Running from August 25 until September 2nd, the annual track and field world championships are now taking place in Osaka. Japan is playing host for the second time, the first being in Tokyo in 1991. This is the premier track and field event in the run up to next summer’s Beijing Olympic games.
Conditions should be similar, too, which is one of many reasons the best have come to Osaka in late August. Because of the heat, events are being held in the early morning hours and then at night.
In early events, Tyson Gay took honors in the men’s 100 meter dash, coming from behind to defeat Asafa Powell and Derrick Atkins. In the women’s 100, 47-year-old wonder Merlene Ottey may finally have lost in her race against age itself. She is the most decorated athlete in world championship history. However, in spite of a poor showing in Osaka, she says that she still plans on training for and participating in the Olympics.
The home side has yet to win a medal. One of Japan’s showcase athletes, 35-year-old sprinter Nobuharu Asahara, ended his career with a 10.36 time in the 100 - which was not enough. Like Ottey, he too hopes to spend next August in China.
Another of Japan’s hopes hammer thrower Koji Murofushi also fell short, finishing sixth.
Other marquee athletes include American Jeremy Wariner, the world record holder in the men’s 400 meter dash; and Swede Carolina Kluft, who dominated the women’s heptathlon.
Events are being held at Nagai Stadium in south Osaka. Access is via Japan Railways Tsurugaoka Station or the Midosuji subway line. Thermoses are permitted, but glass, cans, plastic bottles, and pack containers are prohibited.
Photo © IAAF
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
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