Wednesday, May 8, 2013

"Saudi Arabia's First Female Olympians" by Joboy Quintos

This is historic. Saudi Arabia will be sending two female athletes to the London Olympics. The oil-rich Middle Eastern kingdom was the last to heed the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) moves to end sexual discrimination in sport, following Qatar and Brunei. Judoka Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani and middle distance runner Sarah Attar will the first Saudi female Olympians.

Early this month, reports surfaced that the U.S.-born equestrienne Dalma Rushdi Malhas will be London-bound. The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) clarified the rumors. It turns out that Malhas' horse sustained an injury, ruling her out of the London Olympics.

Although this is a groundbreaking move, the fact still remains that the rights of women in hardline Saudi Arabia are not at par with that of the more liberalized nations.

On a wider perspective, the statistics look promising. The IOC, according to a CNN report, noted the gradual rise in female participation in the Olympics through the years. The first time London hosted the quadrennial event in 1908, women comprised 1.8% of all athletes. The percentage rose to 9.5% in 1948 and, most recently, 42% in Beijing.

Article by Joboy Quintos


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

"Kathrine Switzer the Pioneer" by Joboy Quintos

In 1967, Kathrine Switzer became famous as the first female runner to complete the Boston Marathon. A furious race organizer tried to stop Switzer from completing the race, shouting "Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers." Her boyfriend came to the rescue and shoved the official aside.

Fast forward to 2012, 45 years after that incident in Boston, women outnumber men 269 to 261 in the U.S. Olympic Team. 

That's what you call progress!

Article by Joboy Quintos

Kathrine Switzer's Wikipedia Profile
Huffington Post

Thursday, April 4, 2013

"10-for-10: Katherine Kay Santos" by Joboy Quintos

Despite the peaks and troughs of the Philippine athletics scene, Filipino women have competed with distinction in the long jump for more than two decades. Since Elma Muros-Posadas’ maiden long jump win in the 1989 edition of the Southeast Asian Games, the Philippines had fallen short of the title only once. The last Filipino to win an Asian Games medal was the evergreen Muros-Posadas in 1994. Marestella Torres emphatic win at the 2009 Asian Championships was the most high-profile achievement of a Filipino track & field in recent memory.

Article by Joboy Quintos

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

"Dara Torres: An Inspiration!" by Joboy Quintos

Dara Torres at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. (Photo from Bryan Allison)
Dara Torres is a veteran of five Olympic Games, from the Seoul in 1988 all the way to Beijing in 2008. She had amassed a total of 12 Olympic medals, four of them gold. The then 41-year old Dara won three silver medals in Beijing. At the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, the 45-year old placed fourth in the 50m freestyle finals, narrowly missing a ticket to her fifth straight Olympics.

Article by Joboy Quintos

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Track Beauty of the Week: Denise Groot

Denise Groot is this week's Track Beauty!

Photo from Erik van Leeuwen
Groot is a pole vaulter from the Netherlands. Coached by George Friant and 2005 World Champion Rens Blom, Denise has been a consistent 4.00m vaulter since 2007.[1] Groot had a sterling career in age-group competition. While still only a youth athlete, Denise won a silver medal in the Dutch National Championships in 2007, clearing a height of 3.61m.[2] She followed this up with another silver medal, soaring over 3.90m in the European Youth Olympic Festival the same year.[3]

She has improved consistently in the successive years. In 2010, Groot set a new personal best of 4.35m - only five centimeters from the Monique de Wilt's Dutch national record.[4] To date, she has won a total of two Dutch outdoor titles on top of single national indoor crown. The Dutch pole vaulter placed seventh at the 2011 edition of the European U23 Championships, where she had a best mark of 4.20m. [5]

The year 2010 should have been Groot's breakout season, having qualified for the European Championships in Barcelona. However, the prodigious young talent fell short of expectations. She could only better 4.05m, thirty centimeters from the lifetime best she set earlier that year.[6]

  1. "Denise Groot." Retrieved 2-6-2013.
  2. Ibid. 
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Track Beauty of the Week: Molly Beckwith

Molly Beckwith is this week's Track Beauty!

The United States is not just the world's last remaining superpower, it is also the world's foremost athletics nation. A strong testament to this lofty standing is the American resurgence in middle- and long-distance running - events that have been dominated for so long by East and Northern Africans and the occasional Russian talent. 

Photo from Molly Beckwith's Website
The United States is bristling with middle distance talent. Case in point is Molly Beckwith.

The 25-year old Beckwith is an American middle distance runner. She dabbled in both football (soccer) and athletics in her high school days, before focusing on track career in college.[1] Beckwith attended Indiana University and competed in the tough U.S. NCAA circuit from 2005 to 2009.[2]

Molly has a personal best of 1:59.12 in the 800m, which she set in Italy back in 2011.[3] She was perched in the 23rd place at the 2012 outdoor 800m rankings, thanks to a classy sub-2:00 clocking she set in New York City last June 2012. [4]

  1. "Molly Beckwith." Retrieved 2-4-2013.
  2. Ibid.
  3. "Molly Beckwith." Retrieved 2-4-2013.
  4. Ibid.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Track Beauty of the Week: Brianne Theisen

Brianne Theisen is this week's Track Beauty!

Photo from Pac12 SportsWatch
Theisen is a world-class heptathlete, having had stints at the World Championships and the Olympic Games. As a 16-year old, she made competed at the 2005 World Youth Championships, finishing in 17th place in an event won by future World Champion Tatiana Chernova Татьяна Сергеевна Чернова.[1] Brianne also wound up in the same ranking spot a year later at the World Junior Championships in Beijing.[2]

The Canadian attended the University of Oregon for college, where she distinguished herself in tough NCAA competition. Theisen has won three NCAA titles apiece in Indoor and Outdoor events in her collegiate career, with a 4x400m relay gold in 2010 as icing on the cake.[3]

Brianne went above the 6,000-point barrier for the first time in 2009.[4] She made her major championship debut at the Berlin World Championships that same year. In 2012, Theisen's points tally leapfrogged from 6094  in 2011 to an impressive 6440, thanks to new personal bests in four events.[5] [6] Her indoor campaign was even more fruitful, as she broke the 30-year Canadian national record in the pentathlon (4555 points).

Theisen scored 6383 points in her Olympic debut and finished in a respectable 11th place.

  1. "Brianne Theisen." Retrieved 1-23-2013.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. "Athlete profile for Brianne Theisen." Retrieved 1-23-2013.
  5. "Brianne Theisen." 
  6. "Athlete profile for Brianne Theisen."

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Track Beauty of the Week: Élodie Ouédraogo

Élodie Ouédraogo is this week's Track Beauty!

Photo from
Ouédraogo is a Belgian athlete who competes in both the sprints and the intermediate hurdles. The high point in her career came at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where she won the 4x100m silver together with Belgian sprinting great Kim Gevaert, Olivia Borleé, and Hanna Marien. The quartet stopped the clock at a new Belgian record of 42.54s.[1] Élodie was also part of the Belgian squad tha won bronze at the Osaka World Championships.

Ouédraogo has personal bests of 11.40s, 23.11s, and 55.29s in the 100m, 200m, and 400m hurdles, respectively.[2]

Élodie originally represented Burkina Faso, her parents' country of birth.[3] As a young sprint hurdler, she competed for the African nation at the 2000 World Junior Championships, but switched allegiance to her country of birth that same year.[4]

Her IAAF biography is a portrait of athletic versatiltity. As a youngster, she competed primarily in the 100m hurdles and the 100m dash, with occasional forays in the long jump. She made her major championship debut at the Osaka World Championships in the 400m hurdles.[5] Since then, Élodie had reached the World Championship semifinals twice (Berlin and Daegu) in an event she had specialized in relatively late. She placed sixth at the 2012 European Championships. A month later, the Belgian made it as far as the semis in the London Olympic Games.

  1. "Élodie Ouédraogo." Retrieved 1-17-2013.
  2. "Athlete profile for Élodie Ouédraogo." Retrieved 1-17-2013
  3. "Élodie Ouédraogo."
  4. Ibid.
  5. "Athlete profile for Élodie Ouédraogo."

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Track Beauty of the Week: Zuzana Hejnová

Zuzana Hejnová is this week's Track Beauty!

Photo by Miaow Miaow/Wikimedia
The Czech 400m hurdles specialist has made significant impact in her event the past two years. Coming into the 2011 season, Zuzana had a personal best of 54.13s and a fourth-place finish at the 2010 Barcelona European Championships to her credit. [1] Towards the end of the year, the Czech had lowered her personal record by almost 1 second to 53.29s.[2] More importantly, she gained valuable experience as she crossed the line in a competitive 7th place at the Daegu World Championships.

Zuzana ran the race of her life at the London Olympic Games, as she grabbed the bronze medal (53.38s) behind Natalya Antyukh Наталь Антюх (52.70s) and Lashina Demus (52.77s).[3]

A quick glance at Hejnová's IAAF curriculum vitae indicates that she is a born hurdler. Zuzana has been competing at the highest level of the intermediate hurdles since her debut at the 2002 World Junior Championships.[4] Despite being only 15-years at that time, Hejnová wound up in an impressive fifth place in the final (58.42s).[5] A year later, she bagged the World Youth title in 57.54s.[6]

  1. "Zuzana Hejnova." Retrieved 1-10-2013.
  2. Ibid.
  3. "Athletics at the 2012 Summer Olympics - Women's 400m Hurdles." Retrieved 1-10-2013. 
  4. "Zuzana Hejnova."
  5. Ibid 
  6. Ibid

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Track Beauty of the Week: Melissa Breen

Melissa Breen is this week's Track Beauty! 

Photo from Trailpilot/Wikimedia
The 22-year old is a top-ranked Australian elite sprinter. Breen had won national titles in both the 100m and the 200m since 2009.[1] To date, her major championship curriculum vitae include stints at the Commonwealth Games, the World Championships, and most recently, the 2012 London Olympic Games.[2]

Her progression from 2007 to 2008 was particularly impressive, where the then 17-18 year old Breen shaved off 0.41s from her 100m time best (11.74s to 11.33s).[3] To date, she has personal bests of 11.27s and 23.30s in the 100m and 200m, which she both set in 2012.[4]

Breen finished 6th place in her 100m dash heat, registering a time of 11.34s in her Olympic debut.[5]

  1. "Athlete Bio - Melissa Breen." Retrieved 12-29-2012.
  2. "Melissa Breen." Retrieved 12-29-2012.
  3. "Athlete Bio - Melissa Breen."
  4. "Melissa Breen."
  5. Ibid.