15 JAN 2009 General News

Lagat, Defar, Robles, Vlasic and more in Stuttgart

Bernard Lagat after his historic 1500/5000 double (Getty Images)Bernard Lagat after his historic 1500/5000 double (Getty Images) © Copyright

Bernard Lagat and Sabrina Mockenhaupt are the newest additions to an already extraordinary strong set of names signed for the Sparkassen-Cup in Stuttgart, Germany. The event to be held on 7 February is an IAAF Indoor Permit Meeting.

Bernard Lagat will run the 3000m in Stuttgart. Two years ago he had established an US record in Birmingham with 7:32.43. In that same year Lagat famously continued to become the double World champion at 1500 and 5000 m in Osaka. For the 34-year-old it will be almost a ‘home game’ in Stuttgart, since he partly lives and trains in nearby Tübingen.

Sabrina Mockenhaupt will also contest the 3000m at the Sparkassen-Cup. The winner of the Frankfurt Marathon in October (with a personal best of 2:26:22), who recently had to withdraw from the Trier New Year’s Eve Race because of a knee problem, will face tough opposition in Stuttgart. Meseret Defar (Ethiopia) will try to improve her World Indoor record of 8:23.72, which she had run two years ago at this meeting. 

So far Sabrina Mockenhaupt has a personal indoor best of 8:45.77, which is just very slightly slower than her outdoor best of 8:44.65. The 28-year-old ran her indoor PB when she took a bronze medal at the European Indoor Championships in Birmingham two years ago.

While the reigning World Indoor 800m champion Abubaker Kaki Khamis of Sudan will run the 1000 m in Stuttgart the four-lap-race will feature the past three Olympic champions: Nils Schumann (Germany/2000), Yuriy Borzakovskiy (Russia/2004) and Wilfred Bungei (Kenya/2008).

Alain Blondel, the elite athletes’ coordinator, also has high hopes regarding the 60m Hurdles, for which he has signed the Olympic 110m Hurdles champion Dayron Robles. The Cuban won in Stuttgart two years ago with a meeting record of 7.39 seconds.

The men’s Pole Vault will see all the German stars: Tim Lobinger, European Indoor Champion Danny Ecker, World Junior champion Raphael Holzdeppe, Björn Otto plus local athletes Fabian Schulze and Alexander Straub.

Blanka Vlasic had already been signed for the Stuttgart Meeting as well but the Croatian World champion in the High Jump will most probably not meet German Ariane Friedrich on this occassion.

It is unusual that there are two Pole Vault events in one meeting. But Blondel has opted to go for the women as well. So the spectators in Stuttgart will once again be able to see Silke Spiegelburg. The German has constantly progressed over the years and it was in Stuttgart’s World Athletics Final in September 2008, where Spiegelburg took the event and celebrated her biggest win so far.

Stuttgart’s events, Men: 60m, 400m, 800m, 1000m, 1500m, 3000m, 60m Hurdles, Pole Vault. Women: 60m, 3000m, 60m Hurdles, High Jump, Pole Vault.

Jörg Wenig for the IAAF