Istanbul, TurkeyAs the curtain came down on a memorable 14th edition of the World Indoor Championships it is hard not to think what we had witnessed today inside a vociferous Atakoy Athletics Arena was the past, present and future of the sport.
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The future was very much encapsulated by the performance of Mohammed Aman, the 2011 World Youth silver medallist, who revealed his rich potential by striking gold in the men’s 800m with a performance of great maturity.
Aman – youngest-ever champion
Aged just 18 years and 61 days Aman took the race by the scruff of the neck in the final 200m to score a clear victory in 1:48.36. In the process the teenager also became the youngest ever gold medallist at an IAAF World Indoor Championships eclipsing the previous youngest - Abubaker Kaki who was 18 and 262 days when he took this title in 2008. Behind him Jakub Holusa of the Czech Repubic took silver in 1:48.62 with Andrew Osagie (1:48.92) of Great Britain a bronze medallist.
Reese comes through yet again
In terms of the present no other athlete on the planet currently boasts a better recent record at IAAF World Championships than Brittney Reese. The US athlete has banked the last two World outdoor titles and today she became the first person in history to retain a World Indoor Long Jump title with a stunning US record of 7.23m.
Reese had appeared below par this season prior to Istanbul but shifted into gold with a 6.92m effort in round four. She was then forced to dig deep into her reserves when her countrywoman Janay DeLoach came past her with a 6.98m leap in the final round. Yet with the very next jump Reese responded like the true champion she is with her magnificent winning leap of 7.23m – the longest indoor women’s long jump for 23 years which elevated to her to third on the all-time lists.
DeLoach had to be content with silver and Shara Proctor took the bottom place on the podium courtesy of a British record 6.89m.
The past, well although it may be far too premature to write off one of the all-time distance running legends does Meseret Defar’s silver medal in the Women’s 3000m suggest her better days might be behind her. The Ethiopian, who was seeking a fifth successive gold medal in this event, looked in control at the bell with a 5m lead.
Yet a blistering final lap by Hellen Obiri saw the Kenyan effortlessly glide past Defar down the back stretch and stride out to victory in 8:37.16 - more than a second clear of the beaten Ethiopian. Her countrywoman Gelete Burka took bronze.
Isinbayeva returns to championship form
After world records on each of the two previous days here in Istanbul Yelena Isinbayeva could unfortunately not quite summon up a third in the Women’s Pole Vault. The 29-year-old Russian gave 5.02m a dart but other than a reasonable third attempt she could not better the mark she set in Stockholm last month. Isinbayeva did, though, have the huge consolation of bagging a gold medal thanks to a 4.80m first time clearance which was good enough to secure her fourth World Indoor title. It was also, significantly, her first global title since the 2008 Olympics Games further confirmation she is back to her best. Vanessa Boslak set a French record of 4.70m for silver with Holly Bleasdale clinching bronze with 4.70m.
Lagat outsmarts the opposition for third 3000m title
It was some afternoon for the USA, who landed five gold medals in the session and ten in total for the championships a record haul at a World Indoors for any one nation.
Besides Reese’s success that wily old fox Bernard Lagat landed his third World Indoor 3000m title with yet another tactically astute performance. With an innate ability to put himself in the right place at the right time he had too much for the opposition on the final lap to win in 7:41.77. The Kenyan pair of Augustine Choge and Edwin Soi picked up the minor medals with Great Britain’s Mo Farah, the World 5000m champion, in fourth. Farah was briefly upgraded to bronze post-race after a referee disqualified Soi for obstructing the British athlete. However, a jury of appeal later reinstated Soi to the bronze medal position.
Meritt stuns Liu Xiang
US success was maintained in the Men’s 60m Hurdles as Aries Meritt powered to victory to a shock victory. Pre-race favourite Liu Xiang of China never recovered from a poor start but Merritt, by contrast, made a slick start and the US champion could not be caught, stopping the clock in 7.44. Liu, the 2008 champion, finished a further 0.05 back in silver with Pascal Martinot-Lagarde, the World Junior 110m Hurdles champion, of France taking bronze in 7.58.
Claye flies 17.70m
The US delivered a one-two in the Men’s Triple Jump with Will Claye setting a world leading mark of 17.70m to take gold. Claye, who had finished fourth in Saturday’s Long Jump final, bound out to his winning leap in round four to complete a his hectic championship schedule in style. Christian Taylor, the World outdoor champion, led with a 17.63m effort from the first round but could not respond to Claye’s jump. Bronze went to Lyukman Adams of Russia with a PB of 17.36m.
VCB defends 60m turf
Veronica Campbell-Brown powered through in the latter stages of the Women’s 60m Final to mount a successful defence. The Jamaican, who is also the reigning World and Olympic 200m champion, is a supreme competitor and refused to panic when Murielle Ahoure led for much of the race. Campbell-Brown came home strongly and breasted the line in a world leading 7.01 - 0.03 ahead of Ahoure who had the consolation of setting a national record and also the first athlete from the Ivory Coast athlete to win a World Indoor Championship medal. Tianna Madison, the previous world leader of the USA, took bronze in 7.09.
Jelimo announces comeback with solid win
Obiri’s triumph in the Women’s 3000m came about 25 minutes after her countrywoman Pamela Jelimo landed victory in the Women’s 800m final – Kenya’s firsts ever women’s World Indoor Championship gold medallist.
The Olympic champion has struggled to find her best form since setting winning in Beijing but swept to a comfortable win in a world leading time of 1:58.83. Nataliya Lupu of Ukraine clinched silver in 1:59.67 with the early leader Erica Moore of the USA in bronze 1:59.97. The Russian pair of Elena Kofanova and Yuliya Rusanova disappointed in fifth and sixth, respectively.
Chondrokoukis upsets high jump big guns
Dimitrios Chondrokoukis landed a surprise victory in the men’s high jump thanks to a first time clearance at 2.33m. The Greek sent his many supporters packed in the far corner of the arena into ecstasy as he edged Olympic champion Andrey Silnov of Russia - who cleared 2.33m but with his second attempt – to gold. Silnov’s countryman Ivan Ukhov, the defending champion, picked up bronze with 2.31m.
Great Britain also enjoyed a successful championships and their women landed an captivating and unexpected gold medal in the 4x400m Relay. Olympic 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu ran a scintillating third leg to put GB in control of the race and Perri Shakes-Drayton managed to repel a late charge from the Individual 400m champion here in Turkey Sanya Richards-Ross. The Briton made a desperate lunge for the line to stop the clock in a world leading 3:28.76 – just 0.03 ahead of the USA.
The USA rounded out the championships with victory in the Men’s 4x400m Relay in 3:03.94 from Great Britain but they were made to sweat after being initially disqualified when they were deemed to have changed positions in the order with which the anchor leg runner was receiving the baton. Rules state that the runner should not change their waiting position in accordance with the position of their team going into the last bend.
However, after a lengthy wait the US lodged a protest and they were reinstated by the jury of appeal.
Steve Landells for the IAAF