Friday, August 14, 2009

Goodbye Hong Kong Hello China

Tomorrow I leave Hong Kong and head to China. I might not be able to update my blog while I'm in China as last time I was there Blogger was one of the many sites that was blocked along with facebook.

There has been a lot of rain in Asia recently so I will be happy to be able to train in an undercover facility and at normal hours. While I've been in Hong Kong and training with the Checker Sports club training usually only starts after 11pm and in the dark. Unfortunately they don't have a facility specifically for speed skating so they have till wait until the lights are switched of at the basketball/soccer courts and everyone goes home which is usually around 11.15pm.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Biel WIC & SIC Results

Yesterday the 7th stage of the Swiss Inline Cup and 10th stage of the World Inline Cup was held in Biel. The 6km circuit was held around the city streets in the heart of Biel with the skaters completing 6 laps in total.

I'm in Asia at the moment until the World Championships but the rest of the Bont Wheels Team were in Biel.
The ladies race was won in a breakaway. There were originally six skaters in the winning break, but one of the skaters dropped off and was caught by the pack before the finish. With more than two laps to go Giovanna and Alexandra broke away from this group and went on to take the first two placings. Kelly Martinez was the first to finish in the main pack coming in 6th place.

Womens Top 10
1. Giovanna Turciarelli
2. Alexandra Vivas (Bont Wheels)
3. Tina Struver
4. Laura Ghezzi
5. Valentina Cantu
6. Kelly Martinez (Bont Wheels)
7. Nathalie Barbotin
8. Cecilia Baena
9. Tamara Llorens (Bont Wheels)
10. Jokobine Wolf

Scene set for rugby sevens-skating showdown

Here is a good article from The New Zealand Herald by Peter Williams.

Peter Williams: Scene set for rugby sevens-skating showdown

It's August, a month of decision for the Lords (and one Lady) of the Rings.

In 11 days, the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee will meet at IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, to decide which two sports might be added to the Olympic Games in 2016.

The 15 members, 14 men and 1984 women's 400m hurdles gold medallist Nawal el Moutawakel, will recommend two of seven applicant sports to be part of 2016. The recommendations have to be approved by the full IOC session in October with a sport needing a two-thirds majority to make the final programme.

Cross off baseball and softball straight away. At Olympic level, they're single sex sports; they were played in Beijing last year; won't be in London and are unlikely to come back quickly. Major League Baseball's unwillingness to release the game's superstars for the Olympics doesn't help.

Karate's major problem is that Judo and Taekwondo are already in the Olympics. I doubt another martial arts sport will join them.

Despite my close affinity with golf, I can't see it making the cut. The format and eligibility criteria put up by the International Golf Federation are both too restrictive and non-inclusive. Fields of 60, based on world rankings and with an unlimited number of players from countries with two or more in the top 15, will lead to ridiculously unbalanced fields.

For instance, based on this week's world rankings, there'd be 24 Koreans and 19 Americans in the women's Olympic tournament, and competitors from just 12 countries. The men's field would have 25 Americans, 11 from Great Britain and only 16 countries represented. Despite the IOC's desire to have the world's sporting superstars, Tiger Woods will be 40 in 2016 and who knows what his star power will be by then.

Squash's big problem is its lack of televisual appeal. Huge progress has been made with glass courts and a coloured ball but the end result is it's a bit like ice hockey. It's darn hard to see the ball.

So that leaves rugby sevens and roller sports. I like the chances of both making it as medal sports. Sevens doesn't need a purpose-built facility. It can use the main stadium for two days between the opening ceremony and the start of the track and field programme.

It also offers real medal chances to smaller nations like Fiji and Samoa. This year's Sevens World Cup in Dubai was a huge success with big TV audiences, and the women's competition as popular as the men's. That's likely to be the most watched rugby event of the year.

Roller sports ticks all the boxes. A combination of speed skating and dancing events could do for the Summer Olympics what ice skating does for the Winter Games. There's tremendous TV appeal, young participants and, as with BMX racing and whitewater canoeing, there's a real sense of excitement about racing on in-line skates.

Of the 15 board members, only el Moutawakel and former Namibian sprint ace Frank Fredericks were born after 1960.

Despite the advanced middle age of most members, the IOC's recent decisions suggest they want sports with wide appeal to youth, a huge appeal on TV and the potential to improve the geographic spread of medals.

The 2016 host city won't be decided till October but I reckon we can get set to enjoy rugby sevens and roller sports at the 31st Olympiad.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

AIC Putrajaya

Last Saturday I raced in what felt like my fist marathon ever. I haven't raced on the road, let alone a marathon since my accident back in the first week of May. So it's been a long time when you are used to racing a marathon nearly very weekend.

This was the first ever skating event of it's kind in Malaysia, a place where the sport is still developing. Although there were not a huge array of local skaters present there was definitely an international mix with skaters from Korea, Japan, Singapore, France, USA, Indonesia, Germany and myself of course from New Zealand.

The course was 7.5 km a lap around the very modern city of Putrajaya, Malaysia about 45 minutes out from Kuala Lumpur. The course was tough with a 350 meter hill each lap and a bridge that had to be climbed over twice in the lap. With not big numbers entered in the marathon the ladies and men started together and were allowed to mix. After the first hill climb the bunch split up and there were 3 of us left out infront. Kim Sik (Tiger) from Korea, Dimas Prasetya Putera from Indonesia and myself.

The three of us continued for the majority of the race with Tiger and Dimas battling it out for extra points on the hill climb prime and sprint prime every lap. The next skaters where Johannas Wihardja (Indonesia) and the second lady Eri Marina Yo (Indonesia). With the tough course everyone was spread out and for some it was a great challenge just to finish.

On the last lap I attacked over the bridge and broke away from the two other skaters and went on to win. Second in the ladies was Eri Marina and third Sylvia Setiwan also from Indonesia.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

World Games Update

Last night I raced in my first race at the World Games and my first race since my accident in Heerde. It was the 10km points elimination race and I ended up finishing third. It started raining half way through the race and it was not called off by the officials so the track was very slippery. The winner Hyo Sook Woo and second place getter Marta Ramirez ended up breaking away when the rain started and gaining a lot of points. I was basically left solo at the front of the dwindled pack trying to chase them down and only caught Marta with a few laps to go.

This morning the 1000 meter heats took place inbetween the showers of rain. In the second heat of the ladies it started to rain with a few laps to go and skaters were slipping all over the track. It wasn't until Angeline Thomas from Australia crashed that they finally decided to call off the race. After the rain stopped the third heat started, which I was in and with two laps to go it started to rain again. The officials didn't call off the race and it was very slippery. When qualifying involves times this effects the outcome of the race. The officials didn't want to re run the heat until they spook to the corner referee's who agreed the skaters were slipping and had to slow down which affected the overall time. Once the track was dry the two heats were both re run and I ended up finishing second in the heat but was the fastest qualifier to go through to the semi finals.

The mens heat were then run and nearly immediately after the ladies semi's started. I won my semi final and am through to the final tonight along with Huang Yu Ting (Chinese Taipei and winner of the 300m Time Trial), Marta Ramirez (Colombia), Chiao Jen Hsu (Chinese Taipei and second in the 300m Time Trial), Jin Seon LimChiao (Korea and third in the 300m time trial) and Brigyte Mendez (Colombia).

Tonight the 1000 m final starts at 6pm and then I also have the 15 km elimination race at 7.20pm.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

World Games TV Broadcast

This is the information I have received from the organization:

Public Television Service (PTS) is the host broadcaster of the Taiwan World Games 2009. PTS will form an alliance with other news and sport channels to maximize domestic coverage, and seek worldwide exposure via international channels. Opening and Closing Ceremonies will be live broad casted via one main domestic channel and two cable channels with at least 80% coverage.

Chunghwa Telecom will webcast live and/or highlight programs via its platforms of MOD (Movie on Demand), IPTV (Internet TV), HiChannel (Website) and 3G mobile phones.

Live broad casting sport events include - Dance Sport, Gymnastics and Roller Sport (Speed), and selective live programs from Korfball and Rugby Sevens.

I have since found online one of the sites mentioned that should have some sort of coverage once racing gets underway.
HiChannel -
I was able to translate some of the web page and tomorrow there will be coverage of the 300 m time trials. It looks like it will be delayed coverage from 21.30 - 22.30.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

World Games Coming to NZ TV

I found this press release from Triangle Television:

In keeping with its reputation for delivering New Zealanders significant international events they would not see on other New Zealand channels, Triangle and Stratos Television have secured the rights to screen the World Games starting July 17.

New Zealanders will be among nearly 5,000 athletes from around the world who will take part in 26 official sports and five invitational sports that are not included in the Olympic Games.

Triangle will screen the opening ceremony on Friday July 17 at 7:30pm. Stratos will screen a repeat of the ceremony on Saturday July 18 at 3pm.

Half hour daily highlights of the main events will screen on Triangle in the weekends at 6:30pm and weekdays at 7:30pm, except on Mondays when it will be at 9:30pm. On Stratos Television the highlights will screen daily at 8pm.

Triangle Auckland is on UHF Channels 41, 42 and 52 and in Christchurch via TelstraClear cable (Channel 50). Triangle’s sister channel, Stratos Television, broadcasts nationwide via Sky Digital (Channel 89), Freeview (Channel 21) and TelstraClear cable.