Paul Kipsiele Koech running in the 2009 GE Galan (Hasse Sjogren) © Copyright
General News Düsseldorf, Germany

13:02.95 by Koech tops eight world leads in Düsseldorf

Even Miruts Yifter did it almost forty years ago in a US race against Steve Prefontaine, so perhaps Daniel Kipchirchir Komen is not in such bad company.

The gaffe happened in the men’s 5000m at the PSD Bank Meeting in Düsseldorf last night (3), as Komen was chasing the front-running Paul Kipsiele Koech into the bell. Suddenly Komen stopped, as if he considered the race to be over, even though the clock read approximately 12:38. 

That left Koech racing against the clock, which he soon stopped in a world-leading 13:02.95, the fifth-fastest indoor performance of all-time. Komen had no problem claiming the runner-up spot in 13:06.27, but the audience was deprived of a potentially gripping fast duel over the final lap. 

A third Kenyan, Daniel Salel took the next spot in 13:15.89, ahead of the Asian record 13:19.10 of Qatar’s Essa Rasheed.

That was just one of eight performances in the Arena Sportpark which equalled or bettered this indoor season’s best.  The evening also saw seven meet records in the fixture’s fifth yearly edition. 

Keeping up with Joneses – 7.85 world lead for Lolo...

The sprints provided much of the statistical interest during the evening.  Lolo Jones may have had “Düsseldorf gremlins” in her mind as she completely flattened the first barrier in her heat of the Women’s 60m Hurdles.  But she regained her composure quickly to win the elimination race in a so-so 8.05 before dominating the final with a 7.85 world-leading time.

“Why do I always hit the first hurdle in Düsseldorf,” she asked herself later, reflecting on last year’s debacle in which she barely made the final and then failed to finish. 

“I was very nervous before the final tonight,” she continued, “and I ran the first hurdle really cautiously.  Once I got past that, then I knew I could go for it.”

Finishing close behind Jones was fast-emerging US hurdler Yvette Lewis in 7.91, who had equalled the world-best time for the year in the heats with 7.90, as Cuba’s Anay Tejeda was third at 7.98.

... and another 7.09 dash for Laverne Jones-Ferrette

Another member of the extended Jones family, Laverne Jones-Ferrette, equaled her own world-leading time of 7.09 in winning the 60m. The US Virgin Islands sprinter had close company with American Carmelita Jeter, but the latter could not overtake at the end and had to be content with a second-place 7.13. Former world indoor champion Chandra Sturrup, now in her 39th year, still showed international class with a third-place 7.23. 

American Mark Jelks parlayed a superb reaction time (0.111) into a world-leading 6.56 victory in the Men’s 60m, as Jamaican Lerone Clark (6.62) and former European record holder Ronald Pognon of France (6.64) followed him across the finish.  World Long Jump champion Dwight Phillips continued to concentrate on speed work as he brought up the rear with a 6.80 clocking.  Saturday in Stuttgart, he will open the season in his specialty. 

Robles opens with 7.50 win

Although he was the only sprinter not to equal or lower the year’s best in his event tonight, Beijing Olympic champion Dayron Robles just missed by 0.01 in his powerful 7.50 victory in the 60m Hurdles. It was the first competition for the Cuban since his non-finish at last year’s Berlin World Championships, but it showed him to be already reaching top form as he points toward the World Indoor Championships next month.  Eric Mitchum of the US and Bahamanian Shamar Sands took the next two places in 7.55 and 7.62, respectively.

American hurdler Allen Johnson was forced to withdraw tonight before the heats when he felt an ‘irritation’ in one of his Achilles tendons while warming up. The eight-time Olympic and World indoor/outdoor champion, who will turn 39 at the end of this month, was optimistic that the condition is minor, and he fully expects to be in the field on Saturday in Stuttgart.

World leads for Borzakovskiy and Choge

It was the Yuriy Borzakovskiy of old which came to Germany for the Men’s 800m, and he ran his race just as in the old days, lagging behind the rest of the field until only about 300 metres remained.  Slowly and methodically, he chewed up the distance behind the leaders and sprinted away at the end to lower his own world-leading time with a 1:45.77 performance. 

At the bell, Olympic silver winner Ahmad Ismail of Sudan was close behind the Russian, and into the final back straight, young Polish runner Adam Kszczot also made a move to try and overtake Borzakovskiy. Their efforts were futile, although the two fought tooth-and-nail in the final meters as Ismail narrowly held of Kszczot, 1:45.99 to 1:46.00, for second.  

Augustine Choge of Kenya broke away from the front runners with 150 metres remaining in the Men’s 1500m for a world-leading 3:36.75 victory over Juan van Deventer. The South African had recovered well after being bumped to the infield in the early stages of the race, and moving on the inside, he took a small lead coming into the bell.  But that was only a signal for Choge to start his final kick. 

Van Deventer clocked 3:37.25 in his first-ever indoor race, a South African record by more than two seconds, with Geoffrey Rono of Kenya closing fast for third in 3:38.10.

In the B-race, Nickson Chepseba held off Kenyan countryman Cornelius Ndiwa in the final steps for a 3:42.77-to-3:42.84 victory. 

Nataliya Lupu of Ukraine sprinted past Czech Lenka Masna in the last 30 metres of the Women’s 800m to win in 2:02.86, as Masna, who had held the lead with 300 to go, was clocked in 2:02.96.  Liliya Lobanova of Ukraine, part of the lead pack coming off the final curve, was left behind at the end as she finished third in 2:03.95.

Left in the lead when the pacer departed in the Women’s 1500m, Britain’s Helen Clitheroe ran a determined final 2½ laps for a 4:10.29 win.  Midway through the final curve, Poland’s Angelilka Cichocka, well-tanned after arriving yesterday from a training camp in South Africa, put on a burst to take second from Kenyan Irene Jelegat, 4:10.54 to 4:11.20.

Savigne debuts with 14.85m

Cuba’s Yargelis Savigne, the reigning World indoor and outdoor champion, took five attempts in the women’s Triple Jump, all exceeding fourteen metres, and peaked in a world-leading 14.84m to easily win that event for the fourth consecutive time in Düsseldorf. The leap was also the second farthest indoor mark of her career. She was followed by Slovak Dana Veldaková at 14.29m and compatriot Mable Gay with 14.26m as only these three bettered the benchmark 14-metre mark.

Although almost eliminated at 5.50m, Germany’s Alexander Straub did manage to stay alive and then go on to win the men’s Pole Vault on a countback at 5.70m against countryman Hendrik Gruber. For Gruber, the 5.70m performance marked a nine-centimetre PB increase.  World silver winner Romain Mesnil of France and Germany’s Raphael Holzdeppe took the next two places at 5.60m. 

The men’s Shot Put saw Berlin bronze medallist Ralf Bartels of Germany put together a fine series of six throws over twenty metres, with his evening’s best of 20.70m scoring a win over the 20.55m of Olympic champion Tomasz Majewski of Poland, who was making his season debut.

The reigning World and European junior champion, 19-year-old David Storl, had a strong finish with 20.05m and 20.08m in his last two trips to the ring to place third. 

Ed Gordon for the IAAF

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