10 FEB 2012 Preview 10 February 2012 – Karlsruhe, Germany

Focus on Storl and Jones in Karlsruhe - Preview

David Storl debuts with a 21.24m victory in Nordhausen (Sylvia Spehr)David Storl debuts with a 21.24m victory in Nordhausen (Sylvia Spehr) © Copyright

Karlsruhe, GermanyStrong fields in the men’s Shot Put and women’s hurdles highlight the start lists for Sunday’s IHM fixture at the Europahalle in Karlsruhe, Germany, the third of this season’s six IAAF Indoor Permit Meetings.  


Storl takes centre stage


Surprise Daegu Shot Put winner David Storl will battle against a list of highly decorated rivals. Still only 21, the German will face three-time World indoor champion and Berlin outdoor champion Christian Cantwell of the US, as well as Beijing victor Tomasz Majewski of Poland.  Storl’s countryman Ralf Bartels, a two-time bronze winner at the World Championships and current European indoor champion, is also part of the field, as is Helsinki worlds runner-up Rutger Smith of the Netherlands.  Fresh from a PB 20.64m last week in Linz, Serbia’s Asmir Kolasinac adds further depth to the afternoon contest.


Lolo Jones lowered the season’s best 60m Hurdles time to 7.89 in Moscow last weekend, and she leads the entry card in that event, one that saw its current World record set on the fast sprint apron in Karlsruhe’s Europahalle four years ago. The American will be challenged by countrywoman Yvette Lewis, former World indoor and outdoor champion Perdita Felicien of Canada, Osaka semifinalist Adriana Lamalle from France, Daegu fifth placer Tatyana Dektyareva of Russia and current European indoor champion Carolin Nytra from Germany. Along with Nytra, additional accomplished hurdling Germans will be present, such as European championships finalist Nadine Hildebrand, Euro under-23 bronze winner Cindy Roleder, reigning World junior runner-up Jenna Pletsch, as well as Anne-Kathrin Elbe.  


The 2012 season has seen the landscape of indoor competitions change markedly over the past year with the recent abdication of anchor sponsors in the south German cities of Stuttgart and Karlsruhe. The responses of the two organising groups have been diametrical opposites. The Stuttgart group decided to end on a high note and close out its successful 25-year run of consistently top-ranked meetings. The Karlsruhe organization, on the other hand, used the challenge offered by this new situation and developed a sponsorship arrangement composed primarily of local entities. Thus, its yearly fixture is still alive for a 28th presentation on Sunday.  


Two quick 3000m races on tap


Both of the 3000m races offer fields of notable renown and accomplishment. Yenew Alamirew, who led last year’s indoor season list in the event, makes his 2012 debut on Sunday.  He will be joined by fellow Ethiopian Abera Kuma, the fifth placer in the Daegu 5000m, Berlin and Beijing 1500m finalist Augustine Choge, Beijing 5000m bronze winner Edwin Soi, reigning Commonwealth 5000m champion Moses Kipsiro, and Eliud Kipchoge, the holder of five medals in global championships.  Spain adds two runners primarily noted for the 1500m, current European champion Arturo Casado plus Beijing and Berlin finalist Juan Carlos Higuero.  


The women’s event includes two-time world championships 5000m runner-up Sylvia Kibet, Berlin 10,000m silver medallist Meselech Melkamu, 2008 World indoor bronze winner Mariem Selsouli, and 19-year-old Birtukan Adamu, last year’s all-African champion in the Steeplechase.  Europe is represented in the contest by three-time European indoor champion Lidia Chojecka of Poland and her compatriot, Beijing steeple finalist Wioletta Frankiewicz, Italy’s Silvia Weissteiner and Paula Gonzalez of Spain.  


The 1500m also appears in both men’s and women’s formats on Sunday.  Kenya’s Bethwel Birgen, last year’s winner here, will joust with others from his country, including Collins Cheboi, Gideon Gathimba, and Ismael Kombich.  Germany’s Carsten Schlangen, the reigning European silver medallist, is part of the field as are Abdelkader Mahmoudi of France and Turkey’s Ilham Tanui Ozbilen (former Kenyan William Tanui Biwott).  


The women’s event is led by Universiade bronze winner Yekaterina Gorbunova of Russia.  Joining her are European indoor 800m runner-up Fanjanteino Felix of France, Commonwealth 800m finalist Winny Chebit and Daegu finalist Helen Obiri, both of Kenya.  Notable among the others is Britain’s Steph Twell, who will be making her career indoor debut on Sunday.  


Ivet Lalova’s 7.20 last weekend in the women’s 60m seemingly makes her the person to beat in an entry list including former World indoor champion Angela Williams, reigning European 100m titlist Verena Sailer, and two-time Olympic sprint finalist Aleen Bailey, plus triple African Championships gold medallist Vida Anim.  


High Jump focus on Friedrich


The women’s high jump provides another opportunity for Ariane Friedrich to approach the elite level once again as she recovers from Achilles surgery last year. The Berlin bronze winner and former European indoor champion will compete against new German talent Marie-Laurence Jungfleisch, Daegu finalist Anna Iljustsenko of Estonia, and Universiade silver medalist Airine Palsyte of Lithuania.  A Russian member of the Two-Metre Club, Irina Gordeyeva, is a late addition.


Nery Brenes of Costa Rica, the fourth placer in the men’s 400 at the last two World Indoor Championships, will start his Istanbul quest on Sunday.  Former European indoor champ Johan Wissman of Sweden and reigning European indoor runner-up Thomas Schneider of Germany will apply pressure, as well as season European leader Pavel Maslak of the Czech Republic. Also in the race is Daegu 400m Hurdles semifinalist Georg Fleischhauer, also of Germany.  


American Kevin Craddock and Russia’s Konstantin Shabanov together stand atop the men’s 60m Hurdles entrants with 7.54 bests this season.  Doha semifinalist Helge Schwarzer of Germany will be part of the mix, as will another American, Jeff Porter.  Others in the field include Osaka finalist Jackson Quinonez of Spain, European 110m Hurdles finalist Alexander John of Germany, Valencia bronze winner Yevgeniy Borisov of Russia, reigning World junior 110H champion Pascal Martinot Lagarde of France, and Barcelona semifinalist Dominik Bochenek of Poland.  


Pole vaulter Silke Spiegelburg returns to the site of her German indoor record last year (4.76m, since improved to 4.77m).  Pushing the Leverkusen jumper will be Daegu silver winner Martina Strutz, European indoor bronze medallist Kristina Gadschiew, Switzerland’s Nicole Büchler, Anastasiya Savchenko of Russia, and Belarus vaulter Anastasiya Shvedova.  


Ed Gordon for the IAAF