Eaton breaks world record, veteran Aldama wins surprise triple jump gold

Ashton Eaton cracks 6600 points, Britain’s Yamile Aldama takes triple jump gold at 39

Ashton Eaton (Mark Shearman)

Another good display this morning from Ashton Eaton meant that the American was on course to break his own world record for the indoor heptathlon and win his first global title. Going into the final event, the 1000m, Eaton simply needed to dip under 2:40 to break the world record, but he was never going to do the bare minimum and set out with the intent to smash the mark.

Eaton ran within 0.10 of his PB to clock 2:32.77 and bring his points tally to 6645, adding 77 points to his world record. Last year he became the first man in history to break 6500 and now he has smashed through 6600 to own the three best scores ever for the indoor heptathlon.

Almost 600 points behind, Ukraine’s Oleksiy Kasyanov held on for silver with a score of 6071, while Russia’s Artem Lukyanenko took bronze (5969).

Aldama wins historic gold

Having lived in Britain for more than 10 years, last year Yamile Aldama finally gained British nationality. Despite being within touching distance of her 40th birthday, the move has appeared to breathe a new life into her triple jumping career and she was a clear leader of yesterday’s qualifying round with 14.62m.

But qualifying marks count for nothing and Aldama knew that she would have to bring that same kind of form into today’s final. After a safe opener of 14.10m, the former Cuban bounded out to 14.82m – a world masters record and her best performance for six years. It immediately increased the pressure on defending champion Olga Rypakova, and the Kazakh athlete recorded fouls in her first three jumps.

Aldama attempted to increase her lead in the third round but picked up a hamstring niggle in doing so and passed her remaining three attempts. It meant she had to play a waiting game, hoping that her leading jump would not be challenged. Rypakova recorded a legal jump of 14.45m in the fourth round, but took off 47cm behind the plasticine.

Rypakova then improved to 14.63m in round five before unleashing a huge jump in the final round, but it was ruled a foul. It meant Aldama held on to the pole position and in doing so became the oldest winner of a field event in the history of the championships, having made her first global final at the World Indoors 15 years ago. It also completed her set of medals at the championships, having won silver in 2004 and bronze in 2006.

Pearson delivers, Gatlin returns

Before this weekend, Pearson had only once competed indoors. Now, the Australian is the world indoor champion, adding to the gold medal she won outdoors in Daegu last summer.

In today’s 60m hurdles final, Pearson reacted fast and got out well, going straight into the lead. A flawless race saw her take the title in 7.73, taking her to No.4 on the world indoor all-time list. Britain’s Tiffany Porter overcame a sluggish start to take silver in 7.94 from Alina Talay of Belarus (7.97), but it should be noted that the performances of the minor medallists were slower than the 7.91 that Jessica Ennis clocked in the pentathlon.

Nine years after winning his first global title, USA’s Justin Gatlin replicated that feat in the 60m, even reproducing his winning time from the 2003 World Indoors. The 2004 Olympic champion won the men’s 60m in 6.46, but the result left something of a sour taste given that both he – and Britain’s Dwain Chambers, who took bronze in 6.60 – had previously served a doping ban.

Jamaica’s Nesta Carter took silver with 6.54, while world leader Trell Kimmons clocked the same time as Chambers but was awarded fourth place. At 33, Chambers completed a full set of medals at the World Indoors, having won gold in 2010 and silver in 2008.

Gold for Richards-Ross, Brenes upsets James

While the women’s 400m went largely to the form book, the men’s two-lap final saw something of an upset. USA’s Sanya Richards-Ross has been in superb form all year and showed her class with easy wins in the heats and semi-final. In this evening’s final she was once again in a different league and won her first world indoor title.

The American record-holder outdoors was looking to attack the US indoor record and went through half way in 23.70. She dug in hard over the second lap and extended her lead, but the record was not to be. She clocked 50.79 to win by almost a second from Russia’s Aleksandra Fedoriva (51.76) and USA’s Natasha Hastings (51.82). Britain’s Shana Cox was fifth with a PB of 52.13.

Athletes often say how crucial a lane draw can be for indoor sprinting, and the men’s 400m final was a textbook example. In the semi-finals, world champion Kirani James was overtaken by Costa Rica’s Nery Brenes, resulting in Brenes getting the preferred outside lane and James being drawn the difficult lane one.

Brenes used his lane to his advantage and got the all-important lead at half way while James got boxed a few places behind. Brenes kept his cool and kept driving to the finish to break the championship record with 45.11. It was third time lucky for Brenes in more ways than one – he finished fourth at the past two editions of the World Indoors, and in his two races leading into Istanbul he was disqualified from one and failed to finish in the other.

James, meanwhile, trailed in last place as Bahamian duo Demetrius Pinder (45.34) and Chris Brown (45.90) made it on to the podium. Notably, the finishing order was in complete reverse order to the lane draw.

Favourites take metric mile titles

Genzebe Dibaba and Abdelaati Iguider went to Istanbul as world leaders over 1500m, and they will leave with the gold medals. But the men’s and women’s finals played out quite differently.

First up was the women, and Dibaba was initially joined at the front by team-mate Tizita Bogale. Sensing the danger of Mariem Alaoui-Selsouli, Dibaba began to crank up the pace and with 400m to go she began her long drive for home. Over the final lap, Dibaba moved up another gear to make it clear to her Moroccan rival that there was no catching her.

Dibaba crossed the line in 4:05.78, exactly two seconds ahead of Alaoui-Selsouli, who took her first major medal since returning from a drugs ban. Much to the delight of the home crowd, Turkey’s Asli Cakir – another who has previously served a doping ban – came through to take bronze with a national record of 4:08.74.

While the women’s final was quite clear-cut, the men’s race was anything but. Iguider took an immediate lead, but at the business end of the race it was Kenyan-turned-Turk Ilham Tanui Ozbilen who hit the front. Amid lots of barging and shoving throughout the entire field, Tanui Ozbilen looked to be on his way to gold.

But Iguider was not done and had just enough momentum to edge into the lead before the finish, winning in 3:45.21 and going one better than his silver from two years ago. Tanui Ozbilen held on for silver (3:45.35), while Ethiopia’s Mekonnen Gebremedhin took bronze (3:45.90).

Global gold at last for Lavillenie

Renaud Lavillenie has been one of the world’s best vaulters for a few years now and has won the past three European titles – two indoors and one outdoors. But the Frenchman has had a few near missed on the global stage, taking bronze at the past two World Championships and bombing out of the 2010 World Indoors.

All that changed today, however, and he shot into the lead in today’s final when clearing 5.75m at the first time of asking. He held on to his lead when clearing 5.80m – a height that determined the medallists as Bjorn Otto and Brad Walker were the only two athletes who managed it. But as the bar moved on to 5.85m and 5.90m, Lavillenie was the only athlete clear. With gold wrapped up, he sailed over a world-leading 5.95m, although a 6.02m championship record was not to be.

Britain’s Steve Lewis cleared 5.70m before three close tries at 5.80m, but nevertheless his fifth-place finish equalled the best ever result for a British male vaulter in a global championships final.

In the other men’s jumps final of the afternoon, the men’s long jump, the competition could not have been closer. Australia’s Henry Frayne opened with 8.17m, but was overtaken in the following round by Russia’s Aleksandr Menkov with his 8.22m. The competition then lit up again in the fifth round as Mauro da Silva, who led the qualifiers yesterday with 8.28m, leaped into the lead with 8.23m, despite taking off way behind the plasticine.

The Brazilian replicated that mark in the final round, which proved to be a crucial performance as Frayne also jumped 8.23m on his final attempt, but as da Silva had the better count-back record, he won gold. Frayne, with his Oceanian record, had to settle for silver ahead of Menkov and just one centimetre separated the three medallists – easily the closest long jump final ever at the World Indoors.

Adams regains title, Lowe on a high

New Zealand’s Valerie Adams had something of a down year when she competed at the 2010 World Indoors and had to settle for silver behind arch-rival Nadezhda Ostapchuk. Once again up against her Belarussian nemesis, Adams opened with a foul but went into the lead in round two with 20.48m, 28 centimetres ahead of Ostapchuk.

Ostapchuk crept closer with her penultimate effort of 20.42m, but Adams sealed the deal in the final round with an Oceanian record of 20.54m. Behind the big two, Michelle Carter upstaged her more favoured US team-mate Jill Camarena-Williams to take bronze, 19.58m to 19.44m.

Russian high jumper Anna Chicherova was seen as one of the overwhelming favourites of the entire championships, having won all of her competitions this year with two-metre jumps and setting a world-leading mark of 2.06m. But favourites are there to be beaten, and it was USA’s Chaunte Lowe who did so in Istanbul.

Despite the surprise upset, the final was of a disappointing standard and Lowe was the only athlete to go clear at 1.98m. Chicherova – whose final attempt at 1.98m had more than enough height but was brushed off by her calves – ended the competition with a best of 1.95m to finish in the joint silver medal position along with Italy’s Antonietta Di Martino and Sweden’s Ebba Jungmark.

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