BISLETT Games, OSLO: Fascinating as always


Thorkildsen thrills Bislett, Powell, 9.96 and 9.98 in Oslo - IAAF Golden League

Friday 2 June 2006

Oslo, Norway - On the opening night of the IAAF Golden League 2006, which began in cloud, ended in sunshine but always remained chilly, a Norwegian national record, one of six world season leading performances this evening, and a brace of sub-10 sprints from Asafa Powell, warmed the crowd at the ExxonMobil Bislett Games.

Thorkildsen thrills with 91.59m national record

IAAF Golden League logo

There is never anything more uplifting than a big home win for any audience, and Olympic champion Andreas Thorkildsen’s 91.59m second round Javelin Throw set the feet pounding and hands clapping in delight. The Norwegian national record made Thorkildsen the sixth longest thrower of all-time, surpassing Finn Tero Pitkämäki’s 91.53 result from the Kuortane meet last year. This one statistic surely made the victory doubly satisfying for the Norwegian, as Pitkämäki was the victor here ahead of him last year, and was down in third place today with 86.31m. In second was the most recent addition to the 90m club, Olympic silver medallist Vadim Vasilevskis who produced 88.09m in the third round.

“This wasn’t really a 100% successful throw,” said Thorkildsen. “It was a lot of power but it was not a maximum throw, I can do better than this.”

Two sub-10 runs for Powell

joint World 100m record holder Asafa Powell wins in Oslo


(Getty Images)

When joint World 100m record holder Asafa Powell floated gracefully to a 9.96 second clocking to win the first of three qualifying 100m heats with the assistance of a +1.6m/s wind, it looked like we would be in for something very special in the final. While USA’s Olympic 200m champion Shawn Crawford (10.01; +1.6m/s) in the second and Marc Burns in the third heat (10.11; +0.5m/s) were really stretching to clock their victories, Powell looked effortless in his opener. The surprise non-qualifier for the final was the new African record holder :frowning: Olu Fasuba, who finished fourth in 10.19 in the third race.

However, our expectations were perhaps too high on a cold night, and exactly two hours later when the final round got underway Powell looked under some strain as he fended off Crawford with a 9.98 to 10.02 finish. The fact that Powell was again under 10 seconds shows the class of the Jamaican but the fluency which he had showed earlier on this evening had vanished.

“It wasn’t too spectacular,” was Powell’s response, who admitted to driving for home too soon after feeling Crawford’s presence at his side.

Sanya Richards improves to 49.82 in Oslo
(AFP / Getty Images)

In third came USA’s Marcus Brunson (10.06), with Trinidad and Tobago’s Burns, fourth in 10.14.

Richards gets faster – 49.82

The women’s one lap sprint saw a dominant display from USA’s Sanya Richards, the World silver medallist and IAAF World Ranked number one for the women’s 400m. The 21-year-old who came into tonight’s meeting with the fastest time in the world this year (49.89) improved to 49.82 seconds in conditions which were undoubtedly a lot cooler than in Kingston, Jamaica, where she had set her previous season’s lead on 6 May.

Tirunesh Dibaba wins the women’s 5000m in Oslo
(Getty Images)

“This sets me up really well for the Golden League (Jackpot),” commented Richards.

The Jamaican born American was followed home distantly by two Jamaicans, Sherika Williams (50.93 – PB) and Novlene Williams (51.15).

Tirunesh’s sprint beats sister; Masai – Kenyan record

Jeremy Wariner running the 400m in Oslo
(Getty Images)

Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba tore away to a world season’s lead with a dominating performance in the women’s 5000m. The race passed through 3000m in 8:43.18 with Dibaba doing some of the front running. By the time the bell was reached (8:43) Kenyan Edith Masai had been forcing the pace for two laps. As the toll resounded, Ethiopia’s World 5000m and 10,000m champion pounced. Dibaba’s sudden attack (57.98 last lap) left her older sister Ejegayehu and Masai surprised, with the former giving the best pursuit.

Crossing the line Tirunesh was a dominant winner in 14:30.40, a personal best, her sister was next in 14:33.53 (also a PB), and Masai, who ran a 2:30 marathon recently and is 39 years of age, came home third in 14:33.84, to improve her own Kenyan record. In all there were personal best clockings for eight of the top-9 finishers in a remarkably high class race.

Bekele destroyed by Songok’s sprint

The men’s 5000m seemed to be set for the usual finishing flourish from World record holder Kenenisa Bekele, as his younger brother Tariku led him through 3000m (7:49.70) and 4000m (10:27.18). But tonight, though the Ethiopian World and Olympic 10,000m champion sprinted away with 400m to go, as the final bend was reached he was caught by :cool: Issac Songok of Kenya whose turn of speed left the 2004 and 2005 World Athlete of the Year heavy legged. Songok, 22, won in 12:55.79 – another world season’s lead – with Kenenisa Bekele second (12:58.22) holding off Mike Kigen of Kenya (third, 12:58.58). The next two home also dipped under 13 minutes – Edwin Soi (12:59.45) and Abreham Cherkos (12:59.53) – in personal bests.

“I am the most surprised today,” said Songok. “I did not think it was possible to win this race…Unbelieveable.”

This was a magnificent display of finishing speed by Songok, who had trailed home a well beaten second to Bekele in the World Cross Country Championships short race in Fukuoka, Japan, at the beginning of April. It is a rare racing occurrence when the 23-year-old Ethiopia looks anything less than god like, but it was distinctly Songok’s finish of the two which was heavenly inspired tonight.

800m and Mile world leads too

Mohammad Alazemi of Kuwait, already the world season’s quickest at 800m thanks to his surprise 1:44.80 run in the ‘B’ race in Doha last month, improved to 1:44.59, a personal best, in a tight finish with Latvia’s Dmitrijis Milkevics (1:44.65 – PB). The effort left the Kuwaiti sprawling on the ground as he dived to take the two lap win in a national record.

The ExxonMobil Dream Mile which closed the track programme, also brought another middle distance season’s best. Alex Kipchirchir of Kenya, who went through 1500m in 3:34.1, came home in 3:50.32, pursued strongly by the habitually late-finishing Ukrainian Ivan Heshko, the World Indoor champion, who crossed in 3:50.89.

Wariner challenged

World and Olympic 400m champion Jeremy Wariner was given a slight scare coming off the final bend in the one lap, as four lanes outside him the Bahamas’ Chris Brown held the advantage. Yet the 22-year-old American was only playing with us, as a change of gear brought him clearly home in the last 60m, crossing in 44.31, with Brown second in 44.80.

However, another American World and Olympic champion, long jumper Dwight Phillips couldn’t raise his game enough to beat the challenge of 23-year-old :cool: Irving Saldino who won that event with 8.53m (+0.9m/s), just 3 centrimetres short of his Area record which already held the season’s world lead. The Panamanian who won the World Indoor silver medal last March is very much in form, with this performance his fourth successive win of the current outdoor season. Phillips, 28, the preeminent jumper of the last few years was second with 8.21m in an assisting wind (+3.4m/s), and compatriot Miguel Pate, third, just one centimetre back (0.0m/s wind). Greece’s Louis Tsatoumas was the only other 8m jumper this evening (8.17m – 1.8m/s)

Alekna remains unbeaten with 68.39m

Lithuania’s double World and Olympic champion Virgilijus Alekna had a solid men’s Discus lead from his round two 67.54m release, and improved that in the fifth to 68.39m. However, the 34-year-old must have breathed heavily in the final round when Olympic silver medallist Zoltan Kovago of Hungary blasted his implement to 68.02m to secure second place. Estonia’s World Championship runner-up Gert Kanter closed out a quality podium with 66.13m. Alekna is unbeaten this season with six wins to his credit.

:cool: Debbie Ferguson McKenzie backed-up her Ostrava victory on Tuesday (30 May) with a 11.22 win in the 100m run into a 1.4m/s wind, confirming that the Olympic 200m bronze medallist from the Bahamas is past a long stretch of injury problems.

In the women’s 200m tonight, it was Belgium’s Kim Gevaert who dominated in her season’s best of 22.58, with Cydonie Mothersill of the Cayman Islands also breaking 23 seconds (22.87). In the women’s 100m Hurdles, Jamaica’s Brigitte Foster-Hylton took the victory in 12.70, ahead of USA’s Lolo Jones (12.82) and Danielle Carruthers (12.85).

In the men’s 1500m, there was a Kenyan 1-2-3 finish led home by Brimin Kipruto’s 3:36.53 run, while the women’s 800m, paced through 400m in 59.34, ended in a close three-way finish. Kenya’s Janet Kepkosgei won in 2:00.51 with Jamaica’s Kenia Sinclair in third (2:00.73), their finishing straight battle eventually being split just before the line by a late run from Great Britain’s Rebecca Lyne (2:00.67), who had steadily worked her way through the field.

After failures at 2.00m, Croatia’s Blanka Vlasic and Belgium’s Tia Hellebaut could not be separated in the women’s High Jump on countback at their best of 1.98m, a national record for the latter. A jump off was called which Vlasic took at 1.94m, as the pair firstly passed unsuccessfully down through 1.98 and 1.96m.

Russia’s Olympic champion Yelena Slesarenko was third (1.96m) with World champion Kajsa Bergqvist of Sweden, fourth with 1.93m.

Klüft – last round win

Another Swedish heroine Carolina Klüft was more successful, winning a low key women’s Long Jump with a leap of 6.67m in the last round, having been surpassed by USA’s Daniela Lincoln-Saavedra’s 6.56m PB moments before.

Chris Turner for the IAAF

The 5000m men’s result, with Songok upsetting Bekele is a wonderful outcome for that branch of the sport in general, Kenyan sport specifically and Brother Colm O’Connell in particular, as he coaches young Isaac. Colm also coaches Augustine Choge, the little shrimp who whipped a high class field to win the 5000m at Com Games this year. Choge was down for the Dream Mile in Oslo, but finished way back 9th in 4min o2sec. This may have a lot to do with the fact (as I learned yesterday) his brother just died (by electrocution).

As for Olu Fasuba, we wait for our friend, coach PJ’s advice. But it must play on a young man’s mind that he can come so suddenly from being another hunter to being the hunted. It must take some adjustment because now Olu is a prize scalp everyone wants - even in the heats. Of course it was also again very cold in Norway and it’s wise to be cautious, but in the Golden League they take no prisoners and even in the heats there is enough desperation to cause upsets.

A late postcard from Oslo…

A shared with you the best so i have to share you the “worse”, even if at 21 years old and so early in the season there is nothing definitive.

This is what happened since Doha… After May 12th he came back to Nigeria… The illness which was coming up to Doha reached his peak in the days after, with high fever. It hampered all the week so he barely trained. On Tuesday 16, he was bite by a spider or some animal, and and a big abscess (size almost like a egg) between best and shoulder. He still has a scar and it is painful when touching. It disturbed the arm movement for more than a week at training and it’s impossible to know how much it affected his system. The level of excitation as well as danger in Nigeria was paramount. He arrived on Italy on 22th. The training was just ok, even though the training plan was disturbed and he had some cramps on hamstings. If i had known what i know today about how his body reacts to such situation, i would have cancelled Hengelo (28th) :frowning: . A big mistake to run there (no disrespect for the meeting though, i’m just talking about coaching point of view). He was really frozen the day before the meet, and even more during the meet. 10.33, doing just the minimum to win and not get injured. The side effect was to see the time, similar to what he jogged in Melbourne in heats and quarter final. He left all confidence in Netherland and the bad comments he heard on his 9.85 from Asafa Powell.

Powell still doesn’t have explanations about the huge gap in Doha between Olu and the other finishers incluing Crawford, Trammell, Obikwelu or Emedolu who have run similar times before and after Doha. And Galtin confirmed his 9.77 (w+1.7) with his 9.88 (w+1.0 in Eugene after the rain and hit by Scott). Neither for how Olu did 9.93 jogging in heats. Anyway, that’s just big business from MVP who is trying to build a DUAL with Gatlin.
We hear a lot all the haters, but i can tell you that in Oslo, Olu has received sincere congrats from sprinters including Michael Frater, Ronald Pognon, the UK boys, some US guys, of course all the Africans and many coaches and meet directors. So at least the main people with real knowledge are trusting Doha.

Olu’s week up to Oslo wasn’t good, however, the good weather and temperature in Norway pleased Olu. The confidence was coming back at training the day before. During the warm-up for Oslo, there was not much problem, it was still cool and the light rain wasn’t disturbing. Olu’s reaction time wasn’t great, something like 0.16, then he tried and took the lead until 60m, where the others came from the back. He was with Ronald Pognon (10.16) 10m before the line but leaned too soon and did 10.19.
This was the consequence of no real training since May 01th and the hamsting tear. A full month with no actual training, competitions with highly contrasting results and various troubles lead to a poor performance in Oslo… Olu is healthy, he could have pretend an injury and explain his poor performance, but he is not like that. He was really disapointed but he will combeback, is a great competitor as he showed in Melbourne to win silver and of course pushing Gatlin twice in a row to his best level.
He needs to recharge the battery in coming back to training and watch out for his next 100m race in early July (which meeting not decided yet).

Wish him good luck!

PJ - As you experience and process, we learn as well! :wink:

That’s what it is about here in this forum, we learn all together!

i think at FIRST VIEW many ppl see each other correct about Doho-mystery(like me sometimes to be honest), but as you said: He isnt using excuses and your arguments are reasons.

Great to get such infos so that we arent forced to believe rumors…

I hope Olu makes 1,2 sub 10 and everybody accepts the result!

GREAT Insights for the rest of us in another of your Excellent Postcards PJ, thanks and . . . I see Oslo weather was it’s usual drizzle. Its been a few years since I was there but on many visits over 15 years it managed to rain, even if just for five minutes, every time. It was a wet track also in New York.

Patience and and time needed now to rebuild Olu for Zurich etc. Best wishes to you both.

OSLO, June 2, 2006 - Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell threw down the gauntlet once again in his much-hyped duel with American Justin Gatlin at the Bislett Games here Friday.
The 23-year-old Jamaican, the joint world record holder with world and Olympic 100m champion Gatlin at 9.77sec, cruised home to win the 100m in 9.98sec despite a -0.9m/s wind speed after posting 9.96sec in his heat.
Tonight was nothing spectacular,'' Powell said. I knew it wasn’t going to be really, really fast because the wind was changing.’’
The latest instalment of the ding-dong track battle of the sprint-kings, unrivalled since that between Carl Lewis and Ben Johnson, saw Powell beat Gatlin’s training partner Shawn Crawford, the reigning Olympic 200m champion, into second.
Gatlin headlines Saturday’s New York Grand Prix athletics meeting with both his and Powell’s agents seemingly quite happy to build up the momentum - and appearance fees - until the next head-to-head.
Since Gatlin’s withdrawal from a meeting in Gateshead, England, on June 11, their next scheduled clash is in London on July 28.
It's for him (Gatlin) to decide when he'll be ready,'' Powell said. He was supposed to run in Gateshead and he’s not running. I’m still running.
I always look forward to running against Justin. When we meet it's really exciting. Lots of people are looking forward to it and I'm anticipating the day.'' Powell added, however, that he did not need the competition of Gatlin to push the 100m record further down. I did it on my own before and I’ll do it again,’’ he said, adding that his focus was to just run well in my races and finish the season''. American Jeremy Wariner, the only track athlete to win two golds at the 2004 Athens Olympics and last year's world championships in Helsinki (400m, 4x400m relay), produced an impressive last 70m to outsprint Chris Brown of the Bahamas for a win in 44.31sec. Now that’s what I call an outstanding race,’’ said a contented Wariner, who is managed by world record holder Michael Johnson and is coached by Johnson’s former handler Clyde Hart.
But world and Olympic 10,000m champion Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia was upstaged in the 5000m by Kenyan Isaac Songok, who broke from the field with 300m to go.
The 22-year-old, who finished second in this year’s world cross-country short course but has largely failed to impress in global track events, held out to see off the challenge of the Ethiopian to win in 12:55.79.
Kuwaiti Mohammed al-Azzimi shot out an early warning ahead of December’s Asian Games, the impressive 23-year-old tumbling over the finish line of the 800m in a world lead of 1:44.59.
The fabled Dream Mile was won by Alex Kipchirchir of Kenya in 3:50.32, with world indoor champion Ivan Heshko of Ukraine outsprinting pre-race favourite Daniel Kipchirchir Komen, also of Kenya, for second.
In the field, Lithuania’s Virgilijus Alekna, the two-time Olympic and world champion, had little trouble winning the discus with a best of 68.39m.
Irving Saladino of Panama beat Dwight Phillips into second to win the long jump with a best of 8.53m.
And the Norwegian crowd cheered home hero Andreas Thorkildsen, the Olympic champion winning the javelin with a best of 91.59m.
In the women’s events, Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba, world 5000m and 10,000m champion, ran an astonishingly fast final lap of 57.98sec in the 5km event to win in a world lead of 14min 30.40sec to the delight of a large contingent of her compatriots in the crowd.
``I am very happy both with my time and the win. I felt very strong,’’ said the 19-year-old who ran the first 200m in 28.3sec and the final 200m in 29.7sec, the pace more than enough to see off her older sister Ejegayehu in second.
Bahamas veteran Debbie Ferguson won the 100m in 11.22sec, Belgium’s Kim Gevaert claimed the 200m in a season’s best of 22.58sec, while American world silver medallist Sanya Richards continued her good form in the 400m, easily outclassing the field for victory in the world lead of 49.82sec.
Jamaican Brigitte Foster-Hylton raced to glory in the 100m hurdles, the recently-crowned Commonwealth champion and world bronze medallist recording 12.70sec in a tight race.
Sweden’s double world and Olympic heptathlon champion Carolina Kluft produced a dramatic winning sixth leap of 6.67m to win the long jump, while Blanka Vlasic won the high jump with the bar raised at 1.98m.

Deb Ferguson wins Oslo 2006