Tag Archives: Mutaz Essa Barshim

Seeing’s not believing as shoe tech rips up the record books

When World Athletics chief Sebastian Coe began his review of the year by highlighting “some jaw-dropping performances” he perfectly encapsulated the sport’s current paradox – people are stunned by what they are seeing, but not necessarily impressed.

For decades, huge world records were often greeted with a weary assumption of doping but many of today’s even bigger leaps are the result of “performance-enhancing technology”.

The dropping of the jaw is all-too often accompanied by the shaking of the head as a succession of astounding performances on track and road have left fans utterly discombobulated.

Illustrating the issue perfectly was the men’s Olympic 400 metre hurdles final in Tokyo this year, widely acclaimed as one of the greatest races in history.

American Kevin Young’s world record of 46.78 seconds had stood for 29 years before Norway’s Karsten Warholm finally nibbled eight hundredths off it in Oslo in July.

In Tokyo, Warholm scorched an incredible 45.94 seconds, while American Rai Benjamin and Brazilian Alison do Santos were also inside Youngs’ mark that had been untouchable for almost three decades.

As sceptics reacted not with adulation but with questions about the seemingly obvious impact of the new carbon-plated, thick-soled spikes and the “energy-returning” Tokyo track, Benjamin hit back by saying he could have done it in any shoes.

“No one will do what we just did,” he said. “Kevin Young, Edwin Moses (who broke the world record four times and won two Olympic golds in a 10 year run of 122 consecutive race wins), respect to those guys, but they cannot run what we just ran.”

SIMILAR STORY

It was a similar story, albeit with smaller margins, in the women’s event where Sydney McLaughlin and Dalilah Muhammad ran inside McLaughlin’s pre-Games world record and almost a second faster than the mark set by Russian Yuliya Pechonkina in 2003 that stood for 16 years.

Of course, times have always got faster and technical innovations have helped, but the leaps being seen now are, in the words of Warholm himself, “taking credibility away from our sport” as he bizarrely criticised Benjamin’s carbon shoes for having thicker soles than his own.

One of the other highlights of the Tokyo Olympic programme was Jamaican Elaine Thompson-Herah’s unprecedented retention of both 100m and 200m titles as, also aided by carbon spikes, she edged within touching distance of the extraordinary and hugely dubious times set by the late Florence Griffith Joyner in 1988.

It is a similar story on the roads, where World Athletics’ 2020 shoe design rules must be one of the greatest examples of closing the stable door after the horse has not only bolted but disappeared over the hills.

Records continue to tumble at all levels and this year has seen almost two minutes wiped off the women’s half-marathon world record, in three massive bites.

Coe says it is pointless now trying to place these seemingly stupendous performances in historical context and, in the case of the two 400m hurdles races, for example, he is surely right that fans should sit back and just appreciate the stunning head-to-head showdowns on the biggest stage of all.

However, perhaps the most uplifting event of the athletics year did not feature a record, or an outright winner, as Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar and Italian Gianmarco Tamberi found themselves locked together after three fails at 2.39 metres in the Olympic high jump final.

Barshim asked an official: “Can we have two golds?” and when he said “yes”, and both men erupted in joy, it was truly one of the great Olympic moments.

Arab countries earned five gold medals at Olympics

Nine Arab countries won medals at the Tokyo Olympic Games, which ended this Sunday (8). They took home gold for Qatar, Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco.

São Paulo – The Arab countries that competed in the Tokyo Olympics earned five gold medals, five silver, and eight bronze, in a total of 18, according to the competition’s official table. The accomplishments came from Qatar, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Syria. The schedule was started officially on July 23 and ended this Sunday (8).

Qatar was the top-ranked Arab country in the games, with three medals, including two gold and one bronze. They were the first two Olympic gold medals in Qatar’s history. Athlete Fares Ibrahim El-Bakh won gold in men’s 96kg weightlifting and Mutaz Essa Barshim in the high jump.

Qatar’s bronze medal came from men’s beach volleyball. On Friday (6), Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan defeated the Latvian duo Martin Plavins and Edgar Tocs. The performance of the Qatari team was astonishing. The Latvians had eliminated the Brazilian duo Alison and Álvaro from the competition.

The second best-placed Arab country in Tokyo was Egypt, with six medals, one gold, one silver, and four bronze. The Egyptian gold came from women’s Karate Kumite, with athlete Feryal Abdelaziz , in the over 61 kg category. Ahmed Elgendy won silver in the modern pentathlon. Giana Lotfy won bronze in women’s under 61kg Kumite, Seif Eissa in men’s 80 kg taekwondo, Hedaya Malak in women’s 67 kg taekwondo, and Mohamed Ibrahim Elsayed in men’s 67 kg wrestling. Egypt was ranked 54th in the games.

Tunisia was the third best-ranked Arab country in Tokyo, in 58th. The country earned two medals, one gold, and one silver. The gold came from Ahmed Hafnaoui, in men’s 400 m freestyle swimming. Athlete Mohamed Khalil Jendoubi earned silver for Tunisia in men’s 58 kg taekwondo.

Morocco came 63rd with a gold medal in men’s 3,000 m hurdles in athletics by Soufiane El Bakkali. Jordan took 74th place with one silver by Saleh Elsharabaty in men’s 80 kg taekwondo and a bronze by Abdel Rahman Almasatfa in men’s 67 kg Kumite.

Bahrain finished 77th with one silver by Kalkidan Gezahegne in women’s 10,000 m athletics. Saudi Arabia reached the same position as Bahrain, with a silver medal from Tareq Hamedi in men’s over 75kg Kumite.

Kuwait came 86th, with a bronze from Abdullah Alrashidi in men’s shooting. Syria, also in 86th place, earned a bronze medal with athlete Man Asaad in men’s over 109kg weightlifting.

IAAF ATHLETES’ COMMISSION LETTER TO WADA EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

The IAAF Athletes’ Commission has today sent a letter to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s executive committee for consideration at its meeting on September 20.

The letter reads:

September 19, 2018

Dear Sir. Craig Reedie and WADA Executive Committee members:

On behalf of the IAAF Athletes’ Commission, and the athletes that we represent, we urge you to vote against the recommendation of the Compliance Review Committee to reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and we ask that the original roadmap for compliance (the Roadmap) be adhered to in its entirety, including the acknowledgement and acceptance of the evidence and facts in the McLaren Report.

The sporting community around the world has spoken and the message is consistent and clear: RUSADA cannot be declared compliant until all outstanding conditions set out in the Roadmap have been satisfied. We believe that any compromises to the Roadmap will tarnish WADA’s reputation and bring global sport into disrepute.

We recognise that Russian sport has taken significant steps forward on the road to compliance; however, given the severity of Russia’s egregious violations to the integrity of sport, the conditions in the Roadmap are appropriate, proportionate and more importantly, grounded on principles of transparency and integrity.

The Roadmap was created and approved by you. Our request is simple: follow the rules that you’ve created the same way we are expected to. You owe it to all clean athletes to be the guardians of clean sport.

Yours respectfully,

Inaki Gomez, Chair
Valerie Adams, Deputy Chair
Paula Radcliffe
Adam Kszczot
Ivana Spanovic
Andreas Thorkildsen
Habiba Ghribi
Christian Olsson
Fabiana Murer
Michael Frater
Mehdi Baala
Mutaz Essa Barshim
Benita Willis
Dwight Phillips

Russian Danil Lysenko stripped of neutral athlete status

Russian high jumper Danil Lysenko has been provisionally suspended and stripped of his status as a neutral athlete following breach of anti-doping regulations, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said on Friday.

Russia was banned by the IAAF in 2015 following an independent World Anti-Doping Agency investigation into allegations, still denied by Moscow, of state-sponsored doping.

Some Russian athletes, however, were cleared to compete internationally by demonstrating to the IAAF that their training environment met the required anti-doping standards.

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has charged and provisionally suspended Lysenko for the breaches.

“The decision… has been made as a result of Mr Lysenko’s failure to provide whereabouts information as required under the IAAF Anti-Doping Rules and Regulations and to make himself available for out-of-competition testing by the AIU,” the IAAF said in a statement.

Lysenko cannot compete at next week’s European Athletics Championships in Berlin, the governing body added.

The 21-year-old equalled the season’s best in high jump with a leap of 2.40 metres at the Monaco Diamond League meeting last month.

Competing as a neutral athlete, Lysenko also won gold at the world indoor championships in Birmingham by defeating Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim, who beat him to top the world championships in London last year.

He was one of seven Russian athletes allowed by the IAAF to participate in Birmingham in March.