track and field and qatar

It’s been a great week for track and field, and for American track and field in particular, with both the World championships going on, and the Berlin marathon (one of the top 5 marathons in the world.)

A few of the great things that have happened:

1.) Kenenisa Bekele missed setting a new world record by a mere 2 s.  I’ve been a fan for a long time, and I knew he had it in him!  So yay.   He’s been plagued by injuries but finally had an amazing race.

2.) Sarah Hall, who I’ve been cheering for for nearly 20 years, set a huge PR and ran 2:22 at Berlin.  Basically, as a marathoner, she moved from the pack to being one of the top three or so in the US, and top 10 US marathoners all time.  Awesome!

3.) Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price won the women’s 100 m with a very fast time a year after giving birth by C-section.

4.) Allyson Felix won a relay gold medal 10 months after giving birth.

5.) Roberta Groner, basically an unknown American, placed 6th in the marathon.

However, holding the WCs in Doha, Qatar has been an utter disaster.  Consider the following:

1.) It is way too hot in Qatar.  The marathon was run in 90 degree heat with a “feels like” temperature of over 100 due to humidity.  40% of the competitors dropped out.  This is RIDICULOUS.

2.) There are no fans.  750,000 people turned out for the last world champs, when they were held in the UK.  During the women’s 100 m, there were apparently 1000 people in the stadium, despite the government giving away 10s of thousands of tickets for free.  Absurd.

3.) Qatar is a ridiculously sexist country.  I can’t help but wonder if the *women’s* 100m specifically had no spectators for this reason, though viewership has been lower in general.  The 100m is a marquis event.

4.) Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar.  The penal code stipulates years of prison time for sodomy, and there are multiple cases of people in fact being imprisoned for this.

All in all, I think it’s completely ridiculous.

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