Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bernard Lagat speaks to writers on USATF teleconference Wednesday, plus Brad Walker in Ukraine...

USA Track & Field hosted a conference call Wednesday with members of the national media featuring pole vaulter Jenn Suhr, shot putter Jillian Camarena-Williams, and Washington State alum Bernard Lagat (left, with Galen Rupp/photo by Paul Merca).

Lagat established a new American record in the 5,000-meters Saturday at the 105th Millrose Games at the Armory in New York, running 13:07.15,  while Camarena-Williams bettered her own American record in the women's shot put at the USA Track & Field Classic in Fayetteville, Ark., and Suhr improved her own American record in the women's pole vault February 4 at the Boston Indoor Grand Prix.

One of the most interesting parts of this past weekend is the contention, notably by fellow blogger Jesse Squire, that the feats of Lagat, and others who competed at the Armory in New York, were slighted by USA Track & Field in its releases over the weekend, as they were running in a meet that went head to head with the USATF Classic in Fayetteville.

The Millrose Games were shown live on YouTube, while the USATF Classic was tape delayed and shown on ESPN2.

This is what Lagat, who holds seven American indoor and outdoor records had to say to the media Wednesday, a few days before he competes on Saturday at the Aviva Grand Prix in Birmingham, England, where he will contest the 1500 meter run.

On how his indoor season has been going
“I’m feeling good. Everything has felt good. Everything is going great. I am definitely looking forward to a few more races left.”

On qualifying for the 2012 World Indoor Championships in Istanbul:
“That is one of my objectives. My objective is to go to Albuquerque and win and if I am able to win there I would be happy to represent the United States at the World Indoor Championships. I’m looking forward to representing the United States again and to defend my title.”

On his race plans from last Saturday’s Millrose Games:
“The plan was to have a good 5,000 meters. That is the most important preparation for the outdoor season. I wanted to run hard and if I get the record that would be great. I wanted to treat indoor as a good preparation for outdoors. My plan is to make the world team for the indoor season.”

On maintaining a high level as an athlete:
“One of the things that has helped is I don’t push myself too hard. I don’t do too much in volume. At the end of the week, if I write down my mileage I might run as much as a high school runner. I don’t over-train. I try not to over-race. You can get hurt. At this point I have to listen to my body a lot. It’s about keeping your body fresh.”

On the chance of Galen Rupp racing the 3,000m at the USA Indoor Championships
“I would really like to have him come and run. He is one of the strongest runners right now. The USA is going to send a good team to the World Championships. He looks strong and he is in good health. That would be really nice to run against him. He is going in there and wants to win. I am doing the same thing. It will be interesting to see two strong guys going for the win. I think it will be pretty exciting.”
Unless things change, the Cougar hall of famer does not plan to contest the 1500 at the Olympic Trials as he did in 2008.

The complete recap of the teleconference can be accessed here.

BRAD WALKER SIXTH IN DONETSK

With all the happenings over last weekend between the Husky Classic, the USA Cross Country Championships, the UW Open, the Millrose Games, and the USATF Classic/Tyson Invitational in Arkansas, PLUS Aretha Thurmond and Kara Patterson opening their season in Australia, we completely overlooked Brad Walker, who went to the Ukraine to compete in Sergey Bubka's Pole Vault Stars invitational

The University of Washington alum and Mountlake Terrace resident finished sixth with a jump of 18-5 1/4 (5.62m) as France's Renaud Lavillenie took the victory with a leap of 19-1 (5.82m) on fewer misses over Germany's Bjorn Otto, who had the same mark.

Results from the meet are available here.

Alan Abrahamson, one of this country's most respected Olympic sports writers, actually traveled to the Ukraine to witness this event, and has a post on it on his site, 3wiresports.com.

You can read his account here.

Here's video of Walker clearing 18-5 1/4, courtesy of ChappellVideos/ucsspirit.com:



NOTE: USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

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