European indoor champion Adam Kszczot takes another chunk off 800m PB, while Patricia Hall clocks a fast 300m at the Meeting Pas de Calais
Polish middle-distance runner Adam Kszczot will not be competing at the World Indoor Championships next month, missing the chance to win an 800m title that would almost be guaranteed – particularly after his performance on Tuesday night at the Meeting Pas de Calais in Liévin.
The European indoor champion opened his season earlier this month with the second-fastest indoor 600m of all-time. Last week he smashed his indoor 800m PB with 1:45.44 in Dusseldorf, but in Liévin he took almost a second off that time.
The pace in Liévin was faster from the outset as the pacemaker went through the first two laps in 24.51 and 50.41 (compared to 24.78 and 51.82 in Dusseldorf). Kszczot then took up the running and reached the bell in 1:17.35, almost a second and a half up on his 600m split in Dusseldorf.
With a 27.22 final lap, Kszczot stopped the clock in 1:44.57 to go to No.3 on the world indoor all-time list. Only world indoor record-holder Wilson Kipketer and former Olympic champion Yuriy Borzakovskiy have ever run quicker indoors. It is the fastest indoor performance in the world for nine years and breaks the Polish indoor record that had stood to Pawel Czapiewski since 2002.
World youth bronze medallist Timothy Kitum was a distant second with a Kenyan junior indoor record of 1:45.96, 0.12 ahead of Borzakovskiy. Ethiopia’s Mohamed Aman, who famously defeated world record-holder David Rudisha at the end of last year, was fifth (1:46.80).
Kszczot’s 1:44.57 was one of five world-leading marks set in Liévin on Tuesday night. One of the more notable performances was Patricia Hall’s victory in the 300m.
Former European champion Vania Stambolova had set a meeting record of 36.81 in the ‘B’ race, but that mark lasted just a matter of minutes as Hall of Jamaica blasted to a 35.69 win in the ‘A’ race, comfortably ahead of former European indoor champion Antonina Krivoshapka (36.42). It is the third-fastest indoor performance of all time and is less than a quarter of a second away from Irina Privalova’s world indoor record. Only three women have ever bettered that mark outdoors.
Commonwealth champion Lerone Clarke followed up his recent win at the US Classic in Fayetteville by improving his own world-leading mark in the 60m. The Jamaican breezed through the heats in 6.57, before clocking a personal best of 6.50 in the final. European champion Christophe Lemaitre – competing for the first time this year – finished second in 6.57, but rebounded with victory in the 200m (20.92).
It was a good night for Moroccan middle-distance runners, with victories in three different events and national records in two of them. Malika Akkaoui, having only broken two minutes twice outdoors, smashed through that barrier to set an absolute lifetime best and Moroccan record of 1:59.01 in the women’s 800m.
But arguably the bigger story was the return of Olympic champion Pamela Jelimo, who finished a close second with a Kenyan record of 1:59.10. It is Jelimo’s fastest time since 2008 – the season in which she took the world by storm with a string of victories and sub-1:56 clockings. Following a 4:07 performance over 1500m – which was soon disqualified as Jelimo had broken too early – the signs are pointing to a possible return to full fitness for the 22-year-old.
World indoor silver medallist Abdelaati Iguider was a convincing winner of the men’s 1500m. The Moroccan set a PB and world-leading time of 3:34.10 to finish more than a second ahead of Turkey’s Ilham-Tanui Ozbilen. The women’s 1500m was won by Mariem Alaoui-Selsouli, who clocked a national record of 4:03.67 ahead of compatriot Siham Hilali (4:04.53). Britain’s Steph Twell was ninth in 4:11.65.
World record-holder Yelena Isinbayeva climbed up the world rankings with a commanding display in the pole vault. The Russian opened her series at 4.71m, clearing it on her second attempt. Cuba’s Yarisley Silva also went over that height to break her own area record, but went no higher and settled for second place. Isinbayeva then cleared 4.81m on her first try – going to No.3 on this year’s world lists behind Jenn Suhr and Holly Bleasdale – before having three failures at 4.91m.
Having been narrowly defeated in his last race, Olympic bronze medallist Edwin Soi was a more convincing winner over 3000m in Liévin. The field were led through 1000m in 2:30.94 before Isiah Koech took up the running, going through 2000m in 5:05.20. But the young Kenyan was out-kicked by his more experienced team-mate in the closing stages as Soi won in 7:32.56. Koech was at least rewarded with a world junior record of 7:32.89.
Kristi Castlin continued her 60m hurdles winning streak with another sub-eight victory, this time winning in 7.92 ahead of Canada’s Nikita Holder (8.00). Russia’s Konstantin Shabanov narrowly won the men’s equivalent ahead of Joel Brown, 7.55 to 7.56.
Elsewhere, Laverne Jones-Ferrette won the women’s 60m in 7.14, Italian veteran Fabrizio Donato took the men’s triple jump with a season’s best of 17.24m, and Raphael Holzdeppe won the pole vault on countback from Romain Mesnil, both clearing 5.72m.