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London Grand Prix
Crystal Palace, 25-26 July 2008




LATEST ACTION (all times BST)
606: DEBATE
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By Ollie Williams

2047: One final Christine Ohuruogu anagram to end the night: "Huge riotous urchin", brought to you by Dave via text. Thanks for your contributions everybody, hope to see you back here tomorrow for the second day's proceedings, including the women's 100m, men's 200m and men's 4x100m relay.

2040: Silnov has just reached a new personal best of 2.38 in the high jump, putting in an astonishing performance despite being omitted from the Russian squad for the Olympics. And you thought it was all over for the evening...

2037: Phylis Agbo's 13.63 in the four-event hurdles was a personal best, but Sotherton holds on to a 69-point lead over Gi-Gi Johnson after two events.

2036: Russia's Andrey Silnov registers 2.35 in the high jump to pull away from Briton Germaine Mason and win, while Phillips Idowu is confirmed as triple jump winner, ahead of fellow Brits Nathan Douglas and Larry Achike, all beyond 17m.

2033: This time the hurdles are all in the right place and America's Gi-Gi Johnson wins in 13.08. It looks as though Sotherton has been edged out into fourth.

2032: The hurdles goes wrong again in this four-event challenge. Sotherton looks daggers at the sky. Back the athletes go to their blocks.

2031: "Powell wins, but Burns finished well for second. That said, Asafa didn't push himself particularly hard towards the end."
mikesiva on 606

2030: That's it for the TV coverage but 5 Live and yours truly are hanging around for the hurdles re-run.

2028: Idowu's final triple jump is one centimetre further than his previous best for the evening, posting 17.42.

2026: "It was very comfortable, I was very confident. It wasn't as fast as it should have been, but I'm ready."
Asafa Powell

Powell was running into a 1.5m headwind for that 9.94-second time. Fellow countryman Michael Frater finished third in a PB of 10.00, GB's Pickering last in 10.21.

2023: Powell wins in 9.94 with Marc Burns finishing incredibly quickly, but failing to nip in ahead of the Jamaican.

2022: On to the night's finale, the 100m - or at least it would be if the four-event hurdles hadn't been monumentally mangled, with hurdles in the wrong places. That re-run will now end the evening's action.

There is a huge Jamaican presence at Crystal Palace tonight, with Powell surely the favourite. Craig Pickering made it through to the final for GB.

2019: "It felt like a bit of an effort the whole way round. I just felt a bit flat, which I'm a bit disappointed with."
Nicola Sanders

So neither of Britain's top women's 400m runners have impressed themselves, despite dominating the race. Germaine Mason will be happy though - he's currently battling for the lead in the high jump, alongside Russia's Andrey Silnov.

2016: Ohuruogu finds a reserve fuel tank in the final straight to keep Sanders at bay and win the 400m, with McConnell completing a British 1-2-3. I imagine Team GB will find that highly satisfying, although Ohuruogu's time - 50.80 - is not as fast as they might like.

"I'm not really happy with the time but I won the race, so it's okay. It would be nice to go to the Olympics with something a bit faster."
Christine Ohuruogu

2012: "As a Decathlete I know how much it can disrupt a race just to clip a hurdle let alone smash into one, and I've broken my fair share of them. Mildly embarrassing. We can all be thankful that it didn't do any damage to Kelly or the other competitors."
Hesperian on 606

2011: It's worth pointing out that Ohuruogu and Sanders aren't the only British 400m runners going to Beijing. Lee McConnell races alongside them to tonight and will also compete at the Games.

I once tried to help Nicola Sanders find her car keys in Slough. I will confess that I left before they had turned up. On reflection I probably wasn't overly helpful.

2008: The USA 4x100m team only just make it over the line first as an invitational team roars through the final leg, with Britain third. Former world champion Lauryn Williams finds herself chased down but clings on.

"Christine Ohuruogu and Nicola Sanders are out warming up for the 400m final, but they've been forced to wait because of this debacle over the hurdles, plus the delays to the 4x100m. Ohuruogu is lying on her back, looking up at the clouds and waiting."
BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce at Crystal Palace

2004: Time for the women's 4x100m relay, but this is getting delayed as well. There is a strange, other-worldly noise coming out of the speakers by the side of the track. Alien intervention would be immensely inconvenient this close to an Olympics.

2001: Phillips Idowu finally gets his act together in his triple jump fourth round. This time those mighty stockings and headband roar into the air in delight, as he hits 17.41 to take the lead.

2000: "It's really good practice, I'm really pleased with how it came off. I've had a couple of years where it's not quite gone right for me through injury, but this is the year."
GB's Lisa Dobriskey, winner of the 1500m

1957: "Kelly Sotherton is absolutely fuming. That third set of hurdles was at least a metre too close and she knows that could have ended her Olympics.

"But they're packing the hurdles away now, because the re-run is going to be after the 100m at the end of the programme. The 100m is meant to be the big finale, but the four-event athletes want time to warm down and warm up again."
BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce at Crystal Palace

1952: Apparently the third set of hurdles in Sotherton's race were on the men's marks. It's not like it matters, lads, it's only Britain's top heptathlete, on home soil, in her final competition before an Olympics in which she is a gold medal favourite.

1950: Kelly Sotherton pulls up in the hurdles as several athletes hold up short. Sotherton is now wagging her finger back towards the start - there's a Mourinho comparison - and now she has her hands on her hips, and looks pretty disgusted.

The BBC TV team reckon the hurdles may have been on the wrong marks - have they really managed to put the hurdles the wrong distances apart? Really?

1947: Yelena Isinbayeva waggles the bar fractionally too much to set a new world record - it comes crashing down eventually, but for an agonising moment it looked as though we had a new pole vault mark.

It's taking forever for the hurdles in Kelly Sotherton's four-event competition to get going. Some unnamed problem delayed it first time around, and now there's a false start.

1945: "Maybe I just don't watch enough athletics but I've never, ever seen Idowu do a decent jump."
Cold War Kid on 606

In fairness to him he is the world indoor champion so he's probably snuck a few in when you weren't looking. But he's not having much fun so far tonight.

1944: A little earlier, retired decathlete Dean Macey got a tremendous reception for a special presentation in the middle of the Crystal Palace arena.

"Anything Andy Baddeley can do, Lisa Dobriskey can do better. And with Steph Twell's big PB the other night, British women's middle-distance running is looking good ahead of Beijing."
BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce at Crystal Palace

1939: Britain's Lisa Dobriskey, the Commonwealth champion, thunders past America's Erin Donohue in the 1500m. That's a brilliant boost for Dobriskey ahead of Beijing. Is she now a medal prospect at the Games?

Back at the pole vault, Stuczynski is really trying too hard for that world record, and almost misses the mat entirely when her latest attempt goes awry. That was nearly deeply unpleasant. I no longer want to try the pole vault.

1936: How do you learn the pole vault, anyway? Do you just grab a pole and hope for the best? It's not the kind of discipline you can really dabble in without committing yourself... have you ever tried it?

1932: Yelena Isinbayeva has found her form in the pole vault now, leaping (what looks like) yards over the bar with her latest attempt. Jenny Stuczynski tries to up the ante by going for a world record, but doesn't make it.

Phillips Idowu, however, is not delivering. His second attempt in the triple jump finds him well short of the board and struggling for rhythm, resulting in a leap of 17.09m.

1929: David Weir is exactly the man you need to open that next, particularly tricky bottle of screw-top, Phil (see below).

Weir's arms go into overdrive as he hauls himself around the outside of the pack to claim victory in the men's 1500m T54 wheelchair racing.

1925: "Christine Ohuruogu - Using Hour to Cure I - which is exactly what the couple of glasses of wine have done for me after a horrible day of hectic and dull work."
philwray37 on 606

Ohuruogu was clearly too easy. Your next anagram task, everybody: Perri Shakes-Drayton, of British 400m hurdles fame.

1921: ... Oh dear. Idowu's first attempt is a horrendously unbalanced, prancing calamity of a jump, which he abandons on take-off, plummeting into the sand a few feet from the board.

1920: Phillips Idowu's finely mown pinkish-red scalp is in plain sight with the triple jump about to get going...

1918: "I really wish he was in attendance to race, it's always good to race against the best. But we're both fairly young so we'll be running for a lot more years."
David Oliver, on the absence of Cuba's Dayron Robles from the 110m hurdles

"If every European nation can have a Brazilian footy player, and every cricketing nation an import or two, why can't we nab a few Kenyans for the middle distances and call them Brits?"
exhull on 606

1915: America's David Oliver recovers from a grim start in the hurdles to win by some distance, but it wasn't the best of races by any stretch. The two Brits bring up the rear.

Fans at Crystal Palace have a rich variety of events to follow right now, and the crowd roar Isinbayeva all the way into her final pole vault attempt - this time she clears the 4.74 mark.

1911: False start in the hurdles so back to the pole vault for another attempt by Isinbayeva - who brings down the bar again, and now faces plenty of pressure for her third and final effort.

"Ollie Williams becomes 'I will soil meal'."
Dave, bored in work in Cardiff, via text on 81111

I knew these anagrams would come back to bite me.

1909: Four Americans, two Brits and a Latvian in the 110m hurdles. Both Andy Turner and Allan Scott are going to Beijing for GB - can they produce a performance tonight?

"Are we really supposed to think that the British athletes have done well to finish fourth in a heat with two of the best runners in the world missing. FARCE!"
jinius12 on 606

1906: Helen Clitheroe finished back in seventh in the steeplechase, with fellow Brit Barbara Parker fourth.

In the pole vault, which has been ticking along nicely throughout all this track action, the incredible Yelena Isinbayeva has yet to deliver any fireworks - but we're keeping an eye out.

1904: Ireland's 2007 World Championship finalist, Rosin McGettigan, comes home in 9:33.76 to win the steeplechase ahead of Romania's Ancuta Bobocel.

"I don't believe it! Running in the 3000m steeplechase is Delilah Dicrescenzo, the inspiration for the 2007 number one 'Hey There Delilah' by the Plain White Ts!"
Tommy in Exeter, via text on 81111

Was fellow steeplechaser Mercy Njoroge the inspiration for Duffy?

1858: Anagrams are coming in thick and fast. Randalthor1812, Tom Fordyce will particularly enjoy your suggested new moniker "mod yo croft", and I found the transformation of Steve Cram into "vet's cream" strangely amusing. Simple yet effective.

1856: The steeplechase is about four laps from completion with Helen Clitheroe in the running - unlike Portugal's Jessica Augusto, who is sat disconsolate by the side of the track. Her race is over.

1853: "Do you know what 'Erotic hush, I run' is an anagram for?"
Anonymous via text on 81111

No, I don't. Which annoys me. I'll try to reverse-engineer that one in between races.

1848: "Here's an athletics anagram for Christine Ohuruogu: 'Cuisine trough hour'. Which reminds me, Masterchef is on tonight."
David via text on 81111

1847: Kenya's Shedrack Korir just - and only just - holds on from Andy Baddeley to win the mile.

Baddeley got himself into a great position, as opposed to American double world champion and Olympic favourite Bernard Lagat, who left it too late and finished third.

"Another couple of metres, and I'd have had Lagat. By the time I was getting him back it was that bit too late, and my dip was too early so I'll work on that one."
Andy Baddeley on BBC Two

1841: Alan Webb and Stefan Eberhardt don't start the Emsley Carr mile, but British star Andy Baddeley does.

Andy Baddeley - criminally overlooked as an athlete? He's at the very top of his game in Europe but comes up against some tough African competition on an Olympic stage.

When we asked for help shortlisting our "10 to watch" the other day, Baddeley cropped up a fair bit. Take a look through the comments:

1837: "Sherone Simpson obliterated Allyson Felix! The American world champion looked out of it. Could Simpson win the 200m gold at Beijing?"
mikesiva on 606

1834: Kelly Sotherton wins the long jump and has a 69-point lead after the first of her four events.

I've just seen that Carol Vorderman is leaving Countdown. Not sure I can continue with athlete anagrams in these sad circumstances.

1831: Trinidad's Richard Thompson wins the second heat in a time of 10.11 seconds, with the Brits nowhere to be seen in the first three.

Fellow Trinidadian Marc Burns and Jamaica's Nesta Carter complete the top three, and the good news from a British perspective is that the second heat was slow enough to allow Craig Pickering into the final.

"I'm surprised Marlon Devonish will not participate in the Beijing 100m relay, but he's racing Rikki Fifton who took that spot - point to prove."
Quickcricket_crazy on 606

Devonish did beat Fifton, but he finished sixth while Fifton was last in the heat. Does that prove anything?

1827: The times are in for the first 100m heat - Powell recorded 10.06 into the headwind.

Harry Aikines Aryeetey, who I'm sure would appreciate my earlier anagram, goes alongside Marlon Devonish in the second heat.

1824: Craig Pickering finishes fifth in the first 100m heat, but gets praise from Colin Jackson for his performance into the headwind, even though he's now unlikely to reach the final.

Speaking of British 100m runners...

"I turn on the TV and the first thing I hear is Hazel giving us the 'latest update' on Dwain and telling us that she's certain that we're all so interested. Come on guys, let it go."
djlovesyou on 606

1822: Kelly Sotherton has just produced a ginormous effort in the long jump, bouncing out of the pit as she registers a new lifetime best of 6.79m.

Moments earlier in the first 100m heat, Asafa Powell starts well and cruises home, visibly slowing up to glide over the line in his 100m heat.

The wind is definitely against the 100m runners so it's unlikely Powell will be getting his world record back.

1816: Don't forget tonight's main events, the women's 400m showdown between Christine Ohuruogu and Nicola Sanders, and the 100m final after that, at around 2017 BST.

"Ohuruogu versus Sanders was the highlight for me from the start, never mind Gay's absence."
Sport_critic on 606

Bonus points for anyone who can produce an anagram from Christine Ohuruogu's name.

1814: Sotherton posts 6.47m in her first jump, giving her an early lead over the other four-event contenders.

The fallout from American star Felix's restrained 200m performance continues - she finished fourth, with GB's Emily Freeman sixth.

"Felix looked very cautious. It's slightly worrying when you perform like that just before Beijing, but remember she has done a lot of 400m running as well."
BBC Sport summariser Colin Jackson

1811: Sherone Simpson breezes past favourite Allyson Felix in the women's 200m final, which is a huge surprise - Felix, gold medal favourite for Beijing, was nowhere.

"I'm really feeling good going into the Olympics," says a remarkably breathless Simpson, registering an early win for Jamaica.

"That was a shocker from Felix. Simpson must have been wondering where she was."
Steve Cram

1805: If you're in the UK you can watch all the action live on BBC2 or on this very website.

Meanwhile, Kelly Sotherton gets the biggest cheer so far as she emerges ahead of her long jump.

1758: "Entire UK motorway network seems to be at gridlock - I'm crawling up the M40. Cant wait for 5 Live's athletics commentary to start to brighten the crawl!"
Claire via text on 81111

Think of some athlete anagrams, that'll speed the journey up.

The women's pole vault is starting at a sunny Crystal Palace. Everybody expects Russia's Yelena Isinbayeva to romp home and maybe even out-perform her 5.03m world record in Rome two weeks ago.

1754: Also worth looking out for Kelly Sotherton tonight, who tackles the 100m hurdles and long jump as part of a two-day, four-event competition ahead of the Olympic heptathlon.

"With regard to your call for anagrams of athletes, How about Loud Whip, I Slip for our very own gold medal hope (pending any slips) Phillips Idowu?"
Anadir on 606

1747: Rumour has it there's a fair bit of a headwind out on the home straight, so we may not get that 100m time tonight - although the final is still a good couple of hours away so that could change.

"It's a warm, sunny evening and there are as many Jamaican flags in the crowd here as there are union flags."
BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce at Crystal Palace

1740: I'm also interested to know when you last saw two of the world's finest athletes travelling down your local river on a speedboat, following the arrival of Asafa Powell and Usain Bolt on "HMS Sprint" yesterday.

What's the most memorable entrance you've ever witnessed?

1731: The action kicks off in about 20 minutes, with the men's 400m 'B' final and the women's pole vault getting under way.

I was looking down the list of competitors earlier and, with a bit of effort, managed to rearrange the name Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (GB 100m runner in tonight's heats) into the following: "Hairy ear skin - teary eye".

I was fairly happy with that but reaction from colleagues has been underwhelming. If you've got a better anagram using the name of any well-known athlete, past or present, get involved by text or on 606. Obviously it needs to be pre-watershed material.

1724 BST: Good evening! This is the last chance for some of the world's top athletes to impress us before Beijing, and we have nearly 50 British Olympians lining up at Crystal Palace.

The big 100m battle between Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay won't be happening, since Gay has dropped out with a hamstring injury, but there are plenty of other highlights.

Phillips Idowu leads a merry band of three Beijing-bound British triple jumpers from 1915 BST and, about an hour later, 400m stars Nicola Sanders and Christine Ohuruogu go head-to-head, before the men's 100m final rounds off proceedings.

"Tyson not running makes no difference to me. What is important to all of us is what happens in Beijing next month."
Asafa Powell


see also
I can win Olympic gold - Powell
24 Jul 08 |  Athletics
Bolt and Powell make a splash
24 Jul 08 |  Olympics
Idowu takes it in his stride
23 Jul 08 |  Olympics
Idowu not fazed by favourite tag
23 Jul 08 |  Athletics
Injured Gay out of London meeting
23 Jul 08 |  Athletics
Team GB for Beijing
29 Nov 07 |  Team GB
Athletics on the BBC
28 May 08 |  Athletics


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