IAAF REPORT POSTED BY ATHLETICS AUSTRALIA FEDERATION
Thursday, 07 February 2008 Kenyans and Chinese join list of world class athletes in Sydney
7 February 2008 - Twenty-one nations will be represented at the Sydney Grand Prix on Saturday 16 February, as the world counts down to the Beijing Olympics, with Kenya and China confirming their athletes who will compete on our shores over the next three weeks.
The Telstra A-series Grand Prix - Sydney is one of a select group of Area meetings at which points can be acquired by athletes to qualify for the 2008 IAAF / VTB Bank World Athletics Final to be held on 13-14 September in Stuttgart.
The new recruits will join the world’s fastest man Asafa Powell, and reigning World and Olympic 400m champion Jeremy Wariner, who will commence their Olympic campaign at the Sydney Olympic Park Athletics Centre.
In other news, Commonwealth Games 400m champion John Steffensen has entered the meet in Sydney, however he has informed Athletics Australia that he is still concerned about his troublesome hamstrings and would like to delay a decision on lining up for the 400m until closer to the event. Steffensen would require an exemption from the selectors if he were to miss the crucial Olympic qualifying event.
[i][NO PROBLEM THERE - JUST ASK GLYNIS NUNN-CEARNS FOR HER SUPPORT IN THIS MATTER kk][/i]
The distance fields will be boosted by the inclusion of four quality Kenyan runners, who will also compete at the IAAF World Athletics Tour meet in Melbourne on 21 February and at the National Championships in Brisbane (February 28 – March 1) - Leonard Kibet (800m/1500m), Bernard Kiptum (1500m), Shadrock Kosgei (1500m/3000m/5000m) and Collins Kosgei (3000m Steeplechase /5000m).
Team China rarely leave their shores to compete overseas, and in an Olympic year when the spotlight will be firmly focussed on their capital city, will send a nine-member contingent to compete in Sydney and Melbourne.
Xiaoxiao Huang, who finished fifth behind Jana Rawlinson at last year’s World Championships in Osaka, headlines the team, and the contest over the hurdles between the 23-year-old and Jamaican Melaine Walker will provide one of the highlights of the Sydney meet.
In Melbourne, Aimin Song (pb - 65.33m) and Taifeng Sun (PB - 64.98m) are expected to push Dani Samuels (PB - 60.63m) in the Discus Throw, whilst in the women’s 3000m steeplechase, Zhenzhu Li (PB – 9:32.35) and Yanmei Zhu (PB - 9:32.36) will provide valuable competition for Donna MacFarlane (pb - 9:25.05).