In this issue:
Felix leads U.S. contingent at Diamond League opener in Doha
- Felix leads U.S. contingent at Diamond League opener in Doha
- Ryan Hall to run USA 1 Mile Road Championships
- RunPro Camp set for July 14-17 in Minneapolis
- Vote for USOC Athlete/Team of the Month
Allyson Felix enters the 2011 Samsung Diamond League series with two diamonds to her name as last year’s champion in both the 200 and 400m. She will begin her journey to add to her diamond collection this Friday, in Doha, Qatar in the 400m.
The IAAF Samsung Diamond League encompasses 32 individual event disciplines, with a points scoring 'Diamond Race' which runs throughout the 14 meeting series. In the inaugural season, Americans won 11 of the 32 Diamond Races. Winners of each Diamond Race will get a Diamond Trophy and a cash prize. For more details on the league, click here
Live web coverage starts at noon ET on UniversalSports.com
, with TV coverage at 8:00 p.m. ET on Universal Sports.
While Felix looks to double in the 200/400 later this year at the world championships, she will start the year specializing in the 400m at Doha. Felix has every reason to expect another victory after having nabbed nine Doha wins through the years, including the meet record of 49.83 in 2008. Felix has run four relay legs so far in 2011, but this will be her first individual race of the year. Her top competitors include fellow American Monica Hargrove, Britain’s former world silver medallist Nicola Sanders and Muriel Hurtis-Houairi of France, a world indoor champion over 200m back in 2003.
It’s Russia versus USA in the women’s 200m, where 2010 US champion Connie Moore leads a quartet of Americans against European bronze medallist Aleksandra Fedoriva. Moore ran a nifty 22.40 to win the US title last year while Fedoriva’s PR is only a fraction slower at 22.41. The Russian won an Olympic relay gold in 2008 and she’ll be joined in Doha by her compatriot, Elizabeta Savlinis, who has a best of 23.20.
Moore will be joined by her namesake, LaShauntea Moore, a world youth champ back in 1999 and world finalist in 2007. The 27-year-old was in good form last year when she clocked a 100m PR of 10.97, while her 200 best of 22.46 stems from 2007.
The two other Americans joining the action are Alexandria Anderson and ChaRonda Williams. Anderson is better known as a hurdler, while Williams – a world championship semi-finalist in 2009 - has already run 22.85 this year.
Women’s 100m hurdles
Lolo Jones returns to Doha where she claimed the 2010 world indoor title. She also claimed victory in the inaugural Diamond League event in a swift 12.63. Twice a world indoor champion, Jones has yet to win a major outdoor title. This ensures that her complete focus throughout the year will be on making the US National Team that will compete in Daegu at the World Championships. The 28-year-old has already run 12.74 in 2011 and will be looking to improve.
Indeed, she may well need to get close to the meet record against the tough opposition of Kellie Wells, one of six US hurdlers in the line-up. Wells became the unofficial queen of this year’s indoor season as she remained unbeaten over six events and 10 races. She has already clocked 12.35 outdoors in 2011, albeit with a helping 3.7m/s wind, and has another impressive windy mark of 12.75 to her name.
Alongside them will be Ginnie Crawford, twice a world outdoor finalist, and the experienced Danielle Carruthers, plus three lesser known American names – Nichole Denby, Yvette Lewis and Creliece Law. Frenchwoman Sandra Gomis will compete to help roundout the field. She’s a sub-13 hurdler at her best and was a finalist at the European indoor championships earlier this year.
Women’s Long Jump
American Funmi Jimoh set her personal best of 6.96m on her last visit to Doha in 2009. She was second two years ago and will be looking to improve on her bright start to 2011 on Friday. She has two marks over 6.70m so far. She will face stiff competition from Olympic champion Maurren Maggi and European champion Ineta Radevica.
Olympic bronze medallist Walter Dix is a favorite for the 200m. Dix was in great form last year, clocking a 100m best of 9.88 and running 19.72 for 200m at the Prefontaine Classic. He is joined in the field by Americans Ivory Williams and Jordan Boase, The US trio will battle with Jamaica’s Mario Forsythe and Ainsley Waugh.
Men’s 400m hurdles
Bershawn Jackson showed superb early season form to win the men’s 400m hurdles in Doha last year and the world and Olympic bronze medallist will be hoping to get close to his 2010 time of 48.66 at the Qatar Sports Club this Friday. Jackson will be joined by PanAmerican Games bronze medalist, LaRon Bennett who boasts a PR of 48.74.
The duo will face two strong South Africans in the line-up and four Europeans.
World and Olympic finalist LJ van Zyl, who was third last year, will again be among the challengers as will his compatriot Cornel Fredericks, who took silver at the African championships last year.
Men’s high jump
US hopes will rest with Dusty Jonas, the 2010 world indoor bronze medallist; Andra Manson, 2008 world indoor bronze medallist; and Jesse Williams, a world indoor finalist. The trio of regular 2.30m jumpers will face hometown stars Mutaz Essa Barshim who owns the Quatari record of 2.31m and Rashid Ahmed Al-Mannai emerged from nowhere to win the Continental Cup in Split with a personal best of 2.28m.
Men’s pole vault
2007 World Outdoor Champion and American record holder Brad Walker enters the competition with the best PR of the field at 6.04m/19-9.75. Renauld Lavillenie of France is the only other man in the field who has cleared six meters. Lavillenie finished the 2011 indoor season in perfect style when he retained his European title on home soil in Paris and set a new national record of 6.03m/19-9.25. The field also boasts former world champions Igor Pavlov and Giuseppe Gibilisco, and the defending indoor and outdoor USA Champion, Mark Hollis.
Men’s shot put
Christian Cantwell arrived in Doha last year promising to throw more than 21 metres. And the world indoor and outdoor champion duly delivered, producing a put of 21.82m/71-7.25. It was a massive effort to start his 2010 Diamond League campaign, but the giant American went on to better that mark no fewer than seven times to finish the year as undisputed world number one.
In fact, Cantwell lost only twice during the whole outdoor campaign and after a low key indoor season this year, he’ll be keen to get his 2011 series off to another winning start.
Hoffa was the only man to win against Cantwell last year and the 2007 world champion has made a strong opening in 2011 with a season’s best of 21.56m/70-9 in Athens, Georgia, almost a month ago.
The strong line-up also features current world leader Dylan Armstrong of Canada, Tomasz Majewski, the Polish putter who stole the Olympic title from Cantwell in 2008, and Americans Dan Taylor and Ryan Whiting.
Men’s discus throw
Jason Young and Jarred Rome are the only Americans in a stout field of the world’s best throwers. The veteran Virgilijus Alekna set the Doha meeting record for the discus back in 2006 he was double Olympic and double world champion, but Gerd Kanter, the Estonian who took Alekna’s world and Olympic titles in 2007 and 2008, and led the world last year with 71.45m, will be looking for victory here on his 32nd birthday.
But the Americans bring credentials of their own.Young had the best mark by an American last season with a PR of 69.90m/229-4. Rome, the ‘04 Olympic Trials champion, has finished third at the U.S. championships in ‘06, 07 and ‘10.
Ryan Hall to run USA 1 Mile Road Championships
Ryan Hall will change gears from the marathon the mile next Thursday evening at the Medtronic TC 1 Mile which hosts the USA 1 Mile Road Championships.
Hall, who ran 2:04:58 for 4th place at last month’s Boston Marathon, is a late addition to the Minneapolis event which features two-time defending champion David Torrence. Hall, who is known for his long-distance exploits – he holds the American Record in the Half Marathon at 59:43 – said a conversation with a marathoning legend prompted the decision to run in the Medtronic TC 1 Mile.
“Last weekend I was chatting with Rod Dixon (the 1983 New York City Marathon champion and a 3:53 miler) and he advised me to break four minutes for the mile as soon as possible,” Hall revealed. “While I realize it may take a number of tries to go sub-four, it is a lifelong goal of mine and I believe that if I achieve it, it will certainly help my marathon. I am extremely excited to kick off my spring season at the Medtronic TC 1 Mile where I will compete in my first mile race since 2006.”
Hall’s wife Sara, the 2009 USA Women’s 1 Mile Road Championships runner-up, will also compete at the Medtronic TC 1 Mile.
More information can be found at www.USARunningCircuit.com
RunPro Camp set for July 14-17 in Minneapolis
The first RunPro Camp – designed for aspiring professional distance runners – will be held in Minneapolis July 14-17. The camp is a companion to the web site www.RunPro.com
that was launched in February to assist promising distance runners make the transition from collegiate to professional athletes.
Applications for the RunPro Camp are due by May 14 and may be submitted online or post-marked by that date. Runners who are completing their NCAA eligibility this spring, or within the last year, are encouraged to apply. The camp, as well as the web site, was created and developed by Team USA Minnesota with the support of a 2010 Excellence Challenge Grant from USA Track & Field.
“This isn’t a camp to learn how to run or how to run better,” said Dennis Barker, coach for the Team USA Minnesota Distance Training Center and camp coordinator. “It’s a camp to give promising U.S. distance runners the knowledge, tools and support they need to pursue a professional running career. The most universal questions asked by athletes coming out of college include can they make a living running professionally, where should they train and do they need an agent. The camp covers these subjects plus things they need to know that they probably haven’t thought of yet.”
The RunPro Camp will have USATF representatives in attendance, along with training center coaches, shoe company representatives, financial and health experts, agents, and elite race recruiters. There will also be athletes who are already running professionally who will share their experiences on turning pro.
For more information, go to www.RunPro.com
Vote for USOC Athlete/Team of the Month
Online voting for the USOC Athlete/Team of the Month is now open, and three track and field athletes/teams have been nominated for the honors.