Adam Kszczot's middle distance momentum continued with a Polish national 800m record in Liévin, France, on Tuesday, one of five world-leading marks set at the Meeting Pas de Calais, an IAAF Indoor Permit Meeting.
Just four days after his 1:45.44 in Dusseldorf, the 22-year-old Pole - who was fourth fastest in the world at 800m last summer with 1:43.30 - broke Pawel Czapiewski's indoor national record with 1:44.57 to move up to No. 3 in world indoor all-time.
Paced by Azzedine Boudjemaa through 200m (24.51) and 400m (50.41), Kszczot passed the 600m mark in 1:17.35, much faster than in Dusselforf (1:18:76). Unrivaled, the 1.78m/60kg runner cracked the previous national record that was set 10 years ago. Only World record holder Wilson Kipketer (1:42.67) and Yuriy Borzakovskiy (1:44.15) have run faster. In Lievin, the Russian finished a well-beaten third in 1:46.08 behind runner-up Timothy Kitum, a Kenyan teenagers, who clocked 1:45.96.
“I can now go back to Poland with a big smile on my face and prepare the rest of the season with great motivation”, Kszczot said.
The women’ race was won by Malika Akkaoui in 1:59.01, also the fastest in the world this year, ahead of reigning Olympic champion Pamela Jelimo (1:59.10), while Akkaoui’s Moroccan teammate Abdelaati Iguider set the best time of the year at 1500m with 3:34.10.
The meeting opened with drama at the Stade Couvert Regional when Jimmy Vicaut false started in the 60m. The new French sensation, the second best performer in the world this year with 6.53, would not meet his rival Christophe Lemaitre, who won the other heat in 6.59. This might well be the last appearance of Vicaut this winter, who said that he wanted to focus on his outdoor preparation.
In the final, the world leader (6.52) Lerone Clarke of Jamaica dominated the race to improve his season-pacing mark with an impressive 6.50, 0.07 ahead of Lemaitre.
“I had no set time in my head,” said the winner. “My goal is to keep running faster and to stay healthy. I can improve my start, but most of all I need to keep focused and relaxed, that’s how we are running fast.”
Even if his current form can legitimately give him high ambitions for the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul (9-11 March), his preparation is geared toward the 100m.
“As for now, I’m actually really prepared for outdoors, I'm putting a lot of weights at training and I’m seeing what I can do in competition at this stage of the season. Hopefully, I can continue like that.”
During the race, Clarke was timed in 5.63 at 50m, 0.01 better than Asafa Powell ran in New York last month. Both will meet in Birmingham on Saturday.
Lemaitre bounce back to take 200m
Later in the evening, Lemaitre lined-up for the 200m but was out of contention for most of the race. After the last bend with 50 metres to go, the World bronze medallist was in fourth position, but suddenly injected a fantastic acceleration and outran his rivals to win in 20.92.
“I was kind of vexed to be left behind in the bend, so I gave my all to please my public,” Lemaitre said.
Patricia Hall, a World silver medallist in the 4x400m Relay for Jamaica, made a sensational time at 300m with 35.69, the second fastest ever. Even if the distance is rarely contested, it is worth mentioning that she is now in good company on the world all-time lists, between Irina Privalova (35.45) and Merlene Ottey (35.83). The Jamaican confessed this was a first for her.
“This was my first ever 300 metres, but I knew i had to go out very fast and be strong enough to maintain. Two days ago, i did an easy test in 45 seconds, just to feel the distance. I consider myself more as a 400 metre runner, but it’s not impossible that I’d step down to 200 metres,” said the 1.70m/62kg sprinter, who trains in Houston under Eric Francis. She recen ran 23.01 at 200m on Tampere’s oversized track.
Another Houston resident made a strong showing in Liévin: Laverne Jones-Ferrette ran 7.14 twice - in heats and the final - to beat a strong field including Mariya Ryemyen (7.17), Olesya Povh (7.20) and Ivet Lalova (7.23).
“I expected to win and run real fast,” said the Virgin Island native, who arrived in Europe on Sunday after having run 7.08 at home. “I need to get back into motion, it will come with more competitions.” The 30-year-old is obviously back to her best shape after having given birth to her daughter on 20 February last year. “This home break was very good recovery for me, but when I resumed training, it was like starting from scratch! The most difficult was getting back endurance.” Jones-Ferrette will chase the clock again on Thursday against Ryemyen and Povh in Eaubonne.
Isinbayeva tops 4.81m
Yelena Isinbayeva only needed three jumps to win the Pole Vault. The World Record holder (5.00m) leaped over 4.71m at her second attempt, and then cleared 4.81m. Cuban Yarisley Sylva, who started her competition much earlier with 4.40m, managed to clear 4.71m but failed three times at 4.81m. This left the Russian to try unsuccessfully at 4.91m. Vanessa Bloslak placed third with 4.52m.
The favourite of men’s competition, Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie could jump no higher than 5.52m, the same height that German Björn Otto acheived. Both just came back from Ukraine where they vaulted 5.82m. Another German, Raphael Holzdeppe, was more fresh and won with a first attempt clearance at 5.72m from Frenchman Romain Mesnil, who needed a second attempt at 5.72m before sailing clear.
Elsewhere, Italian Fabrizio Donato triple jumped 17.24 to win from Frenchman Benjamin Compaoré, 17.14. Konstantin Shabanov (RUS) and Kristi Castlin (USA) won their 60m Hurdles races in 7.55 and 7.92, respectively.
Pierre-Jean Vazel for the IAAF