Emma Green improves her PB 1.98m in Sollentuna (Hasse Sjogren / DECA Text&Bild) © Copyright
Green won at the Sollentuna GP in 2004, then again in 2007 defeating Bergqvist as well as Italy's Antonietta Di Martino. And now in 2010 Green won for the third time in the process finally erasing an almost five year-old PB by clearing 1.98m.
But the real story was that among those defeated was current World No. 1 Chaunté Lowe who just six days ago cleared 2.05m at the US Championships in Des Moines. The American admitted to feeling a little bit flat after travelling to Europe but was quick to praise the winning performance. Lowe was also the very first to celebrate the 1.98m clearance by rushing up to Green and giving her a big hug.
During the competition it was Green leading more or less the whole way. Both entered at 1.85m and while the Swede was perfect there as well as at 1.89m and 1.92m the American had failures at both 1.85m and 1.92m. At 1.95m Lowe was the first to clear but as both made it on second attempts it was still Green in the lead when the bar was raised to 1.98m.
Her third time clearance at that height put the perfect finishing touch to the victory. It surpassed the 1.97m outdoor PB that has stood since 2005. It also moved her up to equal fourth place on the current World list behind only Lowe, Vlasic and Di Martino. Apparently ready to move up significantly on that list any day now is third placer Anna Iljustsenko of Estonia who equalled her 1.92m PB and was tantalisingly close in her first attempt at 1.95m.
In the women's Pole Vault most talk in advance focused on the chances for World Youth Champion Angelica Bengtsson to improve the World Junior record (4.48m by Silke Spiegelburg). Although the 16-year-old had a flawless record to 4.33m the next height turned out being out of reach for her this day.
But she certainly has time on her side. This was clearly illustrated by the fact that the win went to someone almost twice as old, Anastasia Shvedova of Belarus. Shvedova cleared 4.53m in impressive fashion and the 4.63m she tried afterwards was not in anyway out of grasp. The competition also provided a national record as Norway's Catrine Larsåsen surpassed both her outdoor (4.30m) and her indoor (4.31m) records.
Just before the start of the main program all the clouds in the sky disappeared together with the wind providing picture perfect sunny and pleasantly warm conditions for just about every event. Only the discus throwers would have wanted some more wind but it still didn't stop Märt Israels - Estonia's runner-up to Gerd Kanter – from providing impressive distances: His four legal throws were all 63m+ topped by a windless 65.44m!
Fine 1500m wins for Ndiwa and Aregawi
The runners certainly enjoyed the weather, perhaps most so in the 1500m. In the men's race Kenya's Cornelius Ndiwa following the pacesetters closest and going out on the final lap (2:40.4) he had some six to eight metres on Briton Colin McCourt who at that stage emerged from the pack. That advantage for Ndiwa proved decisive because no matter how hard McCourt tried over the final lap he never managed to close the gap and Ndwia prevailed by 0.63, 3:36.56 vs 3:37.19 (new PB).
The women's race started out semi-conservatively with two 68-second laps before the tempo increased. But the real change of gears came with 300 metres to go on the final lap when unheralded Abeba Aregawi just took off and left the others defenceless. Without any previously known time in the 1500m (but she has 2:01 in the 800m) Aregawi (who in a few days turns 20) flew the last 300m in 44.5 to win by over two seconds in 4:06.52!
The hurdle races turned out unexpectedly competitive: In the 400m Hurdles multiple-48 runner Justin Gaymon (4th in the US Championships last weekend) was challenged all the way to the finish line by South Africa's Cornel Fredericks: 49.09 vs 49.20. And in the 110m Hurdles Jamaican Olympic finallist Richard Phillips had to work very hard to catch up to Sweden's Philip Nossmy and also to stave off the final rush from Nossmy on the run-in from the last hurdle: 13.52 vs 13.56.
One favourite who, however, didn't manage to cope successfully with his opponents was Leslie Djhone of France in the 400m. Jeremy Davis of the US went out very fast and when Djhone started the hunt on the backstretch he was shadowed by Rabah Yusif of Sudan on the inside. Coming off the last bend Yusif moved into the lead and won going away as Djhone faded and had to let Davis past.
Fully living up to all expectations by impressive winning runs were Jamaican junior Dexter Lee in the men's 100m and American "veteran" Ebony Floyd in the women's 200m. The tall and powerfully built Lee didn't reach the front of the field until after halfway but still won by a good two metres in 10.27. Among those left trailing was J-Mee Samuels who ran for the USA in the 2007 World Championships but who now ended up a well-beaten 4th.
For Floyd it was a gun-to-tape win where she took the immediate lead and then simply extended it all the way to the finish line. 22.92 was a new best for the year for Floyd and her winning margin was over half a second.
The men's Triple Jump was planned to be one of the major attractions but when Christian Olsson had to pass due to a bruised heel it turned out a quite lacklustre event. Despite the great outer conditions the duel between Nathan Douglas and Dmitrij Valukevic was carried out at a level about half a metre below the 17 metres they both have surpassed previously this summer.
A. Lennart Julin for the IAAF
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2006 Evergreen Mutola