- About Us
- Race Calendar
- Top Performances
- Runners' Stories
- Our Athletes 2011
- Contact Us
Istanbul - the only city in the world spanning 2 continents, divided by the stunning Bosporus Strait, and with a population of 15 million, is arguably the most underrated city in the world. It is only after the Turkish dubbed soap operas hit the Arab and Lebanese TV networks that the Lebanese discovered that Turkey and Istanbul are quite something. We learned in school books about the Ottoman Empire, 400 years of occupation of Lebanon, and the suffering and martyrs from this era. Not to mention the great loss suffered by Lebanese of Armenian descent. However, the Ottoman Empire days, as well as the early days of the Turkish republic, belong to history, as it is the case for the British Empire which was just as aggressive and harsh on its colonies.
Let us all be a little of Nelson Mandela - let’s not forget but forgive. Today Turkey is generously helping Lebanon with substantial participation in UNIFIL and bilateral economic, political and cultural relations flourish between the two countries.
Back to athletics! Enka, one of the largest Turkish contracting companies, owns and manages the leading track and field club in Turkey. On its Istanbul track they hosted 27 countries at the 64th edition of the Cezmi Or Memorial* athletic meeting on 13 June 2009, followed by the 4th Enka Grand Prix on 14 June.
Mohamad Tamim (Mo) from Ansar club represented Lebanon at the two meetings. Mo’s coach, Imad El Laymouni, and Dr. Noureddine El Kouch, the LAF’s treasurer, were in Istanbul during this week-end. On 13 June Mo ran the 200m clocking 22:04 (935 points). On the second day he ran the 400m in 50:49 (856 points). With the Berlin world championships in sight, Mo is competing with other contenders such as his team mate Ahmad Hazer (Ansar), Ramzi Naim (22:50 at a meeting in Beirut on 13 June - 874 points), and long jumper and national record holder Marc Habib (jumped 6m56cm on 13 June ,well below his PB - 826 points).
The LAF will select one athlete of each gender for the Berlin world championships according to the objective criteria of points. The athlete with the most points will have the privilege of representing Lebanon at the world championships.
We witnessed some amazing moments at Cezmi Or:
- Turkan Erismis broke the Turkish national record and the meeting record in 3000m steeplechase with a European class time of 9:28:84 (1171 points). You may remember she won the 2nd edition of Al Bayroutya (5K) in Beirut in 2008.
- Nevine Yanit, the superb world class athlete from Fenerbahce Sports Club, clocked 13.17 on the 100m hurdles (1131 points) on 13 June and an even faster time of 12.92 (1163 points) on 14 June.
- Halil Akas, the renowned reliable Turkish middle distance athlete finished 10s from his PB (Turkey’s national record) in the 3000m clocking 7:49:23 (1120 points).
- His female counter-part, Dudu Karakoy, clocked 9:04:44 (1091 points) over the same distance (3000m).
- Last but not least, junior19-year-old Ramil Guliyev of Azerbaijan set two new national records to win both the men's 100m and 200m races. In the 100m he excited great emotions in the crowd who thought he was the first ever white man to go under 10s. A photo review showed 10:08 (1186 points) - a meeting record, national record, and the 2nd fastest European time this year. Ramil confirmed his promising international class by clocking 20:64 in the 200m (1164 points) - a meeting record and the fastest European time this year.
Dr. El Kouch and Roger Bejjani, President of RRA, co-managing the Lebanese national team, reached the conclusion that the LAF and Lebanese athletic clubs could draw on Turkey’s track & field capabilities in terms of exchange of athletes, meetings, and training camps. The proximity of Turkey and the warm and friendly atmosphere suit our cultural predispositions, and the performance of their athletes could help boost the performance of ours.
In view of the “Jeux de la Francophonie” the LAF has initiated a series of local meetings. A first meeting was held on 13 June and results can be viewed at http://www.flalb.org.
As for the week-end side stories:
- Noureddine successfully solved the mechanical problem of his daughter’s car (in Lebanon) over the phone while watching Ramil Guliyev running the 100m dash.
- Marie El Amm finally hit it off with Skippy, her daughters’ golden retriever.
- Marie, Roger and Noureddine enjoyed a beautiful sunny day in Belgrade Forest (still in Istanbul, not in Serbia) for their Sunday morning run.
- Esra Necim, very well known by the athletic community in Lebanon, coordinated Mo’s participation. She attended the Cezmi Or meeting as a spectator, together with her boyfriend Deniz Barich, midfielder of the prestigious Fenerbahce football club.
- Noureddine fell in love…with Belgrade forest…what did you think?
*The annual meeting is organised in the memory of former Turkish national record holder in both 100 and 200 meters, Cezmi Or, who passed away at the age of 24 in 1945. PBs 100m 10.6 (1942) and 200m 22.40 (1945).