That “yourself” sometimes is the toughest act to follow might sound like a paradox to most of us but it is certainly true for star athletes. Just ask Christian Olsson whose 17.43 at the “Götagalan” meet in Karlstad on Thursday night was seen as nothing special by most of the 8.400 spectators at the “Tingvalla” stadium. This because they remembered “Götagalan” last year when Christian put together a string of 17.50-plus jumps topped by the then-NR of 17.64.
However, a negative sounding “Not even a stadium record” judgement certainly is much too harsh. 17.43 is indeed a world class mark in itself and if you add that the World Indoors silver medallist Walter Davis finished second in 16.79 and that the freshly laid track was visibly soft (clearly affecting the crucial timing for the jumpers) it grows further in stature. And Christian’s last attempt - which he aborted halfway through the third phase - measured 17.09!
On the world-class yardstick pole vaulter Patrik Kristiansson provided the second top performance of the evening by clearing 5.75 and having one decent attempt at 5.90.
World ranking high jump leader Stefan Holm had cleared 2.32 last Saturday in nearby Kil and during warm-up and the early heights today he felt ready for something extra. Especially as he was competing at home (he is residing in Karlstad). So after 2.27 Stefan passed at 2.30 and went straight for 2.32 - but then the magic had disappeared and he failed all three attempts and even lost the competition (on count-back) to American Jamie Nieto.
Of the foreign visitors the Saudi male contingent was the most successful winning the Long Jump and all running events up to 800m (World Youth Champion Mohammed Al-Salhi in 1:47.44!!) excluding the 200m. At the latter distance it was Johan Wissman - who set a Swedish NR with his 20.43 at the European U23 Championships last Sunday - who proved too strong for the impressive (10.26) 100m winner Salem Al-Yami.
Also the other three Swedish medallists at the European U23 championships last weekend competed here. The big favourite with the crowd was of course Carolina Klüft who this time had chosen the High Jump and the 200m.
In the High Jump she had a magnificent clearance of 1.87 but 1.90 proved too high for her on this night. But not for Finn Hanna Mikkonen who after 1.90 also attempted the NR height of 1.92 providing a couple of decent attempts. But the evening still offered a Finnish NR as Johanna Risku sprinted to a 9:55.44 victory in the steeplechase with Susanne Wigene finishing second in the Norwegian NR of 9:57.97.
And the evening also still offered a victory for Carolina Klüft. At the 200m she stormed away from all opposition already on the bend and then extended her lead all the way to the finish. She reached the line in 23.37 leaving second placed Jamaican Janice Daley some eight metres behind.
U23 hurdle medallists Susanna Kallur and Philip Nossmy had to be content with third places this time with the wins going to the experienced Olympic finallists Deloreen Ennis-London (12.93) and Robert Kronberg (13.55). However, just like in the triple jump all the sprint/hurdle marks should be seen in the perspective of the not-yet-fully-hardened track, something probably slowing the times by at least a tenth.
The top throwing mark of the evening was provided by American (but Swedish named ...) hammer thrower Anna Norgren. After having technical problems during the first five rounds she finally got it all together on her last try which almost flew to the 70m-line landing at 69.00.
Selected results (athletes Swedish unless otherwise noted)
100m (+1.1): Al-Yami KSA 10.26, Al-Saffar KSA 10.31
200m (+0.8): Wissman 20.72, Al-Yami 20.87
400m: Hamdan Al-Bishi KSA 45.45, Laursen 46.30
800m: Al-Salhi (born 1986) KSA 1:47.44, Dirshe 1:48.41, Woodward USA 1:48.49.
3000m St: Barnabas Kosgei 8:31.97, Mohamed 8:33.17.
110mH (+0.8): Kronberg 13.55, Wallace USA 13.57, Nossmy 13.70.
HJ: Nieto USA 2.27, Holm 2.27
PV: Kristiansson 5.75, Buciarski DEN 5.46, Mononen FIN 5.46.
LJ: Al-Khuwaildi KSA 7.89w/+3.0 (7.86/0.0).
TJ: Olsson 17.43/+0.9, W Davis USA 16.79/+0.5.
JT: Hamly-Harris AUS 79.75, Koski-Vähälä FIN 76.96.
100m (+0.9): J Kallur 11.55, Daley JAM 11.73.
200m (+1.0): Klüft 23.37, Daley 24.15.
100mH (+1.3): Ennis-London JAM 12.93, Carruthers USA 12.96, S Kallur 12.98, J Kallur 13.20, Munroe AUS 13.61.
HJ: Mikkonen FIN 1.90, Klüft 1.87, Lalakova CZE 1.87
SP: Engman 16.19
HT: Norgren-Mahon USA 69.00, Nilsson 63.19, Hart USA 62.47.