The women’s 3000m at the Indoor Meeting Karlsruhe was billed as one of the highlights of the IAAF World Indoor Tour meeting and it certainly delivered on Saturday (4).
World leader Hellen Obiri and Britain’s Laura Muir, who recorded a 5000m world lead and national indoor record in early January, were the ones to watch and provided a thriller of a race. In a tactically perfectly paced race, the Briton came out on top with a European indoor record of 8:26.41.
Jenny Meadows was assigned to pace the leaders through the race till 1000m with 34-second laps and operated like clockwork. Muir, Obiri and Ethiopia’s Axumawit Embaye stayed a few metres behind Meadows as she led through the first kilometre in 2:49.34. Muir led for the next couple of laps before Obiri decided to take over at the halfway mark. The Olympic 5000m silver medallist went through 2000m in 5:40.57 with Muir right behind the Kenyan as the leading trio became a duo.
With 600m to go, Muir took over the lead and slowly tried to pull away. Coming off the penultimate bend, Obiri attempted to switch gears, but the pair hit traffic going into the final bend, allowing Muir to make a break. She closed strongly with a 29.82 final lap to take the victory in 8:26.41, moving to fifth on the world indoor all-time list. Obiri finished second in 8:29.46 to extend her World Indoor Tour lead to 17 points.
Pozzi clocks third world lead in seven days
Karlsruhe has a history of producing fast times in the sprint hurdles, and today’s Indoor Meeting continued that trend.
Britain’s Andrew Pozzi opened his season with a world-leading 7.56 in Cardiff last weekend and continued his fine form in Karlsruhe with a 7.49 PB in the heats, bettering Orlando Ortega’s world lead from Dusseldorf by 0.02.
He then improved to 7.44 in the final and was visibly delighted to finally get back in shape having struggled with injury woes for the past few years.
“That was so much fun,” said Pozzi, who moves to equal seventh on the European indoor all-time list. “It was my goal for this season to break the 7.50s at least once, but to be honest I hadn't expected it to happen already now, in my second meeting for this season, and then even twice!”
Olympic silver medallist Ortega finished second in 7.59 to improve his tour tally to 17 points.
The non-scoring women’s race featured 100m hurdles world record-holder Kendra Harrison, 2012 Olympic champion Sally Pearson and world silver medallist Cindy Roleder. Harrison stormed away with a win in 7.76, just 0.01 shy of the PB she set earlier in the year.
“The goal was to come here and cross that line first, so I am very glad I did that,” said the US sprint hurdler. “Of course everyone is going for that world record, and so am I.”
Seliverstau reaches new heights
In the men’s high jump, 20-year-old Pavel Seliverstau won the battle of experience versus youth when he took the win in a world-leading 2.30m.
The Belarusian cleared 2.20m, 2.23m and 2.26m with ease before recording his first failure at 2.28m. When Germany’s Mateusz Przybylko cleared the height in his first attempt, Seliverstau took a gamble and passed his remaining two attempts to raise the bar to 2.30m – and cleared it on his first attempt. He was the only jumper to clear the height.
Boston winner Donald Thomas equalled his season’s best of 2.28m to finish third and leads the tour with 15 points ahead of Seliverstau’s 10 points from today.
The battle for World Indoor Tour points also continued in the women’s pole vault. Neither of the two leaders Sandi Morris or Ekaterini Stefanidi were in Karlsruhe and so Germany’s Lisa Ryzih stepped up to the challenge and pulled equal on points.
She produced a near-flawless series all the way up to 4.67m, before attempting a meeting record of 4.78m, taking 10 points in the tour rankings. Finland’s Minna Nikkanen added seven tour points to the three she had secured in Dusseldorf with a season’s best of 4.55m.
Four vaulters now hold 10 points in the World Indoor Tour, which means the upcoming two meetings in Torun and Birmingham will decide who secures the wild card to the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018.
In the horizontal jumps, South Africa’s Godfrey Mokoena moved to second on this year’s world long jump list thanks to a solid series that saw him jump 8.05m on two of his attempts. He joins Australia’s Fabrice Lapierre on top of the tour rankings with 10 points, while Germany’s Julian Howard moved into second thanks to a season’s best of 7.97m.
Things didn’t take long to heat up on the track, with European 200m champion Dina Asher-Smith cruising 7.13 in the 60m heats to equal the world lead.
In the final, Gayon Evans, who had already bettered her PB by 0.13 in the heats to 7.20, got out of the blocks like a bullet. The Jamaican finished strongly to take the win in yet another PB of 7.14 to hold off Asher-Smith in second with 7.15.
World indoor champion Barbara Pierre spoilt her chances of taking over the sole lead in the World Indoor Tour rankings after a false start in the heats. The US sprinter now shares the lead not only with Evans, but also English Gardner, who won the Boston leg of the tour.
Jozwik continues Polish 800m dominance
Straight from a win in Dusseldorf, Joanna Jozwik extended her World Indoor Tour lead over 800m with another great finish in 2:01.26.
Switzerland’s Selina Buchel was the only athlete to stay with the pace when she went through 400m in 59 seconds, but just didn’t have enough to hold off the Pole, who just caught her before the line. Buchel finished in a season’s best of 2:01.57 to cement her second place on the tour with 14 points, six points behind leader Jozwik.
The pace for the men’s 1500m was set with an eye on Elijah Manangoi’s world lead of 3:37.62 from Dusseldorf. Pace maker Jackson Kivuva hit his 200m and 400m marks of 27 and 55 seconds on the dot, but the rest of the field didn’t quite follow the pace with Bethwel Birgen, who finished a narrow second on Wednesday, leading the group a few strides behind the pacer.
Kivuva adjusted his pace accordingly and led the pack, which by 600m had caught up with him through 800m in 1:55.31, just over a second behind the initially agreed pace. Manangoi then picked up the pace, closely followed by Silas Kiplagat and Birgen.
In the end it went down to the wire and while Manangoi almost thought he had the win secured, Kiplagat managed to sneak through right at the end to pip the world leader on the line in a season’s best of 3:38.51. The win catapulted Kiplagat into second in the tour rankings with 15 points, just two points short of Manangoi’s leading 17.
Erik Sowinski had already shown promising form in Dusseldorf, but struggled a bit with jet lag as he was just caught to finish in third. Today the world indoor bronze medallist delivered a tactical masterclass to improve his 800m PB to 1:46.80.
Michelle Sammet for the IAAF