Shara Proctor leaps into World Indoor long jump final with 6.86m British record in Istanbul
In a qualification round of a higher quality than last year’s World Championships final, Britain’s Shara Proctor broke her own British long jump record to set herself up as a medal contender in tomorrow’s final.
The former Anguillan bounded out to 6.86m in the second round to add six centimetres to the record she set last month in Birmingham. Bev Kinch (6.90m) and Fiona May (6.88m) are the only Britons ever to jump farther outdoors, but that could change this year as Proctor was six centimetres behind the board on her record jump.
For a short period, Proctor’s 6.86m was the best ever mark set in the qualifying round at the World Indoors, but a few moments later USA’s Janay DeLoach leaped 6.90m. They were the only automatic qualifiers, but defending champion Brittney Reese (6.72m) and European indoor champion Darya Klishina (6.65m) also made it through to the final.
Andrew Osagie had a nervous wait yesterday after he missed out on an automatic qualifying spot from the 800m heats. But in today’s semi-finals he made no such errors and guaranteed his place in the final with a confident run, finishing strong to place second behind Ethiopia’s Mohamed Aman, 1:48.07 to 1:48.13.
The second semi-final was a scrappy race which saw European champion Marcin Lewandowski crash out in a mid-race collision. Commonwealth champion Boaz Lalang was also thrown off his stride and finished third, while USA’s Michael Rutt (1:48.88) and Belgium’s Jan van den Broeck (1:48.90) were the surprise top two finishers.
Joe Thomas, one of the British revelations of the 2012 indoor season, was hoping to join team-mate Osagie in the final, but after leading at half way, he ran out of steam on the last lap, admitting afterwards that he had had a troublesome night worrying about a niggling injury in his leg. World leader Adam Kszczot eased through in second place (1:47.90) behind Jakub Holusa of the Czech Republic (1:47.23).
In the men’s 4x400m, Britain’s medal chances had been boosted even before they lined up for their heat, as the Bahamas were non-starters. That allowed USA an easy victory in the first heat, 3:07.47, three seconds ahead of Spain. The second heat was more competitive but Britain led from the outset to clock a winning 3:07.45 – marginally faster than the USA’s time and with UK champion Nigel Levine to be drafted in for the final. Poland were second (3:07.99), while Trinidad & Tobago and Russia made it through as fastest losers.
It seems almost certain that Istanbul will be treated to its second combined events world record of the championships, following Nataliya Dobrynska’s pentathlon world record last night. USA’s Ashton Eaton continued his good form this morning in the heptathlon with a 7.68 run in the 60m hurdles – a time that would have been good enough to make it into the semi-finals of the individual event. He followed it with a 5.20m clearance in the pole vault, equalling his indoor PB.
It means that he goes into the final event, the 1000m, with 5690 points and needing to run 2:39.50 to break his own world record of 6568. His 1000m PB is 2:32.67, so his target should be well within his grasp.
Ukraine’s Oleksiy Kasyanov (5224) is still set for silver, while Russia’s Artem Lukyanenko (5148) has moved into bronze medal contention ahead of Andrey Kravchenko.
British youngster Andy Pozzi had something of a baptism of fire on his global senior debut, drawn in the lane next to former Olympic champion Liu Xiang in his 60m hurdles heat. But Pozzi remained calm and had the race of his life, winning in 7.61 – the fastest time of the morning. Liu was just a whisker behind with an easy looking 7.62.
The event had been hit earlier in the week with the withdrawal of defending champion Dayron Robles, and there was another non-starter this morning in the form of Kevin Craddock of the USA. But US indoor champion Aries Merritt – Liu’s main challenger for gold – was in good form and won his heat comfortably in 7.66.
There were few surprises in the women’s 60m heats, with heat winners including Ivet Lalova (7.19), Laverne Jones-Ferrette (7.21) and defending champion Veronica Campbell-Brown (7.29). World leader Tianna Madison also made it safely through, finishing second in her heat.
Young British duo Asha Philip and Jodie Williams both finished third in their heats with respective times of 7.37 and 7.40. Although they missed out on a top-two automatic qualifying spot, they will both progress to the next round as fastest losers.
Olympic champion Andrey Silnov and Russian team-mate Ivan Ukhov, the defending champion, just sneaked through to the high jump final, finishing ninth and eighth respectively, while Britain’s Robbie Grabarz qualified safely with his 2.29m clearance.
World champion Jesse Williams and world leader Mutaz Essa Barshim both also qualified for the final, but UK indoor champion Samson Oni missed out along with former world champion Donald Thomas.
USA’s Christian Taylor showed exactly why he’s the world triple jump champion, needing just one jump in this morning’s qualifying round to sail into the final. Taylor added a few centimetres to his PB with his 17.39m, easily the best jump of the session. Team-mate Will Claye had to work a bit harder for his qualification, just sneaking over the automatic mark with 17.01m. Italian duo Fabrizio Donato (17.07m) and Daniele Greco (16.94m) also advanced, but two-time world indoor medallist David Giralt and former Olympic silver medallist Marian Oprea were not so lucky, finishing outside the top eight.
It was business as usual for the big favourites in the women’s shot qualifying, with Valerie Adams (19.43m) and Nadezhda Ostapchuk (19.23m) both impressing with their one-throw qualifications. USA’s Jill Camarena-Williams was close behind with her 19.11m, and Germany’s Nadine Kleinert (19.00m) was the only other athlete over 19 metres.