Hubert Lawrence assesses ‘The Felix Double’

first_imgThe mission Allyson Felix has chosen to accept is still difficult. When the superb American ran the 200-400m double at the 2011 World Championships, the schedule was perfect.Now, even though the overlap between the 200m and 400m has been eased for the upcoming Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Felix still has a tough road to travel.In 2011, in Daegu, South Korea, the 400 metres and the 200m were separated by a day of rest. At the 2012 Olympics, the 200m started the day after the 400 metres ended but with the 200m heats and semis on the same day.Overlap between the two sprints appeared at the 2013 World Championships, and even though the gap between the 200m heats and the 400m final has been extended from 75 minutes to 13 hours at this year’s Olympic Games, they are still on the same day.WAY TO GOLDIt would be far better for the 30-year-old American if the Daegu schedule was reintroduced. In fact, when US superstar Michael Johnson fought to do the same double in the 1996Olympics, he insisted on a day to rest in between the 400m and the 200m. Not only is that rest day absent for Felix, but the elegant American still has to run a 200m and a 400m on the same day.In other words, if she does qualify for both events at the US Olympic Trials, she will have to run once on day two and three; twice on day four at 9.30 a.m. local time in her 200m heat and in the 400m final at 10.45 p.m. local time; and then once on both days five and six.As good as the four-time individual World Champion is, she obviously doesn’t have the clout Johnson had in 1996 when he was the undisputed king of athletics. If she got her way, it would be a good guess that others might try the double.Bahamian Shaunae Miller, second to Felix in the 400m last year at the Worlds, is nippy over 200 metres. If the overlap remains, Miller might be best advised to skip it to save all her energy for the 400 metres.That event could have the last two Olympic winners, American Sanya Richards-Ross and Christine Ohuruogu of Great Britain and a likely Jamaican trio from the quartet of World bronze medallist Shericka Jackson, Christine Day, Stephenie McPherson, and Novlene Williams-Mills in Felix’s way to gold.In the meantime, Daphne Schippers of Holland and the Jamaican pair of Elaine Thompson and Veronica Campbell-Brown, who went 1-2-3 at last year’s World Championships, and the rest of the world’s best 200-metre runners, are probably breathing a sigh of relief. Instead of facing the reigning Olympic 200m champion when she is relatively fresh, they will face Felix in the final of the curved sprint on her sixth consecutive day of action.Add 2012 Olympic runner-up Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and young British star Dina Asher-Smith to the mix and the task for Felix gets tougher.Given that they will all have rested after the 100m ends on day two of the Olympics athletics programme and before the 200m starts on day four, they still hold the advantage.n Hubert Lawrence has made notes at track side since 1980.last_img read more

Norwich 1-1 Everton: Wes Hoolahan helps Canaries claim a point as Toffees crumble

first_img Norwich players celebrate their equaliser 1 Norwich City grabbed a share of the spoils on home soil as a second-half Wes Hoolahan goal earned them a 1-1 draw with Everton.It was a strange affair in Norfolk with the Toffees going in 1-0 up at the break thanks to Romelu Lukaku’s back post header but, in truth, they should have been well out of sight after missing several good chances.The Canaries, though, with an astute tactical substitution at half-time which saw Ryan Bennett come on for Andre Wisdom, came thundering back into the clash and equalised just two minutes after the break through Wes Hoolahan.Manager Alex Neil will believe his side should have had all three points but clumsy striker Cameron Jerome spurned a glorious chance to win it.Everton were quickest out of the blocks and an early surging run from the dynamic Gerard Deulofeu saw Sebastien Bassong tested in the Canaries backline before the ex-Barcelona man gave away a foul.Norwich, though, looked bright and brave, attacking down the right to test Leighton Baines, who was making his first start since an ankle injury at the end of last season. Sadly for Neil his men failed to capitalise on good positions with Nathan Redmond and Alexander Tettey wastefully thrashing the ball off target.When the opener did come, it was unsurprising but unstoppable as Deulofeu looped a tasty cross to the back post with Lukaku, inevitably, thudding home a header beyond Declan Rudd.Neil could only shake his head on the sideline as his side failed shackle the spritely Deulofeu, while a delightful ball from Lukaku was struck straight at Rudd by Arouna Kone.At the opposite end, Norwich looked frustrated with Robbie Brady beckoning for help which just never arrived as a burgeoning Toffees side stifled their build up play.Lukaku was guilty of missing a golden opportunity to double Everton’s lead as Tom Cleverley’s bobbling cross, somehow, reached the back post. And, just when it looked like Norwich would get a shot on goal, the scampering Ramiro Funes Mori cut short Jerome’s lazy stroll towards Tim Howard.And, before the first-half ended, Baines almost notched on his return as his right-foot volley clattered the upright with Rudd well beaten and Lukaku blasted two good chances wide.In typical Premier League fashion, this game, which should have been put to bed by the break, was turned on its head after 47 minutes as half-time substitute Ryan Bennett’s header was eventually poked over the line by Hoolahan, despite Ross Barkley’s best efforts to keep it out.Neil’s side seemed emboldened and could have got themselves in front with chances from Brady and Hoolahan. Finally looking organised, it was now the Canaries who frustrated their opponents with the Toffees looking sloppy and, on the break, stretched by the hosts.And the game should have been won in the 70th minute by Norwich as Jerome spooned what should have been a simple side-foot finish well over the crossbar.Meanwhile, Gareth Barry was unlucky with a blocked shot as Everton pushed for the winner, while Funes Mori and Darron Gibson crashed long-range shots off target as the match lurched to a halt.last_img read more