Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Lagat runs fastest qualifying time in 5000 heats at world championships...

DAEGU, Korea--Washington State University alum Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Paul Merca) ran the fastest qualifying time Thursday morning in winning the first semifinal of the men's 5000 meters as day 6 of the IAAF World Track & Field Championships opened up at Daegu Stadium.

Lagat ran easily with the pack, making sure that he was in a good position to ensure a top five finish and move on to Sunday's finals.

"You can't go into a mindset that you're gonna be top five, especially when you enter the last 100 meters and there's 9 or 10 guys around you, so I didn't want to take the chance; besides I wanted to be in the top 3. I felt good, and didn't feel like I used a lot of energy. Two more days, just rest up and hydrate."

"I talked to my son Miika this morning and he asked how I felt, and I said, 'I feel like a million bucks', and he replied, 'Now go run like a million bucks'."

Rainier Beach High School grad Michael Berry, the reigning Pac-10 400 meter champ ran an unofficial split of 43.83 on the third leg, according to RunBlogRun, as the United States' squad of Greg Nixon, Jamaal Torrance, Berry, and LaShawn Merritt easily won their semifinal of the men's 4 x 400 meter relay in a world leading time of 2:58.82.

"I wanted to come out hard for the first 60 meters, relax through the backstretch, then go hard the last 175."

Vancouver's Kara Patterson had a rough outing, only throwing 187-5 (57.14m), finishing 21st overall in the women's javelin qualifying round.

Despite the showing, she said, "it was better than any other major championship I've been to. That is the positive I'm going to take away from this."

"On my first throw, I wasn't quite ready for this.  I wanted to be a little more aggressive, and I thought I was.  When you think you're aggressive, you may actually be holding back more.  I've struggled in competitions this year, even though I've had great practices.  I'm happy with my best finish at a major championship, but I wanted to make a final."

Ebba Jungmark from Sweden, who won an NCAA indoor high jump title for the Cougars in the 2008 season, finished 17th overall, and did not advance to the finals in her event.

Jungmark, competing in her second world championships, cleared 6-3 1/2 (1.92m), as everyone who made the finals cleared 6-4 3/4 (1.95m).

In Thursday night's session, former University of Washington standout Ingvill Måkestad will run in the finals of the women's 1500 meter run at 8:55 pm, local time (4:55 AM in Seattle).

Complete results from day 6 of the IAAF world track and field championships are available here.

Bernard Lagat, Ebba Jungmark, and Kara Patterson open competition in Daegu Thursday...

DAEGU, Korea--Bernard Lagat, Ebba Jungmark and Kara Patterson (left/photo by Mike Scott) open competition as day six of the IAAF World Track & Field Championships gets underway Thursday morning at Daegu Stadium after a break from competition on the track and field.

Wednesday, the only competition was on the roads of Daegu, as Russia's Olga Kaniskina won her third straight women's 20 kilometer race walk title in 1:29:42.

Washington State hall of famer Lagat runs in the heats of the men's 5000 Thursday morning, an event in which he's made the podium in two straight championships, winning in Osaka in 2007, and finishing second two years ago in Berlin.

Another former Cougar, Ebba Jungmark of Sweden, who won an NCAA indoor title at Washington State in 2008, competes in the qualifying round of the women's high jump.

Four time US national champion Kara Patterson from Vancouver will throw in the qualifying rounds of the women's javelin Thursday morning, as she looks to regain the magic of her 2010 season, where she made a big breakthrough on the world scene.

In advance of Thursday's qualifying round, talked to Kara about her 2011 season leading up to these world championships.

2010 Rainier Beach HS graduate Michael Berry is part of Team USA's pool in the men's 4 x 400 relay. The semifinals of that race closes the Thursday morning session; however, the decision on whether he will run in the preliminary round will be made shortly before race time by the USA coaching staff.

Thursday night, former University of Washington standout Ingvill Måkestad from Norway will run in the finals of the women's 1500 after finishing fourth in her semifinal race Tuesday night.

As a result of making the finals in the 1500, Måkestad, who was entered in the 800 by the Norwegian federation, will not run in the opening rounds of that event Thursday morning.

NOTE:  Special thanks to Asics and Annie Adams for their assistance in the Kara Patterson interview.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Märt Israel gets an unexpected fourth place in discus at World Championships...

DAEGU, Korea--An unlooked for fourth place finish by former University of Washington standout Märt Israel (left/photo by Paul Merca) from Estonia in the men's discus finals was the highlight of day four competition at the IAAF world track & field championships at Daegu Stadium.

Israel, competing in his third straight world championships, made the final after throwing 210-7 (64.19) in yesterday's qualifying round.

After three rounds, Israel found himself in fifth place with a toss of 211-0 (64.31m), before unleashing his best throw of 213-11 (65.20m) in round five to suddenly find himself in contention for a medal entering the final round.

However, he ended the competition with a foul, as Iran's Ehsan Hadadi hung on for third place with a toss of 216-9 (66.08m).

Germany's Robert Harting successfully defended his world title with a toss of 226-3 (68.97m) and Israel's training partner Gerd Kanter was second at 219-8 (66.95m).

Here's a video of Israel, who competed for the Huskies in the 2006-07 season in the mixed zone talking about his accomplishment Tuesday night.

Another former Husky, Norway's Ingvill Måkestad made her first world championship final in finishing fourth in 4:08.03.

Måkestad positioned herself near the front and stayed there the entire race to ensure a spot in Thursday night's final.

"I wanted to make sure I had my space. I thought that tonight was going to be my best shot, to get up front and slow it down, then see if someone else would go and pick up the pace."

Talking about Thursday night's finals, she hopes to beat as many girls as possible.

"I think none of them are unbeatable, and I'm excited to be in the finals."

With Måkestad making the finals in the 1500, she said that she will not run in the heats of the 800, which are scheduled for Thursday morning here in Daegu.

Washington State's three time NCAA champion Jeshua Anderson did not have his trade mark strong race and faded to fourth in the first of three semifinals Tuesday evening, thus not making the finals scheduled for Thursday night.

Positioned in lane five, Anderson, the reigning US national champion, didn't appear to run as aggressively as normal, and let two-time Olympic champ Angelo Taylor charge to the lead down the backstretch.

As the runners entered the last two hurdles, Anderson seemed to go backwards, and not able to respond to the charge of Puerto Rico's Javier Culson and South Africa's Cornel Fredericks, both of whom advanced to the finals with Taylor.

Culson won in 48.52, with Fredericks catching Taylor for second at 48.83, with Taylor third at 48.86, and Anderson fourth at 49.33.

Afterwards, Anderson said, "I started tying up a little early in the race".

When asked if he may have gone out slower than expected, he said, "I don't know. I was just trying to run my own race, and the time I was going to kick it in, I didn't have it. I think my legs were dragging a bit tonight. Other than that, I thought I ran a good race."

Complete day 4 results from the IAAF world track & field championships are available here.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Anderson, Israel, and Måkestad in day 4 action at world championships in Daegu...

DAEGU, Korea--Jeshua Anderson, Märt Israel (left/photo by Paul Merca), and Ingvill Måkestad are in action Tuesday evening at Daegu Stadium as the IAAF world track and field championships enters the fourth day of competition.

Washington State alum Anderson runs the 400 hurdles semifinals at 7:30 pm local time, while at 7:55 local time, Israel, who competed for one season at the University of Washington, throws in the finals of the men's discus.

Måkestad, who ran for the Huskies during the 2003-04 season, runs in the semifinals of the women's 1500 at 8:35, local time here.

As we head to the stadium Tuesday morning, there are heats in the women's 5000 and men's 1500, along with the start of day 2 of the women's heptathlon.

The day 4 timetable and schedule from the IAAF world track & field championships are available here.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Anderson and Israel advance in Monday morning prelim rounds in Daegu...

DAEGU, Korea--Washington State's Jeshua Anderson (left/photo by Paul Merca), who entered the world championships a week after winning the 400 hurdles title at the World University Games in China last week, easily won his heat Monday morning to advance to Tuesday's semi finals at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships at Daegu Stadium,

Running in the tight confines of lane 1 in the last of five heats, Anderson ran a time of 48.81 for the victory, which was the fastest time run by the four Americans competing this morning.

In the mixed zone, Anderson said, "Today went real good. The hardest part of the race was getting to the first hurdle (he drew lane 1). I couldn't see it as the clock was in the way. I've done this race so many times so I know instinctively when a hurdle is coming up, and that hurdle came up fast--that track is fast!"

I can't wait to let loose and let my stride go.

Commenting on how his victory at the World University Games in China helped him going into the world championships, he said, "I got a big confidence boost from that. I ran well in the first round, but lost a little focus in the semis. In the finals I ran out of lane 8, which was a blessing as I couldn't see anybody, and had to battle the climate and the humidity (which will help here in Korea)."

On what to expect on Tuesday's semi final round, Anderson said, "It's just doing what I did today. I want to make sure I keep my country in the finals, go out there and let it loose."

Here is the video of Anderson post race in the mixed zone.

Estonia's Märt Israel, who competed for the University of Washington in 2007, advanced to Wednesday night's finals in the men's discus.

Throwing in the second of two qualifying groups, threw 210-7 (64.19m) to finish with the seventh best mark of the day, and fourth place in his group.

"This is what I expected to do," Israel said. "My goal was to throw 63.50 (208-4) in the first round and I missed it by one centimeter, so I had a lot of confidence going."

"I knew that after throwing that, I'd have a good shot at advancing to the finals."

"I tried to add to my throw (in round 2) and get a good feel for the circle, and after that throw (of 210-7), I was feeling very comfortable about my position for the finals."

On winning the World University Games discus title last week in China, he expressed that it helped going into Daegu, especially with having to go through a qualifying round before the finals.

"To win a medal in a big competition like the World University Games is not easy."

Marysville native Jarred Rome, who was a finalist in this meet two years ago and had the third best throw in the world this season, did not make the discus finals, only throwing 204-1 (62.22m), the 14th best mark of the day out of the two groups.

“I had three throws where I was blocked off in the front. I don’t know...I’ve been throwing the best I’ve thrown in my career in the last month, and I don’t know...I had a really bad day..I don’t understand," he said.

“It was definitely a lot hotter than normal, but it’s hot in San Diego where I train all the time. It was a technical thing.”

Day 3 results from the IAAF World Track & Field Championships are available here.

What were the odds of Usain Bolt false starting out of the world championships?

DAEGU, Korea--Who'd had thunk it?

If you had told me in March that Usain Bolt would false start out of the men's 100 final, I'd probably would've bet on the Seattle Mariners to win the World Series.

But on a pleasant night in South Korea, the improbable happened.

Positioned in lane 4, Bolt did the improbable and false started out of the 100 meter finals at the IAAF world track and field championships at Daegu Stadium.

Bolt, who is the face of Puma's worldwide marketing campaign, became the first major victim of the IAAF's no false start rule, a rule that may (or may not) be revisited.

Once upon a time, the rule in the international game was two false starts, and you're out. Then it was one false start to the field, then you're out after that.

While the current rule is fine at the prep and college level, it doesn't make sense at international level meets. Folks in the stands and on television want to see the best race.

Now, you're gonna get the arguments from purists and officials that athletes are going to take advantage of the rule and take an intentional false start to unnerve an opponent. Those folks who like the current rule as is also feel that this rule eliminates antics like the one Jon Drummond pulled in the 2003 world championships in Paris where he laid down on the track and caused a ruckus that delayed the meet at least 10 minutes.

I say at least bring the one false start on the field rule back.

On social media sites like Twitter, NBC's Ato Boldon, who was in the same race in Paris when Drummond pulled his on track protest, predicted beforehand that someone big was going to be a victim of the rule in place.

It just happened to be the world wide face of track and field.

Oh yeah, if you're scoring at home, Yohan Blake of Jamaica (left/photo by Paul Merca) was the winner of the men's 100 in a season best 9.92, with Walter Dix of the USA second at 10.08, and former world champion Kim Collins of St. Kitts & Nevis third at 10.09.

Trey Hardee (decathlon) and Brittney Reese (long jump) both defended their world titles, and put themselves as favorites heading to next year's Olympics.

Ibrahim Jeilan of Ethiopia ran down Great Britain's Mo Farah, who trains in Beaverton as part of the Nike Oregon Project to win the men's 10000.

In the other final Sunday, China's Li Yanfeng won the women's discus.

Complete day 2 results from the IAAF World Track & Field Championships are available here.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Jeshua Anderson relaxed as he gets ready to race in Daegu...

DAEGU, Korea--While awaiting the competition Saturday night at the IAAF world track & field championships, I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Washington State University assistant coach Mark Macdonald and his prize prodigy Jeshua Anderson (left/photo by Paul Merca), the three-time NCAA 400 hurdles champion and reigning USA champ.

Anderson talked a little bit about his experiences in China a few weeks ago, where he won the 400 hurdles title at the World University Games before arriving in Daegu last Monday.

He said that competing in Shenzhen has helped him acclimate to the time in Korea, with China an hour behind.

Anderson is confident about his prospects in the 400 hurdles, where he'll face the likes of teammates and world champ Kerron Clement, two time Olympic champ Angelo Taylor, and former world champ Bershawn Jackson, in addition to LJ van Zyl of South Africa, among others.

Anderson, who is a finalist for the USTFCCCA's Bowerman Award for the best collegiate track and field athlete of the 2011 season, will run in the first round of the intermediate hurdles Monday at 11:25 am, local time.

After Daegu, he will run in at least two meets on the European circuit, most notably the Van Damme meet in Brussels, the final stop on the Samsung Diamond League tour.

One of the most revealing parts of our short conversation with the duo was the news from Macdonald that 2009 US national heptathlon champion and former Washington State All-American Diana Pickler, who was training in Manhattan, Kansas and Austin, Texas, is returning to Washington State to train under WSU head coach Rick Sloan.

Pickler said on her blog that the reason why she's returning to Sloan in hopes of making her second straight Olympic team is that, "I have just felt in my gut some things just haven’t been right. I have challenged it and actively searching  for it but finally took control, and rinsed away everyone else’s thoughts and am fully doing what I want this next year.  Getting back to what I love.  The love of what I did was sucked out of me and with a bit of time away this love has blossomed into a whole different kind of beast."

Pickler will be a part-time volunteer coach for the Cougars as she was when she made the 2008 Olympic team, but will focus her energies into making a return to the top in the heptathlon.

You can read Pickler's blog here...

Former Husky Ingvill Måkestad advances to semis in 1500 in Daegu...

DAEGU, Korea--Former University of Washington standout Ingvill Måkestad (left/photo by Paul Merca) from Norway advanced to Tuesday's semifinal race in the women's 1500 meter run Sunday morning, finishing eighth in 4:08.26 in the third of three first round heats at Daegu Stadium.

As it turned out, the final heat was the fastest of the trio, as defending world champ Maryam Jamal of Burundi won it in a comfortable 4:07.04, with American Morgan Uceny third at 4:07.43.

Speaking in the mixed zone afterwards, she said, "I've been feeling so good as of late."

Måkestad knew what she needed to do to advance to Tuesday's semis, thanks to a visual cue.

"My coach in the stands put on a red jacket (before the start of the race), meaning that if I go under 4:10, then I'm through to the next round. I was going to go at either 500 or 300 to go, depending on how I felt."

During the race, she stayed towards the middle of the pack, moving up in the last lap to third exiting the final turn, then cruised to the finish, protecting her position.

"I didn't really push it all the way through, but I felt fine and I'm really looking forward to running on Tuesday, because I haven't run a 1500 since mid-July."

During her career at the University of Washington, Måkestad finished ninth for the Huskies in the Pac 10 cross country championships in 2003, and also won an MPSF title in the mile in 2004.

Måkestad currently holds the Norwegian national record in the 800 at 1:59.82, set last year In Zagreb, and has a personal best of 4:02.20 in the 1500, set last year in Rieti.

Action continues throughout the day at the IAAF world track & field championships, including the finals of the men's 100 meters, where defending world and Olympic champion Usain Bolt of Jamaica will try to go for another world title.

Other finals Sunday evening include the women's long jump, men's 10000, and women's discus.

Monday, Washington State University's three-time NCAA champ and reigning USA and World University Games winner Jeshua Anderson runs in the first round of the 400 hurdles.

Additionally, Marysville native Jarred Rome and former Husky Märt Israel from Estonia will compete in the qualifying round of the men's discus.

Complete day 2 results from the IAAF world track & field championships are available here.

Hammer thrower Michael Mai finishes twelfth in his qualifying group at world championships...

DAEGU, Korea--Hammer thrower Michael Mai (left/photo by Paul Merca), who until a few months ago was stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, finished twelfth in Group B qualifying Saturday night as day one of the IAAF World Track & Field Championships concluded on a pleasant evening at Daegu Stadium.

On his three attempts, Mai threw 224-3 (68.35m), fouled on his second attempt, and had his best throw of 229-6 (69.96m) in the final round

After the completion of his throws, Mai said, "I did a lot of good things, but I didn't put it together on any one throw, so I'm obviously disappointed in the result. When I had the good technique, I just wasn't moving fast enough."

Describing his second round foul, which he felt was his best throw, he said, "It was my best throw speed wise, but I just got a little excited on the last turn, and pulled it a little bit into the net."

Mai, who is now based in the Bay Area (Mountain View, CA) and is training full time under the Army World Class Athlete Program, instead of juggling his military duties and training, said of his new situation, "It's really great. I'm able to focus on my training, and I can work with my coach. I can get the reps I need to hone in on my technique and get ready for next year"

Sunday, former University of Washington standout Ingvill Måkestad from Norway will run in the first round of the women's 1500 meter run.

Complete day 1 results from the IAAF World Track & Field Championships are available here.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Aretha Thurmond separated by six centimeters from second straight world champs finals...

DAEGU, Korea--Six centimeters.

That's the difference between Renton High School and University of Washington alum Aretha Thurmond competing in Sunday night's discus final at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships and watching it in the stands at Daegu Stadium.

Thurmond, who was bidding to make her third straight world championship or Olympic final fell just short, finishing 13th in overall group qualifying, one spot shy of twelfth place, throwing 196-5 (59.88), three inches short of Russia's Darya Pishchalnikova who threw 196-8 (59.96m).

Thurmond opened up this morning's qualifying round with a toss of 196-5, and felt that she was on her way to Sunday's final.

In round two, she fouled, throwing the discus left and out of the sector. In the final round, she threw 195-2 (59.48).

Afterwards, a disappointed Thurmond said, "If you try to attack it too much with the upper body, it's never gonna be as good as you want it to be. If you come up early, you're never gonna come up with as good of a throw. The power was there, but it went left sector."

Talking about that foul in round 2, she said, "If you mistime it a little bit, it could go right, or it could go left. It's not anything that you lose faith in. I felt good, and I knew I had it in me. I just know that if I had just gotten through this qualifying round, it would have been a different ball game."

"Can I throw that on any given day? Yes, but I didn't do it today."

Talking about the rest of the season, she said, "I've had a great season this year, as I've been consistent and I know I can throw far. I'm gonna go home and regroup and get ready for the Diamond League finals."

Later this evening, former Ft. Lewis resident Michael Mai will throw in group B of the men's hammer at 10 pm, local time in Daegu.

Day 1 results from the IAAF World Track & Field Championships can be accessed here.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Daegu gets ready for action at the world championships starting Saturday...

DAEGU, Korea--With the exception of a number of volunteers and workers (left/photo by Paul Merca) installing last minute equipment on the infield, all is relatively calm at Daegu Stadium one day before the start of the IAAF World Track & Field Championships.

Most of the world wide media that are covering this event have stopped by the stadium to pick up their credentials and welcome bags, which include a small stuffed version of Sarbi, the rasta like dog who is the official mascot of this meet.

Not very far from Daegu Stadium, USA Track & Field hosted a press conference featuring Washington State alum Bernard Lagat, who will only run the 5000 meters.

Lagat showed up at the press conference sporting a new beard because fans still think he looks young enough to be a high school student. The beard may not evoke fears of San Francisco Giants closer Brian "Fear the Beard" Wilson, but he hopes the beard evokes that effect.

While the field appears on paper to be loaded with several sub-13:00 performers, he knows that in a championship race where there are no pacesetters running, it will be won in a slowish time.

"No one wants to take it on. They'll sit in until the last lap thinking 'If I kick like everybody else I might win or get a medal'."

"I have to be ready for any situation that happens. It's important to run a smart semi and help me evaluate for the final."

"I'm going to try my best, use my tactics and run strongly throughout the entire race. I'm really ready to run fast. I've  got a new national record and I'm happy with that."

Courtesy of USA Track & Field, here is an excerpt on why he is only running the 5000 as opposed to the last two world championship meets, where he ran both the 1500 and 5000.

Former University of Washington standout Aretha Thurmond gets things underway at the world championships tomorrow, as she throws in group B of the women's discus at 11:25 am, local time (7:25 pm Friday in Seattle).

Also competing tomorrow is hammer thrower Michael Mai, who until a few months ago, was based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. He throws in group B, which is scheduled for 10 pm, local time (6:00 am in Seattle).

The women's 10000 is the one track final that's scheduled Saturday. The women's marathon kicks off the meet at 9 am, local time on the streets of Daegu.

Looking forward to bringing all the action as it happens from Daegu!

NOTE:  The IAAF and USA Track & Field contributed to this report

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Viewers guide to state of Washington affiliated athletes competing at IAAF World Championships...

DAEGU, Korea--Here is the viewer's guide to help you track the state of Washington affiliated athletes competing at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships at Daegu Stadium.

This document has brief bio information, along with personal and 2011 season bests for the Washington state affiliated track & field athletes competing in Daegu, along with the schedule of when each athlete will be competing during the World Championships.

Wash World Champ11 Track

Below is the online and television air schedule for the IAAF World Championships, courtesy of USA Track & Field, airing in the Seattle area primarily on Universal Sports (Channel 115 on Seattle area Comcast), KING 5 (Channel 105 on Seattle area Comcast), and CBUT, the CBC affiliate out of Vancouver, BC.

Watch Online
Aug. 268 p.m. ETDay 1 - Morning
Aug. 276 a.m. ETOpening Ceremony + Day 1 - Evening
8 p.m. ETDay 2 - Morning
Aug. 283:30 a.m. ETDay 2 - Evening
9 p.m. ETDay 3 - Morning
Aug. 295:50 a.m. ETDay 3 - Evening Session
9 p.m. ETDay 4 - Morning
Aug. 305:50 a.m. ETDay 4 - Evening
8 p.m. ETDay 5 - Morning
Aug. 319 p.m. ETDay 6 - Morning
Sept. 15:50 a.m. ETDay 6 - Evening
9 p.m. ETDay 7 - Morning
Sept. 25 a.m. ETDay 7 - Evening
7 p.m. ETDay 8 - Morning
Sept. 35:45 a.m. ETDay 8 - Evening
8 p.m. ETDay 9 -
Sept. 45 a.m. ETDay 9 - Evening

*Watch on Television
Aug. 268 p.m. ETDay 1 - Morning SessionUniversal Sports
Aug. 271:30 p.m. ETNBC
3 p.m. ETDay 1 - Evening SessionUniversal Sports
10 p.m. ETDay 2 - Morning SessionUniversal Sports
Aug. 2812:30 p.m. ETNBC
2:30 p.m. ETDay 2 - Evening SessionUniversal Sports
10 p.m. ETDay 3 - Morning SessionUniversal Sports
Aug. 295:30 p.m. ETDay 3 - Evening SessionUniversal Sports
10 p.m. ETDay 4 - Morning SessionUniversal Sports
Aug. 306 p.m. ETDay 4 - Evening SessionUniversal Sports
10 p.m. ETDay 5 - Morning SessionUniversal Sports
Aug. 316 p.m. ETDay 5 - Evening SessionUniversal Sports
10 p.m. ETDay 6 - Morning SessionUniversal Sports
Sept. 16 p.m. ETDay 6 - Evening SessionUniversal Sports
10 p.m. ETDay 7 - Morning SessionUniversal Sports
Sept. 26 p.m. ETDay 7 - Evening SessionUniversal Sports
10 p.m. ETDay 8 - Morning SessionUniversal Sports
Sept. 32 p.m. ETNBC
3:30 p.m. ETDay 8 - Evening SessionUniversal Sports
8 p.m. ETDay 9 - MarathonUniversal Sports
Sept. 41:30 p.m. ETNBC
3 p.m. ETDay 9 - Evening SessionUniversal Sports

*Always check your local listings to verify air dates and times

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