There were a number of big name signings competing at the PSD Bank Meeting in Düsseldorf on Friday evening (11). However, it was a little known Kenyan who produced the most remarkable performance of the night in front of a sell-out crowd of 2000 spectators in the Arena-Sportpark.
17-year-old Isaiah Koech (19/12/1993) took the 5000m race in a world leading time of 12:53.29. This is the fastest 5000m indoor time ever run by a junior by far, but there are no official world junior records indoors. But on the senior all-time indoor lists he moved up to fourth spot.
With a series of world leading performances and meeting records the event in Düsseldorf confirmed its position as one of the best international indoor events.
Kipchoge helps push Koech
It was the second pacemaker Vincent Rono, who increased the pace during the 5000m in a way that even Kenenisa Bekele’s World record (12:49.60) suddenly was within reach. Rono dropped out of the race at the 3000m mark, which he had reached in 7:43.52. After that a duel developed between Kenyans Eliud Kipchoge and Isaiah Koech. It was another Koech, who was expected to challenge Kipchoge. But Paul Kipsiele Koech, who had broken the Düsseldorf meeting record a year ago with a time of 13:02.95, had lost contact before the 3km mark and later had to settle for third in 13:15.64.
Meanwhile at the front Koech and Kipchoge pushed each other. First it was Koech leading for a couple of laps. Then Kipchoge went to the front after around 3700 m. With 500 metres to go Koech tried to get past Kipchoge, but Kipchoge reacted and kept the lead. Not for long though. With one lap to go it was Koech who had taken the lead and stormed to an amazing time.
Only three of the most prominent long distance runners in history have run faster indoors: Besides the current World record holder Kenenisa Bekele these are Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia/12:50.38) and Daniel Komen (Kenya/12:51.48). Isaiah Koech clocked the fourth fastest time ever.
Kipchoge in second place, set a great personal best of 12:55.72, which now makes him the fifth fastest runner indoors.
Koech, who quickly disappeared into the warm-up area after the race and was not available for an interview, has most probably run his first ever indoor race on Friday. In 2009 he had won the 3000m gold medal at the World Youth Championships with 7:51.51. In 2010 he then placed fourth in the junior race of the World Cross Country Championships.
Great 1500m duel too
Another Kenyan duel produced a fine result as well: In the 1500m Nixon Chepseba improved his own world lead to 3:34.63 minutes, just edging out Augustine Choge (3:34.66) with a fine finish. “I was able to push hard in the end and knew that I could beat Augustine Choge,” said Nixon Chepseba.
World lead equalled by a surprised Collins
Kim Collins (St. Kitts and Nevis) took the 60m, clocking a surprise personal best of 6.52 seconds, when he was just 0.01 ahead of Michael Rodgers (USA). “I did not expect this time, but I had trained well in the past week,” said the former World 100 m champion Kim Collins, whose result equalled the world lead.
Svoboda victorious; Liu Xiang happy
While Petr Svoboda (Czech Republic) took the 60m Hurdles after a photo finish from Kevin Craddock (USA/both 7.57 seconds) the focus was very much on former World record holder Liu Xiang. The Chinese came through strongly in the final third of the race and took third place with 7.60.
“Taking into account my injury problems I am happy with my performance,” said Liu Xiang. Looking ahead towards the summer and the World Championships he said: “It is my aim to qualify for the final and then we will see what happens – anything can happen in such a final. But it will be tough to reach this.”
Bartels improves his meet record with 20.91m
A reliable figure in German athletics had produced the first highlight of the evening in Düsseldorf: Ralf Bartels won the Shot Put with 20.91m. But in fact Bartels would have taken the event with each of his five valid attempts. After opening with 20.50 he continued with 20.33, x, 20.37, 20.91 and 20.46m. The 32 year-old also improved his own four-year-old meeting record by seven centimetres. Ryan Whiting (USA) took second with 20.15 m while Marco Schmidt (Germany) was third (20.06).
“This is a bit better than I had hoped,” said Bartels. “In my past competitions this seasons I always had a great warm-up, but when it came to competition it did not work that well. Now I am happy to have finally got it right. I hope to be able to confirm this in my coming competitions.”
Regarding the European Championships in Paris next month Bartels said: “Of course it was a good result for me today, but there will be others coming through in the next few weeks. And it is not that easy to reproduce such a performance in an international championship, where the atmosphere and the set-up is so much different. I am fully concentrating on the indoor season now. And usually when I had good results indoors I was also good in the summer.”
Mohr, meet record; Wells, improves world lead
Germany’s Malte Mohr took the Pole Vault with 5.85m, clearing this height at his third attempt. Mohr’s height was a meeting record.
The women’s events were not quite as strong as the men’s in Düsseldorf on Friday night. Ukraine’s Olesya Povh took the 60m sprint with 7.13 seconds, just edging out Gloria Asumnu (USA/7.14).
In the 60m Hurdles Kellie Wells (USA) showed her best race in the first round. Flying over the hurdles she improved her own world lead to 7.84 seconds, which was also a new meeting record. In the final she then lost her rhythm at the final hurdle. But Wells still won with 7.89 seconds from Danielle Carruthers (USA/7.92).
Abeba Arigawi produced a strong race in the 1500m. The Ethiopian youngster dominated the race from the front after pacemaker Tamara Tverdostup (Ukraine) had dropped out shortly before the 1000m mark. The 20-year-old clocked a fine 4:06.10, just missing the targeted meeting record from Maryam Yusuf Jamal (Bahrain/4:05.37). Irene Jelagat (Kenya) was second with 4:09.46.
Demut improves her world lead
In the Triple Jump Germany’s Katja Demut improved her own national record and world lead to 14.47 m. It was by far her longest jump and it was just enough to beat Ukraine’s Olga Saladuha (14.45).
Jörg Wenig for the IAAF
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