Tag Archives: Rai Benjamin

Seven reigning global medallists to renew rivalry in Eugene 100m

The medallists from the men’s Olympic 100m and 200m finals in Tokyo, plus the men’s world indoor 60m final in Belgrade, will all clash in a stacked 100m field announced for the Prefontaine Classic, part of the Wanda Diamond League series, in Eugene on 28 May.

Reigning Olympic champions Marcell Jacobs and Andre De Grasse will go up against Fred Kerley, Kenny Bednarek, Noah Lyles, Marvin Bracy and Christian Coleman, as well as Olympic 100m fifth-place finisher Ronnie Baker, at Eugene’s Hayward Field.

They will all be looking to make their mark ahead of the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 taking place in the same stadium in July.

“I am honoured and excited to be part of this year’s Prefontaine Classic at the University of Oregon in Eugene,” said Italy’s Olympic 100m champion Jacobs, who also claimed the world indoor 60m title in Belgrade last month.

“It’s going to be my first race in the US since the Tokyo Olympics and the adrenaline is already pumping. I can’t wait to feel the track beneath my feet.”

De Grasse won the 100m at last year’s Prefontaine Classic, a few weeks after becoming a three-time Olympic medallist in Tokyo. The Canadian claimed 4x100m silver and 100m bronze in Japan along with his 200m title.

Kerley secured 100m silver between Jacobs and De Grasse in Tokyo, while Bednarek gained silver and Lyles bronze behind De Grasse in the 200m. At the World Athletics Championships Belgrade 22, Jacobs was joined on the podium by silver medallist Coleman and bronze medallist Bracy.

The men’s 100m is the latest in a number of strong fields announced for the Eugene meeting. All three Tokyo Olympic medallists – Athing Mu, Keely Hodgkinson and Raevyn Rogers – will race in the 800m, while champion Mondo Duplantis will take on his fellow Tokyo Olympic medallists Chris Nilsen and Thiago Braz in the pole vault.

Michael Norman, Michael Cherry and Kirani James will race the 400m, while Rai Benjamin and Alison Dos Santos will go head-to-head in the 400m hurdles and the 100m hurdles will pit Keni Harrison against Jasmine Camacho-Quinn. Yaroslava Mahuchikh and Nicola McDermott will renew their rivalry in the high jump.

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.”

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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.

Athing Mu dominates the Athlete of the Year Awards

Tokyo Olympic Games 800m champion, Athing Mu has dominated the 2021 Wing Awards and Athlete of the Year Awards that will be held at the 2021 Night of Legends on Saturday, December 4 in Orlando, Florida.

The voting has now been opened for fans to choose their favorite athlete of the year and the best performer with the Jesse Owens, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and Wing Awards.

USATF will present all awards as part of the Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida The event will also include the USATF National Track and Field Hall of Fame class of 2021 induction ceremony.

The awards have been presented annually since 1981; the Jesse Owens Award and Jackie Joyner-Kersee Award are USA Track & Field highest accolades.  This is United States highest award for the sport, it bears Jesse Owens’s name in recognition of his significant career, which included four gold medals at the 1936 Olympic Games.

The winners will be selected by the fans and media by voting to choose their most outstanding male and female athletes, winners are selected by a combination of fan and media votes.

The Wing Awards honor a variety of top performances, including Best Olympics Performance for Track as well as Field, and Breakout Performer.

Nominees are:

Female Athlete of the Year:

  1. Valarie Allman
  2. Allyson Fellix
  3. Sydney McLaughlin
  4. Athing Mu
  5. Katie Nageotte

Male Athlete of the Year:

  1. Kenny Bednarek
  2. Rai Benjamin
  3. Ryan Crouser
  4. Fred Kerley

Best Olympic Track Performance:

  1. Rai Benjamin
  2. Allyson Felix
  3. Sydney McLaughlin
  4. Athing Mu

Best Olympic Field Performance:

  1. Valarie Allman
  2. Ryan Crouser
  3. Katie Nageotte

Breakthrough Athlete of the Year:

  1. Courtney Freirichs
  2. JuVaughn Harrison
  3. Cole Hocker
  4. Fred Kerley
  5. Athing Mu
  6. Molly Seidel

Timothy Cheruiyot and Faith Kipyegon are the top ranked Africans in the latest world rankings

World Athletics devised a new global ranking system where athletes score points on a combination of result and place depending on the level of the competition in which the result is achieved. The ranking is based on an average score over a number of competitions over a period of time.

The African continent has managed to get two athletes who have been included in the overall ranking with two times Olympics gold medallist Faith Kipyegon ranked number four in women overall with

Timothy Cheruiyot who is the Olympic silver medallist ranked number nine.

Norways Karsten Warholm and Sifan Hassan from the Netherlands have been ranked as the top athletes in the world.

The rankings pre-Olympics actually help determined what athletes made up the final spots in Japan and were no doubt a reason why the qualifying standards were harder than normal to put a greater importance on the rankings system.

World Athletics has now updated the rankings taking into account the Olympic results on the rankings published on August 18 and then again a few days after the Eugene meeting a week later and they make interesting reading but to some still need a tinkering with.

Ironically the rankings are a better reflection of athletes abilities after Oregon than they were after the Olympics which suggests the organisation hasn’t quite got their priorities right.

When athletes win Olympic golds in the fastest time of the year such as Elaine Thompson-Herah at 100m, Athing Mu at 800m and Sydney McLaughlin and 400m hurdles they should be the world no.1 rather than a very consistent athlete with a better set of marks?

Overall men
while most attention has been on the ranking in individual events, there is an overall ranking and it’s no surprise that Karsten Warholm is now regarded as the top overall athlete from fellow Scandinavian Armand Duplantis. World shot record-breaker Ryan Crouser moved from fifth to third after Eugene moving ahead of Canadians Damian Warner and Andre de Grasse.

1 Karsten Warholm (NOR) 1539
2 Armand Duplantis (SWE) 1535
3 Ryan Crouser (USA) 1500
4 Andre de Grasse (CAN) 1491
5 Damian Warner (CAN) 1473
6 Alison Dos Santos (BRA) 1466
7 Jakob Ingebrigtsen (NOR) 1465
8 Rai Benjamin (USA) 1463
9 Timothy Cheruiyot (KEN) 1444
10 Kenny Bednarek (USA) 1443

 Overall women
Thanks to her versatility from 1500m to 10,000m, Sifan Hassan is comfortably top woman from fellow double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah who has closed the gap significantly after her Eugene run. A recent world record-breaker Yulimar Rojas is not surprisingly third but it does not quite seem right and Femke Bol was fourth overall after the Olympics even though she was clearly only third best at her best event but she lost two places to Faith Kipyegon and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce after their Eugene efforts with the Jamaican likely to move up further after her Lausanne win in next week’s rankings.

1 Sifan Hassan (NED) 1534
2 Elaine Thompson-Herah (JAM) 1515
3 Yulimar Rojas (VEN) 1475
4 Faith Kipyegon (KEN) 1474
5 Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (JAM) 1458
6 Femke Bol (NED) 1455
7 Katie Nageotte (USA) 1444
8 Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (PUR) 1433
9 Peres Jepchirchir (KEN) 1430
10 Hyvin Kiyeng (KEN) 1429

 

Karsten Warholm smashes his own World Record

Norway’s Karsten Warholm has smashed the world 400m hurdles record after shattering his own world record at Tokyo 2020.

Double world champion Warholm registered a time of 46.70 seconds in Oslo on July 1, but he has smashed that in the most important race of his career, recording a time of 45.94 in the final.

USA’s Rai Benjamin, 25, came in second with an area record time of 46.17 seconds to take silver.

Brazil’s Alison dos Santos won bronze in 46.72 seconds which would have won every past Olympic 400m hurdle final.

IAAF clears Haron Lagat to run for United States

Kenyan born Haron Kiptoo is among eight athletes who have been cleared to represent new countries in two months since the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Council approved new transfer of allegiance rules.

Five athletes have had their transfer of allegiance requests approved and three have had their eligibility for their new countries determined.

It comes after the IAAF established the role of their nationality review panel (NRP) and worked out the requirements for athletes who wish to represent a new IAAF member federation.

Since the new rules were approved, the NRP has received 14 complete transfer requests in all, some of which are still under review, the IAAF said.

The new rules in question require a three-year waiting period before an athlete can transfer to a new country and sufficient evidence that those countries are offering full citizenship and associated rights.

No athlete can transfer before the age of 20 and none can transfer more than once.

All of the eight athletes in question can now represent their new countries, with the exception of former Cuban Pedro Pablo Pichardo, who will have to wait until August 1, 2019 to represent Portugal.

Those who can already represent their new nations are Rai Benjamin, from Antigua and Barbuda to the United States, Mike Edwards, from Great Britain to Nigeria, Patrick Ike Origa, from Nigeria to Spain, and Leon Reid, from Britain to Ireland.

Those who have been declared eligible for new countries are Lagat for the US, Miranda Tcheutchoua for Ireland and Weldu Negash Gebretsadik for Norway.

IAAF President Sebastian Coe said the rules were updated “for the specific purpose” of protecting athletes from any abuses “that occurred under the previous system”.

The IAAF had long been concerned that athletes from African countries such as Kenya, where the depth of middle and long distance running talent is so great, were moving to earn international appearances – and often healthy salaries – for other countries.

The 2016 European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam saw numerous “allegiance transfer” athletes figuring in the medals, most notably from Turkey, whose team included seven Kenyans, two Jamaicans, one Ethiopian, one Cuban, one South African, one Azerbaijani and one Ukrainian.