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Olympiacos celebrate winning their 44th title (Photo: Olympiacos FC) by Manos Staramopoulos, AIPS Football Commission

 

ATHENS, May 8, 2017 - For the seventh consecutive season and 44th in its history, Olympiacos was crowned champion of Greece. At a spectacular event held on Sunday at the "George Karaiskakis" stadium, the Greek champion celebrated its success, which was completed with the trophy award. The Super League president, Giorgos Stratos, presented the trophy to its proud owner and Olympiacos chairman Vangelis Marinakis, who emphasized a little later

 

"The deal with Nottingham is over, Marinakis said, referring to reports that the Greek businessman was holding talks of a takeover of English club Nottingham Forest. “Olympiacos is above all... he added, preferring to concentrate on Olympiacos’ championship celebration.

 

"It is a great celebration, we enjoyed it very much, we celebrated the 44th championship, the 7th consecutive, all together as a family.”

 

All the players of Olympiacos’ youth academies, holding Greek flags as well as Olympiacos flags, were present at the stadium. Also at the celebration was the president of the Olympiacos veterans, legendary club midfielder, Giorgos Darivas. Messages of congratulation were sent by former coaches who had worked with the team, including those from Spain’s Valverde and his compatriot, Michel, Portuguese coaches Vitor Pereira, Leonardo Jardim and Markos Silva.

 

The ‘Reds’ as Olympiacos are popularly known as within the country, took their 7th consecutive championship and the 19th in the last 21 years. Of course, compared to last season, this year’s final win was delayed as their opponents in the Greek league looked stronger.

 

"It was a strange time, but we are the champions, and that's important," the Olympiacos coach, Takis Lemonis said after the 5-0 win over Ioannina, which had mathematically meant the team had secured the title. This is Olympiacos’ fifth in three seasons. The 57-year-old former Olympiacos took over for a short-term contract until the end of the season after the departure of te Portuguese coach Paulo Bento.

 

Now the goal of the Reds is to move as quickly as possible to the planning for the new season, as Olympiacos wants nothing more than to pass to the Champions League beyond the qualifiers. Vangelis Marinakis, chairman of the club, recently said that the administration has decided to spend an amount of € 15 million for the team to acquire the right footballers for making it to Europe.

 

Soon the name of the new coach is set to be announced, as Takis Lemonis is not expected to remain in the technical leadership that indeed proved to be the right solution for a short period of time.

 

Olympiacos will try to acquire at least one quality left back. Two midfielder, one striker and maybe one winger. So far agreements have been made with both Manolis Siopis and Risvanis, and it is likely that international striker Apostolos Vellios, will return from Nottingham Forest.

 

PAOK, Panathinaikos, AEK and Panionios placed 2-5 will face playoffs for second place in the Champions League qualifiers.

The 148th European Athletics Council meeting took place in Paris from 28-30 April. Photo/European Athletics

LAUSANNE, May 1, 2017 - The European Athletics Council has accepted a project team’s recommendations that would lead to the rewriting of the world and European records lists.

The project team’s report, which calls for higher technical standards, increased doping control measures and new personal integrity requirements for record holders, will be forwarded to the IAAF with the recommendation that the two organisations coordinate the implementation of new record ratification rules.

 

Speaking after the Council’s meeting in Paris, from 28 to 30 April, President Svein Arne Hansen said “performance records that show the limits of human capabilities are one of the great strengths of our sport, but they are meaningless if people don’t really believe them.

 

“What we are proposing is revolutionary, not just because most world and European records will have to be replaced but because we want to change the concept of a record and raise the standards for recognition a point where everyone can be confident that everything is fair and above board.

 

The standards proposed by the project team include that world and European records can only be recognised if 1) the performance is achieved at competitions on a list of approved international events where the highest standards of officiating and technical equipment can be guaranteed, 2) the athlete has been subject to an agreed number of doping control tests in the months leading up to the performance and 3) the doping control sample taken after the record is stored and available for re-testing for 10 years.

 

The project team also recommended that record recognition be withdrawn at any time if the athlete commits a doping or integrity violation, even if it does not directly impact the record performance.

 

Current records not established in accordance with the agreed standards will remain on the all-time list but recognition will be transferred to performances that meet the criteria.

 

“It’s a radical solution for sure, but those of us who love athletics are tired of the cloud of doubt and innuendo that has hung over our records for too long,” said Hansen. “We need decisive action to restore credibility and trust and I want to thank the project team, led by Pierce O’Callaghan, for their great work in showing us a way forward.

 

"This will now go to the IAAF Council Meeting in August and on behalf of European Athletics I will be encouraging them to adopt this proposal,” said Hansen. “In the meantime we will be checking with our legal advisors to make sure the new rules will stand up to any challenges that might come.”

 

IAAF President Sebastian Coe, who attended the final session of the meeting together with other European members of the IAAF Council, said, “I like this because it underlines that we [the governing bodies] have put into place doping control systems and technology that are more robust and safer than fifteen or even ten years ago.

 

“Of course, for this to be adopted for world records by the IAAF it needs global approval from all Area Associations. There will be athletes, current record holders, who will feel that the history we are recalibrating will take something away from them but I think this is a step in the right direction and if organised and structured properly we have a good chance of winning back credibility in this area."

 

The European Athletics Council also accepted recommendations to revoke a number of European Athlete of the Year Awards and European Athletics Coaching Awards, subject to legal review.

 

The Project Team Report on the credibility of European Records can be viewed here in English, and in French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish.

 

Professor Francisco Javier Virgen

by Gerardo España Larreta, AIPS America Secretary General

 

COLIMA, May 2, 2017 - AIPS America has lost on Sunday April 30 one of its most distinguished leaders, Professor Francisco Javier Virgen, member of the Court of Honor of our entity.

 

 

His death occurred in his beloved city of Colima, Mexico, after several days of tenacious and courageous struggle for his life, after suffering a heart attack.

 

 

Professor Virgen was president of FEMECRODE (Mexican Federation of Sport Writers). In this way he organized the Congress of the FEPEDA (Federation of Sports Journalists of America in those years) in his native city, Colima, in 2007, a meeting that, in his hand, reached a remarkable success.

 

 

He integrated the last two executives of AIPS America, until 2011 as treasurer and since then in the function of component of the Court of Honor.

 

 

His intellectual qualities and his inclination for teaching always gave precedence to his name as Knight or Professor, who punctuated his virtues, which he generously shared with friends and colleagues in each of the events of our entity.

 

 

His unexpected departure full of grief and pain to the family of sports journalism in Mexico, to which AIPS America sends its feelings of regret, which we ask are extended to the members of his distinguished family.

 

 

AIPS America declares official mourning for this unfortunate event that occurs less than three months after the closing of the current executive committee, which pays homage of respect and admiration to the figure of the unforgettable "Professor and Knight Virgen".

 

With pain and respect

 

LAUSANNE, May 2, 2017 - Australia, USA, Japan and Kazakhstan are the top four teams qualified for the FINA Men's Water Polo World League Super Final 2017, to take place in Ruza , Russia, from June 20-25. 

 

Australia defeated the U.S. 8-6 in the gold match on the last Day of the Intercontinental Tournament in Gold Coast (held from April 25-30). The Aussies remained unbeaten throughout the competition, with four straight wins and one win after penalty shootout. 

 

In the bronze-medal encounter, Japan beat Kazakhstan 12-7. 

 

The four squads will be joining the European teams Serbia, Croatia and Italy in Ruza for the Super Final. Russia, as the host country, will also take part in the Super Final Tournament. 

 

Gold Coast Final placings 

 

1. Australia, 2. United States of America, 3. Japan, 4. Kazakhstan, 5. New Zealand, 6. China

 

Serbia have won the title of the Men's Water Polo World League consecutively since 2013.

Kerron Clement of USA competes in the Men's 400m Hurdles on day 11 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

by Nenad Djurovic, AIPS Young Reporter, Serbia

 

DOHA, May 1, 2017 - The 8th edition of the Doha Diamond League can easily use a very effective slogan: ‘No Bolt? No Problem!’

 

The prestigious meeting scheduled on Friday at the Qatar Sport Club Stadium, will not feature the fastest man on the planet, nevertheless some of the best athletes in the world will make the event intriguing.

 

To be fair, it must be mentioned that the organizers have negotiated Usain Bolt’s presence in Doha, but the trainer opposed the participation because too early into a very long season. A season mainly focused on the World Championship due in London in late of August, possibly the last officials race for Bolt before retirement.

 

Without Usain, the limelight on Friday will be for athletes such Us Olympic Champion Kerron Clement and LaShawn Merritt, the two big attractions of the 400m.

 

Conselsus Kipruto, the 3000m steeplechase gold medalist in Rio, will lead the large Kenyan team and he will take part of the 3000m flat.

 

“The Doha Diamond league is probably the most important sport competition in the Middle East, for sure the most exciting event hosted in Qatar - says Dr Thani Al-Kuwari, President of the Qatar Athletic Federation and Secretary General of the Qatar Olympic Committee, during the press conference for this event.

 

“Our aim is to organize this meeting to the highest possible standards and provide the very best conditions for athletes and spectators”, he added.

 

Unfortunately, spectators in Doha won’t be able to see Ivana Španović, the long jump European Champion holding the best result of the season (7.24 m). The Serbian announced her absence a few weeks ago. Despite this defection the women field will still feature world class athletes.

 

The most intriguing race will probably be in the 200m where Jamaican Olympic and World Champion Elaine Thompson will clash with Dutch Dafne Schippers.

 

The pole vault will be another thrilling moment of the night with the Greek Ekaterini Stefanidi dueling with Cuban Yaresley Silva.

 

But of course, the locals will be delighted by their own idols like Olympic hero at Rio 2016, the high jump silver medalist Mutaz Barshim. Barshim will lead a pack of hopeful Qataris that includes Abderrahman Samba, who recently ran the fastest 400m hurdles of 2017 (48.31) and 2016 Olympian javelin thrower Ahmed Bedeir.

 

“The level of the Doha Diamond League is very high - says Bedeir - I expect the competition to be very tough. I have been training hard and cannot wait to compete and I hope to honour Qatar and make everyone proud.”

 

“Our athletes have been training very hard over the winter –added Secretary General of the Qatar Athletics Mohamed Al-Fadala-. The Doha Diamond League will be just their second appearance this season but we have a very talented team and we are confident that they will all achieve important results.”

 

With 16 reigning Olympic and World Champions, and a total of 44 global medalists competing on Friday it will be a tough task for the Qataris.

 

The Qatar team will also feature the promising sprinter (100m) Mariam Farid, the 19 years old Ambassador for the 2019 IAAF World Championship in Qatar. And having a woman as one of the leading competitors for the Country is already a success.

Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia wins gold in the Women's 3000 Metres Final during day four of the IAAF World Indoor Championships at Oregon Convention Center on March 20, 2016 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

by Haileegziabher Adhanom, AIPS Young Reporter, Ethiopia

 

DOHA, May 2, 2017 - It is called “Town of Runners” and many people may not even know it. The city is one of the secrets about Ethiopian athletics success: a tiny town named Bekoji at the center of a high-altitude land, mainly a rural community.

 

 

Bekoji is home to the likes of Derartu Tulu, the first African woman ever to win a Gold medal at the Olympics in Barcelona 1992 in the 10,000m, and Fatuma Roba, the first African woman to win a Marathon in the Atlanta Olympics in 1996. Also from the “Home if Runners” are Triple Olympic Champions and long distance runners Kenenisa Bekele, Tirunesh Dibaba plus her two talented sisters Ejigayehu and Genzebe Dibaba, who will be one of the main attractions in Doha Diamond League on Friday, taking place for the first time in the 800m starting lineup. The 2012 Olympic Marathon winner Tiki Gelana is also from Bekoji.

 

“Like for any other athlete the first thing in making them into champions is the level of dedication and effort they put in their training,” explains to AIPS Sintayehu Eshetu, 59, a physical educator in Bekoji, and a renowned talent poacher.

 

“Of course there are other reasons - continues Eshetu - like the quality of the food that in Bekoji naturally consists of carbohydrates, protein and other useful nutrients. Examples includes maize, barley, milk and beso, a local power drink made up of barley, flour, water and sugar.”

 

Bekoji is located 250 km south of the capital Addis Ababa, but despite having a population of just around 20.000 (compared to the country’s 100 million) has produced more than a dozen Olympic medalists and double of that amount in World Championships and Cross Country awards.

 

Sintayehu Eshetu did not have to travel much to spot talent of the caliber of Derartu Tulu, Fatuma Roba or Kenenisa Bekele: he just picked them from the local school program.

 

“The altitude of 2,800 meters above sea level, has also its own advantages – explains Eshetu -. If running is a culture in Ethiopia, in Bekoji it’s a way of life. You do running for everything, to go to school, to work, to deliver a message.

 

Everything. Athletics in Bekoji is more than sport, it is a way to escape poverty which undeniably causes athletes to even work harder”.

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