10 MAR 2001 General News

Men Heptathlon event 1

Fast gun slows times

For the third consecutive World Indoor Championships Chris Huffins produced the fastest time in the opening event of the heptathlon, the 60 metres. The American’s time, 6.91, was nothing like those that he had recorded in the two previous editions of the meet, 6.61 and 6.67. Still, he was able to win by a healthy 0.08 over Ukraine’s Oleksandr Yurkov. Olympic champion Erki Nool of Estonia, twice a silver medallist in this event, was similarly slowed, running 7.01 in 5th. In the previous three editions of the meet he had run 6.81, 6.83 and 6.86.

Asked to explain the slow times, Huffins said, "Did you see the starter? I was about this far into ‘set’ when the gun went off," indicating a position about halfway up. It’s rare these days to see a men’s multi-event sprint go off without a false start or three, so it was very strange that the athletes got away on their first try here. Said Huffins, without rancour, as he knows well how the game is played, "There has never been a multi-event with Erki in it that he didn’t false-start."

The proceedings were enlivened by the vocal and colourful presence of the yellow-clad Erki Nool fan club. Some dozen strong, they cheered, banged on drums and hung banners over the railing reading, "Erki Nool World Tour 2001."