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

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