Simon Vroemen of the Netherlands in the heats of the 3000m Steeplechase (Helsinki 2005) (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News 12 June 2008 – Cottbus, Germany

Vroemen’s 8:12.50 Steeplechase victory the highlight in Cottbus

Cottbus, GermanyThe very last event on the programme of the ‘Internationales Lausitzer Meeting Cottbus’ produced the most amazing performance of the day: Holland’s Simon Vroemen took the 3000m Steeplechase with a European lead of 8:12.50. There were a number of other fine performances on a partly windy day with temperatures slightly above 20° Celsius. About 5000 spectators attended the meeting’s 19th edition.

At the age of 39 Simon Vroemen delivered a brilliant display of steeplechasing in Cottbus. Taking the lead after the early departure of the pacemaker he ran from the front from 1200m onwards. The Dutchman, who lives in Hamburg (Germany) and works full-time for energy company RWE as a portfolio manager, did not tire at the end and was almost ten seconds faster than he had expected. With his 8:12.50 Vroemen now is number three on the world list this year and broke the meeting record. So far only Kenyans Paul Kipsiele Koech (8:01.85) and Richard Kipkemboi Mateelong (8:07.64) have run faster in 2008. The last time Vroemen had run faster was in 2005.

“I had thought of being capable of running about 8:20,” Vroemen said. “And when we passed the 1000 metres mark in 2:43 minutes I thought this is a bit too fast for me.”

But he kept going and with his winning time easily achieved the qualifying standard for the Beijing Olympics. “These Olympics come as a final bonus of my career,” said Vroeman, who will end his career after his third Olympic appearance. “So far my best Olympic result is sixth. I would like to improve on that, but first of all the final will be the main goal,” said the former European record holder. “I think in general the Kenyans are beatable in the steeple – but it is very hard to beat the best of them.”

Meeting record for Williams, much attention for Lalova

There was another fine meeting record in the women’s 100m. With the slight help of a tail wind of +0.4 Angela Williams clocked 11.13 to win the second race. Earlier she had already won the first 100m with 11.17. “I enjoyed these races and the support of the spectators,” said the World Indoor 60m champion from Valencia.

There was as much attention for the winner Williams as there was for Bulgaria’s Ivet Lalova, who took fourth in the first and fifth in the second race (11.68 and 11.61). Talking about her horrible accident during the warm-up for the Athens Grand Prix Meeting three years ago (trying to avoid a collision in the narrow underground facility of the Olympic Stadium she fell so awkwardly that she broke her thigh so badly that she had to have immediate surgery in Athens) it appeared that she still runs with a 38 centimetre long nail in her leg.

“After Beijing it will be removed,” said Lalova, who is already qualified for the Olympics because she had run 11.26 last year at her comeback from the injury. “Since then I was not yet able to reach that time again,” explained the 24 year-old, who has a personal best of 10.77 from 2004. “That is because I ran my first race without much thinking of what had happened. It was only afterwards when I started thinking too much about it. This was a mental problem, but I believe I am now on the way back to my best. I just need a couple of races. The goal for Beijing will be to reach the final. Then at the World Championships next year in Berlin I want to win the gold medal.”

Obergföll, Kleinert, Casanas excel in the throws

European record holder Christina Obergföll improved her season’s best to 64.16m in the Javelin. Winning her event she was well ahead of Katahrina Molitor (60.81m). Nadine Kleinert took the Shot Put with a fine 19.77m from Christina Schwanitz (all Germany/ 19.27m). 

Frank Casanas produced one of the best results of the day in very good conditions for throwing. The Spaniad won the Discus Throw with 67.17m from Zoltan Kövago (Hungary/63.47m) and Martin Wierig (Germany/62.67m).

There were fine displays by middle distance runners Achraf Tadili (Canada), who won the 800m, and Germany’s Carsten Schlangen, who took the 1500 m. But both were running from the front on the final lap and into a head wind on the back straight. Thus times were not as fast as expected with 1:46.46 and 3:37.79. In the difficult conditions Alexander Straub (Germany) won the Pole Vault with 5.70m from Tim Lobinger (same height).

Jörg Wenig for the IAAF

Leading Results –
100 m: 1. Daniel Grueso COL 10.24, 2. Tyree Gailes USA 10.29.
400 m: 1. Erison Hurtault USA 46.22, 2. Jamaal Torrance USA 46.61.
800 m: 1. Ashraf Tadili CAN 1:46.46, 2. Tamas Kazi HUN 1.48.44.
1,500 m: 1. Carsten Schlangen GER 3:37,79, 2. Philemon Kimutai KEN 3:39,20.
3,000 m SC: 1. Simon Vroemen NED 8:12.50, 2. Ruben Ramolefi RSA 8:23,37, 3. Legese Lamiso ETH 8:30.39.
Pole Vault: 1. Alexander Straub GER 5.70, 2. Tim Lobinger GER 5.70, 3. Raphael Holzdeppe GER 5.65.
Long Jump: 1. Christoph Stolz GER 7.89 m, 2. Tyrone Smith BER 7.83.
Discus: 1. Frank Casanas ESP 67.17, 2. Zoltan Kövago HUN 63.47, 3. Martin Wierig GER 62.67.

100 m, 1st race: 1. Angela Williams USA 11,17, 2. Carima Louami FRA 11.48. 2nd race: 1. Angela Williams 11.13, 2. Carima Louami 11.37.
400 m: 1. Virginie Michanol FRA 52.13, 2. Phara Anacharsis FRA 52.24.
800 m: 1. Rikke Rönholt-Albertsen DEN 2:02.85, 2. Rosibel Garcia COL 2:03.08, 3. Anna Luchkina RUS 2:03.10.
High Jump: 1. Viktoriya Styopina UKR 1.92 m, 2. Julia Hartmann GER 1.89.
Shot Put: 1. Nadine Kleinert GER 19.77, 2. Christina Schwanitz GER 19.27. 
Javelin: 1. Christina Obergföll GER 64.16, 2. Katharina Molitor GER 60.81, 3. Linda Stahl 60.37.