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Steeplechase Debutant Turova Sets World Record to steal Jones’ thunder in Ostrava

Steeplechase Debutant Turova Sets World Record to steal Jones’ thunder in Ostrava
Ed Gordon for the IAAF
12 June 2002 – Ostrava, Czech Republic - Despite her world-leading 22.32 in the 200 metres, Marion Jones was forced to share the headlines at the Golden Spike meeting in Ostrava with Alesya Turova, who ran 9:21.72 to break the world record in the women’s steeplechase. 

It was the Belarus runner’s first attempt at the steeplechase, and her time clipped more than a half second off Justyna Bak’s week-old world record.  Bak had the best view of the new record, as the Pole finished second in 9:32.26. 

Designated pacemaker Livia Toth of Hungary appeared to stumble during the first water jump.  Turova, seeing the problem well in advance, was able to avoid a collision and took the opportunity to move out to a significant lead over Bak with only 500 metres of the race gone.  By the kilometre mark, she was 40 metres ahead of her Polish rival, and it became only a race with the clock.  The bronze medallist in the European Indoor 1500 only three months ago, it would appear that Turova may have at least temporarily found a new event for the summer. 

With a season-topping 22.32, Jones fulfilled her role as the marquee athlete with a splendid half-tour of the track, leading Kelli White (22.71) and Juliet Campbell of Jamaica (22.75) into the finish against a slight headwind.  Ever the crowd pleaser, the American replied to the trackside announcer’s question of whether she would come back next year with, “Only if the crowd wants me back.” [Cue thunderous applause and cheers.]

Without a doubt, tonight represented the finest array of international athletics talent ever to be assembled in the Stadion Vitkovice in this industrial town of slightly over 300,000, situated on Moravia’s border with Poland. 

For the Golden Spike meeting, one could apply the adage that “life begins at forty-one”.  Despite the presence of a intermational media headliner like Marion Jones, it was three-time Olympic champion Jan Zelezny who was given the honour of being introduced last during the opening ceremonies, in a display of local “noblesse oblige”.  And Zelezny responded with a top throw of 86.66 to win the javelin.  After an opening 85.36, he had to come from behind in the third round after Andrus Varnik’s speer flew 85.47.  But the Estonian realistically had no chance in challenging the Czech on his own turf. 

Zelezny’s seriousness about this season can be summed up by noting his three gold medals at both the Olympic Games and at the World Championships . . . and the complete lack of a European Championship title. 

Brahim Boulami had been brought to Ostrava in the hopes of presenting the city (and country) with its first sub-8:00 steeplechase.  Unfortunately for Boulami, Wilson Boit Kipketer had also been issued an invitation.

With four laps left in the race, the Moroccan made a move to the front, but the Kenyan quickly countered as the pair continued to wage a close duel until 250 metres remained, with Boulami holding a lead of never more than a metre. 

Moving into final curve, Boit Kipketer sprinted into the lead and turned the competition—with a sub-eight long out of reach—into an exciting leg race.  Off the final water jump,

the Kenyan accelerated as Boulami faltered.  Boit Kipketer sprinted out to an even bigger advantage which he extended down the final straight and into the finish line. 

The Athens World Champion logged a winning time of 8:06.14, which was almost two seconds faster than Boulami’s 8:07.91, as the rest of the field could stay no closer than sixteen seconds behind the lead pair.

Maria Mutola was another of the invited stars, and her 1:58.50 win in the women’s 800 was totally expected.  Tsevetlina Kirilova of Bulgaria finished second in 2:00.84.  Of even greater interest, however, was the intra-Czech battle for third, won by Ludmila Formanova (2:01.31) over Helena Fuchsova (2:01.35). 

A double world champion (indoors and outdoors) in 1999, Formanova had been absent from competition since walking off the track in Sydney in the 800-metre heats.  After an aborted return during this past indoor season, it appears that the protegee of Jarmila Kratochvilova is now coming into form once again. 

Joseph Mutua of Kenya won the men’s 800 by running wide off the final turn and then outkicking three rivals down the final 80 metres.  His time of 1:45.29 was a personal season-best, and bettered the performance by Berhanu Alemu of Ethiopia (1:45.35), and Kenyans Nicholas Wachira (1:45.43) and Wilfried Bungei (1:45.63).  Marek Plawgo had to drive less than two hours from his home in Bytom, Poland, to contest his first 400 hurdle race of the year, and everything went as planned, except his wish for a personal best.  His winning time of 48.25 leads all Europeans, and in his career is second only to the 48.16 he ran early in the 2001 season. 

The 21-year-old Pole—who had an remarkable weekend in March in winning the European Indoor title in the 400 metres—seemed to encounter the first hurdle earlier than he wished, but after that he was able to smoothly handle the barriers until a bit of fatigue seemed to settle in at the eighth hurdle. 

By that point, his lead over Joey Woody was sufficient to seal the win.  The American, perhaps feeling the rigours of a complicated trip to Ostrava after his win in Athens, still ran his best of the year in 48.57. 

World leader Llewellyn Herbert of South Africa, a silver medallist at the Athens World Championships, was fourth in 49.07, being just clipped by Jiri Muzik’s 49.05.  The 110 hurdles was the season’s first duel between the event’s top two exponents, Colin Jackson and Allen Johnson, the owners of all World Championship titles since 1993.  But in the end, it was Stanislav Olijar who had the last say.  The 23-year-old Latvian watched the two stars stage a dead-even battle in adjacent lanes for 80 metres before he accelerated on the outside over the final three hurdles to gain the close victory.  His winning time of 13.44, slowed by a 1.6 headwind, was just barely enough to eclipse Johnson (13.45) and Jackson (13.46). 

The women’s race produced comparatively better results, as world leader Glory Alozie of Spain added to her European Championships credentials with a 12.78 clocking to defeat Bulgarian champion Yana Kasova, who was pulled to personal best of 12.87.  Melissa Morrison took third in 13.01.

High jumping stood out among the field events.  Coming off her victory three days earlier at the Znamenskiy Memorial in Tula, Marina Kuptsova retained her winning ways with a 1.98 win in the women’s high jump.  The reigning European Indoor Champion, Kuptsova took three unsuccessful attempts at 2.00 to close out the competition. 

Sydney bronze medallist Oana Pantelimon of Romania was second with 1.93, ahead of the Czech Republic’s Zuzana Hlavonova at 1.90.  Grzegorz Sposob of Poland took the men’s event at 2.30, while three Czechs showed the country’s current depth in the event in the next three places, all at 2.27.  Svatoslav Ton earned second on misses, while Jan Janku and 17-year-old Jaroslav Baba shared third. 

The women’s triple jump was a close affair, with only two centimetres separating the first three places.  Anna Pyatych of Russia prevailed with 14.43, while Francoise Mgango of Cameroun took second over Jelena Oleynikova on a better second-best jump, as both had bests of 14.41.

RESULTS (all CZE except as noted)

MEN

100 METRES (-0.8):  1. Aliu (NGR) 10.16;  2. Emedolu (NGR) 10.31;  3. A Da Silva (BRA) 10.32;  4. Crawford (USA) 10.40;  5. Scuderi (ITA) 10.58;  6. Emmanuel (NGR) 10.59;  7. Vojtik 10.59;  8. Pilarczyk (POL) 10.59. 

200 METRES (-1.7):  1. Urbas (POL) 20.60;  2. A Da Silva (BRA) 20.60;  3.  Jedrusinski (POL) 20.75;  4. Zachoval 20.89;  5. Brinarsky (SVK) 20.94;  6. Cavallaro (ITA) 21.48. 

800 METRES:  1. Mutua (KEN) 1:45.29;  2. Alemu (ETH) 1:45.35;  3. Wachira (KEN) 1:45.43;  4. Bungei (KEN) 1:45.63;  5. Czapiewski (POL) 1:46.81;  6. Oravec 1:47.07; 7. Lomba (FRA) 1:47.29;  8. Sneberger 1:47.56;  9. Al Badri (QAT) 1:47.74;  10.Vydra 1:48.25;  11. Kemboi (KEN) 1:48.66.  Pace:  Sambu (KEN). 

STEEPLECHASE:  1. Boit Kipketer (KEN) 8:06.14;  2. B Boulami (MAR) 8:07.91;  3.  Manyim (KEN) 8:23.73;  4. Ouerdi (MAR) 8:28.92;  5. Wojcik (POL) 8:30.58;  6. Tarus (KEN) 8:32.75;  7. Zakrzewski (POL) 8:34.03;  8. Lehtinen (FIN) 8:35.58;  9. Nejedly 8:35.71;  10. Ali Abubaker (QAT) 8:40.14;  11. Kaczmarek (POL) 8:54.49;  12.  Kapkory (KEN) 9:02.12.  Pace:  Tarus (KEN), Langat (KEN).  Did not finish:  Maffei (ITA), Skoog (SWE), Nemeth (HUN).

110 HURDLES (-1.6):   1. Olijar (LAT) 13.44;  2. Johnson (USA) 13.45;  3. Jackson (GBR) 13.46;  4. Ross (USA) 13.66;  5. Videnov (BUL) 13.78;  6. Scigaczewski (POL) 13.89;  7. Burdel 14.06;  8. Lichtenegger (AUT) 14.09. 

400 HURDLES:  1. Plawgo (POL) 48.25;  2. Woody (USA) 48.57;  3. Muzik 49.05;  4.Herbert (RSA) 49.07;  5. Weakley (JAM) 49.07;  6. Januszewski (POL) 49.16;  7.Tesarik 49.72. 

HIGH JUMP:  1. Sposob (POL) 2.30;  2. Ton 2.27;  3. Baba [born 2 Sep 1984] and J Janku 2.27;  5. Hammad (ALG) 2.24;  6. Moroz (BLR) 2.20;  7. Fomenko (RUS) 2.20; 8. Clinger 2.20;  9. N Ciotti (ITA) 2.20;  10. T Janku and Ort 2.15;  12. Lesnichiy (BLR) 2.15. 

POLE VAULT:  1. Strogalev (RUS) and Janacek 5.71;  3. Gorshkov (RUS) 5.61;  4.Ptacek 5.61;  5. Johnson (LCA) 5.61;  6. Averbukh (ISR) and Markov (AUS) 5.41;  8.Gerasimov (RUS) 5.41;  9. Allevi (ITA) 5.31;  10. Burgess (AUS) 5.21.  No height:  Mikhalichenko (RUS) at 5.41. 

SHOT PUT:  1. Belonog (UKR) 20.51;  2. Tiisanoja (FIN) 20.07;  3. Stehlik 19.91;  4.Haborak (SVK) 19.76;  5. Guset (ROM) 19.66;  6. Chumachenko (RUS) 19.52;  7.Biber (HUN) 19.50;  8. Nordin (SWE) 18.43;  9. Rosulek 18.15;  10. Zitnansky (SVK) 17.18. 

JAVELIN:  1. Zelezny 86.66 [85.36 - 83.32 - 86.66 - 85.28 - 86.04 - 85.82];  2. Varnik (EST) 85.47 [x - 85.05 - 85.47 - 81.66 - x - x];  3. Rags (LAT) 84.11;   4. Ivanov (RUS) 83.31;  5. Thorkildsen (NOR) 81.15;  6. Guzdek 76.19. 

WOMEN:

200 METRES (-0.4):  1. Jones (USA) 22.32 (world leader);  2. White (USA) 22.71;  3.  J Campbell (JAM) 22.75;  4. Mayr (AUT) 23.31;  5. Tirlea (ROM) 23.51;  6. Guener (TUR) 23.80;  7. Klapacova 24.02;  8. Zizalova 24.52.  800 METRES:  1. Mutola (MOZ) 1:58.50;  2. Kirilova (BUL) 2:00.84;  3. Formanova 2:01.31;  4. Fuchsova 2:01.35;  5. Klocova (SVK) 2:01.59;  6. Kaczor (POL) 2:02.02; 7. Howell (JAM) 2:02.51;  8. Zagorska (POL) 2:03.09;  9. Lochmanova 2:03.69;  10.Hoppova 2:05.52;  11. Birungi (UGA) 2:05.90.  Pace:  Zizalova

STEEPLECHASE:  1. Turova (BLR) 9:21.72 (world record);  2. Bak (POL) 9:32.26;  3.Duquenoy (FRA) 9:43.89;  4. Limika (KEN) 9:46.84;  5. Casandra (ROM) 9:47.00;  6.Olivares (FRA) 9:48.25;  7. Vanden Bempt (BEL) 10:02.47;  8. Sabino (USA) 10:12.17.  Did not finish:  Toth (HUN). 

100 HURDLES (-0.6)  1. Alozie (ESP) 12.78;  2. Kasova (BUL) 12.87;  3. Morrison (USA) 13.01;  4. Dimitrova (BUL) 13.09;  5. Martincova 13.57;  6. O’Rourke (IRL) 13.60;  7. Sosnowska (POL) 13.65;  8. Bobkova 13.69. 

HIGH JUMP:  1. Kuptsova (RUS) 1.98 [1.75 - 1.80 - 1.84 - 1.87 - 1.90 - 1.93 - 1.96 - 1.98/3 - 2.00/xxx];  2. Pantelimon (ROM) 1.93;  3. Hlavonova 1.90;  4. Strakova 1.90;

5. I Janku 1.90;  6. Lalakova and Vlasic (CRO) 1.87;  8. Sivushenko (RUS) and Gulyayeva (RUS) 1.87;  10. Gyorffy (HUN) 1.87;  11. Ksok (POL) 1.84;  12.  Medgyesova (SVK) 1.75. 

TRIPLE JUMP:  1. Pyatych (RUS) 14.43 (0.2) [x - x - 14.03 - 14.43 - 14.38 - 14.27]; 2. Mbango (CMR) 14.41 (0.2);  3. Oleynikova (RUS) 14.41 (0.2);  4. Safronova (BLR) 14.02 (0.9);  5. Darmovzalova 13.70 (0.2);  6. Lebedenko (RUS) 13.58 (0.2);  7. Veldakova (SVK) 13.55 (0.2);  8. Kasparkova 13.51 (0.2);  9. Ilyina (RUS) 13.40 (0.2).