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Stuttgart, GermanyA tantalizingly close distance world-record attempt and the fastest sprint performance in 11 years were just a sample of the eight world-leading marks and three meeting records at 24th Sparkassen-Cup meeting in Stuttgart, the third of nine IAAF Indoor Permit Meetings, on Saturday (6).
Major breakthrough for Jones-Ferrette
The big eye-opener of the programme came from Laverne Jones-Ferrette, who sped down the outside lane of the sprint apron to a world-leading 6.97 in the Women’s 60m, the first sub-7.00 run in more than a decade. Not since Ekaterini Thanou won the 1999 World Indoor Championships in Maebashi with 6.96 has the distance been covered as fast. In all, only five others have covered the distance faster.
The US Virgin Islands sprinter had less distraction after Chandra Sturrup, originally on her outside, was disqualified after a false start. Leading the field out of the blocks, Jones-Ferrette smoothly covered the distance in a time that shocked even herself.
“I always felt with my form I could run faster, but to run under seven seconds I never ever thought about that - it is a big surprise,” Jones-Ferrette said.
Carmelita Jeter of the US finished second in a PB 7.05, a clocking which would have led the world in six of the last eight seasons. Far back in third was France’s Miryam Soumaré in 7.19.
Defar pushed to 8:24.46, third fastest run ever
“Darn, why did I run so fast in 2007?” Meseret Defar must have asked herself moments after the finish of the women’s 3000m, her third consecutive close-but-futile attempt at her own World record from three seasons ago.
The reigning World champion in the event made the most of a valiant effort, however, as her 8:24.46 time was the third-fastest performance of all-time, less than a second off her 8:23.72 global standard and also the season’s best. It was her fifth consecutive Stuttgart victory.
After dropping almost three seconds behind her 2007 record pace with only three laps left, she used a push-from-behind strategy with countrywoman Sentayehu Ejigu providing the pressure. Increasingly fast closing laps of 33.0, 32.6 and 31.4 made the race as close to the record as it was.
Ejigu gets much of the credit for the end result, as she held tight in the final stages for second in 8:25.27, itself the fourth-fastest performance ever. Silvia Kibet of Kenya was a distant third in 8:42.15.
World leads for Lopes-Schliep and Robles in sprint hurdles
Canada’s Priscilla Lopes-Schliep capitalized on the electricity still left in the hall after Jones-Ferrette’s win and sped away with a 7.82 world-leading and PB win in the women’s 60m Hurdles. Running next to Lolo Jones, who had dominated the event during the season until today, the Berlin silver medallist took a quick lead over the first barrier and sailed to a big victory ahead of Jones’ 7.97.
Carolin Nytra of Germany took third in 8.02 after having registered a PB 8.01 in the heats.
The men’s event saw Cuba’s Dayron Robles break out to an early lead but just barely hold off David Oliver’s late finish for a world-leading 7.48, as the American was close behind in 7.49. Jamaican Dwight Thomas was third in 7.64.
Another Jamaican, Lerone Clarke, recorded two PBs in the men’s 60m, his 6.57 in the final enough for a narrow win over the PB 6.58 posted by Churandy Martina of the Netherlands Antilles. Egwero Oghoogheneonano of Nigeria was third in 6.62, also a PB.
Mekkonnen and Burka take 1500m wins for Ethiopia
Deresse Mekonnen, the reigning World indoor champion in the men’s 1500m, took a great step toward a title defence in Doha with his season-opening 3:34.17, a world-leading time. It was also a personal best by more than a second, and it moved the Ethiopian into twelfth place among all-time indoor performers in the event.
Mekonnen stayed close to the 56.78 and 1:54.70 pace of German Artur Lenz before pushing aside second pacer, Vickson Polonet, with three laps remaining. Finishing with laps of 28.8 and 28.4, Mekonnen pulled a season bests from Kenyan William Biwott (3:36.93) and Bob Tahri (3:37.31) in the next two spots.
Mekonnen’s counterpart and compatriot on the women’s side, Gelete Burka, also made a bold move to repeat her world indoor 1500m title with a world-leading 4:03.44 victory over Anna Alminova. The Russian, who shadowed Defar so closely in last year’s exciting 3000m race, finished in a Europe-leading 4:03.88.
After Tamara Tverdostup of Ukraine brought the field through 800 metres in 2:09.52, Alminova and Burka were left at the front. Burka went to the lead just after the kilometre mark and was able to stay a step in front of the Russian the rest of the way. Watching from behind was Kenya’s Irene Jelagat in third with 4:07.45.
Kipchoge outduels T. Bekele in 3000m
Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge joined the world-leader club as he outlegged Tariku Bekele over the final 150 metres in his PB 7:32.99 victory in the men’s 3000m, as the Ethiopian, the winner here two years ago, finished in 7:33.81.
Bekele made a move to the front coming into the bell, but Kipchoge responded well down the final backstraight with a solid kick and held off the Ethiopian for the victory. Sammy Mutahi won an intra-Kenya battle for third ahead of Edwin Soi, 7:37.01 to 7:38.60.
Murer debuts with 4.81m effort
The women’s Pole Vault yearly mark took a giant leap upward as two competitors bettered the previous world-leading height of 4.65m. In the end, it was Brazil’s Fabiana Murer who took away the win as her 4.81m evening best equalled her own PB and South America area record. Three unsuccessful attempts at 4.85 ended her evening.
Berlin World champion Anna Rogowska of Poland, who has been training in Germany during the winter, saw her attempts at a would-be national record 4.81m fall short, but she still held second with a Europe-leading 4.71m, as Germany’s Silke Spiegelburg was third at 4.61m.
Alexander Straub of Germany registered his second win of the week with a third-attempt 5.75m success in the men’s Pole Vault. Viktor Chistyakov of Russia - who celebrates his 35th birthday next Wednesday - finished tied for second at 5.70m with the youngest vaulter in the field, Germany’s Raphael Holzdeppe, as Renaud Lavillenie of France took fourth at the same height.
Even the presence of former Olympic and four-time World champion (indoor and outdoor) Dwight Phillips could not jump start the Men’s Long Jump, won by relatively unknown 20-year-old Li Jinzhe of China at 7.92m. France’s Salim Sdiri (7.87m) and Ignisious Gaisah of Ghana (7.73m) also finished ahead of fourth-place Phillips, whose 7.72m was the season opener in his specialty after two European sprint appearances.
Abubaker Kaki appeared on the way to a steamroller win in the men’s 800m as he covered the first 400 in 51.7, but suddenly in the third lap, the field coalesced and the Sudanese runner had to work hard to preserve a 1:46.47 win ahead of the determined finishes of Czech runner Jakub Holuša (1:46.82) and Kenyan Jackson Kivuna (1:47.03 PB).