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The Week That Was February 4 - Feb 11, 2008
Feb 12, 2008
*Last week's week in review can be found here
By LetsRun.com

We'll start with a few thumb up/thumbs down before recapping the major indoor action from the week.  The indoor action really heated up as the middle of February is upon us.  There was a dress rehearsal for world indoors in Valencia, Spain as well as the British and Russian champs as well as tons of American NCAA/Open action.

Louisville's Wesley Korir and the Kenyan Violence Up Close and Personal

Before we get into the heart of the weekly review, we will simply say one thing. If you didn't read the Wesley Korir story last week, you must do so now. We don't want to say too much because we want you to read it. Korir went back to Kenya for the holidays and what he saw was total mayhem. He got rounded up by a rampaging murdering mob, but comes out as a hero in the story:

"We didn't have any choice (of whether to go with the killing mob or not) Either they'd kill us, or we'd go. They didn't give us a weapon. They gave me only two stones. Which was so weird, because what am I going to do with two stones? ..But in my mind, I knew I was not going to fight, even if they gave me a gun. I don't even know how to shoot a gun. I've seen (the movie) 'Hotel Rwanda,' what happened in Rwanda. And it was exactly that. … People in the street with machetes, killing people from other tribes. It was difficult for me to imagine a country so peaceful got destroyed in a single day. My country, Kenya, really got destroyed in a single day." -Louisville's Wesley Korir

Thumbs Down To Britain (and  New Zealand and Belgium)

This week is came out that the British Olympic Association is making all British Olympic athletes sign a clause saying they won't criticize the Chinese for their appalling human rights record or anything else while they are in the Olympics.  We certainly believe that the Olympics are a time when politics should be put aside (and think the boycotts of the 1976 and 1980 and 1984 games were ridiculous)  but censoring athletes from speaking their own mind is going to far.  One has to trust that they know how to act appropriately as guests in another culture.

Some are comparing Britain's demands to the demands made of the 1938 British national soccer team which was made to give a Nazi salute. That comparison is a bit extreme but not that far off.

For the record, New Zealand and Belgium will all also be censoring their athletes. We're please to report that the United States, Canada, Finland, and Australia will not be censoring theirs so a small thumbs up to them for common sense.

*British Athletes Being Told to Sign a Clause Saying They Won't Criticize Chinese Human Rights Record

Thumbs Down To Russia's Yuriy Borzakovskiy
How can we give a thumbs down to the reigning Olympic 800 meter champ who had a strongweek on the track. First on Friday, he destroyed the field at the PSD Bank Meeting in Dusseldorf, winning by more than a second in 1:46.58.

Then on Sunday, he ran a scintillating, solo 1:44.5 relay leg as his Russian team of himself and Roman Trubetskoi, Dmitriy Bukreyev, Dmitriy Bogdanov ran 7:15.77 to break the 37-year old European record in the men's 4 x 800 (by the way, we love the 4 x 800 - it's a great event that should be in NCAAs over the DMR).

So why are we ripping him? Because it came out this week that Yuriy will not be running world indoors this year. Borzakovskiy has a troubling history of skipping major events. In 2001, he was the world leader but decided to skip worlds outdoors. That made zero sense.  Sure, one could easily come up with why world indoors didn't fit into one's plan in an Olympic year. But not if you are an 800 guy who already has run a full indoor campaign.

Ever wonder why track and field isn't as popular as it once was? Because the big names never compete against each other anymore. Ridiculous. Maybe track needs a professional league that forces people to run certain races similar to how the NFL forces guys to play in the Pro-Bowl.

Golden League Nabs New Title Sponsor
We're the first to admit we had never heard of the Swiss Swedish company ĹF before, but we are very pleased to hear they are the new Title Sponsor of the Golden League as track and field needs to attract more non-running related sponsors.  ĹF is a technical consulting company.  

Maybe they can advise us on how to redesign our website?

*ĹF To Be Title Sponsor Of IAAF Golden League

 

Weekly Action
Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon

The world's richest half-marathon took place this week in the United Arab Emirates. The money ended up producing two remarkable races. Professional running is just so deep nowadays that whenever there is big money on the line, big performances generally result. Remember the days when a sub 60 hour half-marathon was remarkable. It was only 15 years ago in 1993 that Moses Tanui first ran sub 60. Now sub 60s are almost common place. In the UAE, the men's race featured a photo finish between Kenya's Patrick Makau and Ethiopia's Tsegaye Kebede, with Makau getting the win (both were timed in 59:35). It was Makau's 5th sub 60 clocking in the last year alone . This one clearly was special as it was worth $25,000. Kebede, just 21, had to settle for a nice consolation prize of $15,000. Not bad for his first ever half.

Think a two person battle to the tape is exciting? The women's race featured a 3-person photo finish. Kenya's Salina Kosgei got the win in a slow 72:27 as Pamela Chepchumba and Arsede Habtamu also had the same time. All together, there were 5 women that finished within 2 seconds of each other.

Top Results:
MEN
1. Patrick MAKAU KEN 59:35 USD 25,000
2. Tsegaye KEBEDE ETH 59:35 15,000
3. Dickson MARWA TAN 59:52 10,000
4. Fabiano JOSEPH TAN 59:56 6,000
5. Mekubo MOGUSO KEN 60:35 5,000
6. Matthew KOECH KEN 60:59 3,000
7. Kiplimo KIMUTAI KEN 61:00 1,500
8. Dieudonné DISI RWA 61:07
9. Tewodros SHIFERAW ETH 62:09
10. Paul KOSGEI KEN 62:17

WOMEN
1. Salina KOSGEI KEN 72:27 USD 25,000
2. Pamela CHEPCHUMBA KEN 72:27 15,000
3. Arsede HABTAMU ETH 72:27 10,000
4. Alice TIMBILIL KEN 72:29 6,000
5. Helalia JOHANNES NAM 72:29 5,000
6. Helena KIPROP KEN 72:33 3,000
7. Deriba ALEMU ETH 72:36 1,500
8. Nataliya BERKUT UKR 72:42
9. Atsede BAYSA ETH 75:12
10. Inga ABITOVA RUS 75:42

*Photos Finishes Galore at World' Richest Half-Marathon


Professional Track in Europe: World Records Galore
Russian Champs - New World Record in Women's 1,500 and Women's 4 x 800!!!
The Russian champs did not disappoint. We mentioned the new European record in the men's 4 x 800 earlier but when on thinks of Russia and running nowadays - they primarily think of Russian middle distance runners.

And the Russian women did not disappoint as they one-upped the men. The Russian 4 x 800 team of  Yevgeniya Zinurova (2:04.01), Olga Kotlyarova (2:01.8), Marina Savinova (2:06.8) and Natalya Ignatova (2:01.8) took more than 4 seconds off the world record with their 8:14.53 performance. Very impressive.

However, Russia' Yelena Soboleva is the one that really grabbed all the attention. First, she won the 800 in a world leading 1:56.49 - the #4 indoor time ever as 4 Russian women broke 2:00. Then on the final day of the competition she smashed her own world record in the 1,500 running 3:58.05 as 3 Russian women sub 4:04.

*Yelena Soboleva 3:58.05!!
Top Women's Results Below -
Full Results Here

800m
 1. Yelena Soboleva (03.10.82)     1.56,49 NR, WL, #4 performance all-time
 2. Natalya Ignatova (06.05.81)    1.58,84
 3. Mariya Savinova (22.06.85)     1.59,46
 4. Mariya Shapayeva (07.11.86)    1.59,71
 5. Tatyana Andrianova (10.12.79)  2.02,68

1,500
1. Yelena Soboleva (03.10.82)      3.58,05 WR
 2. Yuliya Fomenko (30.08.79)       4.00,21 PB
 3. Yekaterina Martynova (06.08.86) 4.03,68 PB
 4. Olesya Chumakova (23.07.81)     4.07,41 SB
 5. Olesya Tyurina (03.09.80)       4.12,34 SB
 6. Natalya Fedotova (11.07.84)     4.14,72 PB
 7. Margarita Plaksina (01.10.77)   4.16,01 SB
 8. Anna Khadiyeva (19.06.80)       4.17,63
 9. Natalya Popkova (21.09.88)      4.21,85


Valencia Indoor Meet
The biggest meet of the week took place in Valencia, Spain - a dress rehearsal of sorts for world indoors which is in Valencia next month.  Great marks showed up all over the place.


Former World Junior Champ Melkamu

Kenenisa Bekele unleashed his unreal finishing kick with 260m to go and his final lap of 26.2 outclassed the field as he won his indoor opener in 7:36.08, handing defeats to Kenyan Edwin Soi (7:36.70) as well as his Bekele's kid brother Tariku (7:37.09). Tariku is the world leader in 2008.

In the men's 1,500, Bahrain's Ali Bilal Mansour had the lead at the bell but was overtaken by Ethiopia's Mekonne Gebremedhin who was clearly the class of the field in the final 400. Gebremedhin won in a world leading 3:36.63 as European champion Juan Carlos Higuero edged Mansour for 2nd ((3.37.46 vs 3.37.90).

The race was hyped as the expected debut of 2007 world junior cross country champion Asbel Kiprop, who we think may be the next great 1,500 star, but Kiprop didn't make it to the starting line. No word as to whether the instability in Kenya was the cause. Rashid Ramzi was also a no-show. Otherwise this race would have been the highlight of the indoor season

In the men's 800, reigning world indoor champion Wilfred Bungei defeated former Nebraska star Dmitrijs Milkevics 1:47.22 to 1:47.30.

The women's 3k was expected to feature a battle amongst many of Ethiopia's top stars but ultimately only one toed the starting line. Meselech Melkamu, winner of 3 straight bronzes at world cross, was the class of the field and won in 8:29.48. The crazy thing after the race is it sounded as if Melkamu was trying to influence the selectors for world indoors when she said, "Although I haven’t matched my last year result in Stuttgart (when she pushed Defar to the line to clock 8.23.74) I’m confident of being selected for the Worlds as my time is now second among the Ethiopians athletes."

The Ethiopian are so good that an 8:29 might not get selected for world's.
*Kenenisa Bekele Defeats His Brother in 3k in 7:36 in Valencia IAAF
Mid-d and Distance Results Below:

M800
1. Wilfred Bungei, KEN           1:47.22
 2. Dmitrijs Milkevics, LAT       1:47.30
 3. Abraham Chepkirwok, UGA       1:48.03
 4. Amine Laalou, MAR             1:48.57
 5. Manuel Olmedo, ESP            1:48.85
 6. Luis Alberto Contreras, ESP   1:49.10
 7. Eugenio Barrios, ESP          1:49.13
 8. Maurizio Bobbato, ITA         1:49.65
 9. Antonio Manuel Reina, ESP     1:53.93
DNF - John Litei, KEN [pace]

M1500
1. Gebremedhin Mekonnen, ETH     3:36.63 PB, WL
 2. Juan Carlos Higuero, ESP      3:37.46 SB
 3. Bilal Mansour Ali, BRN        3:37.90 SB
 4. Arturo Casado, ESP            3:38.13 PB
 5. Youssef Baba, MAR             3:39.15 SB
 6. Diego Ruiz, ESP               3:39.48 PB
 7. Youssef Saad Kamel, BRN       3:40.28 PB
 8. Mounir Yemmouni, FRA          3:41.53
 9. Abdelkader Hachlaf, MAR       3:42.24 SB
10. Suleiman Simotwo, KEN         3:43.93 SB
DNF - Philemon Kimutai, KEN [pace]
DNF - Michael Ndiwa, KEN [pace]
DNS - Asbel Kiprop, KEN
DNS - Rashid Ramzi, BRN

M3000
. Kenenisa Bekele, ETH          7:36.08 SB
 2. Edwin Soi, KEN                7:36.70 PB
 3. Tariku Bekele, ETH            7:37.09
 4. Daniel Kipchirchir Komen, KEN 7:38.58 SB
 5. Abreham Cherkos, 1989, ETH    7:41.31
 6. Roba Gari, ETH                7:42.12 PB
 7. Abraham Chebii, KEN           7:44.84
 8. Brimin Kipruto, KEN           7:45.39 SB
 9. Rui Silva, POR                7:45.61 SB
10. Ali Maataoui, MAR             7:46.13 PB
11. Alemayehu Bezabeh, ETH        7:51.24 PB
12. Reyes Estévez, ESP            7:56.28 SB
13. Arne Gabius, GER              7:58.33
14. Antonio David Jimenez, ESP    7:58.54 SB
15. Erik Sjoqvist, SWE            8:04.79 SB
DNF - Javier Carriqueo, ARG
DNF - Timothy Kiptanui, KEN
 Intermediate:
 1000m: 2:28.99 - Javier Carriqueo, ARG
 2000m: 5:02.26 - Kenenisa Bekele, ETH

W800
1. Sultana Ait Hammou, MAR      2:03.69 SB
 2. Maria Carmo Tavares, POR     2:04.24 SB
 3. Margarita Fuentes-Pila, ESP  2:05.57 SB
 4. Elián Periz, ESP             2:07.46 SB
 5. Patricia Conde, ESP          2:08.03 PB
 6. Khadija Rahmouni, ESP        2:09.99 PB
 7. Nerea Ruano, ESP             2:10.60 SB
 8. Rosa Maria Baldo, ESP        2:11.61 PB
DNF - Kudirat Akghibe, NGR [pace]
DNF - Lilian Silva, ANG
 Intermediate:
 400m: 1:00.85 - Kudirat Akghibe, NG

W1500m:
 1. Mayte Martínez, ESP          4:15.34 SB
 2. Esther Desviat, ESP          4:15.95 PB
 3. Mari Jarvenpaa, FIN          4:17.22 SB
 4. Bouchra Chaabi, MAR          4:17.87 PB
 5. Sandra Teixeira, POR         4:18.47 SB
 6. Eva Arias, ESP               4:19.70 SB
 7. Isabel Macias, ESP           4:19.91 PB
 8. Rocío Rodriguez, ESP         4:22.11 SB
 9. Beatriz Antolin, ESP         4:24.74 PB
10. Elena Garcia, ESP            4:25.01 PB
11. Gemma Barrachina, ESP        4:27.08 PB

W3000m:
 1. Meselech Melkamu, ETH        8:29.48 SB
 2. Mariem Alaoui Selsouli, MAR  8:35.86 NR
 3. Jessica Augusto, POR         8:55.18 PB
 4. Veronica Nyaruai, KEN        9:03.59 PB  [1989]
 5. Sophie Duarte, FRA           9:07.78 PB
 6. Sara Moreira, POR            9:09.88 PB
 7. Ancuta Bobocel, ROU          9:11.43 SB
DNF - Meskaren Assefa, ETH
DNF - Anna Bove, ESP
DNF - Judit Varga, HUN
 Intermediate:
 1000m: 2:47.35 - Meskaren Assefa, ETH
 2000m: 5:39.85 - Meselech Melkamu, ETH

Karlsruhe Meet  Susanna Kallur Gets World Record in Hurdles
We're sure many of you are asking where the hell is Karlsruhe? Don't worry, it doesn't mean you are necessarily a xenophobic American as Karlsruhe is a small German town of less than 300,000 in the southwestern part of the country. We aren't trying to give you a geography lesson - rather we mentioned it because Susanna Kallur ran a world record in the 60m hurdles there this week (6.78).
*Video of Race here
*Susanna Kallur Breaks 60m Hurdles World Record to Highlight Karlsruhe Meet IAAF

Weekly Drug Update: British Indoors and Dwain Chambers: Drug Apologists Finally Paying the Price
Last weekend, the Norwich Union British Indoor Trials for worlds were held. While we'd have hoped the action on the track would have made news, it only did so because of one athlete, Dwain Chambers.

Chambers definitely had the performance of the meet. He ran 6.56 for 60m, a time only 3 men in the world have bettered this year. But the problem for UK Athletics is that Chambers garnered the media's attention because of his past and his Balco drug suspension. New UK Athletics boss, Niels de Vos, has indicated he does not want Chambers representing Great Britain internationally.

We don't blame de Vos. The problem is the rules. The IAAF has said Chambers is eligible to run at Worlds. And unless UK athletics tries to invoke an exceptional circumstance rule, it looks like UK Athletics rules say Chambers should run as well.

We at LetsRun.com have been more anti doping than just about anyone in the sport, but we believe Chambers should be allowed to compete. In general, we have problems with athletic administrators trying to change rules after the fact or enforcing them arbitrarily to get the desired result. Plus, there are some practical reasons why Chambers should be allowed to compete (ie although drug cheats rarely cooperate with anti doping authorities, they will have no incentive to do so if they know the rules can be changed after that fact).

Sue Mott of the Daily Telegraph puts the Chambers situation best when she said in an article published today,
"It is simply and squarely the fault of administrators who have been fearful apologists for an on-going crime against sport. Banning the cheats for life is the only answer. And unlike the criminal justice system, life should mean life." We couldn't have said it better.

While we support Mr. Chambers in his quest to run at World Indoors, we don't support much else he has done or has to say. After his win at the Trials he said,
"My comeback has proven that I can do it clean." His comeback has proven no such thing.

In today's age, no one should be so foolish to believe that a negative drug test means one is clean. It just means one has not been found to be dirty. Chambers actions and especially words in the past, give us no reason to give him the benefit of the doubt. Especially after he told the BBC just last year:


*
British Indoor Results and Recap

Continued: Page 2 of the Week That Was: NCAA Action, Alan Webb, Jeremy Wariner, Steve Sherer and a New Marathon Major

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