Linz, AustriaTipped all week long as the marquee event, a riveting hurdle race between Americans Yvette Lewis and Lolo Jones unfolded as the highlight of the Gugl Meeting on Thursday (2) evening in Linz.
After a stunning 7.98 clocking in the heats, Lewis bolted to the lead quickly and held an advantage through four of the five hurdles. Gradually, Jones crept close and over the last barrier sprinted past her American rival for a 7.96 win, as Lewis was timed in 8.00. Jones had run a season-best 8.04 in the heats before her sub-8.00 in the final.
These were Jones’ first races in Europe for the season after having had no competitions at all since the US outdoor championships in late June and several low-key US meetings last month. Tonight was seemingly a confidence builder as the two-time (including current) World indoor champion continues her comeback after spinal surgery last year.
“I knew I had to run well after what Yvette did in the heats,” Jones said. “I was starting to get a little off balance in the early part of the race, but I got back on track and was able to finish well.”
“The first two hurdles are not where I want to be. But I have a lot of races planned in Europe over the next weeks, and things should get smoothed out,” she continued. Jones’ next stop will be in Moscow on Sunday. Eventually, she will need to return to the US Championships in Albuquerque on 25-26 February, as it is the selection meeting for the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Istanbul (9-11 March).
Cindy Roleder finished 3rd in 8.13, lucky to be in the final at all. It appeared that the German hurdler had false-started out of the heats, although she was allowed to run provisionally. After the heats were completed, it was determined that a technical problem had occurred which appeared to have resulted in a false start, and she was advanced to the final.
Former World indoor champion Derval O’Rourke of Ireland was fourth in 8.18.
Kostas Filippidis won the men’s Pole Vault with 5.62m but failed to increase his indoor personal best as his three attempts at 5.73m fell short. “We’re still tweaking things during this part of the season,” the 25-year-old Greek said. “Something here, something there, with the idea of getting it all right in Istanbul.” Next on Filippidis’ schedule is the Pole Vault Stars competition in Donestsk on 11 February.
Germany’s Fabian Schulze was second at 5.52m ahead of Jan Kudlicka of the Czech Republic (5.42m).
Czech pole vaulter Romana Malacova took her event with a personal best 4.35m which was also a Gugl meeting record. She followed with three unsuccessful attempts at 4.40m, which would have equalled her outdoor best. Giorgia Benecchi of Italy was second with 4.15m, ahead of Daniela Höllwarth of Austria (4.05m).
Another Czech winner was Katerina Cechova who took the women’s 60m with 7.39 after clocking 7.31 in the heats. Sri Lanka’s Anoma Soori was second in 7.45 (7.39 in heats), ahead of Valencia 2008 World indoor champion Angela Williams of the US (7.47).
Josh Norman of the US won a tight contest in the men’s 60m against Nigerian Egwero Ogho-Oghene, 6.63 to 6.64.
Christina Schwanitz of Germany ruled the women’s Shot Put by more than 1.5 metres with a best of 18.58m. Any of her four legal throws was sufficient to secure a win.
Benson Seurei, a Kenyan based in Heidelberg, Germany, had a one-man romp in the men’s 3000m to win in 7:48.96, the first time the 800/1500 specialist has contested the event.
As in the hurdles, the women’s Long Jump turned into a tight battle between two Americans, won by Brianna Glenn with 6.35m over Funmi Jimoh’s 6.33m as both jumpers had their evening’s best in the second round.
That same second round was also fruitful for Serbian shot putter Asmir Kolasinac as he heaved the ball a personal-best 20.64m in his victory over Hungary’s Lajos Kurthy (19.62m).
A special under-23 Shot Put event was staged to showcase Lukas Weisshaidinger, Austria’s European U23 discus champion from last summer. The still-19 Weisshaidinger threw a PB 18.64m to best Germany’s Hendrik Müller (17.86m).
The men’s Long Jump winner was former World indoor champion Ignisius Gaisah with 7.93m.
Ed Gordon for the IAAF