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Berlin….Beirut! Where do we stand?
August 15th, 2009 will witness the start of the world track & field championships in Berlin, and the “Jeux de la Francophonie” track & field events will start in Beirut on October 1st, 2009.
Where do we stand in both events?
Gretta Taslakian and Jean-Claude Rabbath (JC) are the only Lebanese athletes whose performance, according to the criteria of the International Association of Athletics Federations, allows them to qualify for the world championship in Berlin.
Gretta (Club undisclosed), our outstanding sprinter, severely injured her knee ligaments a couple of weeks ago and is due for surgery soon; so bang go her hopes of competing in August.
What about our top caliber high-jumper, Jean-Claude (Club undisclosed)?
His preparation and training are still a mystery at this stage. We hope he has been carefully coached and has started serious training. His preparation should include at least 2 meetings abroad, not to mention the Lebanese championships at the end of July and beginning of August.
Close behind Gretta and JC, is the 24 year-old Lebanese record holder for 100m and 200m, Mohamad Siraj Tamim (Club Ansar). “Mo” is determined to improve. His training under Imad El Laymouneh’s supervision is going pretty well, and Mo is scheduled to compete at Cezmi Or Memorial Outdoor Meeting and the Enka Grand Prix, both in Istanbul in mid-June, 2009. In case JC is a “no jump”, Mo is a solid alternative choice for the LAF for Berlin.
Maria Pia Nehme (Club Jamhour) is our national record-holder for the 3000m (both indoor and outdoor), the 5000m, the 10000m, the half-marathon, and the marathon. If she decides to do so, she could improve the NR for these distances and also the NR for the 1500m and the 800m. Pia’s previous coach strongly advises Pia to train for the 1500m and the 5000m from the first week of June. She should train twice per a day for 4 days a week (morning aerobic training and evening quality track training), with a long run of max 75m on Sundays, and 2 gym days a week. Although she will not be ready to run with Mo in Istanbul in mid-June, she will have the opportunity to compete in all distances in the Lebanese individual and clubs championships at the end of July and beginning of August. Pia should be the LAF’s selection for 1500m in Berlin. If properly trained and injury free, she could run the 1500m in a sub 4m40s. Incidentally, we hope that Manal Tayyar, a gifted but under-trained athlete, will benefit from Pia, especially during the quality track training. At the “Jeux de la Francophonie”, Pia, being the best runner we have in middle and long distances, should be given the privilege to choose between the Marathon or the 10,000m and 1,500m or the 10,000m and the 5,000m (the option of the 1,500m and 5,000m is not possible, as both finals are the same afternoon).
For the “Francophonie” no less than 35 athletes should be selected during the first week of August. We hope that the national team ultimately chosen will benefit from special care and a well thought out preparation program including training camps and pre-games competitions. Unfortunately, Gretta will be out of those games too, and hopefully we will be able to rely on JC Rabbath, Mo Tamim, Pia Nehme, Marie El Amm, Ali Hazar, Ahmad Hazar, Hussein Awadah, Omar Issa, Omar Abel Latif, Osmat Ghrayzeh, Mirvat Hamzeh, Diala Chab, Ziad Aoun, Manal Tayyar, Francoise Nehme, Diala El Khazen, Krystelle Saneh, Rania Samrout, Haykal Moussallem, Ramzi Naim, Thomas Semaan, and others.