44.78 Belgian national record for Jonathan Borlee in Fayetteville (Kirby Lee) © Copyright
Preview Gent, Belgium

Borlée Brothers to chase 600m World Best performance in Gent - PREVIEW

Belgian stars Kévin and Jonathan Borlée are eager to entertain the local crowd in the Topsporthal in Gent next Sunday (13). The twin brothers aim to break the World best mark at the 600m that was set in 1999 by Nico Motchebon of Germany.

The Flanders Indoor meeting in Gent is an IAAF Indoor Permit event.

The 2000m Steeple with Paul Kipsiele Koech, who broke the World Best last year in Gent promises to become one of the other meeting highlights. Olga Saladukha of the Ukraine leads a strong field in the women’s Triple Jump.

Record chases at unusual distances

European 400m champion Kévin Borlée and Europe’s leading performer on the distance in 2010 Jonathan Borlée asked the organisers to stage an unusual 600m at the Belgacom Indoor meeting in Gent on Sunday February 13th.

The World best mark at the distance is held by Nico Motchebon of Germany, who ran 1:15.12 in Sindelfingen in 1999. The Borlée brothers returned from a training camp in South Africa recently and already showed good form in Liévin this Tuesday. In a 300m that was won by Leslie Djhone of France, Jonathan clocked 32.79, only a fraction outside his personal outdoor best, while Kévin posted 33.03.

Those results reflect the slight differences between the twin brothers, with Jonathan being the more explosive sprinter type while Kévin is the one with the stronger stamina. The European 400m champion even considered stepping up to the 800m, but ultimately he decided to remain with the 400m at least until the 2012 Olympic Games.

The 600m is scheduled at the end of the main programme and the atmosphere will be building up for this thrilling event. Challengers for the twin brothers are European 800m champion Marcin Lewandowski of Poland and Olympic 800m silver medallist Ismail Ahmed Ismail of Sudan.

Local heroine Bolshakova faces Saladukha and Mbango in the Triple Jump

A massive joy rolled over Belgium last summer when Svetlana Bolshakova took the bronze medal at the European championships in Barcelona. The former Russian conquered the hearts of the citizens of her new nation both as a talented sportswoman and as a charming personality.

Bolshakova is entered for her first competition of this season in front of her home crowd, after suffering from a slight knee injury. She faces one of the strongest fields that can be gathered in the women’s Triple Jump these days. European champion Olha Saladukha of the Ukraine, double Olympic champion Françoise Mbango Etone of France, Jamaican Trecia Smith and Brazilian Keila Costa are amongst the contenders.

Paul Kipsiele Koech returns to magic ground

Paul Kipsiele Koech returns to magic ground for yet another 2000m Steeplechase after setting the World Best mark (5:17.04) on the distance last year in Gent. With the support of his Kenyan compatriot Haron Lagat Koech, he will try and improve the best ever performance that he set at the distance.

Middle distance fans will also watch out for the men’s 1500m where Kenyans Brimin Kipruto, Daniel Kipchirchir Komen and Ismael Kombich are the pre-race favourites. Local interest in the race comes from Kristof Van Malderen who ran an impressive PB of 3:39.03 in Liévin.

Ethiopian Ali Abdosh headlines the 3000m, with Kenyans Jonas Cheruiyot and Vincent Rono and Halil Akkas of Turkey as strong challengers. The women’s 1500m may well turn out to become a fierce duel between Kenyan Irene Jelagat and Ethiopian Abeba Aregawi. But Lindsey De Grande is not to rule out in this race. The Belgian set a strong national record earlier this season at the distance.

Merritt starring in the Hurdles races

Aries Merritt of the USA requires great form in the men’s 60m Hurdles if he wants to beat his compatriots Joel Brown and Kevin Craddock. Nichole Denby and Danielle Carruthers of the USA will face off European champion Eline Berings who competes in her hometown. Melissa Barber of the USA can delight the fans of the 60m dash, while Jerome Clavier of France and Björn Otto of Germany are set to fight for the honours in the men’s Pole Vault.

Ivo Hendrix for the IAAF