Ostrava, Czech Republic
Friday 25th May 2012
Following the traditional season-opener in Loughborough & the Manchester Games last weekend, 18 British athletes arrived in Ostrava yesterday to get their international outdoor seasons underway.  The organisers of the 51st Golden Spike event were keen to lay on a high profile meet with Usain Bolt's image plastered all over the city from the moment I stepped off the plane, in addition to a number of interesting head to heads, which included Chrissie (Ohuruogu) taking on Sanya Richards-Ross (USA) in the 400m, Tiffany (Ofili Porter) matching up against Lolo Jones (USA) in the women's 100m hurdles, Pamela Jelimo (Kenya) racing Caster Semenya (RSA) in the 800m & Wallace Spearmon vs Walter Dix (both USA) in the men's 200m.  The spotlight was also on Dwain (Chambers) as he took the blocks in his first high profile meet in several years since the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled the BOA ban unlawful.

Historically this meet has produced some fast times & the athletes that have competed here before have all commented favourably on the experience.  However, as we arrived at the track in the late afternoon, the wind was gusting & the temperature fluctuated wildly as the sun played hide & seek amongst the clouds.  The general mood in the camp was one of anticipation & an eagerness to test the race pace after weeks of progressive training.  Although, given all that has been written of late & the fact that he has been away from this level of competition for so long, I have never seen Dwain so nervous!!

As the night drew on though, the times filtering back to the warm up track, where I was managing a conveyor belt of athletes both pre- & post-race, were portraying a picture of mediocrity, with performances heavily influenced by the conditions.  The biggest eyebrow raiser was probably Usain's failure to breach the 10 second mark for the first time in a long time.  However, notable British performances were achieved by Tiff in winning the hurdles, Andrew Osagie coming second in the 800m & Andy Baddeley recording a massive PB in the 3,000m.

All in all, several cobwebs have been blown away & next weekend the focus shifts to the Diamond League in Rome's Stadio Olympico, where again a healthy British contingent will look to make their mark.

For a full results list & reports from tonight's Golden Spike meet in Ostrava, click on the following link:  Results - 51st Golden Spike, Ostrava

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