Search This Blog

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Marathon and the spirit of running !!


Amidst all the news of Covid 19 – Tokyo successfully conducted Olympics 2020 and Athletics was very interesting !

The marathon is a long-distance race with an official distance of 42.195 kilometres (26 miles 385 yards), usually run as a road race. The event was instituted in commemoration of the fabled run of the Greek soldier Pheidippides, a messenger from the Battle of Marathon to Athens, who reported the victory.  The marathon was one of the original modern Olympic events in 1896, though the distance did not become standardized until 1921.  In recent times, prior to Corona affliction, more than 800 marathons were held throughout the world each year  !

The men's marathon event at the 2020 Summer Olympics started at 07:00 on 8 August 2021 in Sapporo, Japan. 106 athletes from 46 nations competed. The previous Olympic champion, Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge, successfully defended his title, with Dutch and Belgian athletes Abdi Nageeye and Bashir Abdi gaining silver and bronze, respectively. Eliud Kipchoge cemented his claims to be the greatest distance runner of all time as he retained his Olympic marathon title in brutal conditions in Sapporo. As the Kenyan crossed the line in 2:08:38, he thumped his chest and smiled. Behind him a string of top-class athletes bowed their heads in pain – and respect to the little master.

“I think I have fulfilled the legacy by winning the marathon for the second time, back to back,” he said. “I hope now to help inspire the next generation.” Despite the 7am start, conditions on the road were so hot and humid that several athletes held bags of ice in their hands to cool themselves down – or were forced to pull up at the side of the road, their legs wobbly with exhaustion. Of the 106 starters, 30 did not finish.

Kipchoge, though, remained impenetrably cool. At 30km, there were 10 athletes left in the leading group. But then he dropped a five-kilometre stretch in 14min 28sec – in 27C heat and 73% humidity – to move out of sight of the field by 35km. Another sub-15min 5km followed and the rest was history as he took gold by 80 seconds.  Some had questioned whether the Kenyan, who is officially 36, was on the slide after he suffered his first defeat in seven years at last year’s London Marathon. Back in October he cited a blocked ear for this poor run. This was the loudest possible retort. “Marathon is like life and in life there a lot of challenges,” he said. “On the road, there are potholes, big and small, in life there are a lot of ups and downs. London was one of the challenges. They say that if you love sport then you accept what has happened; I accepted what happened in London. I move on.”  Victory also made him only the third athlete to defend an Olympic marathon title, after the bare-footed Ethiopian Abebe Bikila in 1960 and 1964 and the East German Waldemar Cierpinski in 1976 and 1980.

This was a serious act – most considered an act of shame .. ..  French athlete Morhad Amdouni has broken his silence on a controversial moment during the Tokyo Olympics men's marathon that dominated headlines over the weekend. At the 28km mark of the long-distance event, footage showed Amdouni knocking over more than 20 bottles at the water station before snagging the last one on the table.

The athlete directly behind Amdouni subsequently missed out on a bottle with most of the athletes pouring it over their heads in the intense heat of Sapporo. Former Olympic long jumper Dave Culbert wasn't not convinced it was merely an accident, saying he'd "let the audience be the judge as to whether that's been done deliberately." "They do have staff there to replenish those stations, but I've got my eyebrow raised," he said on Channel 7. Commentator Tamsyn Manou continued: "I think it is pretty hard to grab those drinks. But it's not helpful to the athletes behind him. "The poor Japanese athletes and the ones coming in behind, it makes it harder to grab the next drink if there's any left." British broadcaster Piers Morgan tweeted: "The Gold medal for biggest d***head of the Tokyo Olympics goes to French marathon runner Morhad Amdouni, who deliberately knocks over all the water for his fellow competitors … Unbelievable!" Dutch politician Peter Valstar tweeted: "Morhad Amdouni deliberately knocks over all the water for his fellow contesters in the marathon. Abdi Nageeye was directly behind him and didn't get a bottle. Nageeye won silver. Amdouni finished 17th. Karma is a b****."

Following intense speculation online, Amdouni has claimed the water bottles were "slippery" and there was no malice intended.  "To put an end to all the controversy from the video, I show this video to actually understand what happened," Amdouni said. "To guarantee freshness to the bottles, they are soaked in water, which makes them slippery. However, it is clear that I am trying to get one from the beginning of the row but they slip as soon as we touch them. "With the fatigue, I started bit by bit to lose lucidity and energy in hanging on. "So I really want to apologise to the athletes. But at one moment I tried to get hold of a water bottle, I made them fall."

The race was originally moved to Sapporo in a bid to avoid the intense heat of Tokyo, but it didn't appear to work with the 30-degree temperatures and humidity wreaking havoc. Australia's Jack Rayner was among a group of runners who barely made it 10km, while Brazilian frontrunner Daniel do Nascimento collapsed in the back half of the race. Amdouni ended up finishing 17th, to go with his 10th place finish in the 10,000m race earlier in the week.

Kipchoge's victory margin of 1:20 was the biggest since Frank Shorter's victory at the 1972 Munich Games.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

11th Aug 2021.

No comments:

Post a Comment