General News Stuttgart, Germany

Oliver, Alamirew post scintillating marks in Stuttgart

David Oliver the winner of the 60m Hurdles at the 25th Sparkassen-Cup 2011 (organisers)David Oliver the winner of the 60m Hurdles at the 25th Sparkassen-Cup 2011 (organisers) © Copyright

For its 25th edition, Stuttgart’s Sparkassen-Cup meeting (5) saw world leading marks either set or equalled across five events.  Standing out among the evening’s programme were a sprint event and one from the meet’s distance-race tradition. 

Sparkassen-Cup is an IAAF Indoor Permit meeting

The most highly-anticipated matchup of the day, between David Oliver and Olympic champion Dayron Robles in the men’s 60 metres Hurdles, was a clear win for the American, his first ever over the Cuban in six career indoor competitions.

Despite Oliver’s superb start (reaction time 0.126), Robles appeared to have a slight lead over the third hurdle as Oliver nicked that barrier, but then the American turned on the afterburners and zoomed to victory in a 7.37 world-leading time, which moved him into sixth place on the all-time list. In the heats, Oliver also clocked a world-leading 7.40, with both times tonight standing as personal bests.

Meanwhile, Robles became tangled in crashed hurdles and was later disqualified for intentionally knocking down one or more barriers (timed in 9.05). Behind Oliver, Britain’s Andy Turner (7.63), Gregory Sedoc of the Netherlands (7.66) and Dayron Capetillo of Cuba (7.68) took places two through four.   

Komen’s meet record goes after 13 years

Yenew Alamirew had never seen an indoor track before, but the 20-year-old Ethiopian sped away from established stars to log a 7:27.80 win in the men’s 3000 metres, becoming the third-fastest of all time with the event’s fourth-fastest performance ever. It also surpassed his outdoor PB of 7:28.82 which came late last season in Milan, and pipped the meeting record of 7:27.93 by Daniel Komen from 13 years ago. 

Augustine Choge, passing a lapped runner as the bell sounded, had the lead with Alamirew and Eliud Kipchoge in close pursuit, and that order remained unchanged down the final back stretch.  Off the final curve, Alamirew sprinted crisply past the more experienced Kenyan and moved into indoor athletics history in only his first race under a roof. 

Choge was a close second in 7:28.00, becoming the fourth performer all-time with the sixth-best performance, and his countryman, Eliud Kipchoge, took third in 7:29.37 to become the fifth-fastest in the event with the ninth-quickest time. 

Rodgers 6.56;  Lemaitre sluggish in 5th

Christophe Lemaitre came to Stuttgart as one of the marquee athletes, but his performance in his season debut race showed him to be a ‘work in progress’.  Coming from a self-described ‘two difficult weeks of training’ in Florida, the 20-year-old French sprinter appeared sluggish and without his trademark mid-race lift as Mike Rodgers of the US sped away to a 6.56 win in the men’s 60 metres with Lemaitre placing only fifth in 6.67.  Commonwealth 100m champion Lerone Clarke of Jamaica (6.63) finished second, with Emanuele DiGregorio of Italy and Britain’s Craig Pickering taking the next two places in identical times of 6.66.

Lemaitre barely made the finals with 6.67 in the heats, as he and Pickering claimed the last two spots with the same time.

Nytra’s lean wins tight finish  

The women’s 60 metres hurdles was won by Carolin Nytra in 7.92sec, a time which equalled the world season’s fastest set earlier in the day in Tampere, Finland by Norway’s Christina Vukicevic. Former European indoor silver medallist Aleksandra Antonova of Russia (7.93) and current world indoor champion Lolo Jones of the US (7.94) followed close behind Nytra.  From the gun, all three skimmed the five hurdles virtually together.  It was only on the final lean that the German was able to claim an outstanding win over highly-decorated rivals. 

In the earlier heats, Nytra had clocked 7.99 and Jones 7.97, the latter equalling the season’s best mark. 

Owing to a small field, the women’s 60 metres was staged in two races involving the same competitors.  Both were won by Ukraine’s Olesya Povh, as she parlayed a superb start in the second race (designated “final”) into a 7.14 winning time ahead of France’s Myriam Soumaré (7.23).  Povh’s 7.16 performance in the earlier race was even more dominating over the 7.28 of her countrywoman, Mariya Ryemyen, and Soumaré (7.32). 

Kaki’s superb finish finishes Lalang

Abubaker Kaki of Sudan, who will travel in a few days to Liévin to attack the world record in the 1000 metres, warmed up for his coming race with a world-leading 1:45.02 win in the men’s 800 metres.  Kaki had close company for most of the race, with Kenya’s Boaz Lalang staying within a step of the world indoor champion all the way through the final curve.  But Kaki’s superb finish easily dispatched Lalang, who was second in 1:45.86.  European outdoor champion Marcin Lewandowski of Poland took third in an indoor PB 1:46.17 ahead of Germany’s Robin Schembera (1:46.35), also an indoor career best. 

Malte Mohr made a strong statement in winning the men’s Pole Vault in an indoor PB 5.84m, knocking off Berlin fourth placer Maksym Mazuryk (5.70).  European champion Renaud Lavillenie of France took third on a count-back at 5.60 against the German pair of Tim Lobinger and Fabian Schulze, both tied in fourth place. 

Spiegelburg surprises Murer

World indoor Pole Vault champion Fabiana Murer of Brazil took a chance by passing 4.70m and allowing Germany’s Silke Spiegelburg an opportunity to move into the lead with a first-attempt clearance at that height.  Neither Murer and Spiegelburg were successful at 4.76 and the German came away with an upset win.  The Brazilian’s best of 4.64 easily held second place ahead of Kristine Gadschiew and Carolin Hingst, both at 4.50. 

Greece’s Konstantinos Baniotis, who leaped a career best of 2.30m last week in Athens, reached the same height here to win the men’s High Jump before taking three unsuccessful tries at 2.36 to end the evening.  Sharing second place at 2.27 were European junior champion Sergey Mudrov of Russia and former World outdoor champion Donald Thomas of Bahamas, as crowd favourite Raul Spank of Germany took fourth, also in a season-best 2.27. 

Ancuta Bobocel of Romania sprinted away from France’s Fanjanteino Félix over the final 100 metres to win the women’s 1500 metres in 4:08.13.  The lead changed twice in the final two laps as Félix moved past erstwhile leader Irene Jelagat, only to be similarly overtaken by Bobocel in the final stages.  Félix held on for second in a PB 4:08.76 with Jelagat clocking 4:10.70 in third, also a career best. 

Njoroge sets PB, 8:50.32

The women’s 3000 metres lost much of its quality with the late withdrawal of Ethiopia’s Sentayehu Ejigu.  Still, Commonwealth 3000m Steeplechase champion Mercy Njoroge of Kenya scored a world leading 8:50.32, an indoor personal best - a few hours later in Boston Sally Kipyego ran 8:49.74. Dolores Checa of Spain (8:53.44) and Poland’s Renata Plis (8:59.41) were the remaining competitors to dip under the nine-minute mark. 

The men’s 1500 metres was a cat-and-mouse game between Kenyans William Biwott and Silas Kiplagat, the latter running for the first time indoors.  Biwott held the lead for much of the late stages of the event, but Kiplagat sped ahead with 300 metres remaining.  Biwott was patient and came storming back in the final lap to win the race with 3:37.14 as Kiplagat clocked 3:37.32 in second.  France’s Yoann Kowal stayed close to the lead pair all the while, and he was rewarded with an indoor PB 3:38.07 in third, as Spain’s Diego Ruiz received the nod of the photo-judge over Mekonnen Gebremehdin of Ethiopia, as both were timed in 3:38.26.    

Louis Tsatoumas of Greece was the only eight-metre jumper from this season in the field at the start of the evening, and he came away with a 8.08 win after breaking through the benchmark level on his second jump.  Kafétien Gomis of France made a valiant attempt to steal the win on his final jump but ended in second with 8.00, while indoor and outdoor world silver medallist Godfrey Mokoena took third on a countback against former world indoor champion Ignisious Gaisah of Ghana, both with a 7.91 best.  Reigning European champion Sebastian Bayer was two centimetres away at 7.89 for fifth. 

The men’s 200 metres was staged in two timed sections, with Sebastian Ernst of Germany powering to a 20.75 win in his fastest indoor performance since 2005 and also Europe’s leading performance of the season.   The next two fastest times also came from Ernst’s section, with Russia’s Roman Smirnov (21.01) and Alexander Kosenkow of Germany (21.22) taking the other two podium places. 

In the women’s 200 metres European outdoor champion Myrian Soumaré of France scored a literal runaway win in 23.53. 

Ed Gordon for the IAAF

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