Dayron Robles confirmed his great form during the 21th edition of Meeting Pas de Calais in Liévin on Friday evening, the last 2010 IAAF Indoor Permit of the season.
One week before the IAAF World Indoor Championships held in Doha, Qatar (12 – 14 March), the Cuban won the 60m Hurdles in 7.45, only 0.01 short off his season best, but still far from his 7.33 record, which places him second on the all-time lists, behind Colin Jackson’s 7.30.
However, Robles showed that he had an important margin for improvement, as he was the last to come out of the blocks in heats and final. The 110m Hurdles World record holder and Olympic champion had to overcome a disastrous reaction time (0.240) in heats to run 7.65. In final, he was again left at the start (0.205) and managed once again to close the gap hurdle after hurdle and win in 7.45 from Russian indoor specialist Yevgeniy Borisov (7.53).
“The gun was too quick”, stated Robles to explain his delays. “Taking this in account, this is not bad, it was a fast race, the track was good, I just lost a lot of time at the start”.
After his last race before world Indoors, Robles is number two in the World Lists behind Terrence Trammel’s 7.41. The Cuban will spend a few days in Spain to get ready for Doha. “Everything is done already, now I just need to sleep and eat!” he laughed.
Victory for Tejeda… Norwegian record for Vukicevic
His training partner Anay Tejeda won the women’s Hurdles race against a very high quality field. In 7.95 sec, she had the best start (0.136 reaction time) and beat US champion Ginnie Powell (7.96), Christina Vukicevic (7.96), who broke the Norwegian Record in heats (7.93), European Indoor Champion Eline Berings from Belgium (8.03) and Canada’s world season leader (7.82) Priscilla Lopes-Schliep.
“It was a very good race”, commented Tejeda, “I improved my season best so I’m very happy. My focus in the Spanish training camp will have to work on my first three hurdles because it’s the worst part of my race right now.”
Vukicevic, the fastest of the day with her 7.93 in heats, couldn’t duplicate her race in final: “it was only my second competition this winter, so I’m happy about my result. I think I wanted too much in the final, but now the most important thing is Doha. My progresses come from the improvement of my start, and that was the purpose of running those 60m hurdles indoors.”
Copello over Olsson
The third Cuban win of the night occurred in the Triple Jump. Alexis Copello leaped to 17.24 to defeat World Indoor record holder Christian Olsson (17.23), who performs an impressive comeback from injury this season.
European best for Djhone
Cubans was definitively in verve in Liévin, as William Collazo won the 300m ‘B’ race in 32.74. However, the ‘A’ race went faster, as Leslie Djhone, taking part in his third and last competition of his successful indoor campaign, offered a new all-time European Best to the 5000 spectators in the crowds.
After two 400m in Reims (46.12) and national championships (45.85), the Frenchman won the 300m in 32.47, moving to 8th in the world lists. The former mark was held by Swedish Johan Wissman in 32.61 since 2006. Djhone, in lane 5, took a good start and made the difference over Russian Smirnov, place in lane 6th and eventually second in 32.88, in the last bend.
“I had good sensation, just like last week during the National Champs”, Djhone analysed. I did some changes in my running technique and well as training and this can be seen in my results. It’s a good sign for the outdoor season, I have to stay healthy and I will do good things this summer. Amantle Montsho (Botswana) became the fastest African ever at the distance (and =7th all-time in the World) with 36.33 for her debut at this rarely run distance.
Lemaitre keeps flying but also misses Doha
New sprint protégée Christophe Lemaitre, 19, remained unbeaten this season for his 6th and last competition at 60m. The fastest in heats, Lemaitre surely had the toughest race of his season in final as photo-finish declared the Frenchman as the winner in the same time (6.58) as Britton Harry Aikines-Aryeetey. Close behind were Jamaican Lerone Clarke, 6.60, and Ronald Pognon, 6.62).
“That’s the first major meeting I’ve ever done in my career, the level was very high, so I’m glad about the result,” said the 1.89m and 80kg blond sprinter.
“When my coach and I planned the indoor season, we don’t want to go to Doha so as not to get burned physically by too much competitions. I’ve already done more racing than I’ve ever done this indoor season, and reached my target which was to win the National Champs. The U23 record (6.55) was not planned, that was the cherry on the cake. Now, my preparation is geared towards the 100m at European Championships in July”. En route to his 60m, Lemaitre was timed in 5.73 in heats and 5.71 in final, improving the old U23 national record (5.75) set by Marc Gasparoni in 1981.
Tahri masters Komen with brisk 7:38.39 victory
In the absence of multiple World champion and record holder Kenenisa Bekele, who withdrew with a calf injury, Bouabdellah Tahri (France) and Daniel Kipchirchir Komen (Kenya) were left in a duel in the 3000m. Komen reached the 2000m point in 5:03.91, closely led by Tahri, who increase the pace during the last 600m and left the Kenyan, to win in 7:38.39.
“I spent several weeks training with the aim to run against Bekele, this was a motivation for me, and I would prefer to meet him today, in order to test my condition while facing such a challenger, but that’s the way sport is,” said Tahri.
P-J Vazel for the IAAF
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