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Historic doubles for Farah, Fraser-Pryce

Written on May 11, 2019 at 20:57, by

Superstar duo Mo Farah and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce completed historic track doubles at the world athletics championships in Moscow on Friday night.

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Farah went to the front for the final time with 650 metres to go in the 5000m, kicked three times and was never headed.

He joined Ethiopian legend Kenenisa Bekele as the only male athlete to win the men’s 5000-10,000m double at the same world championships.

Starting with the 5000m two years ago at the world titles in Daegu, he has won five straight world and Olympic golds over 5000m and 10,000m.

And all this from a runner who was little more than a journeyman until his late 20s, when he moved to the United States to join forces with coach Alberto Salazar.

Farah ran a 53.5-second last lap on Friday in a winning time of 13 minutes 26.98 seconds, with minor medallists Hagos Gebrhiwet of Ethiopia and Kenyan Isiah Koech both timed at 13:27.26.

“The double was definitely tougher than the Olympic one because last year nobody knew what I was capable of. Today was indeed one of the most important days in my career, but I’m the same old guy,” said Farah.

He revealed he overcame a crippling early stitch to defend his world 5000m title.

“Early in the race, I had a big stitch so I was hoping the pace wouldn’t go as fast and it didn’t. It all went well and I just tried to stay out of trouble.

“I was a lot more heavy than the other guys because they didn’t run the 10,000m.

“I thought the race would have gone harder, thinking the guys were thinking ‘he’s already done 25 laps around the track plus the heats for the 5000m’, but it didn’t.”

Fraser-Pryce’s path to victory was made much clearer when three-time world champ Allyson Felix collapsed to the track midway around the bend clutching her right hamstring.

The American was carried from the arena by her brother Wes.

Fraser-Pryce continued Jamaica’s sprint dominance in Moscow, clocking a winning time of 22.17 and becoming the first woman since East Germany’s Katrin Krabbe in 1991 to do the sprint double at world level.

Only one year after her 1991 double triumph, Krabbe’s career was in tatters when she was suspended for three years after testing positive to clenbuterol.

Murielle Ahoure from the Ivory Coast was second on Friday night, with the bronze going to Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare, although both were credited with the same time of 22.32.

“This win took a lot of sacrifice, hard work and commitment,” said Fraser-Pryce.

“I used to hate the 200m but now I know whatever I put my mind to I can accomplish.

“It is very unfortunate what happened to Felix, really sad, and I hope she will recover soon,” added Fraser-Pryce.

Russian Aleksandr Menkov was a popular and highly deserving winner of the men’s long jump.

Any of Menkov’s best three leaps would have been good enough to win gold in Moscow or at last year’s London Olympics – with his best effort a national record of 8.56m in the second last round.

The minor medals went to Ignisious Gaisah of the Netherlands (8.29m) and Mexican Luis Rivera (8.27m).

The other individual gold medals decided on the seventh night of the championships went to Germany’s David Storl in the men’s shot put and Tatyana Lysenko from Russia in the women’s hammer throw.

Mickle gets silver in women’s javelin

Written on May 11, 2019 at 20:57, by

Australian Kim Mickle has produced the greatest competition of her life to claim the silver medal in the women’s javelin at the world athletics championships.

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Mickle threw two personal bests in Sunday’s final – having also done so once in the qualifying rounds two days ago.

Her final throw of 66.60m was the second biggest of the competition, behind only the 69.05m gold-medal effort from Germany’s Christina Obergfoll in the second round.

The bronze went to reigning Olympic champion Maria Abakumova from Russia with 65.09m.

Australian Kathryn Mitchell also performed well, finishing fifth with a season’s best of 63.77m.

Mickle, 28, had vowed to produced her “boom tactic” of throwing the javelin as far as she could without thinking about it in the final and was true to her word.

Four of the West Australian’s six throws were over the 64m mark, with the 66.60m and 66.25m efforts the best two of her career.

Mickle had also smashed her previous best with a 65.73m heave in the qualifiers.

It was the second medal won by Australia in the women’s javelin at a world championships, matching the silver by Joanna Stone in Athens in 1997.

Obergfoll claimed a long-awaited first major gold.

She had previously won silver and bronze at the Olympics and been the runner-up at the 2005 and 2007 world championships.

Bronze medallist Abakumova is married to fellow Russian thrower Dmitri Tarabin, who received his javelin bronze medal in a ceremony held midway through the women’s competition.

Mickle’s last-day heroics ensured Australia finished the 2013 world championships with three medals – the others being a silver to Sally Pearson in the 100m hurdles and bronze to Jared Tallent in the 50km walk.

The only other Australians in action on day nine were the men’s 4x100m relay team.

They made a hash of the second change in the heats, when Josh Ross was unable to get the baton cleanly to Andrew McCabe.

Mickle said Sunday’s final was the most fun and the scariest thing she had done in her life — all at the same time.

“The boom tactic came out,” she said.

“It was always going to be a hit or miss sort of thing.

“The Russian (crowd) all got behind me on that last throw and I boomed the hell out of it.

“I almost got my Aussie record – I’ll get that next year.”

The silver medal was redemption for Mickle’s flop at last year’s London Olympics, when she bowed out in the qualifying round.

“It keeps popping into my mind how devastating last year was and how it’s flipped completely,” she said.

“It shows that rather than letting it get you down in the dumps, you use it as fuel.

“That’s what I’ve done this year and it’s got me a silver medal.

“My first throw was not very great so I tried to have another feeler and then activate the old boom.”

Iran’s Rowhani urges serious nuclear talks

Written on May 11, 2019 at 20:57, by

President Hassan Rowhani says Iran is ready for “serious” negotiations on its nuclear program with the major powers.

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“We are the people of interaction and talks, with seriousness and without wasting time, if the other sides are ready,” he said on Tuesday at his first news conference since assuming office on Saturday.

“Iran’s peaceful nuclear program is a national issue… we will not give up the rights of the Iranian people,” he said.

“We will preserve our rights based on the international regulations,” he added, in reference to Iran’s insistence that it has the right to peaceful use of nuclear power as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

“As the president of the Islamic republic, I am announcing that there is political will to solve this issue and also take into consideration the concerns of the other sides.”

Rowhani hit out a call by 76 US senators for tougher sanctions from Washington even as he took office with a call for constructive engagement.

He said Friday’s letter from the US lawmakers to President Barack Obama showed a lack of understanding of Iranian politics.

“Recent declarations from the the White House show that some US officials do not have a correct and realistic assessment of the situation here and the message that the Iranian people gave in the election,” Rowhani said.

“They are still sending contradictory messages,” he said, adding: “We care about the US response in deeds, not in words.”

On Sunday, the White House said Iran would find the United States a “willing partner” if Rowhani is prepared to engage substantively and seriously on its nuclear program.

In a message congratulating Rowhani on his inauguration, the White House said it “presents an opportunity for Iran to act quickly to resolve the international community’s deep concerns over Iran’s nuclear program”.

Poll shows Labor’s asylum policy is winning votes

Written on May 11, 2019 at 20:57, by

The government’s new asylum seeker deal with Papua New Guinea appears to be gaining support from voters, according to poll results published today.

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But tell that to vocal campaigners, who were out in force again today opposing the move.

Hundreds marched through central Sydney lambasting the government over its hardline Papua New Guinea settlement deal, as immigration confirmed a fifth group of asylum seekers has been sent there.

“I oppose quite strongly both of their approaches to immigrations, to so called illegal immigrants,” one protester told SBS.

“I’d like to see a much more compassionated or humanitarian approach.”

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd continues to defend the airing of Labor’s new asylum advertisements during the campaign.

“Paying a people smuggler is not a ticket to Australia, the rules have now changed,” he says.

But Australia’s not the only country clamping down on illegal immigration.

The British government has just launched a poster campaign, telling illegal immigrants to go home or face arrest.

“I think it is a fantastic idea. We need to clean up the mess because it is creating a lot of problems here,” one man says.

“Maybe that isn’t the way to do it but everybody has to abide by the law in the UK,” says a woman.

But despite the protests, crackdowns on illegal immigration are proving to be a vote winners in many western countries.

A Fairfax-Neilson poll out today shows Labor’s new get tough asylum policy is resonating with the Australian public. The gap between Labor and the Coalition on the asylum issue has narrowed to just 8 points.

Right now, Labor and the Coalition are out to see whose message resonates on election day.

Newspaper apologises to Abbott accuser

Written on May 11, 2019 at 20:57, by

The Australian newspaper has apologised to a former student politician over suggestions she lied when she said Opposition Leader Tony Abbott punched a wall near her head when they were at Sydney University.

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Barbara Ramjan had taken defamation against the newspaper for publishing comments by Liberal powerbroker Michael Kroger last September.

In an article in The Quarterly Essay published last September, Ms Ramjan was quoted as saying Mr Abbott “came up to within an inch of my nose and punched the wall on either side of my head” after she defeated him for the presidency of the Sydney University Students’ Representative Council in 1977.

Mr Abbott has denied the incident ever happened.

Ms Ramjan sued Mr Kroger and The Australian over claims she was a “serial manufacturer of false complaints”.

The defamation action related to comments made by Mr Kroger on the Bolt Report on Network Ten on September 23 last year and an article in The Australian the following day.

In a statement read out the NSW Supreme Court on Monday, The Australian apologised to Ms Ramjan for any suggestion she had lied.

“An article published in September 24, 2012, concerned allegations by Michael Kroger about Barbara Ramjan’s conduct in student politics in 1977 and 1978, and that of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott,” the Australian said in its statement.

“The Australian apologises to Ms Ramjan for any suggestion that she lied about those events and acknowledges that the recollection of those events was contested by all participants, who were sincere in what they recalled.

“The Australian did not intend to suggest that one account should prevail over another,” it said.