James Sullivan is back with Part 2 of his athletic review of the year
India was the scene of great embarrassment in the lead up the Commonwealth Games, staged in Delhi. Just weeks before the games were due to begin it became known to the general public that construction of many of the venues due to hold events were not quite of the level that one would expect for a major sporting event. A footbridge under construction near the stadium collapsed, injuring 27 people and seriously injuring 5. The athletes village where top class sportsmen and women were expected to stay were filthy and unlivable. The tiles from the roof of the wrestling venue fell to the ground, fortunately not injuring anybody. This shambolic preparation for a large scale sporting event drew serious criticism from around the world. Thankfully the organizers got their act together in the weeks leading up to the games and the event ran reasonably smoothly.
Moncton, Canada was the venue for the 13th World Junior Championships held in July of this year. This was the setting for one of the most memorable performances by an Irish athlete in 2010. Ciara Mageean, the supremely talented middle distance runner from County Down won a sensational silver medal in the 1500m running an Irish junior record of 4:09.51 in the process and becoming the first ever Irish track medalist at the World Junior Championships since they began in 1988. What is most impressive about this confident 18 year old’s performance is that she was the only distance runner of non-African origin to claim a medal throughout the championships. Touted by many as the next Sonia O’Sullivan this teenage star has a very bright future in the sport and will be one to keep a close eye on over the coming years.
K: Kipkemboi Kimeli
This year provided the athletics community with a sad moment as former Olympic medallist Kipkemboi Kimeli passed away from complications from pneumonia and tuberculosis aged just 43. The Kenyan distance runner won bronze over 10000m at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul.
On July 9th 2010 Christophe Lemaitre made history by becoming the first ever white man to run sub 10 seconds for 100m. The 20 year old Frenchman clocked 9.98 seconds and followed this up a week later with a national record equaling 20.16 seconds for 200m. These impressive performances ensured he entered the European Championships as gold medal favourite for both events and he duly delivered winning gold medals in the 100m, 200m and the 4x100m relay. The rising star ended a great year by further lowering his 100m personal best running 9.97 in Reiti. With so many good years ahead of him this young French sprinter is living proof that Caucasians can compete with the very best in the world over sprint events.
Mo Farah, the Somalian born British distance runner, had a spectacular year claiming European gold medals in both the 5000m and 10000m becoming just the 5th man in history, and first for 20 years, to win this particular double at the European Championships. A few weeks later Farah backed this up by breaking Dave Moorcroft’s 28 year old British Record for 5000m running an impressive 12:57.94, proving he is more than capable of mixing it with the best of the East Africans.
N: National Records
I’m Irish so they are the records I’m worried about! During 2010 there were 9 new senior outdoor Irish records set:
- Robert Heffernan: 3:45:30 – Men’s 50K Walk
- David Donegan: 5.00m – Men’s Pole Vault
- Jamie Costin: 11:12.02 – Men’s 3000m Walk
- Ailis McSweeney: 11.40 – Women’s 100m
- Derval O’Rourke: 12.65 – Women’s 100m Hurdles
- National Team: 43.93 – Women’s 4x100m Relay
- National Team: 3:30.11 – Women’s 4x400m Relay
- Tori Penia: 4.15m – Women’s Pole Vault
- Kelly Proper: 6.60m – Women’s Long Jump
Few events in 2010 have been dominated by one person as much as the Men’s 100m Hurdles. American David Oliver recorded eight of the nine fastest times over the event this year including the five fastest. His clocking of 12.89 seconds in Paris this July moved him up to third on the world all time list and it seems inevitable that he will break Dayron Robles world record of 12.87 seconds sooner rather than later.
Sally Pearson of Australia was at the centre of a farcical controversy during this year’s Commonwealth Games in India. In the final of the women’s 100m Laura Turner of Great Britain and Pearson both false started at the one time. However as Turner had a quicker reaction time only she was disqualified, when in fact Pearson should have been as well. The Australian ran the final and won the gold medal and enjoyed a celebratory victory lap. As she was waiting to be called out for the victory ceremony to receive her gold medal she was informed that the GB team had lodged a protest over Pearson’s run. She was made to wait four hours before being finally told that she was disqualified. While Pearson was rightfully DQ’ed the handling of the matter was shambolic and resulted in her thinking she had won the gold medal, playing with the emotions of the unfortunate Australian. Thankfully she came back a few days later and won gold in the 100m Hurdles.