15 FEB 2010 General News

Koech clocks World best in 2000m Steeplechase, G. Dibaba impresses in Gent

Paul Kipsiele Koech takes full advantage of rare indoor steeplechase opportunity in Gent (Nadia Verhoft)Paul Kipsiele Koech takes full advantage of rare indoor steeplechase opportunity in Gent (Nadia Verhoft) © Copyright
Gent, BelgiumPaul Kipsiele Koech set a world best performance at 2000m Steeplechase to highlight the Toyota Indoor Flanders Meeting in Gent on Sunday (14).

The Toyota Indoor Flanders meeting is the seventh of nine IAAF Indoor Permit meetings in 2010.

Over the unusual and rarely-run distance indoors the Kenyan obliterated all previous marks that have ever been set on the distance in crossing the line in 5:17.04. Other highlights included Shamar Sands’ victory in the 60m Hurdles in 7.54, and Genzebe Dibaba’s solo 4:04.80 effort in the 1500m.

Confident Koech pleased with indoor strong campaign

Even though the 2000m Steeplechase is an extravagant event to be run indoors, the performance by Koech was striking and it left little to the imagination of the spectators. The Kenyan blew the field away from the very start of the race and crossed the 1000m mark in 2:33. “I was very confident about my form,” Koech said. “I already ran a 3000m in 7:32 and a 5000m in 13:02 this season and I wanted to run very fast from early on.”

Koech continued his effort in a very impressive way and hardly weakened in the latter stages of the race. His time of 5:17.04 is only a little bit short of the world best performance outdoors from Julius Kariuki in 1990 (5:14.43). Of course, bearing in mind that with two barriers on each 200m lap and no water jump, the indoor event cannot entirely be compared to the one outdoor.

“Of course this is only a stage in my preparation for the outdoor season, where I want to run very fast on the 3000m steeplechase,” Koech said. “Running indoors is a different kind of preparation than I’m used to, but it seems to suit me very well and I’m enjoying it a lot. It feels as if I’m running smoother and better indoors. It certainly helps me to become a better athlete.”

Behind Koech the Russian Andrei Farnosov came in second in 5:21.56, which constitutes a best ever European performance on the distance.

Genzebe Dibaba cruises to fast 1500m time

Nineteen-year-old Genzebe Dibaba defended the country colours and the family honours in an outstanding matter in the 1500m. The Ethiopian went directly into the lead and was literally cruising around the track to finish in a lifetime best of 4:04.80.

“Yes, this felt very comfortable indeed,” confirmed Dibaba, a two-time World junior Cross Country champion and a finalist in the 5000m at last year’s World championships. “I think that I can run much faster than this, but I was all alone in the lead and I did not have any time reference during the race either.”

Keitany and Rono cruise to 1500 and 3000 wins

In the men’s 1500m Haron Keitany was the only athlete to follow the pace of Ismail Kombich. In the last 600 metres Keitany found himself in a lonely fight against the clock, which read 3:35.69 when he reached the finish. Behind Keitany, Daniel Kipchirchir Komen and Juan Van Deventer were closing the gap in the penultimate lap, but Keitany managed to stay out of trouble and the South African was the fastest finisher for second place.

The 3000m saw Vincent Rono and Qatari Ismail Rashed Essa breaking away from the field very early on. Rono was leading all the way and was even able to accelerate in the final lap to take a well deserved win in 7:47.60.

Sands feels at home

In 2009 Shamar Sands took a surprise win and set a personal best in the 60m Hurdles in Gent. This year the Bahamian came to Belgium as a favourite and he convincingly demonstrated his great shape. Sands exploded off the blocks and left his competitors with no chance to come back. Sands set a strong seasonal best of 7.54, while Jamaican Dwight Thomas came in second in 7.64.

The local fans were delighted with the victory of Kevin Rans in the Pole Vault, who once more cleared all heights up to 5.65m on his first attempt, before failing at a new national record height of 5.72m. Raphael Holzdeppe from Germany cleared 5.65m on his third attempt to finish second.

Aleksey Dmitrik from Russia took the High Jump with 2.26m in a competition that didn’t really live up to expectations. The 60m dash witnessed a surprise victory by Brian Mariano from the Dutch Antilles. The compatriot of well known Churandy Martina brought his personal best spectacularly down to 6.60.

Carruthers wins, Lopes-Schliep stumbles

Another meeting highlight was the 60m Hurdles where the organisers provided a duel between European champion Eline Berings and world leading performer Priscilla Lopes-Schliep. Berings was running in her home town and she received massive support from the local crowd. She was the fastest off the blocks while Lopes-Schliepp stumbled and didn’t reach the second obstacle.

“I buckled this one, that’s a pity,” said Lopes-Schliep, a medallist at both the last Olympic Games and World championships. “It’s time for me to travel back to Canada and prepare for the World Indoors. I proved in Beijing and in Berlin that I can focus on championships races and that is what I want to do in Doha as well.”

Berings stayed in the lead until the last hurdle when she was overtaken by Danielle Carruthers. Both were credited with 8.02, which is a seasonal best for Berings, but the American was pronounced the winner.

“I’m very happy with this result. In every race there are girls that are a threat,” said Carruthers. “The 60m Hurdles is always very tight in the end. My aim is to make the American team for the World Indoor Championships. But I want to become faster outdoors and to always be competitive at the highest level.”

Berings shaved another 0.05 from her seasonal best and is gearing up towards Doha as well. “If I can reach the same level as I had last year, than I will be competitive in Doha”, said Berings. “Today I was enjoying the atmosphere, it felt great to run in front of my home crowd.”

In the 60m dash Chandra Sturrup from the Bahamas upset Myriam Soumaré (FRA) and Gloria Asumnu (USA) in 7.22. In the Triple Jump European champion Anastasya Taranova Potapova set a seasonal best of 14.43m to take a determined win over Slovak Dana Veldakova.

Ivo Hendrix for the IAAF

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