USATF fires entire national Youth Committee in vendor dispute

Lionel Leach gets bounced with his committee.

Lionel Leach gets bounced with his committee.

USATF’s Masters Track & Field Executive Committee, led by chairman Gary Snyder, has its moments of drama. But nothing like the Youth Executive Committee. Or should we say former committee. On Wednesday, Indy HQ fired the youth overseers. “Since January, the USATF National Office and its volunteer Youth Executive Committee have been in a dispute about the selection of the vendor selected to provide registration services for the four (4) national youth championships in 2016,” USATF said, later concluding: “Without immediate action, the damage to USATF athletes, vendors, sponsors and reputation would be irreparable. Accordingly, the board as the fiduciary body of USATF voted, 11-1, to suspend the entire Youth Executive Committee and its chairman, Lionel Leach.” A former youth coach responded to the news: “Zowie!” I’m not aware of all the issues, or egos, but this was an amazing result. Of course, money is at the root of this. Masters T&F has little. Thus little drama.

May 26, 2016  No Comments

ESPN discovers Adam Nelson talking about 4th Olympic Games

Adam would be 41 at Rio Games.

Awesome Adam would be 41 at the Rio Olympics.

ESPN reports on an open secret — that Adam Nelson, who turned 40 last July, is shooting for his fourth Olympic Games. That’s not news to this humble blog. We reported last September that he was targeting Brian Oldfield’s 70-3 WR in the M40 shot (same 16-pound ball that elites throw). He has work to do, since he threw 20.48/67-2 1/4 April 30 in Georgia. But not bad for a geezer. Up and at ’em, Adam!

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May 25, 2016  No Comments

Germany’s Norbert Demmel ups M50 WR in throws pentathlon

Our German blogger friend Alfred Hermes reports a sensational WR in the M50 throws pentathlon. According to these results, countryman Norbert Demmel scored 4,696 about 10 days ago to beat the listed WR of 4,590 by Britain’s Stephen Whyte in 2014. Norby’s marks were 6kg shot 16.18 meters (53-1), 6kg hammer 52.51 (172-3 1/4), 1.5kg discus 55.66 (182-7 1/4), 700g javelin 50.10 (164-4 1/4) and 25-pound weight 18.78 (61-7 1/4). The listed American M50 record is 4,244 by Jim Wetenhall nearly 10 years ago. Here’s a list of who throws what in various age groups.

Here's Norbert in javelin mode. He's handy with the other implements as well.

Here’s Norbert in javelin mode. He’s handy with the other implements as well.

May 24, 2016  9 Comments

Celebrating India’s M90 walk champion Vallabhajosyula Sriramulu

V. Sriramulu displays gold medal from Asia Masters Athletics Championships. Photo by  C.V. Subrahmanyam

V. Sriramulu displays gold from Singapore regionals. Photo by C.V. Subrahmanyam

It’s the habit of India’s papers to abbreviate first names. That’s what happened when The Hindu profiled Vallabhajosyula Sriramulu. He’s 92 and does the race walk, winning the 5K event at the Asian WMA regionals. But the paper referred to him as “V. Sriramulu.” No matter. At least we get the full dope on his exercise and dietary habits: “I start my day at 2 a.m. doing yoga asanas followed by a brisk walk on Beach Road that would begin exactly at 4 a.m. My day can never be complete without exercising. I firmly believe that a balanced diet coupled with an effective workout plan can make you stay fit forever,” says the vegetarian-turned non-vegetarian who has no health issues. At home he is allowed to cook only eggs as he says, “My wife is a vegetarian so at home I have to boil eggs in a separate pan.”

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May 23, 2016  No Comments

W70 Toy Ungerer sweeps all 3 sprints at South African nationals

Toy in green toys with field at Sacramento worlds.

Toy, now 70, in green toyed with Sacramento field.

Toy Ungerer, a South African star who medaled at least three times at Sacramento worlds, was the queen of the sprints last weekend at her country’s masters nationals in Pretoria. She won the 100, 200 and 400 in great times of 15.66, 32.26 and 1:18.44. M80 Monty Hacker was the top male sprinter, clocking 15.47 and 31.55, and M45 hurdles world record holder Shaun Bownes fought a 1.1 mps headwind in running the 110s in 14.61. (He ran 14.38 in April). Also notable: W45 Adri Schoeman’s 200 in 25.71. The 2017 nationals will be at the new Green Point Stadium in Cape Town. See results from the May 13-14 meet.

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May 22, 2016  One Comment

The whole story behind Ella Mae Colbert’s 100 WR at age 100

You’ve seen the video. Now read the backstory. On Friday, I spent nearly 20 minutes on the phone with Paul Humphries, the 42-year-old football coach nephew of Ella Mae Colbert, who broke Ida Keeling’s W100 WR in the Penn Relays 100. Paul hatched the plot to get “Miss Ella Mae” onto the track. He’s also looking into having her get an official mark — at a USATF-sanctioned meet later this summer. Two meets are possible: The Jim Law Invitational on June 17 in Charlotte and the USA Masters Games in late July in Greensboro. I posted my story to Times of San Diego for sake of a wider audience.

Ella May held court after her unofficial WR at Chesnee Middle School in South Carolina.

Ella Mae held court after unofficial WR at Chesnee Middle School in S. Carolina.

May 21, 2016  One Comment

Indonesian W35 short hurdler aims to qualify for Rio Olympics

Indonesia’s Dedeh Erawati is a W35 stud, but has work to make the 13.0 qualifying standard for Rio.

Indonesia’s Dedeh Erawati is a W35 stud, but has to lower her PR to make the 13.0 qualifying standard for Rio.

It’s a long shot, but Indonesia’s Dedeh Erawati, 36, “is not giving up hope of qualifying for August’s Rio Olympics,” said a national paper. She used the recent Asia Masters Athletics Championships as a tuneup. “The three-time South-east Asia (SEA) Games gold medallist (2007, 2009 and 2013) and Asian Games bronze medallist (2009) stepped up preparations by winning her 200m final. Erawati clocked 25.92 sec in the women’s 35-40 [again, 35-39, numbskulls] category to finish almost three seconds faster than second-placed Vinita Naithani (28.89) of India. This is her fourth gold medal at the five-day meet. Besides winning the 100m hurdles in 14.40sec on Friday, Erawati also won gold in the 100m (12.43) and 400m hurdles (1:04.22) events.” Rio goal is nice, but the women’s qualifying standards are 13.00 for the 100s and 56.20 for the 400s. “I use this competition as a try-out to see how effective my training has been; the 35 to 40 category is of a pretty competitive standard, so that is good for me.” The paper points out that Dedeh set her 100m hurdles personal best and national record of 13.18 at the Taiwan Open four years ago. She has until July 11 to go 13.0 or lower. “I’m probably going to compete at the Taiwan Open again (on May 19 and 20) to fight for my qualification for Rio,” she said. Results are here, but I can’t read them.

May 20, 2016  No Comments

Mourning U.S. and British masters officials: Brooks and Whitaker

Harry Brooks

Harry Brooks

Northeast and British masters are mourning the deaths of two key officials who were outstanding athletes in their youth. Harry Brooks of Amherst, Massachusetts, died May 7, a couple weeks after former British Masters Athletics President Keith Whitaker passed away in Britain. Harry was 82 and Keith 84. Harry served for many years on the USATF-NE Board of Governors and was involved in helping organize many masters indoor nationals in Boston. John Oleski recalls that Harry was active as an official — a starter — until 2010 or so. As a high school athlete, Harry ran the mile in the 4:20s. A memorial service is planned the last weekend in May, during Memorial Day Weekend, for Harry and his wife, Paulette, who died July 24, 2014. Details will be on top of Bob Weiner’s page.

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May 19, 2016  2 Comments

Ella Mae Colbert slices 30 seconds off W100 record (for naught)

Judging by video showing her dancing before a second attempt at the 100-meter dash, Ella Mae Colbert has plenty of life in those 100-year-old legs. Now that she’s warmed up with a solo, exhibition race in 46.79 seconds, it’s time for her handlers to get serious. As commenters have noted, her mark Tuesday at Chesnee Middle School in South Carolina is far from record-eligible: She didn’t have three in the race. The event didn’t have a USATF sanction, and who knows whether a zero-control test was performed or the track was certified? I contacted Paul Humphries, her nephew, and he replied, in part: “The purpose was for the Guinness record and not the U.S. track record. The company out of Charlotte did the wind speed (0.9) and had all the proper equipment. They also invited Miss Ella Mae to participate in an official track event to make it a U.S. track record for her age. They had all the proper certification and were well organized in the coordinating the event for the purpose of a Guinness Record.” I hope to get more details. In the meantime, don’t stub your toe, Miss Ella Mae! Ida Keeling is waiting!

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May 18, 2016  No Comments

Super Bowl sprint showdown at SCA meet: Gault vs. McConkey

Willie was a blur at 2011 Sacramento worlds.

Willie was a blur at 2011 Sacramento worlds.

In 1986, Willie Gault helped the Chicago Bears win Super Bowl XX. A year later, Phil McConkey starred for the New York Giants when they won Super Bowl XXI. Now they’re set to meet on the track May 28 — at the USATF Southern California Masters Championships (not nationals as I errantly posted earlier). The latest Status of Entries shows Willie and Phil entered in the M55 100 and 200. Willie is the favorite, of course, off his recent world records. But Phil is a warrior who never gives up. Both will be pressed by world champion James Chinn.

Phil (left) and Jim Chinn, battling at recent meet, will renew rivalry as well in Grand Rapids.

Phil (left) and Jim, racing recently, will push Willie at Cerritos College.

May 17, 2016  3 Comments