Weekend round-up including Genzebe Dibaba’s 1500m breakthrough in Germany, fast sprint times from Tianna Madison and Kirani James in USA, and some surprising multi-events marks in Russia
Britain’s best track and field athletes were busy in Sheffield over the past weekend at the UK Indoor Championships, vying for places on the GB team for the World Indoor Championships. But elsewhere around the world there were dozens of superb performances as world-leading marks were set in 14 events.
She might be the lesser-known sibling in her family for now, but that may not be the case for much longer for Genzebe Dibaba, younger sister of double Olympic champion Tirunesh and former Olympic silver medallist Ejegayehu. At the International Indoor Meeting in Karlsruhe on Sunday, Dibaba made up for a disappointing result two days prior at the PSD Bank Meeting in Dusseldorf, where she was disqualified for breaking too early.
This time, she made no such mistake. After being paced through the first 800m in 2:11.47, Dibaba took up the running and continued to pull away from the rest of the field, stopping the clock in 4:00.13 – the fifth-fastest indoor 1500m of all-time. It was also almost two seconds quicker than her disqualified performance from Friday night, and a belated birthday surprise having turned 21 earlier in the week.
Helen Obiri, winner of the 3000m in Glasgow last month, finished second with a PB of 4:06.25, while Steph Twell skipped the UK Indoor Championships to instead opt to make her indoor debut in Karlsruhe, finishing seventh with 4:09.84.
There were two other world-leading marks set in middle-distance events in Karlsruhe. The men’s 3000m got off to a quick start, and although the pace dropped slightly in the second kilometre, the field picked it up again over the final few laps. Former Commonwealth champion Augustine Choge and Kenyan team-mate Edwin Soi were left to duke it out, and both crossed the line neck-and-neck in 7:29.94 with Choge being awarded the victory. Yenew Alamirew, one of the sensations of the 2011 indoor season, was third in 7:31.23.
Bethwell Birgen made it a Kenyan double, winning the 1500m in 3:34.65. Former compatriot Ilham-Tanui Ozbilen, now representing Turkey, set a national record of 3:34.76 in second. The women’s 3000m was similarly high-quality with Morocco’s Mariem Alaoui-Selsouli winning in 8:36.87.
Ivet Lalova continued to build on last year’s resurgence by winning the women’s 60m with a PB of 7.16, 0.02 ahead of Jamaica’s Aleen Bailey who broke her lifetime best from nine years ago.
Elsewhere, Jeff Porter won the men’s 60m hurdles in 7.54, although Russia’s Konstantin Shabanov clocked 7.52 in the heats. Olympic champion Tomasz Majewski defeated world champion David Storl in the shot, 21.27m to 21.03m, and European indoor silver medallist delighted the home crowd with her pole vault victory, clearing 4.68m.
The International Indoor Meeting in Karlsruhe was the second of two top-quality Germany indoor meetings held over the past few days, the other being the PSD Bank Meeting in Dusseldorf. The women’s 1500m there was something of an anticlimax after winner Genzebe Dibaba was disqualified, having crossed the line in 4:01.96. Olympic 800m champion Pamela Jelimo produced arguably her best performance since the 2008 season with her 4:07.11 clocking behind Dibaba, but she too was disqualified for breaking too early.
But the disappointment of that one race did not overshadow what was otherwise a great meeting. World and Olympic finalist Thomas Longosiwa produced the sixth-fastest indoor 5000m of all-time, cracking the 13-minute barrier. The Kenyan was a comfortable winner over a stacked field, stopping the clock in 12:58.67. Isiah Koech, winner at the same meeting last year, was second in 13:02.36 with steeplechase specialist Paul Kipsiele Koech third (13:02.69). Yitayal Atnafu set an Ethiopian junior indoor record of 13:04.18 in fourth.
Five days after clocking the second-fastest indoor 600m of all time, European indoor champion Adam Kszczot smashed his indoor PB in the 800m, showing he could be a formidable opponent this year for world record-holder David Rudisha. The 22-year-old Pole won by a clear 13 metres in 1:45.44 with Commonwealth champion Boaz Lalang a distant second (1:47.06).
Young Frenchman Jimmy Vicaut is following closely in compatriot Christophe Lemaitre’s footsteps. Having won the European junior 100m title and made the 100m final at last year’s World Championships, Vicaut opened his season in style by winning the 60m in Dusseldorf with a big PB of 6.53. In the women’s race, European indoor champion Olesya Povh equalled her PB to win in 7.13.
Elsewhere, Nixon Chepseba edged out Bethwell Birgen in the men’s 1500m, 3:35.53 to 3:35.93. Kevin Craddock handed Olympic champion Dayron Robles a defeat in the 60m hurdles, 7.53 to 7.55. The women’s sprint hurdles was even closer as Lolo Jones out-dipped world silver medallist Danielle Carruthers by 0.01 to win in 7.94. Former world champion Christian Cantwell scored a narrow victory over Olympic champion Tomasz Majewski in the shot, winning with 21.31m to the Pole’s 21.19m.
Since winning a surprise long jump gold at the 2005 World Championships at age 19, Tiana Madison has never really regained her best form in her specialist event. Now 26, the American hinted to a potential shift in focus at the US Classic in Fayetteville, after defeating a quality field in the 60m with one of the fastest runs in recent years.
Madison first won her heat in 7.05, breaking her 7.18 PB from three years ago. She then went even quicker in the final with 7.02 – a performance that puts her at equal 12th on the world all-time list.
She beat world indoor champion Veronica Campbell-Brown (7.08), early-season world leader Murielle Ahoure (7.09), who had earlier set an Ivory Coast record of 7.08 in the heats, and former world champion Allyson Felix (7.11), who had smashed her own lifetime best in the heats with 7.10.
They were just a handful of the fast times set on the sprint-friendly Fayetteville track. Lerone Clarke defeated Justin Gatlin in the 60m, clocking a world-leading 6.52 to the former Olympic champion’s 6.57. World champion Kirani James was an easy winner of the 400m in 45.19 with Calvin Smith in second (45.73). In the B race, Demetrius Pinder followed up his recent 200m world-leading marks with a 45.40 performance for 400m.
The distance events were just as breath-taking. World silver medallist Silas Kiplagat won a high-quality mile with a Kenyan indoor record of 3:52.63, with Caleb Ndiku also dipping inside the previous national mark, his 3:52.66 being a world indoor age-19 best. Four other men dipped inside 3:55.
The meeting also hosted a two-mile event, which was not as competitive but saw another national record broken. Galen Rupp won by more than 20 seconds to shave a few tenths off the US indoor record, clocking 8:09.72.
Another US record was set at the meeting with world bronze medallist Jill Camarena-Williams adding two centimetres to her own American indoor shot record with 19.89m.
Other top performances at the US Classic include Ryan Whiting’s 21.43m shot victory, Andrew Riley’s 7.53 clocking to win the sprint hurdles, and Janay DeLoach winning the women’s long jump with 6.83m as double world champion Brittney Reese was a distant third (6.65m).
At the Tyson Invitational – held at the same venue but on the eve of the US Classic – USA’s top triple jumpers renewed their rivalry with Will Claye getting the edge over world champion Christian Taylor – 17.39m to 16.88m. Claye also won the long jump, equalling the world-leading mark with 8.24m.
As if there hadn’t been enough records set in distance events over the past few days, Bernard Lagat added to the tally at the Millrose Games in New York. The world silver medallist showed that he is still a force at 37, and used his trademark kick to win the men’s 5000m with an American record of 13:07.15, one second ahead of Lawi Lalang. Britain’s Andy Baddeley was sixth with an indoor PB of 13:22.44, good enough for fourth on the UK all-time list.
This is the first season in six years that Sanya Richards-Ross has competed indoors, and the American 400m record-holder looks to be back to her best after a few tricky seasons. She was an easy winner of the 400m with a world-leading 50.89 – just 0.05 outside the world junior indoor record she set eight years ago.
One of the closest races at the Millrose Games was the men’s 60m hurdles. American 110m hurdles record-holder David Oliver won it on the lean in 7.51 ahead of Terrence Trammell (7.52) and Aries Merritt (7.53).
It was also a good meeting for two of USA’s world champions, as Jesse Williams took the high jump (2.32m) and Jenny Simpson defeated Shannon Rowbury in the 1500m, 4:07.27 to 4:07.66.
Elsewhere, Kristi Castlin won the women’s sprint hurdles in 7.91 with Britain’s Tiffany Porter finishing second in 7.93 – her fastest time ever outside a major championships. World bronze medallist Matthew Centrowitz won the mile with an absolute PB of 3:53.92.
A lot of the pre-World Indoors talk has centred around the pentathlon battle between defending champion Jessica Ennis and world champion Tatyana Chernova. But it might not be just a two-horse race if Yekaterina Bolshova has anything to do with it.
Having already obliterated her PB earlier in the year with 4746, Bolshova set PBs in all five individual events (8.41, 1.92m, 13.79m, 6.45m, 2:10.60) at the Russian Combined Events Championships to move to No.5 on the world all-time list with 4896. Runner-up Olga Kurban also smashed her lifetime best to score 4792, moving to 14th on the world all-time list.
In the men’s heptathlon competition, two men cracked the 6000-point barrier with Artem Lukyanenko (6071) winning over Vasiliy Kharlamov (6043).
But those were not the best heptathlon performance of the week, as decathlon world record-holder Roman Sebrle scored 6105 at the Czech Championships – a record 22nd time he has cracked 6000 points for the seven-event discipline.
Sergey Bubka’s Pole Vault Stars Meeting in Donetsk saw Renaud Lavillenie win on countback from Bjorn Otto, both clearing 5.82m. World silver medallist Lazaro Borges was fourth with an area record of 5.72m. Fellow Cuban Yarisley Silva also set an area record (4.60m) in the women’s competition, but was beaten by Jirina Ptacnikova, who cleared a Czech record of 4.70m. But the surprise package was young Ukrainian Hannah Sheleh, who produced the second-best vault in history by a junior athlete, vaulting 4.60m in third place.
Elsewhere in various meetings around the world, Chris Thompson won the 5000m at the Husky Classic in Seattle with 13:29.94, while world silver medallist Sally Kipyego took the women’s race in 15:15.41. At the Don Kirby Elite Indoor Meeting in Albuquerque, Gil Roberts scored a neat 200m/400m double in 20.58 and 45.39.
Over in Europe, Mutaz Essa Barshim won the high jump in Spala, Poland, with an Asian indoor high jump record of 2.33m. The women’s shot was the best event at the Belarussian Championships with European champion Nadezhda Ostapchuk winning with 20.70m ahead of Natallia Mikhnevich (19.15m).