- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 12, 2007

The 11th IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Osaka, Japan is just 12 days away, and elite athletes around the world are sharpening and tapering into the last couple of weeks.

The United States will be represented by more than 100 athletes. There has yet to be an announcement on the entire team, but it will be limited to 138 athletes plus five reigning world champions.

Russia also is bringing more than 100 athletes. Here is a sample of the numbers from around the world, according to the International Association of Athletics Federations:

Great Britain/Northern Ireland will bring 55 athletes, followed by France (54), Spain (46), Portugal (25) and India (13). Jamaica, which has less than a hundredth of the population of the United States, had 44 athletes qualify.

According to the IAAF, the world’s governing body “has given first priority to free air broadcast agreements in order to maximize the promotional reach of the event and is happy to confirm that the event will be seen terrestrially in approximately 85 percent of territories worldwide.”

In the United States, the event will be televised on two networks (NBC and Versus) and over broadband (WCSN). NBC and Versus will televise more than 50 hours of live, delayed and repeat coverage. WCSN will cover the entire event live.

More live coverage — USATF partner Sportnet will Webcast three more track meets live in 2007, and the events can be seen at www.sportnet.com.

The upcoming events are the Weltklasse Zurich on Sept. 7, Memorial Van Damme in Brussels on Sept. 14 and DKB-ISTAF Berlin in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on Sept. 16.

Organizers of the 18-event DKB-ISTAF meet, the final meet of the 2007 IAAF Golden League Circuit, said ticket sales have passed 60,000 for the 70th anniversary of the meet.

This enthusiasm for the event and for track and field in Berlin bodes well for the city as it prepares to hold the 2009 World Championships.

Returning champs — Jared Nyamboki and Alisa Harvey have committed to defend their Army Ten-Miler titles 55 days from today. Harvey completed a dominating performance at the USA Masters Championships last week, running 2:08 in the 800 meters and 4:36 in the 1,500.

Last year, Harvey won an unprecedented fourth Army Ten-Miler at age 41, making her the oldest woman to win the 20-year-old race. A victory on Oct. 7 would make her the oldest titlist in the history of the event.

School daze — How can you have a worldwide track meet without Americans?

It’s happening right now in Bangkok at the 24th World University Games with more than 200 countries represented. The United States is represented by athletes in basketball, fencing, softball, swimming and other sports, but none in track and field.

The young track and field athletes from the United States may be too tired after traveling the world to compete in the Junior Olympics, Pan American Junior Athletics Championships, the IAAF World Youth Championships, the NACAC Championships (North America, Central America and Caribbean Athletic Association) and the Pan American Games.

But Thailand claimed a historic gold in the first day of competition when the team of Pirom Autas, Wachara Sondee, Sompote Suwannarangsri and Sittichai Suwonprateep won the 4x100 relay in 39.15 seconds, the country’s first track title in the 48-year history of the Games.

The team dedicated its gold to the King and Queen of Thailand. In return, the government is giving a $32,000 bonus to all of the sprinters.

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