A World indoor record equalling performance by Christian Olsson in the Triple Jump, a women’s relay World record by Russia, and a sixth 800m gold for Maria Mutola brought Budapest 2004 to a spectacular close this evening.
Throughout the three days of the 10th IAAF World Indoor Championships in Athletics (5 – 7 March) “LIVE” event by event reports have as usual been available - click here - as the action happened in the Hungarian capital but here we also give a snap-shot of what’s been happening ‘Around the Arena’ this evening –
Olsson equals the World record
In the third round of the men’s Triple Jump, Sweden’s Christian Olsson the reigning World indoor and outdoor champion, continued the theme of excellence which has personified these championships, leaping 17.83 metres to equal the World indoor record.
Olsson whose personal indoor best before the competition had been 17.80, drew level with Cuban Aliecer Urrutia’s World record mark which was set in Sindelfingen, Germany (1 March 1997).
Olsson’s series (17.30, 17.51, 17.83, – , 17.45, - ) was of course impressive but silver medallist Jadel Gregorio of Brazil who leapt to 17.43 in the second round, also put together a fine tally with 17.28 (4th) and 17.21 (6th) as his most notable follow-ups.
Cuba’s Yoandri Betanzos, the outdoor silver medallist, leapt to 17.36 with his last jump though he had already been in bronze medal position by virtue of a one centimetre margin over Belarussia’s Dmitriy Valyukevich (17.22, round 3).
Russians bring the Budapest World record total up to six
The winner of the women’s individual 400m title, both this year and last, Natalya Nazarova of Russia took over the relay baton from her team-mates so far ahead of the seven pursuing teams that the women’s 4x400m relay was more of a time trial than a race.
Russia won from the gun, and as the time of 3:23.88 was registered on the clock, the 10th IAAF World Indoor Championships found themselves celebrating a sixth World record. This total is only bettered by the eight records established in the 1991 edition.
The winning time was way inside the old mark of 3:24.25 which a previous Russian squad had established at the 1999 World Indoor Championships.
There were national records for the three following teams – Belarus (silver, 3:29.96), Romania (bronze, 3:30.06), and Poland (4th 3:30.52).
Historic sixth gold
World champion, Olympic champion, ‘Million dollar Mutola’… won her sixth World Indoor title this evening, making her the most successful athlete in World Indoor Championship history.
The title was perhaps harder to obtain than Mutola would have expected as Slovenia’s World record holder Jolanda Ceplak led most of the way (400m 28.46; 400m 58.61; 600m 1:29.23) and only gave up when Mutola made her aggressive passing move at the mouth of the final bend.
Yet the Slovenian was not finished. In a last straight sprint reminiscent of her European Championships World indoor record battle with Stephanie Graf in 2002, Ceplak gave it everything she could but on this occasion could not quite match her opponent. Mutola’s win was taken in 1:58.50, with Ceplak second (1:58.72) and Briton Jo Fenn's late surge earned her the bronze (1:59.50).
Lebedeva’s historic double
To the rhythmic applause led by her compatriot Tatyana Kotova, who had finished with the silver (6.93), Tatyana Lebedeva sprinted down the Sportarena’s runway for the last time at these championships. Her jump ended in disappointment but the emotion was only momentary as the elation of a glorious double achievement was soon visible on the 27 year-old’s face.
The Long and Triple Jump double has never been achieved before at any World championships, and appropriately Lebedeva’s second round winning 6.98 was a personal best and a world lead this winter.
Kotova finished just one centimetre ahead of Sweden’s Carolina Klüft who twice jumped 6.92 (rounds two and three) to set a national record, not bad for the 2003 World Heptathlon champion!
Perdita strikes out Devers’ dream
Well it wasn’t the double we had expected but Canada’s Perdita Felicien’s addition of the World Indoor title to the outdoor crown that she won last summer in Paris was an impressive pair of golds all the same.
Gail Devers, who had been the more notable double aspirant before the final, as she had been looking to add the hurdles title to her earlier 60m gold, was marginally ahead until the last 10 metres when the Canadian edged past. Despite a low dramatic dip at the line, Devers’ defence was lost and her double dream had expired (7.78, silver).
The Canadian’s win was a championship and national record (7.75), and Linda Ferga-Khodadin in bronze improved the French record (7.82).
The writing had perhaps been on the wall for Devers’ ambitions as early as the semi-final stage of the competition. In her heat Felicien had dwelt on the blocks and it had taken a dynamic last 40 metres surge, similar to the one she later showed in the final for her to win the first of the two heats (7.82). Her time was then a national record.
In the other semi-final another national mark had also fallen to Greece’s Flora Redoumi (7.91) as she finished second to reigning champion Devers (7.88), with Sweden''s Susanna Kallur in third (7.92).
Last ever 200s
The last ever men’s and women’s 200m titles were decided this afternoon, as given the tightness of most indoor tracks this particular event will no longer be part of the programme at future championships.
The women’s race was exceptionally close with Anastasiya Kapachinskaya, last year’s outdoor silver and indoor bronze medallist, only getting her nose in front with about 20 metres to go. She finished in 22.78 from Natalya Safronnikova of Belarus (23.13) and Russian colleague Svetlana Goncharenko (23.15).
A similar scenario was enacted in the men’s final, as Johan Wissman, the Swedish record holder was ahead until the last 15 metres of the race when Dominic Demeritte of the Bahamas, running in the lane outside, powered home to a 20.66 national record win. Wissman was second (20.72) and Tobias Unger of Germany took the bronze (21.02).
Slesarenko matches Chicherova’s season’s lead
A 2.04 leap by Yelena Slesarenko on her first attempt was justification for what had been a superb series of eight clearances in a competition which had begun at 1.82. The 22 year-old Russian took all her heights cleanly at the first attempt with the exception of 2.00. She was followed as far as that height only by her compatriot Anna Chicherova who also failed first time.
However, even if Slesarenko had not gone any higher the gold would have been hers on count back at 1.97, a height at which Chicherova had two failures.
Slesarenko’s performance equalled Chicherova’s national record, and her world season’s leading mark.
Chicherova took silver (2.00) and Croatia's Blanka Vlasic was third with 1.97m
First place for South Africa’s Mulaudzi, and a first for Bahrain
The men’s 800m was won by South Africa’s Mbulaeni Mulaudzi in 1:45.71 ahead of a first ever championship medal for Bahrain which was taken by Asian indoor and outdoor Rashid Ramzi in an Area record of 1:46.15. This first, just denied Osmar dos Santos of Brazil, who took the bronze in 1:46.26.
Defar defies Adere
It was one Ethiopian out-finishing another in the women’s 3000m but this time it was the gold and silver medals which were in dispute. The reigning World champion Berhane Adere hit the bell at 8:42.01 and held on to her pole position for 98% of the final lap but just before the line her legs finally faltered, and her compatriot Meseret Defar, who had been harrying her all the way took the win.
Defar who had finished in bronze last year, was credited with 9:11.22, Adere was just a step behind with 9:11.43 and USA’s Shayne Culpepper took a surprising bronze (9:12.15).
Sebrle runs himself back into gold
After falling behind USA’s Bryan Clay in the overall competition after a poor vaulting performance, Czech Roman Sebrle made up everything and more in the final discipline, the 1000 metres with a 2:39.67 clocking. The 2001 champion gave every ounce of his remaining energy and his determined gun to tape drive was too much for Clay who finished far adrift (2:49.41).
The final points total of Sebrle was 6438, just 38 short of Dan O’Brien’s World record (6476pts) which was set in the 1993 championships in Toronto. Clay’s 6365 was enough for a superb new PB and the silver, while Russia’s Lev Lobodin the second place finisher in 2003, took bronze (6203).
Cantwell takes shot
Christian Cantwell once more proved to the world that he could put long even outside the USA. However, the World Final winner in Monaco last September moved up a grade this time because his 21.49 in the second round was enough to grab World Indoor gold. It was as much a psychological as a physical success for the 23 year-old, as he had overcome the shock of seeing his team-mate Reese Hoffa put a 21.07 PB with his opening effort.
Hoffa’s performance was good enough for the silver, while Denmark’s Joachim Olsen took bronze with 20.99.
Korir kicks away from Heshko
As much as he tried, Ukraine’s Ivan Hesko, last summer’s World 1500m bronze medallist could not reach the vest of Kenya’s Paul Korir, and so finally despite a determined sprint the winter’s world leader had to give up on the 1500m title. Korir crossed the line in 3:52.31 with Heshko just adrift (3:52.34). More interesting still was the battle for bronze with Britain’s Michael East drifting to the outside of the track in the final sprint obstructing Kenya’s Laban Rotich. A Kenyan protest led to Rotich receiving the bronze (3:52.93).
Below par vault
The men’s Pole Vault was one of the few comparative disappointments of the final day as the overall standard was quite low. However, that is to take nothing away from the medallists, Russia’s Igor Pavlov winning in 5.80 (PB), Czech Adam Ptacek taking silver (5.70) and Denys Yurchenko of Ukraine in the bronze position (5.70).
The men’s 4x400m relay rounded off a most successful 10th IAAF World Indoor Championships with a season’s world leading win for the Jamaican team who finished in 3:05.21.
At the final change-over, the USA who had been pressing the Jamaicans hard fumbled their exchange and dropped the baton and were eventually disqualified. Russia was second (3:06.23) and Ireland (3:10.44) took a surprise bronze.
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