Dayron Robles and Liu Xiang stride-for-stride, almost - Stuttgart 2006 (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News

Xiang vs Robles tops the bill in Karlsruhe

An unusually high concentration of full indoor meetings in Germany (four fixtures in the space of nine days) comes to a climax on Sunday (11) with the BW Bank Meeting – IAAF Permit - in Karlsruhe. 

Xiang and Robles face-off again

Perhaps the most highly anticipated event on the programme will be the men’s 60 Metre Hurdles which will feature a rematch of outdoor World-record holder Liu Xiang of China with the man who upset him last Saturday in Stuttgart, Dayron Robles. The young Cuban ran an astounding 7.38 in only the third indoor meeting of his career, although Liu had nothing to be ashamed about with his own 7.45 clocking. This revenge encounter could be the start of a season-long series of grudge matches between these two top hurdling exponents. 

They will be up against Maurice Wignall of Jamaica, who will be attempting to shake his string of recent bad luck. The Commonwealth champion crashed the penultimate barrier in Stuttgart and then false-started out of Düsseldorf.  European bronze medallist Robert Kronberg of Sweden, and Austria’s Elmar Lichtennegger, a former European indoor silver medallist, will also be on hand.

After minor setback, Olsson back in action

Apparently recovered from a mild training injury from last week, Olympic Triple Jump champion Christian Olsson will continue his season at the Europahalle, with Cubans Joandris Betanzos, the Helsinki silver medallist and David Giralt, the Paris fourth placer among his top challengers.  Also jumping will be Paris bronze medallist (and Helsinki fourth placer) Leevan Sands of Bahamas, along with American Aarik Wilson and Brazil’s Jefferson Sabino.

In the rarely-run men’s 1000 Metres, Bernard Lagat will be eyeing a possible American record, which currently stands at 2:17.86.  Accompanying Lagat in his quest will be the first two placers in the Stuttgart 1500 last weekend, winner Anter Zerguelaine of Algeria and Ugandan Abraham Chepkirwot, European championships finalist Florent Lacasse of France, Ireland’s James Nolan, Gothenburg 800 finalist Miguel Quesada of Spain, Arnoud Okken of the Netherlands, and young Hungarian 800 runner Dávid Takács.

The women’s 1500 Metres will represent an opportunity for Sonia Roman to redeem herself after falling afoul of an incorrect lap counter in Düsseldorf on Tuesday night.  The Slovenian, currently in second place on this year’s list, will be up against current European indoor 3000 champion Lidia Chojecka of Poland and Moscow finalists Tetyana Mezentseva of Ukraine and Morocco’s Maryem Alaoui Selsouli. 

Strong line-up in the men’s Pole Vault

The Men’s Pole Vault will feature a small (seven jumpers) select field containing two World Championships winners (Rens Blom and Giuseppe Gibilisco), plus four European medalists (Germans Tim Lobinger, Danny Ecker, and Lars Börgeling, along with Israel’s Alex Averbukh).  Even with that august competition list, it may well be that the best vaulter of the group at the moment may be the single name who has yet to be so honoured, Fabian Schulze. 

The 22-year-old German was in a titanic battle with compatriot Björn Otto in Stuttgart, and although losing out in the end, it wasn’t until he had established an erstwhile world season-leading mark of 5.83, also a PB.

Kenyan Isaac Songok will face countrymen Laban Rotich and Boniface Songok in the men’s 3000 Metres, along with European U23 steeple winner Martin Pröll of Austria and runner-up Halil Akkas of Turkey.  Also making the 15-lap journey will be Algerians Tarek Boukensa and Kamel Boulahfane.

After just missing the world-leading time in the women’ 400 Metres last Saturday, Laverne Jones of the US Virgin Islands will return to run the two-lap race against Slovenia’s Brigita Langerholc and Claudia Marx of Germany. 

In continuing her outstanding indoor season, world-record holder Jolanda Ceplak of Slovenia will encounter, among others, European indoor 400 silver medallist Svetlana Usovich of Belarus in the women’s 800 Metres. 

World-leader Tatyana Lebedeva of Russia will set the tone in the women’s Long Jump, as much-medaled heptathlete Carolina Klüft will attempt to rebound from her sixth-place finish last weekend in Stuttgart.  Also on hand will be Athens finalist Bianca Kappler of Germany, double European U23 medallist Ineta Radevica of Latvia, and European Heptathlon silver winner Karin Ruckstuhl of the Netherlands. 

Sweden’s Susanna Kallur, the current European outdoor champion, puts her string of three straight wins in the women’s 60 Metre Hurdles on the line against Jamaicans Lacena Golding-Clarke and Vonette Dixon, European silver medallist Kirsten Bolm of Germany and her teammate Nadine Hentschke, plus Lolo Jones of the US. 

The only flat sprint race of the evening will be the men’s 60 Metres, where the list is led by Marcus Brunson, currently in the number-two season spot at 6.51.  Pushing the American will be compatriot Ron Bramlett, plus Cuba’s Fredy Mayola. 

Having just recovered from a cold, Germany’s Sebastian Ernst will test his condition in the men’s 200 Metres, challenged by former European 400 champion Ingo Schultz, also of Germany, and another one-lap specialist, Poland’s Daniel Dabrowski. 

Ed Gordon for the IAAF