The 18th edition of “Gaz de France du Pas-de-Calais” - IAAF indoor permit - meeting was highlighted by a new World Indoor record by Yelena Isinbayeva (4.89), last night. As usual on the renowned fast track of Liévin, there was also great sprinting at 60m with Leonard Scott running 6.46 and Christine Arron 7.10, and hurdling from Ladji Doucouré with 7.43. Along with these performances, the meeting was the occasion for athletes to fix last details to their preparations a week before European Championships in Madrid.
World Indoor record, again!
Three indoor competitions, three World Indoor records. That is the dream season Yelena Isinbayeva has experienced so far in 2005. The Russian pole vaulter has taken her art to such a high level that a record feat is expected each time she appears on a start list. After a insignificant miss at 4.60, she easily cleared 4.70, 4.80 and 4.89, one centimetre higher than in Birmigham few days ago. She cleared the new World height by so much that she then cheekily attempted 5.05 under legend Sergey Bubka’s eye, an incredible height that had the height but on which she came down on to the bar.
In second place with a marvellous performance over 4.70 was Poland's Monika Pyrek but as in so many of the Russian's competitions, tonight's vault was only about Isinbayeva.
Doucouré beats Johnson and gets national record
Ladji Doucouré was the other star of the meet, as he finally smashed the 60m Hurdles national indoor record with 7.43. It was actually a double record in one race as he was officially timed at 50m (5 hurdles) in 6.36. His usual weakness, his reaction time to the gun, was significantly corrected (0.177 as opposed to about 0.200 last year).
Doucouré explained: “I didn’t want to talk about records even though I knew I was able to break it. It was Caristan’s record and he had a great career so I’m (going) in the right way. I hope to go faster next week and European Champs, I need to be self-confident and don’t think I have already managed to run the perfect race. I have so many faults.”
Allen Johnson, second in a season best of 7.49: “It’s great to have such great rivals. I did a good race, I can’t complain.”
NOTE. from Alfons Juck: If the Doucouré's intermediate time at 50m Hurdles is official, his 6.36 is better than the current European Indoor record of Mark McKoy (at that time representing Austria) who ran 6.39 on Jan 27, 1995 in Moscow.
Women’s 60m hurdles’ results came long after the finish as the first three athletes were all given the same time 7.97. Judges finally found a thousandth of second advantage on Michelle Freeman from Vonette Dixon and Perdita Félicien. The decision for the last three placers was equally tough, as Anay Tejeda, Glory Alozie and Nichole Denby all timed 8.04.
The disqualification for a false start of Tanya Lawrence in female 60m heats, let Christine Arron into the final without her toughest rival. Powerful Russian Fyodorova had the best start but Arron’s acceleration was awesome, as indicated by her last 10m timed in 0.95. Her 7.10 was a season best for the French sprinter: “I had ups and downs this season, I hope it’s finished now. I rested in bed on Monday and did light work since the national championships last weekend. All I need is medals now”, said the 3rd fastest woman of all-time at 100m (10.73), but who is still waiting for an individual world laurel.
Arron came back few minutes later to make her first ever double 60/200m, which she remarkably achieved, with a promising time of 22.69 in spite of a terrible reaction time (0.281). Her current shape must give her great medal hopes for Madrid.
Scott takes the men’s dash
Maurice Greene, on his first ever start in Liévin, had warned that the male’s 60m would provide a great show and the fans weren’t deceived. In heats, Ronald Pognon, the French public’s favourite and recent European record breaker (6.45) completely missed judged his first 15m but still managed a fantastic late surge (last 10m 0.86) to nearly catch Leaonard Scott who won by 0.01 in 6.55.
In final, after a false start, Greene (0.129) and Scott (0.133) were the fastest out of the blocks but Pognon duplicated his mistake. The gap was too big as Scott flew to victory in 6.46 (5.58 at 50m), from Greene (6.55) and Pognon, in spite of desperate finished in 6.56.
The delighted winner said: “I ran my own race against great competitors. I used to focus my racing indoors in order to build the outdoor season. That was my last indoor race, I now go back to training with Maurice.” Greene had a tough week with little training but didn’t complain: “I’m healthy and happy, that’s the main thing. Concerning Pognon, we’ll have other races and we will make other great shows for the fans”.
1000m races go to favouites
Favourites Lydia Chojecka and Medhi Baala as expected won the 1000m races. Chojecka’s last lap of 31.69 wasn’t enough to set a new season leading mark, but her 2:37.57 confirmed her great shape. Baala, in his race against the clock, finished in 2:17.86, just few tenths out of his season World Lead.
The meeting organisers chose to build a 300m race this year, and 200m specialist Joseph Batangdon from Cameroon worked this rarely run distance in 33.17, while the more traditional 400m was snatch on the line by Marc Raquil and his usual late surge in 47.61. Yann Domenech reached his best shape at the best moment in winning the men's Long Jump in 8.04m from Kafetien Gomis 7.91.
Pierre-Jean Vazel for the IAAF
1. Leonard Scott (U.S.) 6.46
2. Maurice Greene (U.S.) 6.55
3. Ronald Pognon (France) 6.56
1. Joseph Batangdon (Cameroon) 33.17
2. Christopher Tyler (Canada) 33.47
3. Remi Wallard (France) 33.57
1. Marc Raquil (France) 47.61
2. Sebastien Maillard (France) 47.70
3. Abderahim El Haouzy (France) 47.84
1. Medhi Baala (France) 2:17.86
2. Mouhssin Chehibi (Morocco) 2:20.43
3. Nicolas Aissat (France) 2:20.95
60 metres Hurdles:
1. Ladji Doucoure (France) 7.43
2. Allen Johnson (U.S.) 7.49
3. Anier Garcia (Cuba) 7.56
1. Yann Domenech (France) 8.04m
2. Kafetien Gomis (France) 7.91
3. Bogdan Tarus (Romania) 7.82
1. Christine Arron (France) 7.10
2. Olga Fyodorova (Russia) 7.25
3. Sylvie Mballa (France) 7.34
1. Christine Arron (France) 22.69
2. Fabe Dia (France) 23.54
3. Solen Desert (France) 23.62
1. Lidia Chojecka (Poland) 2:37.57
2. Sandra Stals (Belgium) 2:39.68
3. Virginie Fouquet (France) 2:40.67
60 metres Hurdles:
1. Michelle Freeman (Jamaica) 7.97
2. Vonette Dixon (Jamaica) 7.97
3. Perdita Felicien (Canada) 7.97
Women's Pole Vault:
1. Yelena Isinbayeva (Russia) 4.89m World Indoor record
2. Monika Pyrek (Poland) 4.70
3. Vanessa Boslak (France) 4.35
Women's High Jump:
1. Barbora Lalakova (Czech Republic) 1.85 metres
2. Lucie Finez (France) 1.85
3. Monica Iagar (Romania) 1.85m