Anita Wlodarcyzk in action at the 2014 ISTAF Berlin meeting (Gladys Chai von der Laage) © Copyright
General News

2014 IAAF World Challenge review

Melbourne, March 22


Kim Mickle threw an Australian javelin record of 66.83m, a month to the day after forecasting she would do so at this meeting.

The world silver medallist added three centimetres to the mark set in 2000 by Louise Currey – although she joked: “I am too short to see the bloody lines out there so I didn’t know how far it was!”

Tom Walsh, New Zealand’s surprise shot put bronze medallist at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot two weeks earlier, improved the national record of 20.61m he had set in Melbourne in December to 21.16m.

His compatriot Valerie Adams earned a 45th straight victory in the women’s event with 19.68m.

Olympic champion Sally Pearson won the 100m hurdles in 12.89 and the 100m in 11.34.

Kingston, May 3


US athletes Francena McCorory and Christian Cantwell produced respective world-leading marks in the 400m and shot put on a night when headwinds slowed the sprinters at the Jamaica Invitational International.

McCorory, the world indoor champion, clocked 50.24. Olympic champion Sanya Richards-Ross, competing in her first race since prematurely ending her 2013 season due to lack of fitness, clocked 51.62 to finish fifth.

Three-time world indoor champion Cantwell won with 21.85m ahead of Jamaica’s O’Dayne Richards, who set a PB of 21.11m.

Justin Gatlin beat a 100m field which lacked the three fastest Jamaicans Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Asafa Powell, clocking 10.11 into a -1.9m/s headwind.

Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare won a women’s 100m which was without home runners Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Veronica Campbell-Brown with 11.19 into a -1.7m/s headwind. Fraser-Pryce won the 200m in 22.53.

World 400m champion LaShawn Merritt was beaten by four hundredths of a second by Olympic silver medallist Luguelin Santos, who clocked 44.82.

Tokyo, May 11


A meeting record of 2.40m enabled world high jump champion Bogdan Bondarenko to beat Russia’s Olympic champion Ivan Ukhov at the Seiko Golden Grand Prix.

But the Ukrainian had to work for the win in his opening competition of the season; for the first time in his career, he needed three attempts to clear three consecutive heights.

In the final scheduled meeting at the National Stadium which hosted the 1964 Olympics and 1991 IAAF World Championships before it is rebuilt for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Bondarenko also bettered the stadium record of 2.38m set by US jumper Charles Austin when winning the world gold.

Jenny Simpson of the United States won the 1500m in a world-leading 4:03.91, while compatriot and world champion Brianna Rollins won the 100m hurdles in a meeting record of 12.62.

Russia’s Darya Klishina set a meeting record of 6.88m in the long jump.

Ponce, May 17


World champions Caterine Ibarguen and LaShawn Merritt improved their world-leading marks in the triple jump and 400m respectively in front of a 12,000 crowd in Puerto Rico.

Ibarguen, who considers Ponce her second home having earned a nursing degree at the nearby Metropolitan University, won with an opening-round best of 14.87m which extended her winning run to 13. She had not been beaten since taking silver at the 2012 Olympics.

Yosiri Urrutia improved her personal best by almost half a metre for second with 14.47m to make it a one-two for Colombia.

Having won at the opening IAAF Diamond League meeting of the season in Doha eight days earlier, Merritt improved his season’s best to 44.14, smashing the meeting record of 45.01 set in 2008.

Local hero Javier Culson won the 400m hurdles in 48.69.

Beijing, May 21


Home athlete Xue Changrui produced a Chinese pole vault record of 5.80m before having a cheeky crack at 5.94m, which would have bettered world record-holder Renaud Lavillenie’s world-leading mark.

Xue’s was one of four home wins at the 2008 Olympic venue which will host next year’s IAAF World Championships, while three world leads were contributed by Ana Simic of Serbia, who improved her own high jump mark to 1.98m, plus US athletes Brianna Rollins, who equalled the world 100m hurdles lead with 12.58, and Justin Gatlin, who improved his 100m world lead to 9.87.

Seventeen-year-old Wang Jianan took long jump honours with 8.09m, defeating his compatriot Li Jinzhe, the world indoor silver medallist.

Xie Wenjun won the 110m hurdles in 13.31, and Wang Zheng won top points in the IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge with 75.23m.

Hengelo, June 8


Colombia’s world triple jump champion Caterine Ibarguen, last beaten at the 2012 Olympics, had to regain her lead in the penultimate and last rounds to maintain her winning run.

She was knocked down to second by fifth and sixth-round efforts of 14.28m and 14.56m – a meeting record – from Jamaica’s Kimberly Williams.

Having responded with 14.31m in the fifth round, Ibarguen produced a leap of 14.63m with the last effort of the competition.

Meeting records were also set by high jumper Andriy Protsenko (2.33m), 100m hurdler Queen Harrison (12.56) and Olympic 2008 silver medallist Richard Thompson, who won the 100m in 9.95 ahead of Britain’s Chijindu Ujah, whose 9.96 was a European age-20 best and UK under-23 record.

Cornelius Kangogo clocked a world-leading time of 7:41.27 in the 3000m.

There were also wins for world discus champion Robert Harting (68.47m) and pole vault world record-holder Renaud Lavillenie (5.80m), while Olympic decathlon champion Ashton Eaton set a personal best of 49.07 in the 400m hurdles behind winner Javier Coulson (48.66).

Marrakech, June 8


World high jump champion Bogdan Bondarenko set an African all-comers’ and meeting record of 2.39m.

The Ukrainian had already seen off Russian rival Ivan Ukhov, the Olympic champion, who failed at 2.37m.

In only her second outdoor race on the professional circuit, Ethiopia’s 17-year-old world youth silver medallist Dawit Seyaum took almost 10 seconds off her 1500m best, winning in 3:59.53, a meeting and national junior record.

Nine years after winning the world long jump title, 28-year-old Tianna Bartoletta – a sprinter for four years – indicated her renewed jumping ambitions with a world-leading effort of 6.93m, breaking the personal best of 6.89m she set in winning her title in 2005.

Qatar’s world indoor 60m bronze medallist Femi Ogunode won the 200m in a national and meeting record of 20.16.

Ostrava, June 17


Genzebe Dibaba’s 2000m African record was one of five world-leading performances witnessed by a near-capacity crowd at the Mestsky Stadium for the 53rd edition of the Golden Spike meeting.

The Ethiopian, who needed a last lap inside 65 seconds to beat Sonia O’Sullivan’s 20-year-old record of 5:25.36, finished in 5:27.50, the third-fastest time in history, with compatriot Senbere Teferi second in an African junior record of 5:34.27.

Other leading marks for the year came from world indoor 3000m champion Caleb Ndiku, who clocked 7:31.66, Justin Gatlin, who ran 9.86 for the 100m, Ilham Tanui Ozbilen, the Kenyan-born Turkish runner who clocked 2:15.08 in the 1000m, and Kenya’s Alice Kimutai, who ran 1:08:32.2 in the rarely run 20,000m.

In the IAAF World Hammer Throw Challenge event held the previous day, Krisztian Pars and Betty Heidler set world-leading marks of 81.57m and 78.00m respectively.

Three days after his 2.42m clearance in New York, Bogdan Bondarenko managed a meeting record of 2.33m, while Renaud Lavillenie won the pole vault with 5.83m.

LaShawn Merritt of the United States produced a 400m meeting record of 44.16, and world javelin champion Vitezslav Vesely won with 87.38m.

Madrid, July 19


Spain’s Eusebio Caceres and Barbara Pierre of the United States were judged “best performers”, although their respective performances in the long jump and 100m, 8.16m and 11.08, were aided by gusting winds.

Caceres produced his winning effort in the final round to surpass the 8.05m of fellow Spaniard Jean Marie Okutu.

Pierre – assisted by a tailwind of 2.6m/s – won on a photo-finish from Jamaica’s Kerron Stewart.

Stewart’s compatriot Kaliese Spencer won the 400m hurdles in 55.08, the night after winning at the Monaco IAAF Diamond League meeting in 54.09. Jamaica’s Stephenie McPherson, fourth at the World Championships, won her first 400m in five months, clocking 50.45.

Belem, August 10


Brazil’s Jucilene de Lima won the javelin with a national record of 61.99m in front of 17,000 people at the Mangueirao Stadium.

The 23-year-old bettered by one centimetre the record she had shared with Sueli dos Santos since June of the previous year. Dos Santos, Brazilian record-holder since 1987, improved the national mark several times with the new and old javelin models, leaving it at 61.98m in 2000.

In temperatures reaching 34⁰C, Colombian athletes won the women’s triple jump, where Yosiri Urrutia recorded 14.24m, and the men’s 800m, where Rafith Rodriguez won in 1:45.81.

Jamaica’s former world record-holder Asafa Powell won the 100m with a season’s best of 10.02.

Berlin, August 31


Anita Wlodarczyk produced a world record hammer throw of 79.58m, surpassing the mark of 79.42m set in 2009 by local thrower Betty Heidler.

Heidler finished second in what was the latest round of the IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge with an effort of 75.20m.

Newly crowned European champion Wlodarczyk had set a previous world record of 77.96m in the Olympic stadium in winning the 2009 world title.

Having taken a first-round lead with 75.29m, the Pole set her new mark in the second round before throwing 78.46m, 79.04m, 78.64m and 77.94m – thus putting together the greatest series of all time.

“A hammer thrower getting a standing ovation, that’s crazy,” said Wlodarczyk after taking the plaudits from the 50,000 crowd.

Heidler may have been disappointed, but there were wins for three other German throwers recently crowned European champions. Robert Harting won with 68.21m in what was the final discus competition for Lithuania’s former double world and Olympic champion, Virgilijus Alekna, whose retirement was marked by the playing of ‘Time to Say Goodbye’.

Double world shot put champion David Storl earned victory with 21.41m, while Christina Schwanitz won the women’s event with 19.53m.

Poland’s 2011 world champion and European silver medallist Pawel Wojciechowski won the pole vault with a season’s best of 5.80m.

Compatriot Adam Kszczot led the 800m into the home straight before Algeria’s Olympic 1500m champion Taoufik Makhloufi passed him, only to be caught by Ethiopia's world champion Mohammed Aman who won in 1:43.52, 0.01 ahead of Makhloufi’s personal best.

Zagreb, September 2


Sandra Perkovic produced a winning discus effort of 65.09m on home soil despite heavy rain – and a heavy heart.

Perkovic was competing just two days after the sudden death of her former coach and mentor Ivan Ivancic.

“I tried not to think about him,” said Perkovic of the man who helped guide her to Olympic, world and three European titles before her 25th birthday. “The hardest part was when I ran my victory lap and didn’t see him in the stands.”

Finnish veteran Tero Pitkamaki also defied the conditions with a winning javelin throw of 84.72m.

Britain’s European 400m champion Martyn Rooney defeated African champion Isaac Makwala, clocking 45.49 to the latter’s 45.60.

Rieti, September 7


Two days after clearing 2.40m and losing by three centimetres to Mutaz Essa Barshim at the Brussels IAAF Diamond League meeting, Bogdan Bondarenko got the winning feeling again in the high jump with a clearance of 2.36m.

Barshim was not among his rivals this time, but younger brother Muamar Assa Barshim was in the field, finishing joint second with Bondarenko’s Ukrainian compatriot Andriy Protsenko on 2.25m.

Kenya’s Silas Kiplagat, the world leader and the fourth-fastest man ever over 1500m, earned his third successive metric mile win on the Rieti track in 3:31.44, holding off compatriot Vincent Kibet who set a personal best 3:31.96.

In the first of two 100m races on the famously blue and superfast Rieti track, Jamaica’s Asafa Powell won with 9.90 on his return to the stadium where he set a former world record of 9.74. In the second race, US sprinter Justin Gatlin won in 9.83.

Algeria’s Olympic 1500m champion Taoufik Makhloufi held off Qatar’s Musaeeb Abdulrahaman Balla in the men’s 800m to win in 1:43.83.

In the men’s 300m, commemorating Italian sprint legend Pietro Mennea, Poland’s Karol Zalewski set a world lead, meeting record and national record with 31.93.

Mike Rowbottom for the IAAF