World indoor 2000m steeplechase record falls in an action-packed weekend of international athletics
While British athletes were locked in battle in Sheffield, vying for spots on the team for the European Indoor Championships, the rest of the world’s athletes were lighting up the indoor tracks in Europe and the USA as world-leading marks tumbled and even a world record was set.
Steeplechaser Paul Kipsiele Koech chopped more than three seconds from his 2000m steeplechase world indoor best with a time of 5:13.77 at the Belgacom Indoor Flanders meeting in Gent, Belgium. Although it is a rarely-run event, Kipsiele Koech’s mark is the third fastest of all time under any conditions, indoors or out (although it must be noted that there is no waterjump in the indoor steeplechase for obvious reasons!)
The Gent crowd were almost treated to a second world record from Belgium’s own Kevin Borlée in the 600m. He and his brother Jonathan were attempting to break the world indoor best of 1:15.12, but in the end Kevin had to settle for a 1:15.65 victory, the third-fastest performance of all time indoors.
Another Koech, Kenyan junior Isaiah, set his second world indoor junior best of the week, having recorded a staggering 12:53.09 for 5000m two days prior in Düsseldorf. In Gent Koech contested the 3000m, which he won in 7:37.50 to beat team-mate Vincent Rono. Completing the Kenyan dominance of distance events in Gent was Ismael Kombich, who ran a world-leading 3:34.13 in the 1500m.
Elsewhere in Gent, the 60m hurdles races were won by Aries Merritt (7.53) and Danielle Carruthers (7.89), Ruddy Zang-Milama won the 60m in 7.16 (after 7.15 in the heats), and Svetlana Bolshakova set a Belgian indoor record of 14.31m in the triple jump.
The biggest international meeting of the weekend, the BW-Bank Meeting in Karlsruhe, saw David Oliver extend his winning streak to 18 finals in the sprint hurdles, this time winning in a time of 7.40. Behind him there was a big breakthrough for France’s Dimitri Bascou, who ran 7.53, while former Olympic champion Liu Xiang continued his comeback with 7.55 for third, his fastest for three years.
Former world 100m champion Kim Collins improved yet again in the 60m with a world-leading 6.50 national record in the heats, but he faded to fourth in the final as Jamaica’s Commonwealth 100m champion Lerone Clarke sped to a 6.52 PB to win.
Further world-leading marks came from Kellie Wells (7.82) in the 60m hurdles and Mercy Njoroge (8:42.75) in the 3000m, who won a high-quality race as Sylwia Ejdys, Sara Moreira and Mekdes Bekele all broke 8:45.
Ukraine’s Olesya Povh was a late withdrawal from the women’s 60m, but in her absence training partner Mariya Ryemyen won with a PB of 7.15 as Ezinne Okparaebo set a Norwegian record of 7.17 in second. Germany’s Silke Spiegelburg improved her own national pole vault record with a 4.76m clearance.
Elsewhere in Europe, Teddy Tamgho competed in his first long jump competition for three years and set a French indoor under-23 best of 8.01m at a low-key meeting in France, former Olympic champion Christian Olsson opened his season with a 16.99m triple jump in Gothenburg, and world junior heptathlon champion Daphne Schippers, still only 18, won the Dutch senior indoor 60m title in 7.28, equalling her own national indoor junior record.
Outdoors in Russia meanwhile, world bronze medallist Aleksey Zagornyi threw 79.99 in the hammer at the Lunyev Memorial meeting. At the same competition, veteran Sergey Makarov threw 81.31m in the javelin, and Olesya Korotkova set a PB of 62.48m in the discus.
Over in the USA, the bulk of the top action came from the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville. Three men broke 46 seconds in the 400m, led by Torrin Lawrence’s world-leading 45.82 (although Kirani James last week ran 45.47 on an oversized track). Finishing behind Lawrence was Rondell Bartholomew (45.84), the second athlete from Grenada – after James – to break 46 seconds this year.
Britain’s Chris O’Hare set a huge PB in the mile, winning with a Scottish indoor record of 3:56.48, as soon-to-be-Brit Shana Cox ran an indoor PB of 52.16 in the 400m behind Natasha Hastings (51.44). In the high jump USA’s Erik Kynard leapt a PB of 2.33m, and Marshevet Myers returned to the long jump with a 6.83m PB, the fourth-best ever by an American indoors.
Elsewhere in the USA, Bernard Lagat set an American indoor record for the two miles with a time of 8:10.07 – the second-fastest by an American under any conditions, indoors or out. At the Husky Classic, Ross Millington smashed his 3000m PB by 18 seconds with a run of 7:54.06, while Tom Farrell set a UK age-19 indoor best (7:54.42).
On the roads, New Zealand’s Kim Smith warmed up for the Boston Marathon by running 67:36, a US all-comers record in the half marathon and a national record.