Ethiopia's Genzebe Dibaba crosses the finish line (Gladys Chai von der Laage) © Copyright
Report Madrid, Spain

Dibaba, Elemba, Taplin and Beitia excel in Madrid

World 1500m champion Genzebe Dibaba set an outright 1000m PB at the ‘Villa de Madrid’ international meeting, but fell a couple of seconds shy of her world record target on Friday (24).

Paced by Viktoria Kushnir of Belarus, Dibaba’s early splits proved to be too fast as the pacesetter went through the opening 200m in 28:80 to reach the 400m point in 58:47, more than a second inside the pace required to break Maria Mutola’s 2:30.94 world indoor record.

Shortly after the 500m mark, the 26-year-old Ethiopian overtook the pacemaker and passed 600m in 1:29:36, her 30.89 lap split confirming her rhythm had slightly fallen.

Even being roared on by the capacity crowd over the closing two laps, Dibaba reached 800m in 2:00.62 and it became clear by then that Mutola’s record would be safe. At the tape, the three-time world indoor champion clocked a national indoor record of 2:33.06 to finish head and shoulders clear of her fellow Ethiopian Gudaf Tsegay, runner-up in 2:38:05.

Already holder of six world indoor records or bests – 1500m, mile, 2000m, 3000m, two miles and 5000m – Dibaba, who could not stop coughing after the race maybe because of the Madrid altitude effect, commented: “I had serious hopes of breaking the record. Honestly, the first 400m was a bit quick; in addition, I had to run on my own from the 500m point but anyway I’m satisfied with my try. I’ll now return to Addis Ababa to build up for the outdoor season when I would like to make the 5000m/10,000m double at the World Championships in London.”

Grenada’s Bralon Taplin was an overwhelming victor in the 400m. The Olympic finalist shaved 0.01 from his indoor PB to win in 45.19, the second-fastest time in the world this season. 2012 Olympic silver medallist Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic finished second in a national indoor record of 45.80.

Congo’s Franck Elemba, who made a major breakthrough last year when he placed fourth in the shot put at the Rio Olympics with a massive PB of 21.20m, confirmed today that progression was no fluke by unleashing a huge indoor PB of 20.86m in round four. He backed up his win with a 20.85m final effort while the Spanish pair of Borja Vivas and Carlos Tobalina were the other putters surpassing the 20-metre barrier, 20.05m and 20.01m their respective heaves. 

Beitia and Ortega shine in front of their home crowd

Olympic high jump champion Ruth Beitia had a clean card up to and including 1.92m. The local star needed two attempts to get over 1.95m but bounced back to surpass a season’s best of 1.98m at the first time of asking before failing three times at 2.01m. The last time she jumped higher than 1.98m was at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015.

The 37-year-old Spaniard now has her eyes on defending her title at the European Indoor Championships in Belgrade. Ukraine’s Iryna Herashchenko came second with a 1.89m clearance.

Spain’s Olympic silver medallist Orlando Ortega gave the local supporters something to cheer about when he dominated the men’s 60m hurdles in 7.51, three hundredths of a second off his Spanish record set this season. Javier Colomo was a distant runner-up in 7.80.

The men’s triple jump went to Cuba’s Alexis Copello thanks to a 17.10m final-round leap for a massive season’s best while Portugal’s 2008 Olympic champion Nelson Evora had to settle for fourth with a season’s best of 16.75m. France’s Harold Correa equalled his indoor PB of 16.94m in second, while Latvia’s Elvijs Misans managed a career best of 16.77m in third.

After covering the first two laps within 52 seconds, multiple European champion Adam Kszczot of Poland secured a fine 800m win in 1:46:38, just 0.21 short of his season’s best. He overtook Denmark’s Andreas Bube just before the bell to win without any opposition from Morocco’s Mostafa Smaili, who pipped Bube on the home straight, 1:47.13 and 1:47:30 their respective times.

Ukraine’s Hanna Plotisyna took the women’s 60m hurdles in style in 7.98, Morocco’s Rababe Arafi won the women’s 1500m in 4:14.55 and Yunier Perez was successful in the shortest distance of the programme to clock 6.60 in the men’s 60m.

Emeterio Valiente for the IAAF