If the tally of world leading performances is any indication, the 2005 indoor season suddenly jolted into action this evening at the 19th Sparkassen Cup - IAAF indoor permit - meeting (Sat 29 Jan). In all, nine events saw performances which equalled or topped the year’s lists.
That said, on the other side of the ledger - and unfortunately playing into the public’s disappointment after much pre-meeting publicity - were two egregious examples of sub-par pace-making which hampered the marquee races.
Victory but also frustration for Borzakovskiy
Yuriy Borzakovskiy came to Stuttgart hoping to lower his indoor 800m best of 1:44.15, but the Russian’s plans started to unravel even before the end of the first 200 metres. Ironically, his final time of only 1:47.18 was the fastest yet of this indoor season.
As 400m runner Davian Clarke of Jamaica sailed out to a big lead over the select field of only four other athletes, Borzakovskiy lagged back and seemed to have problems finding the right tempo as he settled in behind France’s Mehdi Baala after only 120 metres.
After all of this gear-shifting, the Olympic champion decided to move to the outside and slowly crept to the front as the first lap came to a close, but his 28.1 clocking had already killed any chance for a superlative time.
The frustrated Borzakovskiy then put on a display of his reserve, and after hitting the halfway point in an even slower 56.5, he covered the final 400 metres in 50.7 to arrive at his winning time.
Just as he did in taking the Olympic silver medal, South African Mbulaeni Mulaudzi followed Borzakovskiy into the finish with a second-place 1:48.28, with Baala third at 1:48.86.
‘B’ section provides world 800m lead upset
Perhaps as an act of penance, Clarke came back forty-five minutes later to pace one of the B-sections of the men’s 800. His opening 51.91 provided the right chemistry for Arnoud Okken of the Netherlands to regain the world lead in the event with a strong 1:46.27 win, lowering his previous personal best by more than a second.
Adere wins but is eight seconds outside mark
The single planned World record attempt of the evening, that of the women’s 3000 metres, also fell short as World 10,000 metres champion Berhane Adere was more than eight seconds off the record she already owns with an 8:37.91 clocking. Perhaps the Ethiopian can find some consolation from having run this young season’s fastest time.
“Yes, I’m disappointed,” she said afterwards. “My current record of 8:29.15 is not really that difficult, but I needed better pacing than I had tonight.”
The discord between Adere the tempo-setter was evident in the opening few laps, as the Ethiopian ran ahead of Czech runner Veronica Mrackova at one point to signal her displeasure. The situation did not improve, and Adere found herself having to run in lane two for much of the first kilometre.
“I really needed two pacemakers, and certainly one who could have gone as far as 2000,” she reckoned. “But when I found myself running on the outside already as early as the second lap, then I knew something was definitely wrong.”
Just before the 900m mark, Mrackova had the good sense to depart the track rather than be a further impediment, but Adere was left with more than two kilometres to negotiate on her own. That, of course, is a tall order in a 3000m race, and the pace understandably sagged from that point. After a 2:50.07 opening kilometer, Adere clocked 2:53.73 and 2:54.11.
The Commonwealth 3000m record holder, Jo Pavey of Great Britain, actually was gaining on Adere over the final three laps as she held on for second in 8:42.46, with Austria’s Susanne Pumper out-kicking Sabrina Mockenhaupt of Germany, 8:47.51 to 8:48.57.
Adere could confirm no further indoor competitions for this season, although several are still under discussion. Also in view is her possible participation in the World Cross Country Championships in March.
Men’s 3000m world lead too - 7:43.30
The men’s 3000 metres also saw a world-leading result, as Mushir Salim Jawher of Bahrain (formerly Leonard Mucheru of Kenya) blasted past Ethiopian Mulugeta Wendimu with 150 remaining to score a tactical 7:43.30 victory. Wendimu, running in his first career indoor race, held second with 7:43.66, far ahead of the third-place 7:48.02 of Kenyan Paul Korir.
Pole Vaults – Rogowska takes it easy
Ruslan Yeremenko of Ukraine deftly played the passing game in the men’s Pole Vault and snared a win with a world leading 5.84, which also was a personal best by four centimetres. His diminutive countryman, Denys Yurchenko, took second at 5.77, ahead of the 5.70 jumps of German Lars Börgeling and Brad Walker of the US.
After two Polish national records earlier this week, one can perhaps forgive Anna Rogowska for wanting to relax tonight. Still, she managed to win the Women’s Pole Vault at 4.60 on a count back against her countrywoman Monika Pyrek.
Chizhenko and Heshko’s night
Yuliya Chizhenko lowered her own season-leading time in winning the women’s 1500 metres with 4:07.68, as Alesya Turova of Belarus chased her home in second at 4:07.99.
Ukraine’s Ivan Heshko likewise posted the year’s best in the men’s version of the metric mile, starting his slow attack while a good 25 metres behind leader Daniel Komen of Kenya at the 950-metre mark, and then winning the race to the tape in 3:37.40. Komen finished with 3:37.68, as Michal Sneberger of the Czech Republic used a strong finish to clock 3:38.88 in third.
The men’s 1000 metres was added to the programme to handle the usual overflow of 800m runners. Profiting the most by this schedule addition was Great Britain’s James McIlroy, who held off Youssef Baba of Morocco for a 2:19.49 victory, the fastest of the year. Baba clocked 2:19.76 in second.
The women’s Long Jump saw Ineta Radevica of Latvia score a win with a late 6.59 leap, pushing erstwhile leader Bianca Kappler of Germany into second at 6.52.
Despite the largest field of the evening at thirteen, and with a wealth of talent, the men’s Long Jump was a rather tepid affair, won by Jonathan Chimier of Mauritius on a countback against American Miguel Pate, as each had a 7.97 best.
The men’s 200 metres was meant to showcase Germany’s Tobias Unger, a finalist in the event last summer in Athens. The local athlete from nearby Kornwestheim showed himself worthy of the honour with a 20.66 win, as another German, reigning European junior champion Sebastian Ernst, won the other section in a creditable 20.74.
Mayola reproduces form
The sprint department was led by Freddy Mayola of Cuba, whose 6.56 winning time in the men’s 60 metres equalled his own world-leading time for the year.
Jeanette Kwakye of Great Britain won the women’s 60 metres in 7.22 ahead of Austria’s Karin Mayr-Krifka at 7.24.
Michelle Freeman of Jamaica was the victor in the women’s 60 Hurdles with 7.98 over American Lolo Jones (8.00).
Ed Gordon for the IAAF
Click here for FULL RESULTS