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Monday, August 3, 2009

I am of course more than a little biased by this entry, but out of the blue South African junior Caster Semenya raced to the world’s fastest 800-metre time at the African Junior Championships in Mauritius. Semenya clocked 1:56.72 to shatter the national senior record of 1:58.85 set by Zelda Pretorius in 1991. Provided all is on the level & she can carry this form to Berlin & then is able to handle the series of rounds, Semenya is a serious medal contender at the World Championships later this month.

The ten fastest women in the world this year are:
1:56.72 Caster Semenya (RSA) 1 Bambous 31 Jul
1:57.84 Maggie Vessey (USA) 1 Monaco 28 Jul
1:57.86 Anna Alminova (RUS) 1 Cheboksary 23 Jul
1:57.90 Mariya Savinova (RUS) 1 Moscow 01 Jul
1:58.23 Svetlana Klyuka (RUS) 2 Cheboksary 23 Jul
1:58.60 Yelena Kofanova (RUS) 2 Moscow 01 Jul
1:58.62 Yuliya Krevsun (UKR) 1 Leiria 20 Jun
1:58.63 Jennifer Meadows (GBR) 3 Monaco 28 Jul
1:58.80 Anna Willard (USA) 1 Paris 17 Jul
1:58.99 Elisa Cusma Piccione (ITA) 2 Paris 17 Jul
Semenya also took the 1500 in a PB 4:08.01

An athlete that I coached years ago in South Africa, Johan Landsman, almost had his South African 1500m record broken in the Super Grand Prix meet (Herculis) in Fontvielle. Johan Cronje ran 3:33.63 in the 1500 m – a mere 0.07 sec short of Landsman’s record set 16 years ago. Cronje was ninth in a superfast race in which the first five went under 3:32 and eight of the first ten set either personal or season’s best times. Cronje is now the third fastest South African ever. Here are the results of that race:

1. Mehdi Baala, FRA 3:30.96 SB
2. Anter Zerguelaine, ALG 3:31.21 PB
3. Abdelaati Iguider, MAR 3:31.47 PB
4. Youssef Saad Kamel, BRN 3:31.56 PB
5. Tarek Boukensa, ALG 3:31.90 SB
6. Deresse Mekonnen, ETH 3:32.18 PB
7. Lopez Lomong, USA 3:32.94 PB
8. Juan Carlos Higuero, ESP 3:33.19
9. Johan Cronje, RSA 3:33.63 PB
10. Mo Farah, GBR 3:33.98 PB

The Rock ‘N’ Roll Half Marathon in Chicago produced one of those rarest of occurrences in a major road race: a woman winning outright. Two-time USA 5000-metre champion Kara Goucher completed a very successful build-up to the IAAF World Championships Marathon by winning in 68:05. Goucher (31) beat all 14 000 plus finishers in the race, which included all of the men! Although this is not a career best time, Goucher ran her fastest ever half marathon on a record-standard course. She was faster in her debut at the distance at the 2007 Bupa Great North Run in Newcastle, but that course is somewhat aided. Her Chicago time was just 31 seconds slower than Deena Kastor's American record of 67:34 set in Berlin in 2006. It was her first half marathon in the United States. Results below:

1. Kara Goucher (F), 31, Portland, OR 1:08:05
2. Chad Ware, 24, Deerfield, IL 1:08:24
3. David Williams, 37, Milwaukee, WI 1:08:49

The IAAF has recognized Kenyan Micah Kogo’s 27:01 performance in Brunssum, the Netherlands, on 29 March as the world record for 10 km. His time surpassed (by one second!) Haile Gebrselassie's mark set in Qatar on 11 December 2002 (a time not ratified by the Association of Road Racing Statisticians, as the athletes received illegal assistance from a truck driving directly in front of them).

In the DN Galan IAAF Super Grand Prix in Stockholm on 31 July, Jenny Barringer won the 5000m in a personal best of 15:05.25. I was wondering where she’d got to with all the other steeplechase contenders showing form as the World Championships approach.

Here are the other stunning results from that Herculis Super Grand Prix:
The men’s 800m was particularly good. Nice to see Nick Symmonds join the sub 1:44 club; he’s a class act.

Men’s 800:
1. Abubaker Kaki, SUD 1:43.50
2. Yuriy Borzakovskiy, RUS 1:43.58 SB
3. Nick Symmonds, USA 1:43.83 PB
4. Marcin Lewandowski, POL 1:43.84 PB
5. Bram Som, NED 1:44.12 SB
6. Gary Reed, CAN 1:44.24
7. Thomas Chamney, IRL 1:45.50
8. Khadevis Robinson, USA 1:45.50
9. Jeff Lastennet, FRA 1:48.84
10. Michael Rimmer, GBR 1:49.19

1. Moses Kipsiro, UGA 7:30.95 NR
2. Silas Kipruto, KEN 7:32.52 PB
3. Sammy Alex Mutahi, KEN 7:33.02 PB
4. Bouabdellah Tahri, FRA 7:33.18 PB
5. Mark Kiptoo, KEN 7:34.87
6. Leonard Patrick Komon, KEN 7:35.96 SB
7. Mourad Amdouni, FRA 7:39.10
8. Lucas Rotich, KEN 7:41.14 PB [1990]
9. Evan Jager, USA 7:41.78 PB
10. Joseph Kiplimo, KEN 7:46.21

3000 s/chase:
1. Tareq Mubarak Taher, BRN 8:07.24
2. Michael Kipyego, KEN 8:08.48 PB
3. Ruben Ramolefi, RSA 8:11.63 NR
4. Jukka Keskisalo, FIN 8:12.93 PB
5. Abel Mutai, KEN 8:14.38
6. Wesley Kiprotich, KEN 8:14.45 SB
7. Elijah Chelimo, KEN 8:15.33
8. Abdellatif Chemlal, MAR 8:15.63 PB
9. Patrick Terer, KEN 8:20.00
10. Dan Huling, USA 8:21.65 SB

1. Maggie Vessey, USA 1:57.84 PB/WL (before the South Africa junior went faster)
2. Mariya Savinova, RUS 1:58.39
3. Jenny Meadows, GBR 1:58.63 PB
4. Jemma Simpson, GBR 1:59.07 PB
5. Kenia Sinclair, JAM 1:59.13 SB
6. Yekaterina Kostetskaya, RUS 1:59.31 SB
7. Christin Wurth-Thomas, USA 1:59.35 PB
8. Yuliya Krevsun, UKR 1:59.47
9. Élodie Guégan, FRA 1:59.77
10. Morgan Uceny, USA 2:00.06 SB

1500 (2 more girls sub 4:00 this season & Anna Willard slips a little from the incredible standard she has set thus far this season)
1. Maryam Jamal, BRN 3:58.83
2. Gelete Burka, ETH 3:59.56
3. Mariem Alaoui Selsouli, MAR 4:00.95 PB
4. Anna Willard, USA 4:01.68
5. Lisa Dobriskey, GBR 4:02.28 SB
My thanks again to Riel Hauman for the results

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