While Terrence Trammell quietly began the second half of his double podium ambitions, Cuban newcomer Dayron Robles provided the fireworks as competition in the men’s 60m Hurdles began.
Robles, the 2004 World Junior silver medallist and still just 19, cruised to a 7.55 win in Heat three in his indoor debut.
“It was my first race ever indoors and it felt well,” said Robles, who also raced to victory at last year’s Pan American junior championships before reaching the semi-finals at the World Championships in Helsinki. “Let’s see what happens in the next rounds.”
Finishing second well behind the Cuban was Dominique Arnold of the U.S., who stumbled slightly coming off the final hurdle en route to a 7.67 clocking.
“I felt a little sluggish,” said Arnold, who was fourth at the World Championships last summer, adding that he slept little the evening before. “I’m not used to the track; it’s a bit bouncy.”
Less than 16 hours after his bronze medal finish in the 60 metres, Terrence Trammell returned to the track to continue his busy weekend in Moscow. Running conservatively in the latter stages, the American won the fourth of five heats in 7.64, just ahead of Cuban Yoel Hernandez, whose 7.66 was a seasons’s best.
“I don’t want to touch to much on yesterday’s flat race,” said Trammell, who reached the line in 6.54. “It was disappointing, I had a bad start, and that’s that. Now I just need to get back and focused on my races. I have a lot more work to do here.”
Jamaican Maurice Wignall, the bronze medallist in Budapest and fourth place finisher at the 2004 Olympic Games, began his podium defense with a 7.58 win in the second heat. Prior to the Championships, the 29-year-old nabbed three solid wins on the European circuit.
Behind the Jamaican, Paulo Villar clocked a national Colombian record 7.63 to finish second. Stanislavs Olijars of Latvia, a finalist in the last three editions of the Indoor Championships, was third, clocking a personal best 7.70.
Germany’s Thomas Blaschek, the 2000 World junior silver medallist, had an easy time in the first heat, winning in 7.65, well ahead of Austrian Elmar Lichtenegger (7.71) and Finn Olli Talsi (7.77). Russian Igor Meremota (7.66) won the fifth heat in 7.66, just ahead of Shi Dongpeng’s 7.67, a personal best for the 22-year-old Chinese.
Olympic champion Xiang Liu, who twisted his ankle in mid February, did not start.