Bolt desperate for more success

On December 9, 2008 by

You might have thought that setting the world records for both the 100m and 200m events would be enough to keep any athlete happy for a significant amount of time. However, some individuals will never be content no matter how much success comes their way.

One such individual is Usain Bolt, the twenty-two year old sprinter from Jamaica, who currently holds the two world records.

He was a star at the Olympic Games in Beijing earlier this year, running the 100m event in just 9.69 seconds. Bolt also successfully led the Jamaican 4x100m sprint relay team to victory in the Olympic event. In addition he broke the record set by Michael Johnson for the 200m event (19.32 seconds) in the final, with a new record time of 19.30 seconds.

Bolt now believes that he will be able to run 100m in just 9.52 seconds but, before fulfilling this ambition, he must

Radcliffe reveals marathon excitement

On December 8, 2008 by

Paula Radcliffe has spoken of her excitement at the prospect of returning to the London Marathon next year. She has missed the last three London Marathons as a result of persistent injuries but has previously experienced great success on the course.

After a victory in the event in 2002, Radcliffe set the world record in London in 2003 and also won the race in 2005. She is now determined to make up for her absences during 2008, 2007, and 2006, by putting on an impressive performance on home turf.

She will compete against tough competition, with Irina Mikitenko, the defending champion, expected to be in good form. Mikitenko was not present at the Olympic Games, held earlier this year in Beijing, where Radcliffe failed to impress in the marathon event and finished in a disappointing 23rd position.

However, Mikitenko won the Berlin Marathon earlier this year and became the World Marathon Majors champion just last month. Constantina Dita will also provide tough competition for Radcliffe. Dita has never won the event despite having participated a total of eight times. However, she won the gold medal in the marathon event at the recent Olympic Games.

Radcliffe made a successful comeback from physical injury and similarly damaging emotional knocks when she won the New York Marathon just last month and she has since won the Great South Run in Portsmouth as well.

The success in New York has left the British athlete

Turner set to appeal over funding

On November 18, 2008 by

Andy Turner has revealed that he is going to appeal against a recent decision to bring an end to his lottery funding. The sprint hurdler from Nottinghamshire, who is 28 years of age, is one of several athletes from Great Britain who were informed that their funding is going to be stopped or reduced last week.

The decision was made by UK Athletics, who have revealed that the selection process was fair and thorough and the athletes who have been affected by the changes in funding have simply failed to meet the appropriate criteria. However, Turner believes that he has

Radcliffe victorious in New York

On November 4, 2008 by

This weekend saw Paula Radcliffe reach yet another impressive milestone in her career when she became just the second woman in the world to win the New York Marathon a total of three times and managed to dominate the race.

Radcliffe took just two hours, twenty-three minutes and fifty-six seconds to complete the marathon and she finished almost two minutes ahead of her closest rival for the title, 40-year-old Russian athlete Ludmila Petrova.

However, Petrova managed to achieve a personal milestone as well this weekend as she became the oldest woman to finish in the top two since 1987, when British athlete Priscilla Welch won the New York marathon at the age of 42.

A further record was set by Kara Goucher, the American athlete who finished third in the race. She became the first American to finish in the top three since Anne Marie Letko in 1994.

This statistic is all the more impressive when viewed in the light of the fact that Goucher was making her marathon debut. It was an important day for the American athlete, who was competing in the city where she was born and where her father was sadly killed when she was a young child.

The New York Marathon was an important event for Radcliffe, who had a lot to prove to the British public following a disappointing performance at the Olympic Games.

The race has always been a good opportunity for the athlete to prove herself. In 2004 her victory came after a disappointing performance at the Olympic Games in Athens. Her win in 2007 came just ten months after the birth of her first child.

This year, injury severely hampered her preparations prior to the Games in Beijing but she managed to put in an impressive performance during the Great South Run in Portsmouth recently.

The confidence gained by that performance was clear for all to see in New York and, unlike her previous victories in the city, she managed to win by a large margin.

This margin made the victory all the more sweet and Radcliffe revealed that she had made it her aim to open up a comfortable distance between herself and the other athletes:

Halkia may face jail sentence

On November 3, 2008 by

Fani Halkia may be forced to spend up to two years in prison after a Greek prosecutor charged her with using banned steroids. The Greek hurdler, who won gold in the 400 metres hurdling event during the Olympic Games in 2004, was apparently found to have used methyltrienolone.

She was prevented from competing in this year’s Olympic Games in Beijing when her ‘B’ sample was found to contain the steroid, which the International Olympic Committee defines as a drug which has the potential to "damage the health of athletes

Paula Radcliffe wins Great South Run

On October 28, 2008 by

Paula Radcliffe has enjoyed an impressive victory in the Great South Run in Portsmouth, thrashing rivals including Augusto, Mukunzi, Komu, Johnson and Daunay.

The athlete managed to finish the 10-mile race in just 51 minutes and 11 seconds, setting a new record in the process. Jill Boltz held the previous national record but Radcliffe managed to beat it by 30 seconds.

Perhaps more impressively, the athlete admitted that she chose to run at a slower pace than she was capable of in an attempt to save energy before the New York Marathon next weekend. Furthermore, the weather conditions in Portsmouth were not at all ideal, with strong winds and rain impacting upon the performance of the athletes.

For Radcliffe to have smashed the previous record, set 17 years ago, by such an impressive margin is therefore even more of an achievement given the slow pace and the adverse conditions.

Some sports journalists have stated that the athlete has not looked this good since she won the world marathon title in 2005 in Helsinki. Radcliffe won Britain’s only gold medal at the Helsinki World Championships and managed to set a championship record time of 2 hours, 20 minutes and 57 seconds.

The Great South Run was her first race since her disappointing performance at the Olympic Games in Beijing. Radcliffe’s preparations for the Beijing event were hampered by a stress fracture to her hip sustained in May of this year as well as a frustrating succession of calf injuries.

However, she has revealed that she suffered no detrimental psychological effects from the relative failure of the Olympics. Rather, the only

Pavey set to miss battle with Radcliffe

On October 23, 2008 by

Jo Pavey has been forced to withdraw from the Great South Run, scheduled for this Sunday, following an unfortunate groin injury which happened during training for the race last week.

The 35 year old’s husband, who is also her coach, explained that her groin was so tender over the weekend that she was unable to extend her leg. He continued to reveal that her groin has proved troublesome before but an intensive physiotherapy schedule has brought improvements.

Pavey’s injury has brought an end to the exciting prospect of a 10 mile race against Paula Radcliffe, and Kenyan athlete, Martha Komu, will replace her in Portsmouth. Komu managed to finish fifth in the marathon at this summer’s Olympic Games but her inclusion will bring no consolation to fans of the British athlete.

The race will be Radcliffe’s first since her unimpressive performance in the Olympic marathon and many British journalists were relishing the prospect of watching Pavey compete against her.

Pavey was unfortunate enough to miss the Great South Run last year as well and she was extremely excited about competing in this year’s race, following an impressive performance in the Great North Run.

However, her husband has revealed that her success in the recent race may have partially caused her current problem. He stated that she was

Russian athletes banned for doping

On October 22, 2008 by

A total of seven female Russian athletes have been banned for two years after being found guilty of manipulating drug samples. Tatyana Tomashova, Yelena Soboleva, Yuliya Fomenko, Svetlana Cherkasova, Darya Pishchalnikova, Gulfia Khanafeyeva, and Olga Yegorova were originally suspended by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in July of this year and were not allowed to compete in the Beijing Olympic Games.

Tomashova is a double world 1,500 metres champion, whilst Soboleva is a world indoor 1,500 metres champion. Fomenko and Cherkasova are both talented long-distance runners and Pishchalnikova is a European discus champion. Khanafeyeva is a hammer thrower and Yegorova, a popular figure in the world of Russian athletics, is a former 5,000 metres champion.

The women were banned after the IAAF found that their drug samples taken during May 2007 and during last year’s world championships did not match.

Even though the DNA did not match, providing the authorities with proof that the athletes had manipulated the doping control process, the women were not banned straight away. However, after failing to provide proof of their innocence, Tomashova and her fellow Russian team mates were banned for two years.

The women have now all retired from athletics, apart from Olga Yegorova. Tatyana Tomashova still maintains her innocence, considering herself a victim in this controversial situation.

She has publicly spoken of this belief and has also revealed that the

Montgomery jailed for dealing heroin

On October 20, 2008 by

Disgraced US sprinter, Tim Montgomery, has been jailed for a total of five years after being found guilty of dealing heroin, by a court in Virginia. Montgomery is already serving a prison sentence for fraud and conspiracy offences after taking part in a bogus cheques scheme.

The sprinter, who previously boasted a world record before it was stripped from him after he was found to have used steroids, pleaded guilty to possessing over 100 grams of heroin with intent to distribute.

Montgomery’s lawyer, James Broccoletti, has spoken of Montgomery’s life in prison, saying that he is "optimistic" and keen to "proceed with life and get back on track

Prospect of nationalisation hits Olympic village funding

On October 13, 2008 by

This week it was announced that the £1bn athletes’ village for the London 2012 Olympic Games could be nationalised due to the current financial crisis. The chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority, John Armitt, broke the news on Wednesday in front of the London Assembly.

Prior to the banking catastrophe, the village was going to be funded primarily by private banks and developers. However, since the developer, Lend Lease, admitted that it was no longer in a position to finance the scheme, it looks likely that the funding will come from the taxpayer instead.

As the financial crisis has worsened, banks which previously showed an interest in financing the athletes’ village have demanded higher interest rates or higher shares of the profits, which will be made when the flats are sold, following the close of the 2012 Olympics.

Some critics of the scheme have asked why the government cannot fund the development of the village. If this were to happen, the £2.2bn contingency budget kept as insurance against potential problems during the development of the main Olympic facilities, could disappear.

Whilst these plans are not yet set in stone (Armitt admits that the proposal is one of several being considered at the moment), it is a worrying prospect for the average taxpayer, who will already be feeling the strain of the banking crisis on many other levels.

The athletes’ village, composed of 3,000 units, is the largest single undertaking on the Olympic campus, situated in east London. Cut-backs have already been made, with the number of apartments reduced by nearly 1,000.

Athletes will now face cramped sleeping conditions, with five people sharing a unit instead of the original intended total of four per unit. The proposal of nationalisation is just the latest piece of negative press concerning the continuing preparations for the 2012 Olympics since the start of the financial crisis.

In early September, senior government officials announced that the funding shortfall for the development was approximately £250m. Furthermore, the development of a £400m media and broadcast centre planned in conjunction with the private sector, has been destabilised.

It is now possible that the centre will have temporary sections alongside the permanent sections. The embarrassment that this could cause may be compounded by the possibility of new private offices (constructed in Stratford) being utilised to cut expenditure further.

The likelihood is that a firm decision on the future of the athletes’ village will not be made public until next week. The chancellor, Alistair Darling, is set to meet cabinet ministers in charge of the departments funding the Olympics.

The group will discuss the various options available to them and will hope to avoid what Armitt has termed