FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Current and former members of the Arkansas Razorback track and field programs will begin competition at the 2009 IAAF World Championships Sat., Aug 15 in Berlin. Competition will run until Sun., Aug. 23.
Some familiar faces with Arkansas ties will be competing in the sprints events in current student-athlete Marek Niit (200 meters) and alumni Veronica Campbell-Brown (100M/200M), Wallace Spearmon, Jr. (200 meters) and Tyson Gay (100M/200M).
Niit had a stellar freshman season with the Razorbacks. He was an NCAA Indoor (200 meters) and Outdoor (4x100-meter relay) Championships qualifier, was the SEC Indoor runner-up at 200 meters and clocked the No. 6 indoor (20.90) and No. 10 outdoor (20.78) 200-meter times in school history.
Niit will represent his native Estonia in Berlin. He was the 2006 World Junior Champion with a time of 20.96. He holds the Estonian National Record in the event with his personal-best time of 20.69. He will compete in the opening round of the 200 meters in Berlin on Tues., Aug. 18.
Gay enters the event as the reigning 100-meter and 200-meter World Champion. Gay posted the fastest 100-meter time in the world this year, 9.77, with his win in Rome on July 10. When Gay hits the track for the short sprints events, he will be facing 100-meter and 200-meter Olympic gold medalist and world record holder Usain Bolt of Jamaica. The match-up is widely regarded as the most anticipated of the Berlin World Championships. The opening round of the 100 meters will be contested Sat., Aug. 15.
Gay also will headline the 200 meters in Berlin after winning the world crown at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka with a time of 19.76. Gay currently leads the world list in the event with his 19.58 clocking at the Reebok Grand Prix in New York on May 30, which is the third-fastest 200 meters in history.
Joining Gay in the 200 meters will be former teammate and training partner Spearmon, Jr. and 2004 Olympic gold medalist Shawn Crawford. Florida State stand-out and 2009 NCAA runner-up Charles Clark will also represent Team USA in the half-lap race. Clark, who owns a personal best of 20.22 from 2008, finished just ahead of two-time World Outdoor Championships medalist (2005, silver - 2007, bronze) Spearmon, Jr. at the 2009 USA Championships.
In Berlin, Spearmon, with a 2009 best of 19.98, will attempt to become the first man to win three consecutive World Outdoor Championships 200-meter medals since Namibia's Frankie Fredericks won four in a row (1991, 1993, 1995, 1997). Gay and Spearmon will compete in the opening round of the 200 meters in Berlin on Tues., Aug. 18.
Campbell-Brown is Arkansas' most-decorated female Olympian. She was a member of Team Jamaica for the third time in her career at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. In Beijing, Campbell-Brown won the 200-meter gold medal. Campbell-Brown became the first Razorback women's Olympic gold medalist in school history at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Holding five Olympic medals total, Campbell-Brown is the only Razorback woman to ever win multiple gold medals.
In 2008, Campbell-Brown became only the second woman is history to successfully defend the Olympic 200-meter title. Her clocking, 21.74, is eighth on the all-time list. Her season bests for 2009 sit at 10.96 over 100 meters and 22.37 in the 200 meters.
Most recently, Campbell-Brown won the 200 meters at the 2009 Jamaican National Championships. She did so in a time of 22.40 to earn her spot on Team Jamaica in the 200 meters for the 2009 IAAF World Championships in Berlin, in August. As the 2007 defending World Champion at 100 meters, she will also compete in that event in Berlin. She will compete in the opening round of the 100 meters in Berlin on Sun., Aug. 16 and the opening round of the 200 meters on Wed., Aug. 19.
In addition to the sprinters, Arkansas will also be represented by current student-athletes Alain Bailey (Jamaica, long jump) and Dorian Ulrey (USA, 1,500 meters) and alumni Amy Yoder Begley (USA, 10,000 meters), Alistair Cragg (Ireland, 5,000 meters), Jeremy Scott (USA, pole vault) and Christin Wurth-Thomas (USA, 1,500 meters).
NBC, Versus to broadcast meet
The 2009 World Championships will be broadcast in the United States daily on NBC and Versus. The broadcast schedule is as follows. All times Eastern; subject to change; check local listings.
August 15: 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. NBC
August 16: 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. NBC
August 17: 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. Versus
August 18: 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. Versus
August 19: 1:30 - 4:00 p.m. Versus
August 20: 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. Versus
August 21: 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. Versus
August 22: 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. NBC
August 23: 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. NBC
For more information on Team USA at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, visit: USATF.org.