Lasitha Silva’s Web’log

Posts Tagged ‘Athletics

I got selected to the World University Games 2009, the Universiade 2009. This time its Belgrade, Serbia. Apart from the workload I had during the past months, I managed to do some training for the trials. Lucky me!. I’m in the team.

How ever there are several concerns in my mind. The ticket isn’t affordable for all, so that the selectors have reduced the number of participation. My university provides with the registration fee and the tickets. But not all universities here in Sri Lanka got such policy.

There were 6 participants in two disciplines for the Bangkok Universiade including myself from the University of Moratuwa, my university. But this time only two to my knowledge, myself and my batch mate swimmer.

But unfortunate me! My GF didn’t get her place in the team as expected. She’d recovered now.

Well, hope for a better Universiade this time. I dont need less GPA this time. Hard work to be done, preparation needed. This is a milestone semester of my Uni life and I need courage and commitment from within.

Seems tired to even think about it. Only 1+ month for my CIMA exams. Need a sigh of relief soon after the huge bulk.

Currently I’m working on the training report. Its a cracking mess now with only 10 pages out of the 40+ required. Yes I’m doing the BSc. in IT, I’ve got to commit.!!!

Until then, await me Belgrade!!!

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Even the most pessimistic of sports fans could not help but be inspired by Usain Bolt at Beijing 2008. The rangy Jamaican sprinter powered his way to an electrifying double in both the 100m and 200m events as well as smashing both world records. In setting his time of 9.69 seconds in the 100m Bolt even seemed to ease off and eat up the final yards at a canter. The ridiculous margin of victory for the sprinter only accentuated just how far ahead of the rest of the world Usain Bolt is. However, before this victory stunned the world in Beijing, sprinting was enduring one of its darkest periods in Olympic history. The list of discredited champions is disconcertingly lengthy in a sport which should represent some of the most finely-tuned specimens on the planet. The most notable of which is undoubtedly Dwayne Chambers. A man who was for years a beacon of light for British sprinting and a genuine contender for Olympic champion has now joined the long list of banned athletes after failing a drugs test. Chambers suffered more anguish than most on the way to his eventual decline but at least his rise to the top of sprinting was well-documented. Although, I am as electrified with Bolts meteoric rise and the next person, no one seems to know where it came from. Bolt has travelled from mediocrity to superstardom frighteningly quickly and the inherent doubter in me cannot help but ask how?

Performance-enhancing drugs have long cast a shadow over modern-day sport, particularly sprinting and have obliterated the career of many a promising athlete. The temptation to be at the pinnacle of a sport is often irresistible and steroids provide an illicit highway to achieving such a position. With this in mind, it is challenging to see Usain Bolt’s meteoric rise as a result of graft, natural talent and a physique simply made for sprinting. There is no doubting the attractiveness of such a route to the summit but it just does not seem to happen today. Disgraced champion Justin Gatlin is a case in point. The young American powered his way to the 100m Olympic title in 2004 and then again at the World Championships in 2005 and was viewed as the future of sprinting. As someone who’s hard work, commitment and raw speed had resulted in fairytale success. Two years after his triumph in Athens, Gatlin was banned from athletics for 4 years for doping and the watching world lost faith in sprinting once and for all. Usain Bolt’s victory however, has threatened to start a sprinting renaissance with people around the globe enthralled by the precocious, self-confident speedster. If this new king of the track is genuine then a renaissance is indeed imminent and Bolt represents a role model for all young athletes. On the other hand, suspicion persists in any sudden sporting success and the worry persists that Bolt will follow the painful example of many a sprinting star.

Olympic legend Carl Lewis was the first high profile questioner of Bolt’s dramatic victory. Lewis commented: “To run 10.03 seconds one year and win the Olympic final with 9.69 the next, if you don’t question that in a sport with the reputation it has right now, then you’re a fool.” Although the remark has been widely condemned, by no less than Jamaican sprinting star Asafa Powell, it will undoubtedly mimic the views of many a sports fan. It is not small-minded pessimism but justifiable doubt, especially in a sport which has seen athlete after athlete in recent years crumble into insignificance. Jamaica has consistently boasted a clean record in terms of doping and one would be hard pushed to remember a scandal involving steroids and a Jamaican athlete. However, admirable as this record is, it is also true that Jamaica does not have an independent, out-of-competition testing program for its athletes, nor has it joined the Caribbean Regional Anti-Doping Organization. This has been the cause of murmurs of discontent among athletic bodies. Not because anyone holds the steadfast belief that Usain Bolt or any Jamaican champions are guilty of drug cheating but simply because if you do not test then how do you know for certain that a victory was pure. Thus although the overwhelming likelihood is that Usain Bolt’s astonishing double was unadulterated, the web of doubters, fuelled by years of Olympic scandal and expulsion, will never truly be silenced unless Jamaica do more to test their athletes at every level.

Conversely, there is the view held by euphoric sports fans around the globe that Usain Bolt is a true people’s champion. Someone who has emerged from years of training and taken the sprinting world by storm with his inimitable style and charismatic manner. The “Lightning Bolt” knew what he wanted to achieve and pushed himself to the limit of his physical powers in order to achieve it. He is the man who everyone now wants to be, the first poster up on a bedroom wall – Bolt crossing the finish line with his arms aloft and the rest of the field disappearing into the Beijing smog. This is an image that is rightfully held and should still be held years down the line. A true champion, immune from drugs scandals and moanings of suspicion. Usain Bolt the architect of a sprinting renaissance and an inspiration for every corner of the globe. Here’s to hoping that such a view remains forever in sporting history and that doubts are cleared. However, until that final proof arrives, those who still reluctantly hold nagging doubts can be forgiven and it is up to the powers that be and the man himself to assure us of his clean brilliance.

Source : Online news

This Usain Bolt guy is a terrible contender in the event. I’ve run the same games with him (junior, but not the same heat) and didn’t even think of such talent within. He was just another athlete.
Now various blogs and news pages talk about human limits and how Bolt out run the earlier math models. Non of the models could not match Bolt’s supremacy showed in Beijing.
Actually how fast a Homo sapien can go is the next question. Most of the scientists predict for 9.37 but someday another version of Bolt may destroy the model!!

Actually to my opinion, there is no limit to human talent and achievement. Tissue implants, fiber changes and new training methods would be invented and increase human potential smashing yet another record every time..

http://www.lasithasilva.wordpress.com

usian_bolt_fastest_human

Amazing as Usain Bolt’s Olympic record-breaking 100-meter victory was, his time of 9.69 seconds is nowhere near what biostatisticians such as Peter Weyand of SMU thinks is the natural limit for the human body. Experts studying the steady progression of records over the past 50 years, see the limit of the world record, with a probable error of 0.17 seconds, namely, to lie between 9.26 to 9.60 seconds. Some see 5.0 seconds a possibility.

Because 6′ 5″ Usian Bolt broke the mathematical model that had fit 100-meter record data for almost a century, his incredible performance has reset the bar for how fast researchers believe humans ultimately can run. Will it be done by a 6′ 9″ future version of Bolt?

How fast will man eventually run? Will he ever run the 100 meters in five seconds flat?

“Not impossible,” says one of the world’s best known authorities on physiology and biomechanics. Professor Peter Weyand, of Southern Methodist University, known for his expertise in terrestrial locomotion and human and animal performance. Weyand said that humans would soon have the ”ability to modify and greatly enhance muscle fibre strength.” This is would actually reduce the difference between the muscle properties of humans and the world’s fastest animal, the cheetah, to almost zero.

Usain Bolt has now brought up the question — will man get faster and faster? And based on what Weyand says, will he one day outrun the cheetah?

“Probably not,” said Weyand. “The same laws of physics apply to all runners. However, biologically speaking, speed is conferred by an ability of the limbs to hit the ground forcefully in relation to the body’s weight, an attribute conferred largely by the properties of the muscles of the runner. The fast four-legged runners or quadrupeds do seem to be advantaged versus bipeds in terms of the mechanics allowed by their anatomy. These mechanics help quadrupeds to get the most out of the muscles that they have in a way that bipedal runners probably cannot.

Scientists believe man can’t run faster than 30 mph, with the best at about 27mph. A cheetah, on the other hand, reaches speeds triple that. Weyand said he expected speed to continue to improve and faster runners to emerge.

Reza Noubary, a mathematician at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and author of a textbook on statistics and sports, had previously calculated an “ultimate record” of 9.44 seconds for the 100 meter.

Mathematicians don’t use the body’s physiology to assess human physical limits. They were merely working with data that suggested that human speed increases were decelerating and would eventually stop completely. Indeed, in some events, like the long jump, the pace of record-setting has slowed nearly to a stop. That record has only been broken twice since 1968.

Despite the success of Mureika’s model, Weyand, said that mathematical models could never predict how fast humans might eventually run.

“Predicting it is fine for the sake of kicks, but it’s not a scientifically valid approach,” Weyand said. “You have to assume that everything that has happened in the past will continue in the future.”

He suggested that it’s impossible for mathematicians to predict the magnitude of the “freakiness of athletic talent at the extreme margins of humanity. Bolt, it turns out, is a perfect example.”

Weyand, who has conducted research on the body types of the top 45 100-meter sprinters in the last 15 years, said that almost all elite runners conform to the body norms for their race length, except for the most-recent Olympic champion.

“Bolt is an outlier. He’s enormous,” Weyand said. “Typically when you get someone that big, they can’t start.”

That’s because muscle speed in animals is generally tied to their size. For example, rodents, being much smaller than elephants, can move their muscles much faster. The same holds true for human beings. Sprinters are short and have more fast-twitch muscle fibers, allowing them to accelerate quickly, but compromising their ability to run longer distances. Four hundred-meter runners, almost always taller, have the reverse composition of muscle fibers.

Bolt, though, combines the mechanical advantages of taller men’s bodies with the fast-twitch fibers of smaller men.

“We don’t really know what the best form is and maybe Bolt is redefining that and showing us we missed something,” said biomechanicist John Hutchinson of the Royal Veterinary College at the University of London, who studies how animals move.

Hutchinson also agreed with Weyand that the human speed limit will remain impossible to predict with any confidence.

For him, it’s the International Olympic Committee and other regulatory authorities that will determine how fast athletes will be able to run by limiting the amount of advanced biotechnologies sprinters can use.

“The limits will be largely set by the rules of the IOC,” Hutchinson said. “It’s kind of an arms race with the regulators of the sport and the people trying to push the technology to the limits. At some point here there must be a détente where technology can’t push us any further and the rules will restrict it.”

With techniques for gene therapy likely to become available at some point in the not-too-distant future, Weyand said that its use by athletes was “inevitable.”

“You could see really freakish things and we probably will,” he warned.

Sources:

http://www.smu.edu/newsinfo/excerpts/peter-weyand-toi-20aug2008.asp
http://ideaisaac.blogspot.com/2008/08/world-records-for-mens-100-m-defy.html
http://boyceupholt.wordpress.com/2008/08/27/lightning-bolt-and-math/