Istanbul, TurkeyThe multi-eventers took centre stage for the second successive day at the 14th IAAF World Indoor Championships as Ashton Eaton shattered his own World Heptathlon record* by 77pts with a stunning seven-event total score of 6645pts.
Just 24 hours after Natalya Dobrynska smashed the global mark in the Pentathlon tonight it was the turn of the American to turn on the style. On track for the World record overnight he started the day with the fastest ever 60m Hurdles (7.68) at a World Indoor Championships Heptathlon. He followed this up by clearing an impressive 5.20m in the Men’s Pole Vault and heading into the 1000m – the final event – he needed to run 2:39.54 around seven seconds slower than his personal best to break the World record mark.
To be honest this never seemed in doubt as he stormed purposefully around the five 200m laps of the Atakoy Athletics Arena, stopping the clock in 2:32.77.
This was Eaton’s third World Heptathlon record, the first you may recall he set in Fayetteville on the same weekend as the last edition of the World Indoor Championships in Doha.
The victory margin over the silver medallist Oleksiy Kasyanov of Ukraine was a staggering 574 points – which goes without saying is the largest in World Indoor Championships history. The bronze medal went to Artem Lukyanenko, but really this event was all about Eaton who set only two new personal bests in the Long Jump and the shot this weekend but pieced together a magnificently consistent series across all seven disciplines.
Pearson now an indoor powerhouse
Elsewhere, Sally Pearson the 2011 IAAF Female Athlete of the Year further underlined her credentials by blitzing to gold in the Women’s 60m Hurdles Final. Unlike in the heats and semi-finals, where the Australian got away to a sluggish start, she was slick out of the blocks when it counted and she stormed to victory in 7.73. It was a world leading time and area record and a performance good enough to elevate her to joint fourth on the all-time lists just 0.05 shy of Susanna Kallur’s world record.
Just like Eaton, Pearson’s dominance over the rest of the field was complete and her victory was the largest winning margin in this event at a World Indoor Championships. Some 0.21 further back in silver was Tiffany Porter of Great Britain with Alina Talay of Belarus taking bronze in 7.97.
Gatlin takes second 60m title
Justlin Gatlin romped to a clear victory in the Men’s 60m Final to regain the title he last won some nine years ago in Birmingham. The American has had his problems since that success but looked ominous in the semi-final before destroying the opposition when it really mattered. Gatlin led after just 20m and streaked clear of the field to stop the clock in 6.46 – exactly the same winning time as he recorded when last winning this title in 2003. Behind him Jamaica’s Nesta Carter had to settle for silver in 6.54 with Dwain Chambers, the defending champion, awarded the bronze medal despite being given the same time as the US champion Trell Kimmons in 6.60.
It was also a memorable night for Turkey who in the space of around 60 minutes secured their first two medals in World Indoor Championship history. The first came in an absorbing Women’s 1500m as Asli Cakir bided her time before timing her run for the bronze medal over the final 400m.
Out front, the pre-event favourite Genzebe Dibaba controlled the race from the front with the help of her Ethiopian team-mate Tizita Bogale for the majority of the race. Dibaba – the younger sister of the reigning 5000m and 10,000m Olympic champion Tirunesh – skilfully cranked up the pace in the second half of the race to simply run the legs out of the opposition and strike gold in 4:05.78. Mariem Selsouli of Morocco finished a full two seconds behind for silver.
Turkey’s second medal came courtesy of Ilham Tanui Ozbilen in the men’s metric mile, after he missed out to Abdalaati Iguider of Morocco in one of the most physical championship finals witnessed for many years. Ozbilen moved to the head of affairs in the final 400m and both Ethiopian Mekonnen Gebremedhin and Iguider were physically rebuffed by the Turk, who was determined to hold his position in front of a partisan home crowd. However, Iguider would not be denied and even when Ozbilen attempted to block him down the home stretch the Moroccan found a way around the outside to take the win in 3:45.21. Gebremedhin secured bronze.
Richards-Ross returns to top podium step
Sanya Richards-Ross clinched an anticipated victory in the Women’s 400m final with a commanding performance. The 2009 World outdoor champion was dominant from gun to tape to win in 50.79 – some 0.97 clear of Russia Aleksandra Fedoriva who took silver. Bronze went to Richards-Ross’ team-mate Natasha Hastings (51.82).
Nery Brenes became the first ever Costan Rican medallist at a World Indoor Championships with a comprehensive triumph in the Men’s 400m. Brenes stormed through the first 400m and was never headed stopping the clock in a championship record time of 45.11 which was good enough to elevate him to ninth and the all-time lists and made up for the frustration of placing fourth at each of the past two World Indoor 400m finals. Demetrius Pinder (45.34) and his Bahamian team-mate Chris Brown (45.90), the 2010 champion, snared the minor medals.
In the field, Renaud Lavillenie was the night’s most impressive winner as he landed victory in the men’s Pole Vault with a world leading vault of 5.95m. The French athlete cleared the three best heights of the competition before he missed out on a championship record at 6.02m. Germany’s Bjorn Otto claimed silver with 5.80m and Brad Walker (5.80m) of the USA, who took an unsuccessful one-off gamble at 6.00m for gold, had to settle for bronze. Walker has now completed the full set of medals in these championships
Another athletes who has occupied all three podium positions at a World Indoors is British veteran Yamile Aldama, however unlike Walker tonight was her turn to step on to the top rung. A second round effort of 14.82m was too good for the rest and secured the 39-year-old gold. Defending champion Olga Rypakova of Kazakhstan had to settle for silver with a best of 14.63m with Cuba’s Mabel Gay in bronze (14.29m).
Da Silva shocker in the Long Jump
Brazil’s Mauro Da Silva become the first Brazilian man to win a World Indoor gold since Jose Luiz Barbosa 25 years ago to edge a tight Men’s Long Jump. Da Silva went out to 8.23m in rounds five and six and although Australian Henry Frayne matched that effort with his sixth round jump the Brazilian was awarded gold by virtue of having achieved the mark twice. Long-time leader Aleksandr Menkov of Russia had to settle for bronze just 0.01 shy of the lead pair.
New Zealand’s Valerie Adams regained her World Indoor Shot title with an area record of 20.54m. The Olympic and World champion led from the second round with 20.48m and although her perennial rival Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus went out to 20.42m in round five it was not enough. Adams then put gloss on the victory with her best throw in round six.
Chaunte Lowe became the first US athlete in history to win the Women’s High Jump at a World Indoors with a 1.98m clearance in a slightly disappointing competition. A first-time clearance at that height proved too good for the rest as three-women – Russia’s world leader Anna Chicherova, Antionetta Di Martino of Italy and Sweden’s Ebba Jungmark - shared the silver medal. The trio jumped a best of 1.95m and had identical competition records.
Semis and qualifying
In the morning session, two big names casualties exited heat two of the Men’s 800m semi-finals. Poland’s European champion Marcin Lewandowski tripped and fell with a lap to go meanwhile, the 2010 World Indoor silver medallist Boaz Lalang faded to third in the latter stages and out of the two qualification positions. World leader Adam Kszczot and Ethiopia’s teenage talent Mohammed Aman did advance to Sunday’s final.
Bulgaria’s Ivet Lalova and Nigeria’s Gloria Asumnu qualified quickest – both with 7.19 – from the first round of the women’s 60m.
Teenager Andy Pozzi of Great Britain set a personal best of 7.61 to top the qualifiers from the first round of the men’s 60m Hurdles. Janay DeLoach of the US leapt to an impressive 6.90m to head the qualifiers in the women’s long jump and World outdoor champion Christian Taylor broke the sand at 17.39m to finish No.1 in the qualification standings for the Men’s Triple Jump.
Steve Landells for the IAAF
* pending the usual ratification procedures