winning tonight (13), she jumped 5 centimetres higher than her compatriot did 14 years ago.

In the bronze medal position, Latvia’s Krista Obizajeva cleared a best of 4.05m to capture her nation’s first ever medal in the eight editions of this event in this championship.

New Zealand’s Eliza McCartney and Australia’s Nina Kennedy, both with a 4.05m height, finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

Girls' high jump final report - Donetsk 2013


Australia’s Eleanor Patterson not only took the High Jump crown with 6cm to spare over her nearest challenger but the 17-year-old additionally registered a lifetime best in the process.

Having qualified for the final with an energy-conserving 1.74m, Patterson cleared 1.88m on her second attempt to push Italy’s Erika Furlani into the runner-up position, aided by her 1.82m personal best.

Patterson, whose previous best of 1.87m was established back in December, opened her campaign at the 1.79m mark – clearing that height, 1.82m and 1.85m each on her first attempt.

Her first foul arrived at the 1.88m point which she then continued to clear on her second effort, before attempting to improve the 1.90m World youth lead which was registered by Britain’s Morgan Lake earlier in the day during the first day of the heptathlon. 

Failing to clear 1.91m on three occasions, Patterson failed in her quest but will be content with her dominant performance in Donetsk, Ukraine nevertheless and in turn claimed Australia’s first medal in this event since Petrina Price took silver in Debrecen twelve years ago. 

Furlani meanwhile, continued her fine form after setting a 1.77m lifetime in the qualifying round in clearing 1.82m at the third and final attempt.

The 17-year-old had second-time clearances at 1.75m and 1.79m, and failed on her only available attempt at the 1.85m point to settle for the silver medal.

Her medal is Italy’s first in this event since Alessia Trost took gold in Debrecen four years ago. 

South Africa’s Julia Du Plessis claimed the bronze medal with a best 1.79m clearance, having failed three times at 1.82m to take her nation’s first ever medal in this event in the 14-year history of this championship.

The 17-year-old has a lifetime best of 1.88m set in March, 2012 but the World Junior Championship finalist could not get near to her best.

In fourth and fifth place, respectively, Morocco’s Rhizlane Siba and Brazil’s Ana Paula De Oliveira reached 1.79m.

Boys' high jump final report - Donetsk 2013


Sanghyeok Woo captured Korea’s first ever medal in the 14-year history of this championship, clearing a 2.20m lifetime best to take the gold and continue his dramatic seven centimetre improvement in 2013.

The 17-year-old had only one minor blip en route to his final clearance, easily advancing at 2.02m, 2.11m, 2.14m, 2.16m, 2.18m and 2.20m on his first attempts before attacking 2.23m but to no avail. 

In the silver medal position, 15-year-old Jiaxu Bai from China leapt a 2.18m personal best after clearing 1.97m, 2.02m, 2.07m and 2.11m on attempt number one, before taking two attempts at 2.14m and going straight ahead after 2.16m.

On succeeding in his second effort at 2.18m, the Chinaman then took three fruitless attempts at the 2.20m to settle for the runner-up position. 

It was the East-Asia nation’s third medal in the history of this World youth event, with China claiming gold in the Marrakech, 2005 and Ostrava, 2007 events courtesy of Huang Haiqiang and Wang Chen.

In third with 2.16m, Jamaica’s Christoff Bryan took his nation’s first ever medal in this event in the editions of this championship, having enjoyed first-time clearances at 2.07m, 2.14m and 2.16m.

Beforehand, he skipped the 2.11m mark before registering three fouls at 2.18m which is four centimetres below his lifetime best.

Ukraine’s Oleksandr Barannikov and Bahamas’ Laguan Nairn both cleared 2.16m personal bests to finish fourth and fifth, respectively. 

Girls' long jump final report - Donetsk 2013


Romania’s Florentina Marincu today (14) achieved the Triple Jump and Long Jump double, with a 6.42m best effort for gold only two days after leaping to a 13.75m World youth lead in the former event.

The 17-year-old follows in the footsteps of her countrywoman, Cristine Spartaru who took victory in both horizontal jumps at the Sherbrooke, 2003 championships, as she finished just there centimetres clear of the USA’s Keturah Orji in second place.

Marincu opened her campaign with a modest 5.85m effort before progressing to 5.93m and 6.42m in the second and third rounds.

She could not improve any further with 6.24m in the fourth, followed by a foul and 6.19m but the world youth number one – with 6.54m set last month – held on for the gold.

Orji meanwhile, leapt a 6.39m lifetime best in the sixth and final round to add to her Triple Jump bronze medal and take the USA’s second ever medal in this event in the 14-year history of this championship.

In third, Poland’s 17-year-old Natalia Chacinska registered a 6.22m personal best to take her nation’s first ever medal in the Long Jump and pip Brazil’s Janaina Fernandes who herself jumped a 6.21m best.

The USA’s Courtney Corrin could not replicate her 6.31m from the qualifying round the previous day, as she leapt a best of 6.19m for fifth place.

Boys' long jump final report - Donetsk 2013


Anatoliy Ryapolov leapt to a gold medal-winning 7.79m and Russia’s first gold medal in the history of this event in these championships, living up to the heavy expectations of being the favourite in the countdown to the final.

The 16-year-old, who registered an eye-catching 7.90m in his homeland last month, executed a consistent series of jumps including 7.71m, 7.65m and 7.63m en route to claiming victory.

China’s Yaoquing Fang took the silver medal with a 7.53m leap to capture his nation’s third title in the 14-year history of this championship, following Shang Yapeng’s gold medal performance in Bydgoszcz, 1999 and Lin Qing’s win in Lille two years ago.

Taking the bronze medal and replicating London 2012 Olympic champion, Christian Taylor’s third place finish in Ostrava, 2007, meanwhile, was the USA’s Isaiah Moore who additionally registered 7.53m for a personal best.

Further adrift in fourth, Japan’s Shuhei Matsuoka leapt a 7.40m lifetime best, whilst China’s Zhong Peifeng placed fifth with 7.34m.

Boys' 10,000m walk final report - Donetsk 2013


Toshikazu Yamanishi claimed Japan’s first 10,000m Race Walk victory in the 14-year history of this championship in a dramatic last lap, which saw Guatemala’s Jose Alejandro Barrondo disqualified with only 60 metres remaining whilst in the silver medal position.

Clocking the second-fastest time of the year with a 41:53.80 lifetime best, Yamanishi was followed home by Russia’s Maksim Krasnov and Spain’s Diego Garcia, with the former winning a thrilling sprint finish for the silver medal in a 42:03.10 personal best to Garcia’s 42:03.32 lifetime best for third.

The early pace had been set by Australia’s Nathan Brill who took Yamanishi through the first kilometre in 4:14.12, with Krasnov and Garcia 30 metres further back.

Upping the tempo with a 4:05.78 and 4:09.29 second and third kilometre split, Brill then took off at the 4,200m mark with Yamanishi for close company.

But with 13 laps remaining, Krasnov and Garcia caught the duo as Brill was forced to concede the lead just after the halfway point which was reached in 20:53.73.

Seventeen year-old Diego subsequently took his turn at the head of the pack with Yamashita and Barrondo in close contention and with eight laps remaining, a group of six were packed tightly together as Garcia, Yamanishi and Barrondo moved into the medal positions, while the pace dropped to around 4:20 per kilometre pace.

As the lap counter read 5 remaining, Krasnov moved to the front and was quickly chased by Barrondo and Garcia as Brill paid for his early exuberant tempo and dropped off the group.

As the 9,000m point was reached with a swift 4:09.06 kilometre split, Barrondo then headed back to the front and with 800m to go, Garcia looked to have lost his chance of a medal, losing touch with Yamanishi and Krasnov who were closely guarding the Guatemalan’s move.

Seventeen year-old Yamanishi decided to unleash his kick for home 600m out as Barrondo rallied 10 metres adrift with 17-year-old Krasnov another 10 metres back.

As the Japanese athlete stormed clear for victory following a superb 3:52.50 final kilometre split, Barrondo suffered as dramatic disqualification with only 60m remaining whilst in the silver medal position.

Taking the surprise opportunity for a medal upgrade, Krasnov and Garcia battled right to the finish-line in a last-gasp effort, as  Japan’s Yuga Yamashita and Brill finished fourth and fifth, respectively with a 42:07.94 personal best and 42:54.70.

Krasnov’s silver follows Russia’s fine tradition in this event with six victories in eight editions of this championship, whilst Garcia claimed Spain’s first ever medal in this event.

Girls' 100m hurdles final report - Donetsk 2013


Flying to a 12.94 World youth best*, Jamaica’s Yanique Thompson captured her nation’s first gold medal in this event during the eight editions of this championship, following their three silver medals at the 2003, 2005 and 2007 events.

The 17-year-old had ran no faster than 13.23 before arriving in Donestk but registered 13.10 in her semi-final winning performance before saving her best for the final.

Pulling clear in the final 10 metres after a blistering start and having cleared all ten barriers with ease, the
Jamaican was followed by the USA’s Dior Hall who sped to a 13.01 personal best to take the silver medal ahead of team-mate Mikiah Brisco (13.29) in third with another lifetime best mark.

Seventeen year-old Hall improved from 13.16 in the semi-final stage – a World youth lead before Thompson’s 13.10 - and was a semi-finalist at the World Junior Championships in Barcelona last summer, hinting at her capability.

Hall and Brisco’s silverware thus succeeded in continuing the fine American showing in this event, following three gold, one silver and four bronze medals for the USA in the 14-year history of this championship.

In fourth, Jamaica’s Rushelle Burton clocked a 13.32 personal best, with Sweden’s Adriana Janic close behind in fifth with a 13.33 lifetime best. 

*Subject to the usual ratification procedures.

Boys' 2000m steeplechase final report - Donetsk 2013


In a thrilling battle all the way to the finish-line, Ethiopia’s Mersesa Kahsay eclipsed the World youth best* en route to taking victory over Kenya’s Nicholas Kiptonui Bett in a scintillating 5:19.99.

The 17-year-old World Junior Championship seventh place finisher smashed his lifetime best by 20 seconds in the process, following the East African pair’s relentless pace from the offset.

Having reeled in Bett’s 30m advantage by the kilometre mark, which was reached in 2:39.90, Kahsay stuck to Bett like glue as the Kenyan picked up the pace  with 600m remaining before unleashing a superb finishing kick off the final barrier down the home-straight to grab the gold.

His gold medal represents Ethiopia’s first in this event since the Ostrava, 2007 championship where Legese Lamiso prevailed, whilst Bett’s silver medal follows Kenya’s six victories in the eight editions of this event.

Sixteen-year-old Bett meanwhile, took over eight seconds from his personal best in clocking 5:20.92, ahead of his team-mate, Justus Kipkorir Lagat who jogged the final 50 metres, exhausted from matching Bett’s early pace.

Registering a 5:30.00 lifetime best, he finished clear of fourth place finisher Hicham Chemlal of Morocco (5:32.92) and Ethiopia’s Micheale Atsbaha (5:36.64) – the latter two enjoying personal bests in a race where 10 athletes in total could boast the same.

* Subject to the usual ratification procedures.

Girls' 3000m final report - Donetsk 2013


Kenya claimed their sixth girls’ 3,000m title in the eight-year history of these championships courtesy of Lilian Rengeruk’s scorching world-leading 8:58.74 victory and 13-second lifetime best.

The 16-year-old won a thrilling home-straight battle with the fast-finishing Berhan Demiesa of Ethiopia, who in turned registered a fine 9:00.06 personal best from her teammate,  Silenat Yismaw, clocking a 9:01.63 best for bronze.

Remgeruk, the recent winner of Kenya’s World youth trials, shot off from the gun to enjoy a 50m lead and passed the first kilometre mark in  3:01.10, showing she was on course for a sub-nine minute time.

Keeping up her impressive pace with a 3:01.43 split to go through the 2,000m mark in 6:02.53, Remgeruk still had a comfortable 40-metres to play with ahead of the chasing pack, though in a group of four working tightly together, Demiesa and Yismaw looked menacing as they gradually bridged the gap to 30m with two laps remaining.

Hitting the bell in 7:53.30, Remgeruk attempted to change gear and bravely held off the Ethiopian challenge down the final home straight as Demiesa unleashed a dramatic last-gasp sprint but to no avail as her East-African rival narrowly managed to hold the victory in the dying metres. 

Her winning time smashed the previous world-leading mark by almost 10 seconds, as both Demiesa and Yismaw took an astonishing 19 and 17-seconds, respectively off their lifetime bests.

Further back in fourth place, Uganda’s Stella Chesang clocked a 9:11.03 personal best, whilst Germany’s Alina Reh finished fifth in another best, 9:20.99.

World junior champion Mercy Chebwogen, meanwhile, could finish only eighth with a lacklustre 9:27.98.

Boys' 3000m final report - Donetsk 2013


Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha managed to topple the traditional Kenyan dominance in this event, taking victory with an impressive change of pace in a 600m sprint for home to clock a 7:53.56 lifetime best for gold.

The 15-year-old unleashed a 2:30.22 final kilometre to narrowly beat Kenya’s Vedic Kipkoech, who registered 7:55.60 for silver.

The 17-year-old Kipkoech led a pack of five through 1,000m in 2:44.97 before winding up the pace with a 2:38.37 split, hitting 2,000m in 5:23.34 before his Ethiopian rival took charge.

Kejelcha was unchallenged down the final straight, as the fast-finishing Kipkoech passed his tiring team-mate,
Alexander Mutiso Munyao went backwards into the bronze medal position with a 7:56.86 personal best.

Kejelcha’s gold is only Ethiopia’s second in this event during the 14-year history of this championship, following Legese Lamiso’s 2007 victory in Ostrava.

Kenya meanwhile, enjoy a superb history in this event with six gold, seven silver and two bronze in their collection after today’s (14) final.

In fourth place, Ethiopia’s Mogos Tuemay clocked a 8:03.83 lifetime best whilst Eritrea’s Nftalem Kibrab set a 8:05.19 personal best in fifth. 

Boys' 1500m final report - Donetsk 2013


Seventeen year-old Robert Kiptoo Biwott put on an exhibition of front-running prowess, comfortably leading from the gun and extending his lead to 50 metres on his way to a scintillating 3:36.77 championship record.

The 17-year-old Kenyan improved the World youth-leading mark by three seconds, as she finished over four and a half seconds ahead of silver medallist, Tesfu Tewelde of Eritrea who himself registered a 3:42.14 personal best. 

Biwott passed the 400m mark in 59.41 before upping the tempo to a 57.54 second split, reaching 800m in 1:56.95 and enjoying a 10m advantage over his nearest rivals with two laps to go.

The Kenyan then sped up again with a 57.44 lap to go through 1,200m in 2:54.39 as he hit the bell with 50m to spare of the chasing group.

With a final 300m covered in 42.38, the African youth champion stormed home to take his nation’s sixth title in this event during the eight editions of this championship.

Tewelde meanwhile, overhauled Kenya’s Titus Kipruto Kibiego with 70m remaining to take the silver medal, as Kibiego clocked 3:42.97 for bronze.

Further back, Ethiopia’s Mathiwos Yotota finished fourth with a 3:44.43 lifetime best, as the USA’s Blake Haney ran a 3:44.69 personal best in fifth.

Boys' 800m final report - Donetsk 2013


Kenya’s Alfred Kipketer was lucky to hang onto the lead in the closing stages of a fascinating 800m final, as the 16-year-old desperately managed to hang on for victory after a suicidal first 400m which was quicker than world record pace.

Flying off from the gun to clock an astonishing 48.63 split - which is significantly faster than 49.28 Kenyan, David Rudisha ran en route to the 1:40.91 fastest time ever in claiming gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games last summer - Kipketer was eventually caught with 200m remaining but surprisingly, had enough energy in reserve to hold the lead in the dying yards.

Registering a swift 1:48.01 lifetime best, he captured Kenya’s fifth title in the 14-year history of this event in this championship in the process, whilst improving on his 1:48.38 personal best from the semi-final stage two days earlier (11) – a time which was achieved after running 1:50.14 lifetime best in the qualifying stage the day before that (10).

Settling for the silver medal at the end of an impressive fight for gold down the home-straight, Russia’s Konstantin Tolokonnikov clocked a 1:48.29 personal best, with the 17-year-old taking his nation’s first ever medal in this World youth event.

Also in the thick of the last-gasp battle for silverware at the end of a bizarre race, Great Britain’s Kyle Langford finished third with a 1:48.85 lifetime best to take the nation’s first ever medal in this event during the eight editions of this championship.

Further back in fourth, Ethiopia’s Mamush Lencha clocked 1:49.85 as Germany’s Marc Reuther ran a 1:50.05 personal best for fifth.

Girls' 400m final report - Donetsk 2013


Great Britain’s Sabrina Bakare smashed her 400m lifetime best for the second time in two days, flying to a 52.77 victory over the USA’s pre-event favourite, Olivia Baker (53.38).

The 17-year-old enjoyed a strong start and overhauled both Baker and Jamaica’s Tiffany James in the final 50 metres to clinch Britain’s first ever medal in this event during the 14-year history of this championship.

She gave an indication of her form when speeding to a 53.23 clocking to lead the semi-final qualification, yet Baker was still the marginal favourite for the gold medal, having registered 52.71 earlier this summer.

In claiming silver, the 17-year-old followed the USA’s fine tradition in this event, with the nation having claimed victory four times in the eight editions of this championship.  

James meanwhile, was timed at 53.56 in the bronze medal position to take the Caribbean island’s third medal in this event. 

In fourth, Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Oanh clocked a 53.80 personal best with Nigeria’s Edidiong Ofonime Odiong finishing fifth in a 54.14 lifetime best.

Girls' 200m final report - Donetsk 2013


Sweden’s Irene Ekelund stormed to a 22.92 lifetime best and championship record to more than make amends for finishing fifth in the 100m final in Donetsk, Ukraine last Thursday (11).

The 17-year-old claimed her nation’s first ever medal in this event in the 14-year history of this championship, en route to shooting to the top of the world youth list and eighth on the all-time rankings.

Following another impressive world youth-leading 23.02 in the semi-final stage on Saturday (13), the Swede captured gold courtesy of a strong start and an inspired home-straight acceleration.

Clocking a 23.13 personal best, Angela Tenorio claimed Ecuador’s first ever medal in this event during the eight editions of this championship.

The 17-year-old’s silver medal over the half-lap follows her bronze in the 100m three days ago.

The pre-event favourite for both the 100m and 200m, USA’s Ariana Washington was disappointed to miss out on the gold again – following her third place finish in the 100m – as she came home in 23.20 to take the bronze medal.

The 16-year-old ran a 23.18 lifetime best in May but struggled to live up to expectations this week.

Nevertheless, her medal represents USA’s eighth medal in this event in this championship dating back to 1999 with two gold, three silver and now three bronze medals in their collection.

Further back in fourth, Washington’s team-mate, Hannah Cunliffe recorded a 23.44 personal best, whilst Germany’s Gina Luckenkemper finished fifth in 23.53.

Boys' 200m final report - Donetsk 2013


Jamaica’s Michael O’Hara gained redemption for finishing outside of the 100m medals on Thursday (11) by scorching to a 20.63 world youth lead and a narrow victory.

In the process, the 16-year-old emulated six-time Olympic sprint champion and triple world record-holder Usain Bolt, with his idol having won this event in Sherbrooke, 2003 with a 20.40 clocking.  

Flying to ninth on the all-time list, O’Hara – three days after finishing fourth in the 100m with 10.46 – has this year improved dramatically from 21.51 and today claimed Jamaica’s third 200m gold medal in the eight editions of this championship.

Meanwhile, in the silver medal position, Brazil’s Vitor Hugo Dos Santos recorded a 20.67 personal best, making up for having placed sixth in the 100m.

The 17-year-old has improved from 21.43 this season as his silverware in Donestk, Ukraine is Brazil’s first ever medal in this event in the 14-year history of this championship.

Cuba’s Reynier Mena took his second bronze medal of this championship, clocking 20.79 to snatch third.

The 16-year-old, who ran a 10.37 personal best in the 100km final, takes Cuba’s second medal in this event following
Jorge Vacarel’s silver in Marrakech, 2005.

Great Britain’s Thomas Somers ran a 20.84 lifetime best for fourth place after already reducing his best to 21.05 in the semi-final stage, as Trinidad’s Jonathan Farinha finished fifth with 21.00 personal best. 

Girls' 100m final report - Donetsk 2013


USA’s Ky Westbrook claimed a surprise 100m victory over the pre-final favourite and teammate Ariana Washington, clocking a fine 11.33 lifetime best ahead of her compatriot’s 11.40 for the silver medal.

Westbrook’s victory provided her nation’s first gold medal in Donetsk following the 17-year-old’s gradual progression in Ukraine, having registered 11.59 and 11.52 in the qualifying round and semi-final stage. 

Her winning performance also represented the USA’s fifth title in this event over the eight editions of these championships and follows in the footsteps of Olympic 200m champion, Alyson Felix - the 2001 winner in Debrecen with 11.57.

For Washington, who has improved to 11.39 this year as well as a wind-assisted 11.18 at altitude, her silver medal was achieved in an extremely close-call with Ecuador’s Angela Tenorio who clocked 11.41 for the bronze, clinching her nation’s first ever medal in this discipline in the 14-year history of the World youth event.

The 17-year-old, who recently ran 11.30 finished clear of Poland’s 16-year-old Ewa Swoboda (11.61) and Sweden’s Irene Ekelund (11.62) who placed fourth and fifth place, respectively.

Boys' 100m final report - Donetsk 2013


Youshidie Mo scorched to a 10.35 World youth-leading time* in taking a dramatic 100m final from Great Britain’s Ojie Edoburun, who clocked the same time in a nail-biting finish.

The 17-year-old Chinaman sprinted clear in the dying yards following a strong start and timed his dip-finish to perfection to clinch his nation’s first ever medal in this event in these championships.

Having clocked 10.44 behind Cuba’s Reynier Mena in the semi-final, Mo narrowly improved Kristoffer Hari’s World youth best by two one-hundredths of a second, as Edoburun too enjoyed setting a lifetime best.

The 17-year-old Edoburun follows a long line of successful British sprinters at this event, with Mark Lewis-Francis winning in Bygoszcz, 1999, Alex Nelson taking silver in Marrakech, 2005 and Craig Pickering claiming bronze in Sherbrooke, 2003.

Mena, meanwhile, clocked a 10.37 personal best for bronze to claim Cuba’s first medal in this discipline at these championships, as the 16-year-old finished clear of Jamaica’s Michael O’Hara (10.46) in fourth and Barbados’ Mario Burke (10.51) in fifth, respectively.

*Subject to the usual ratification procedures.

Hinriksdottir Hoping to Create History


Iceland have never won a medal in the 14-year history of these championships but Anita Hinriksdottir is hoping to change that statistic in the 800m this Sunday (14) in Donetsk, Ukraine.

The 17-year-old qualified fastest from today’s (11) first round with a dominant front-running 2:04.79 display and is in confident mood ahead of tomorrow’s (12) semi-final.

Boasting the second fastest time of the year courtesy of her 2:00.49 lifetime best and Icelandic national record set in Germany last month, Hinriksdottir will not have the World youth leader to contend with as America’s Mary Cain is absent – the 1:59.51 runner preferring to concentrate on the IAAF World Championships in Moscow next month.

Nevertheless, the 2012 World Junior Championship fourth place finisher is not resting on her laurels:

“I don’t want to finish outside of the medals again,” she explained. “The Ethiopians (Kobeb Tesfaye and Dureti Edao) are strong and there’s the Australian girl (Georgia Wassall), all of us want to get to the final.”

A semi-finalist at the European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg in February and recent 1500m winner of the European Team Championships in Gateshead, Hinriksdottir continued:

“I want to set a personal best. It’s a very strong competition but hopefully I can win, I think it will take a personal record (to win).

“It would be very nice to get Iceland’s first medal and I think I can go sub-two minutes but maybe not this year.

“I’m very much enjoying my time here - it’s very fun meeting foreign athletes.”

Coached by Gunnar Paul Joakimsson, Hinriksdottir is also following in family tradition as her aunt, Martha Ernstodttir finished 45th in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games marathon.

“She inspired me to get into athletics and I’m proud of her,” Hinriksdottir revealed. And she too must be proud of her niece.

Washington out for Redemption


Having been forced to concede defeat to her American team-mate, Ky Westbrook in the 100m final yesterday (11), 16-year-old Ariana Washington is fuelled with extra motivation to claim the 200m crown in Donetsk, Ukraine this weekend.

Little over 12 hours after her 11.40 silver medal-winning performance, the former basketball player cruised through to Saturday’s (13) semi-final stage in a comfortable 23.72.  

With a best of 23.18 this season, Washington is determined to seek redemption by taking the half-lap crown on Sunday (14) evening despite her hectic racing schedule:

“I want gold, nothing less,” she explained, “This (the 200m) is my baby, I’ve nurtured it, I’ve taken care of it and it’s what I’ve raced the most so I expect nothing less than gold.

“I’m extra hungry for it after not getting my gold last night so I’m going for it on Sunday.”

On whether she thinks she will need to go close to low-23 seconds and her closest challenger, Washington continued:

“It won’t take a PB to get the gold and my team-mate, Hannah (Cunliffe) will probably be right beside me, battling right to the finish-line.”

Despite Westbrook not contesting the 200m event, Washington will still have some tough competition in the form of Sweden’s Irene Ekelund, Great Britain’s Shannon Hylton and Ecuador’s Angela Tenorio and is pacing herself after her exploits last night:

“It felt really slow, I was trying to get off the curve first and just drive home, not pushing it to save as much energy as possible,” she said after her 200m first round heat.

“Last night was so chaotic after the race – all the cameras, the flag and drug testing so it was good to conserve some energy now and breathe. I only got a little sleep last night.”

“I’m tired but that’s what this was about – recovery, getting through to the next round with ease. I know when to give it my all so I’m just building up to that now.”
With her confidence still intact after losing the race many predicted she would win, Washington was gracious in defeat:

“That wasn’t my best race but I gave it my all and silver is still great,” she explained.

“I’m happy and my team-mate got gold so the US going 1-2 is all that matters. I had faith in Ky, she’s a really great runner so congrats to her.”

Eager to follow in the illustrious footsteps of her role model, Olympic 200m champion Alyson Felix who took the 100m World youth crown in Debrecen, 2001, Washington revealed:

“We both come from California and she’s opened doors in what she’s achieved and now I can’t wait to walk through those doors after her.

“I copy her technique and I hope to achieve what she has.”

Baker Hoping to Follow in Hastings’ Footsteps


Ten years ago, American Natasha Hastings claimed the World youth 400m title in Sherbrooke, Canada and now the 26-year-old is tipped to win a medal at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow next month, having made quite an impression on her young pretender, Olivia Baker who is currently on track to replicate her role model’s success in winning the one-lap event in Donetsk, Ukraine this week.

The 17-year-old from New Jersey leads the world youth list with a 52.71 personal best set en route to claiming the national title in Illinois last month and cruised through the first round with a 54.41 winning heat today (10) at the
IAAF World Youth Championships.

Coached by Lisa Morgan and with her parents in the stadium for support, Baker will next contest the semi-final stage on Thursday (11) ahead of her quest for gold in Friday’s (12) final.

Although not previously aware of Hastings’ win a decade ago, Baker is a follower of her results and hopes to follow in her countrywoman’s footsteps into the junior and senior ranks – with Hastings having taken the World junior crown in 2004 and the World indoor title in 2012.

“I’ve seen several winners here go onto run well at the juniors and then do well as a senior so I do see this as a first step to getting there,” she explained.

“I met Natasha at the New Balance Games during the indoor season and she took a picture with me. I don’t think she knew how well I’d been running at the time but we talked a little bit.”

Having improved from 53.48 in 2012, Baker revealed her thoughts on her debut international championship:

“This has always been a dream of mine, just to be able to run here is so great - I’m living my dream.

“I’m enjoying the experience a lot. I’ve been looking towards this moment since freshman year and now I don’t want to waste this opportunity – I want to go out there and give my best, at least run a personal best.

“I’m hoping for the gold but anything can happen – I don’t take for granted that I’m number one right now because anyone could run a personal best on any given day and take my spot. I think it will take a personal best for me to win.”

Despite enduring a packed racing schedule in her 2013 campaign, Baker insisted she and coach Morgan have timed her peak to perfection:

“I still feel fresh and I feel like I’m peaking at the right time,” she explained, “I’m living the dream and say thanks to God for blessing me and helping me to be here.

“Winning the gold would be a dream come true and the perfect end to my season.”

Refusing to highlight her fiercest competitors for gold, Baker continued:

“Literally anyone could come up and beat me on any given day so I don’t focus on any specific people - I look at the field as a whole, look at myself and focus on executing my race to run the time.”

And when asked on whether she’d prefer to take victory or a lifetime best, the confident American simply replied “I rather have both.”

IAAF World Youth Championships - pre-event press conference, girls' highlights.


Favourite for the 100m and 200m crown with 23.18 and 11.18w times to her name this season, 16-year-old Ariana Washington (USA) explained her relief of joining the competitive American team in Donetsk:

“This season, I’ve been top in both events but I had a tough time at the trials so I’m here to prove I’m the fastest female teenager on the planet.”

On her first love, basketball, Washington continued:

“My high school was really into it and my coach said I should also try out track - I stuck with it and found my god-given talent.”

On her role model, Olympic 200m champion Alyson Felix, Washington revealed:

“We both come from California and she’s opened doors in what she’s achieved and now I can’t wait to walk through those doors after her. I copy her technique and I hope to achieve what she has.”

Sixteen-year-old Morgan Lake (GBR), the World Youth leader in the heptathlon with a 5,725 score explained her inspiration behind hoping to claim her first international medal here in Donetsk:

“Seeing Jess (Ennis-Hill, the Olympic heptathlon champion from Great Britain) at the Olympics was amazing, she was really inspirational and I’m trying to be like her.

“She didn’t win the World Youth title but I hope I can win here and be like her one day.”

On her love of athletics and how she found the sport, Lake continued:

“The high jump’s my favourite and my strongest event and the 800m’s probably my hardest – it’s not anyone’s favourite.

“Athletics has always been there for me, I was about six months old when I saw my first competition and I did my first training at five years old (later winning her first national title at aged 11). I enjoy watching all events but I particularly like the high and long jump, and of course the heptathlon.”

On her preparation for the event and another role model, Katarina Johnson-Thompson whose national youth record Lake broke earlier this season, she revealed:

“The competition I did the day before we flew out was not the best preparation and best for confidence but I jumped well. Although I was upset and nervous afterwards, it’s best to get it out of the way before this competition. Also, losing my bag at the airport was not ideal but we bought some things from the local supermarket so I’m ok.

“I spoke to Katarina about two years ago but not recently, I hope to speak to her about our event soon.” 

Fifteen-year-old Robeilys Peinado (VEN), the World Youth leader in the pole vault with a 4.35m best this season, explained how she switched sports to find more success:

“I came to athletics three years ago after doing gymnastics. I was too tall to be a gymnast so I switched to the pole vault. I like being in the air and I feel I can be successful.”

On her role model, pole vault world record-holder Sergey Bubka who comes from Donetsk, Peinado continued:

“We take Sergey Bubka as our example, taking his technique and replicating his style so I hope to be as successful as he was.”

On her female inspirations, she concluded:

“Aside from Sergey, I look up to Yelena Isinbayeva (Russia’s world record-holder), Fabiana Murer (Brazil’s world champion) and Angelica Bengtsson (Sweden’s world junior champion).”

Monday, 24 June 2013

Summer Lovin'

The most exciting part of the athletics calendar is undoubtedly the summer season and I've been lucky enough to have many thrilling events penned into my diary, ensuring a very busy and fun few months on the circuit -

Following my first working stints at the Olympics (reporting for LOCOG), European Indoors (flash-quote manager for the organisers) and World XC Champs (reporting for the IAAF) between last summer and the spring, it's a privilege to continue combining my passions for both the sport and journalism at a catalogue of events further into 2013 of which include:

- The Bupa Great Manchester CityGames and Run back in May,

- The Oslo Diamond League, the European Team Championships and the Birmingham Grand
Prix/Diamond League in June,

- The World Youth Championships and the London Anniversary Games in July.

Despite not seeing my family and friends as much as I'd like during the summer months, each year is always guaranteed to provide many happy memories and some opportunities that I'm honoured to receive, which I'm very grateful for and proud of.

In light of this hectic calendar, however, I must get cracking on booking a holiday for late-August/September...!

Happy reading x

Monday, 17 June 2013

Lake in Full Flow Towards Donetsk Glory Bid


Talented British female multi-eventers are used to dealing with expectation in light of their recent conveyor belt of champions. From Sydney 2000 Olympic champion Denise Lewis through to her successor, London 2012 Olympic golden girl Jessica Ennis and junior national record-holder Katarina Johnson-Thompson, the heptathlon has delivered a plethora of global stars and this summer, Morgan
Lake looks set to join their esteemed stable of champions.

The 16-year-old from Surrey, England registered a world youth-leading 5725 score en route to claiming the English junior title in Bedford earlier this month, adding over 200 points to her lifetime best to leap into the runner-up spot on the UK under18 all-time list behind Johnson-Thompson.

The latter’s 5750 mark was set during her 2009 World Youth Championship victory and Lake – fresh from an impressive 1.85m high jump best and national junior title last weekend – intends to replicate such a feat in taking the global crown at this year’s event in Donetsk, Ukraine next month:

“I was very happy with my overall score as it gives me a lot of confidence going into Donetsk next month,” she revealed.

“I exceeded my lifetime bests with 14.70m for the shot and 39.56m for the javelin and in the high jump, I was only one centimetre off my personal best at the time - but I also didn’t reach my goals in the hurdles and long jump so there were many mixed emotions during the competition.”

Having accumulated over twenty national titles and five age-group records in just five short years in the combined events, Lake is ready to step up on her global debut three weeks from now:

“My main aim is to become world youth champion and I would like to get a point score of around 5800-plus, which at the moment seems quite possible as long as all my events go reasonably well over the two days,” she explained.

“I am very excited to be competing in my first global championships and am looking forward to meeting other athletes and seeing how they prepare for competitions.”

Increased Training

Guided by her father Eldon, a former British junior international triple jumper, Lake claimed her first national title at the tender age of 11 – winning the 2009 English indoor under15 long jump against girls up to four years her elder.

A former national-standard swimmer, she went onto break records as an under13 – with a 3046 pentathlon later that same year - and has since gone on to eclipse the best under15 and 17 marks.

Training at Thames Valley Athletic Centre in Eton, Lake has just finished her GCSE exams at Wellington College in Berkshire where she lives and studies six days each week and is now relishing her free summer in order to focus on her athletics:

“Juggling exams and athletics has definitely been a struggle this year but I am hoping to get A*, A or B grades and I will be continuing my education in the sixth form in the autumn,” she revealed.

“My training over the last few months has been going as well as could be expected due to the limited
amount of time I have been able to dedicate to training – I was training about three times a week but now my exams are over, this has increased to four or five times.”

A member of Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow AC, Lake is convinced that further improvements are imminent:

“This year, in the high jump and long jump my aims are 1.86m and 6.30m, and for the 800m, I am hoping to run in the low 2:20 range once I get some more specific 800m training done – the 800m is a big point scorer in the heptathlon and can be the difference between the colour of a medal,” she

“The javelin was quite a struggle for me last year but over the winter, I have made a lot of technical changes and believe it is possible to get over 40m this year which would be a great step forward.”


Rewind back to London last August when Ennis was scorching to Olympic victory and the then 19-year-old Johnson-Thompson was finishing a promising 15th, Lake was swiftly following in their footsteps in bettering the latter’s British under17 record that very same day.

Amassing 5169 points in the English under17 combined events Championships in Stoke, she eclipsed the record by 23 points on her heptathlon debut – her performance evidently inspired by the exploits of her illustrious counterparts further south in the capital:

“On the first day of the Olympic heptathlon, I would go into the stand in between events and watch the coverage either on my phone or in the clubhouse,” she explained.

“Their performances were very inspirational and it was great to see the whole country behind them. It definitely motivated me to break Katarina’s record - I realised afterwards that Jess, Katarina and I all set our relevant age group records that day.”

Indeed, 2012 was a good year all round for Lake as she took English and national schools victories in both the high and long jump and received her first two call-ups for national honours:

“2012 was a good year for me especially for the long and high jump with 6.19m and 1.80m marks, as these were the main events I was focussing on and breaking Katarina’s record last year was definitely one of my highlights as I was definitely not expecting to break it,” she recalled.

Off the back of her breakthrough campaign, 2013 started well with the national indoor under17 high and long jump gold medals, as well as a useful 3965 pentathlon and silver in the British senior high jump final.

Midway through an encouraging summer season, she is now keen to consolidate her recent fitness with gold in Donetsk next month and the ambitious teenager already has her eye on qualifying for her next major championship:

“Next year, my goal is to either go to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow or the World Junior Championships in Eugene, USA,” revealed Lake.

“Longer‐term, I would definitely love to go to my first Olympics in Rio in 2016 - I will be 19, the same age as Katarina was in London and the opportunity to go to the World Championships at the London Olympic Stadium in 2017 is definitely a target and motivator for me.”

And with her form flowing swiftly towards her first global medal, Lake certainly appears on track to maintain the tradition of internationally-successful British heptathlon queens for many years to come.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

World Leads for Bolt and Defar the Highlights in Oslo’s Bislett Stadium


The ExxonMobil Bislett Games on Thursday evening enjoyed two world leads as the sixth stage of the 2013 IAAF Diamond League arrived in Oslo for the prestigious athletic event.

In cool, dry conditions, the Norwegian capital played host to a plethora of world-class athletes inside the Bislett Stadium - with Usain Bolt’s 200m and Meseret Defar’s 5,000m stunning victories providing the highlights. 

Six-time Olympic and world champion, Usain Bolt lived up to his billing as the event’s star attraction is scorching to an impressive 19.79 world lead and meeting record in winning the 200m to close the event in thrilling style.

The Jamaican sprint superstar’s headline performance will have pleased both himself and the organisers, following concerns from his shock defeat in Rome last week and having tonight eclipsed Nambia’s Frankie Fredericks’ stadium best dating back to 1996.

26-year-old Bolt spoke of his seasonal debut over the half-lap distance afterwards:

“Very chilly today but I ran as fast I could and as I promised. It was good so I can’t complain.

“Now back to Jamaica to prepare for the World’s (Championships, in Moscow in August). Definitely my goals are remaining the same, to be the best in the world and win three gold medals in Moscow.

“I’m never worried, never focus on somebody else. And my dream is also to break 19-seconds in the 200m.”

In second place, local star and European 100m bronze medallist, Jaysuma Saidy Ndure clocked a 20.36 season’s best.

In her specialist event, Olympic 5,000m champion Meseret Defar stormed ahead in the final 250m to an emphatic 14.26.90 victory and world-lead over twelve and a half laps.

The 29-year-old Ethiopian turned the tables on her fellow countrywoman, Genzebe Dibaba who beat her in Shanghai last month as the 22-year-old relinquished in third place behind Kenya’s Viola Jelagat-Kibiwot in a 14:37.68 season’s best to the latter’s 14:33.48 lifetime best.

Improving her season’s best by 21-seconds and the world leading mark by 15-seconds, Defar exclaimed:

“I felt very comfortable through the race - I knew I was in shape. Before Shanghai I was sick and was nearly cancelling the race, here I was ok.

“I think I’m even in world record shape but was not confident enough to try it. This year, the main goal is the 5,000m but I think I will have a surprise for my fans, you will see in due time.”

For Jelagat-Kibiwot meanwhile, the performance was her first inside in the top-two positions, following two fourth-place finishes in Doha (over 1,500m) and in Shanghai.

Zuzana Hejenova continued her excellent run of form during her breakthrough season, storming to an impressive 53.60 season’s best in the 400m hurdles to take her third-successive Diamond League victory.

The 26-year-old Czech added to her wins in both Shanghai and Eugene and thus extends her lead in the Diamond League standings.

Hejenova revealed:

“This is the toughest of victories this year - of course it’s a good feeling to win all of the races so far.

“It was the first race in which I had somebody ahead of me when entering the home straight. In these conditions, to run a season’s best is very special.”

Behind the Olympic bronze medallist, Britain’s European indoor 400m champion Perri Shakes-Drayton clocked a 54.03 season’s best for second place.

In the shortest event of the evening, Bulgaria’s Ivet Lalova overcame a troubled journey to Norway in speeding to a surprise and narrow 100m victory over world indoor 60m silver medallist, Murielle Ahoure with 11.04 to the Ivory Coast sprinter’s 11.05.

The 29-year-old European outdoor champion explained:

“My goal was to win this race and to protect my territory but before the race, everything went wrong.

“Because of my flight cancellation, I arrived in the hotel only at 1:30am then I lost my measuring tape so I could not prepare my starting blocks as I wanted – but sometimes everything is wrong at the beginning and great at the end.”

Russia’s Olympic bronze medallist, Svetlana Shkolina caused a surprise in beating Olympic and world champion, Anna Chicherova into third in the high jump.

After sharing the victory with her compatriot in Rome last week, Shkolina leapt 1.97m to push European outdoor bronze medallist, Emma Green-Tregaro of Sweden (1.95m) into second place.

The winner said afterwards:

“I was confident today and opened at 1.90m but could not get my best rhythm due to the cold weather. But this was a good win for me and now I must qualify for the World Championships.”

The winner here in 2006 and each year between 2008 and 2010, Chicherova left the competition at 1.95m – a full seven centimetres below her season’s best in third position, whilst two-time world champion, Blanca Vlasic will be disappointed with 1.85m and fifth place as she continues her return from a long-term Achilles injury.

In the pole vault, Germany’s Silke Spielgelburg enjoyed a tight battle with Greece’s Nikoleta Kryiakopoulou, with the 27-year-old 2010 European runner-up taking victory with a 4.65m season’s best to Kryiakopoulou’s 4.60m season’s best in her first competition outside of her home nation this summer.

Spielgelburg explained:

“I was not competing in the last eight months due to my studies, I’m coming back step by step and this is an important win at a big event and I should go higher and higher.

Meanwhile, Brazil’s world champion, Fabiana Murer endured an off-day in failing to progress at her opening 4.50m height.

Saudi Arabia’s Youssef Ahmed-Masrahi went one better than in the Rome Diamond League a week ago in taking the plaudits in the 400m, with a 45.33 clocking and captured his nation’s first ever victory in a Diamond League running event in the process.

The 25-year-old finished clear of runner-up and Olympic 4x400m gold medallist, Ramon Miller of the Bahamas, who registered a 45.58 season’s best.

In the women’s two-lap event, Russia’s Olympic bronze medallist, Yekaterina Poistogova sped to a 1:59.39 season’s best, winning ahead of European indoor champion, Nataliya Lupu of the Ukraine (1:59.59).

Kenya’s two-time Olympic and world 3,000m steeplechase champion, Ezekiel Kemboi again suffered defeat to the man who caused his disqualification in Eugene - world junior champion, Conseslus Kipruto.

The 18-year-old registered 8:04.48 to Kemboi’s 8:07.00 as he strode ahead for his third-successive Diamond League victory.

In the triple jump, Colombia’s Caterine Ibarguen continued made it three out of three victories on the Diamond League circuit over her Ukrainian rival Olha Saladukha, leaping a best of 14.81m to Saladukha’s 14.56m.

The 29-year-old Olympic runner-up of course leads the Diamond League race after additional wins in Shanghai and Eugene, and was only 4cm adrift off the season’s world-lead held by her contemporary.

European champion Vitezslav Vesely took his second Diamond League victory after Doha in May in claiming the javelin with a 85.96m throw.

The 27-year-old Czech finished over a metre clear of his nearest challenger, Finland’s Tero Pitkamaki – the 2007 world champion registered a best of 84.74m.

Local star Andreas Thorkildsen finished in sixth place with a lacklustre 80.99m effort, whilst Olympic champion also had a tough day at the office, finishing tenth and last with 77.03m.

In the long jump, Britain’s 24-year-old Shara Proctor followed up her second-place finish in New York and third in Rome by taking victory with a 6.89m leap from France’s European champion, Eloyse Lesueur (6.68m).

Further adrift with a 6.65m best effort for third place, was Russia’s Olympic silver Yelena Sokolova.
Estonia’s 2008 Olympic champion, Gerd Kanter caused a surprise in taking top points in the discus with a 65.53m best effort ahead of Olympic runner-up Ehsan Hadadi of Iran (64.63m).

The 34-year-old additionally took the impressive scalp of current world-leader, Piotr Malachowski with the Polish athlete dramatically failing to register a valid throw in his three attempts.

Germany’s European indoor champion Christina Schwanitz took the shot put honours by almost two-metres with a 20.10m throw, over her countrywoman and continental outdoor champion, Nadine Kleinert (18.17m).

Britain’s world indoor silver medallist, Tiffany Porter claimed an easy victory in the 100m hurdles, clocking 12.76 to Belgium’s Sara Aerts (12.95).

Finally, Djibouti’s Ayanleh Souleiman improved from fourth place in Eugene to first in the Dream Mile, clocking 3:50.53 ahead of Kenya’s Nixon Kiplimo-Chepseba who registered a 3:50.95 lifetime best.

IAAF Diamond League Arrives at Bislett Stadium – Event Preview


The ExxonMobil Bislett Games will take place on Thursday evening as the sixth stage of the 2013 IAAF Diamond League comes to the Oslo for the prestigious athletic event.

The Norwegian capital will welcome a host of world-class athletes to the Bislett Stadium and the star attraction is undoubtedly sprint superstar Usain Bolt of Jamaica.

The 26-year-old six-time Olympic and World champion is due to headline the meeting in contesting the 200m in the final event of the night, the same discipline he won back in 2011 with a time of 19.86.

Having won the 100m in a 9.79 meeting record here last year, Bolt will be making his seasonal debut over the half-lap distance and will be aiming to beat the 19.82 stadium record set by Nambia’s Frankie Fredericks in 1996.

His toughest competitor, meanwhile, is likely to be Norway’s Jaysuma Saidy Ndure, the European 100m bronze medallist.

Another competition sure to excite the crowds will be the women’s high jump, with Olympic and World champion Anna Chicherova taking on two-time World champion Blanca Vlasic.

Russian Chicherova, currently leads the world rankings by three centimetres with an impressive 2.02m clearance and comes into this competition fresh from victory in the Rome Diamond League
last week.

The winner here in 2006 and each year between 2008 and 2010 – Chicherova, 30, will have Vlasic to contend with, following her recent return to action after a long spell with an Achilles injury.

The 29-year-old Croatian took the honours at the New York Diamond League last month and currently leads the Diamond League standings so should put up a strong fight despite her modest 1.95m season’s best.

In the women’s 5,000m, Olympic 5,000m champion Meseret Defar will face her Ethiopian countrywoman Genzebe Dibaba as the latter hopes to replicate her victory from the Shanghai leg of the series over her 29-year-old rival.

The 22-year-old Dibaba currently leads the Diamond League standings and will be looking for more success in her transitional year up from the 1,500m event ahead of the World Championships in Moscow this August. 

Francine Niyonsaba looks a class apart in the 800m field, following her world-leading 1:56.72 victory in Eugene. The 20-year-old Burundi athlete leads the Diamond League standings and looks to be improving in both confidence and technique.

Determined to make amends for his disqualification in Eugene, Kenya’s two-time Olympic and world champion, Ezekiel Kemboi will start as the favourite to take the 3,000m steeplechase honours.

In the shortest event of the evening, Murielle Ahoure is the one to watch in the women’s 100m. The 25-year-old Ivory Coast sprinter won the 200m in Rome last week and the world indoor 60m silver medallist is in fine form.

One of the surprise stories of the season so far is 400m hurdler, Zuzana Hejenova. The 26-year-old Czech won in both Shanghai and Eugene and now the Olympic bronze medallist finds herself leading the Diamond League standings in what has been a breakthrough season.

Tero Pitkamaki threw a world-leading 87.60m in Shanghai and leads the Diamond League standings, but the 30-year-old 2007 world champion will face local hope Andreas Thorkildsen and Trinidad’s Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott in the javelin.

Two-time Olympic champion, Thorkildsen will be hoping the home-crowd support can lift him to an unexpected victory here.

In the 400m, 19-year-old Olympic runner-up Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic starts as the favourite, as does Ukrainian Olha Saladukha in the women’s triple jump.

The 30-year-old 2011 world champion and Olympic bronze-medallist is the current world-leader and will be hoping to go one better after two second-place finishes in Shanghai and Eugene.

Still on the in-field, Britain’s Shara Proctor could be the one to beat in the long jump, following the 24-year-old world indoor bronze medallist’s second place in New York and third in Rome, whilst
Brazilian world champion pole-vaulter, Fabiana Murer should take victory after earning the runner-up spot in New York.

Britain’s world indoor silver medallist, Tiffany Porter will be looking for the win in the 100m hurdles, as Kenya’s Bethwell Birgen starts as the favourite in the esteemed Dream Mile.   

Finally, in the men’s discus, Poland’s Piotr Malachowski will hope to impress following his world-leading 71.84m throw last weekend. The 30-year-old 2008 Olympic silver medallist also leads the Diamond League standings, whilst Germany’s European indoor champion Christina Schwanitz will be hoping to take the honours in the shot put following her win in Shanghai.

Oslo’s Strawberry Party Welcomes Bolt, Chicherova and Co.


The traditional curtain-raiser for the ExxonMobil Bislett Games welcomed athletes and esteemed guests to the Russian Embassy in Oslo this evening, as the annual strawberry party hosted the official press conferences ahead of the prestigious athletic event on Thursday.

In the sixth leg of the 2013 IAAF Diamond League, the Norwegian capital will welcome a host of world-class athletes to the Bislett Stadium and the star attraction is undoubtedly sprint superstar Usain Bolt of Jamaica.

The 26-year-old six-time Olympic and World champion and is due to headline the meeting in contesting the 200m in the final event of the night, the same discipline he won back in 2011 with

“I’m feeling pretty good, I think I’m in shape to run under 20-seconds - It’s all about the execution,” the 100m, 200m and 4x100m world record-holder explained.

“My season started off good then I picked up a hamstring problem but now it’s all about pushing myself in races to run myself into shape.”

Having won the 100m in a 9.79 meeting record here last year, Bolt will be making his seasonal debut over the half-lap distance and will be aiming to beat the 19.82 stadium record set by Nambia’s Frankie Fredericks in 1996.

“I’m really happy with how I’m feeling, I just need more races under my belt.”

Responding to whether he feels his nearest challenger in Oslo, Norway’s Jaysuma Saidy Ndure could beat him this week, Bolt continued:

“Anything’s possible in life, I never say I’m a clear winner but I’m always positive so hopefully he won’t beat me and hopefully it won’t be cold!”

Meanwhile, European 100m bronze-medallist, Ndure will be looking to significantly improve upon his 20.51 season’s best as the 28-year-old revealed:

“This is home for me so I have to at least try to run as fast as I can – this is like the World Champs for me. I hope to get at least 19.9, I will be happy with that. He (Bolt) is fast but I’ll try to beat him.”

Another competition sure to excite the crowds will be the women’s high jump, with Olympic and World champion Anna Chicherova taking on two-time World champion Blanca Vlasic.

Russian Chicherova currently leads the world rankings by three centimetres with an impressive 2.02m clearance and comes into this competition fresh from victory in the Rome Diamond League last week.

Vlasic meanwhile, has recently returned to action after a long spell with an Achilles injury but the 29-year-old Croatian took the honours at the New York Diamond League last month so should put up a strong fight despite her modest 1.95m season’s best.

The winner here in 2006 and each year between 2008 and 2010 – Chicherova explained:

“This is a good opportunity to be with the stars and Moscow (for August’s World Championships) is a good reason to be inspired to be your best.

“I hope to get a good height but Rome took some strength and the weather may be a surprise but I will do what I am able.”

The 30-year-old brushed off suggestions that age may soon become a barrier to her career, revealing:

“If you have the motivation and strength you can jump, why not? Becoming a mother has given me more colours, more emotions – that’s why everything was perfect after the birth.”

Returning to the Bislett Stadium for the first time in six years, she continued:

“It’s a nice atmosphere here, Oslo is a place I jump with pleasure and I will use this as preparation to fight ahead of the World champs.”

Vlasic in turn offered her opinion of her current form and expectations:

“This is still my comeback period so I’m still getting very emotional before every competition but now it is coming back and I’m very excited and motivated like it’s the beginning of my career again.

“After nine months off from jumping and only being back in spikes since February, I need to get used to jumping big heights again. 

The local interest will be with Norway’s Tonje Angelsen, as the 23-year-old European outdoor silver medallist aims to improve on her seventh place from 2012:

“I’ve always looked up to them (Chicherova and Vlasic) and I want to jump two-metres as many times as they have.

“I hope to go 1.90m plus and just have fun and enjoy it of course. I had an injury and so I’m not
100% so we’ll see.”

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Post-race quotes from Tirunesh Dibaba and Haile Gebrselassie after the Bupa Great Manchester Run

Tirunesh Dibaba - women's Bupa Great Manchester Run 10km winner -

“It was a good run for me, it was a great race. I wanted to start slowly and also it was windy so I didn’t want to risk going too fast too soon.

“I’m pleased with the time and I didn’t expect to run this quickly. The crowd was very good - the British fans are always very supportive.

“Today gives me good morale to go for the World Record in the future. It will give me a good boost for the World Championships, I think my injuries are over.

“I will now do the 5,000m in Eugene next week. I’m still planning to do the London marathon next year but first, I will do the 10,000m in Moscow.” 

Haile Gebrselassie - men's Bupa Great Manchester Run third place –

“Today, the others did a very good job. I tried to push and assert a position but it wasn’t easy. It’s a wonderful race and maybe I will come back here again.

“It’s fantastic to come back with another (Masters World) record so why not go for some more! The time’s not super fast but it’s good and now I’ll think about possibly doing the marathon in Berlin.”

Saturday, 25 May 2013

BT Great Manchester CityGames winners quotes

Margaret Adeoye – women’s 100m winner -

“Oh my goodness it’s awesome, the crowds are amazing. It takes me back to the Olympics with everyone supporting me. I came to entertain you guys so I hope you guys are happy. He wouldn’t be happy with my time, but my coach (Linford Christie), just told me to come out here and go for the win!

“I have to be happy with the time as I haven’t done much strength work as I strained my hamstring at the end of April so to get a win and to stay in one piece, I’m happy.”

Dawn Harper – women’s 100m hurdles winner -

“I felt a little sluggish but the weather was so good, you had to perk up. I wanted to go out and execute which I didn’t really do that well but I won so I’m happy.

“It was different to be so close to the fans and interact with them, it was weird hearing a baby cry just before the start and almost have them shake your hand.

“I’m feeling comfortable with my training – we’re right where I want to be and I’m focused so I’ll be alright.

“It will be a really great race in Moscow and Sally will bring her ‘A’ game – we’ll be pushing each other faster again. There’s a lot more I want to achieve in this event and I’m still very motivated to win.”

Jonnie Peacock – men’s IPC T44 100m winner –

“I was a bit nervous running my first race since the Paralympics – I had a good start but have a few things at the end of the race to work on.

“It wasn’t as fast as I’d hoped – I do tend to get to 60m and then crumble but I’m happy and we have a few more months before the World’s so I’ve got time to work on it.

“It was really enjoyable – my first time running in the middle of a street, everyone was relaxed and here to have a good time – they should call this the BT fun games.

“London 2012 did so much for Paralympic sport and today is a big leap for us, we need to keep it in the public eye with televised events like this.”

Allyson Felix – women’s 150m winner - 

“It’s great – we don’t often get to run in an environment like this. This is my third time here and I previously ran the 200m so 150m was a nice change on the straightaway so it didn’t feel that bad. Racing in the streets takes you back to when you’re younger.

“I came back to training late and am easing back into things to build up to the World trials.

“My focus has certainly shifted a little bit – finally winning the Olympic 200m title has really lifted my confidence and now I’m really enjoying my training and have a different motivation now.”

Greg Rutherford – men’s long jump winner –

“Competing in front of the home crowd was amazing, they really got behind us, it was like being in a home stadium and they went wild which is exactly what we need to develop athletics – a lot of people struggle to get into the stadiums and it’s a great way of getting people involved in it, being able to nip into the shops at the same time – getting a close up
and personal view is the way forward.

“I felt a bit flat today and was a bit gutted to not get over eight metres but overall it wasn’t too bad. I did four rounds really quickly which drains you a bit.

“Being here as equal athletes rather than Olympians and Paralympians is exactly the way it should be. Jonnie is an amazing athlete and ambassador for the sport.

“Going into that stadium again will be very special, it will be full of crazed British fans and if anything, there’s a chance it could be better than the Olympics because there will basically only be track and field fans there this time. It will be emotional – that night, August the 4th completely changed my life and to go back out there is a fantastic opportunity which I can’t wait out to do. I want to keep winning and with that, confidence and big distances will come.”

Perri Shakes-Drayton – women’s 200m hurdles winner –

“I’m very pleased with today – my flat’s speed’s going really well and my hurdling’s been going well in training so to win today was good.

“Eugene will be my first 400m hurdles race which I’m looking forward to. I think PB shape will come nearer to championship time but it will be nice to do a good opener.

“I would love to do really well in the World Championships this year but we all want it so I need to stay injury-free.”

Friday, 24 May 2013

Great Manchester weekend pre-event interviews - Greg, Haile and Jonnie


"I'm hugely looking forward to it - these street competitions are incredibly fun with less pressure. I'm hoping for a great performance in front of an amazing backdrop. It becomes a party atmosphere, which relaxes you as it's not hyper-competitive and brings it home a bit. I genuinely believe athletics should do this more, to make the sport more accessible and attract more excitement, they should stick it in London.

"I'm very privileged I get to do this as my job and I hope we can inspire a lot of kids tomorrow. I get the real luxury of being announced as Olympic champion so hearing that will be very special.

"I was happier than the press made out in Shanghai, very few people manage to win every single event and just because I won last August but you can't keep doing that. I wouldn't say it was a bad day as it was a stacked field and my performance bodes well for this time of the season.

"I go back to America on Tuesday and I'm really hoping Mitchell will join us over there, we're good mates and it will be great and rare to become training partners.

"As much as tomorrow will be a lot of fun, I still want to win it and for it to set me up for Prefontaine on Friday and then leading into the World's - I'm looking to win every competition and the Anniversary Games is what I'm most looking forward to, that will be very special to return to that pit and hopefully jump well there. It would be amazing to call myself the Olympic AND World champion so that's what I'm working to for sure."

“It’ll be a good race and I’m looking forward to it. My training’s very good, it has been for the last few months and I like Manchester – I have good memories of racing here. The people here will expect a win from me and that is my target. This race is amazing, it has a big number of competitors and I have a lot of support here. I’m just thinking about the weather, though - I hope it is not going to be hard for me. The only way to survive in this life is running, a lot more people should have running in their life.  People need to sweat more!”

“It’s my first outing since the Games so I’m excited and a little bit nervous as I’m not too sure what kind of shape I’m in. You get fed up of training and need to see where you’re at so I’m looking forward to getting out there.

"This is the first time Paralympic events are included in this event so that’s a great step forward. I’ve competed in Manchester before for the BT Paralympic Cup so I enjoy competing here. We’re expecting a 20,000 crowd so it’s going to be loud.

"I’m going to be running on a new blade which will really smooth out my running so we’ll see how that goes tomorrow. I’m not expecting to be too fast tomorrow but obviously not a slow time either. I’m looking forward to the Anniversary Games and then the World Champs.

"I’m especially looking forward to returning to the Olympic stadium as I don’t feel like I made the most of that fast track – London 2012 was amazing and no-one expected the reception we got at the Paralympics and that has played a huge part in how we are perceived so I’m happy we’re getting more recognition now. I’ve managed to stay out of the shadows a bit, though so life’s still pretty normal. It’s progressing forward but of course after the Games, our profile goes down.”

Monday, 8 April 2013

A year of firsts - major events and new countries

Since working at my first Olympic Games in London last summer, I've been fortunate enough to be invited to some more wonderful major athletics events and travel to some new countries.

Back in February, I acted as the flash-quote manager for the organisers of the European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden and in March, I reported for the IAAF at the World XC Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland - each being my first time at both those events and visiting those nations.

Looking ahead to the summer, I'll be attending my first Diamond League outside of the UK in visiting Oslo, Norway for the first time to work for the organisers of the Bislett Games in mid-June...

I also hope to work at my first European Team Championships in Gateshead in late-June and World outdoor Championships in Moscow, Russia in August so watch this space...

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

World XC Champs senior women's winners feature - Comeback queen Chebet now focused on Moscow 10,000m


After making an impressive return to the top of the medals podium at the IAAF World cross country Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland today (24), Kenyan Emily Chebet has set her sights on transferring her sparkling form to the track at this August’s World Championships in Moscow.

The 27-year-old turned back the clock to replicate her 2010 victory on the Myslecinek Park course in sprinting away to a surprise gold medal ahead of Ethiopia’s Hiwot Ayalew and Belaynesh Oljira.  

It was the biggest win of her career since she first took the global crown three years ago, having suffered from a long-time knee injury and a dip in form on both the cross country surface and on the track. 

Bydgoszcz 2013 was her fourth appearance in the Championship, having finished fifth in the junior race in the 2003 edition and failing to finish on home turf in Mombasa in 2007.

Having been almost inseparable from Ayalew, the Olympic 3,000m steeplechase fifth placer for most of the race, Chebet found herself trailing her East-African rival by around three seconds with just 800m remaining but managed to chase her down and overtake in an exhilarating finish.

Indeed, Chebet herself – who is married to 2008 Kenyan 10,000m champion Edward Muge - was pleasantly surprised by the outcome on a snow-drenched course in below zero temperatures:

“I wasn’t expecting to perform well here as the course was badly affected by the weather so I thank God for letting me win the title again,” she revealed.

“I’ll come back to Poland as I like it here very much. I did the same tactics as in 2010 and when I saw Ayalew was exhausted, I knew I’d overtake her at some point.”

A reserved Kenyan Administration police officer, Chebet certainly had a point to prove as she had failed to qualify for her national squad for the 2011 Championships in Punta Umbria and only placed fourth in her national trial for the event, having been spiked mid-way through the race.

Hailing from the Rift Valley province and based in Kericho, Chebet explained before the event that she believed Bydgoszcz was her destiny:

“In 2010, I finished fourth at the trials and went on to win gold. When I heard they returned the event there, I got the motivation to train hard, get back into shape and make the team since I missed defending my title in Spain.”

Her achievement therefore represents the ultimate redemption for Chebet as she majestically reclaimed the title she so unfortunately lost two years ago.

The modest and shy runner in turn led the Kenyan outfit to an emphatic gold medal-winning display, with 19 points to Ethiopia’s 48 - their fourth consecutive title in the event, again proving their dominance with all six runners inside the top 11.

Now with her confidence restored, Chebet will turn her attentions to the road in the short term and on the track for the summer:

“My main focus now (in the spring) is road races over 5km and 10km as I need to improve my form before the World Championships in Moscow,” she revealed.

“Then I want to try my luck at 10,000m so I’m going to try to make sure I get the opportunity to run for my country.”

Ninth in the 2007 World Championships over 10,000m in Osaka and with a 31:30.22 personal best dating back to the 2011 season, Chebet will no doubt tackle the new challenge with determination on the back of a glorious comeback campaign this winter.

Nicola Bamford for the IAAF