Medal hope Laura Muir among casualties on the first morning of IAAF World Indoor Championships action in Poland
There was disappointment for a number of Britain’s athletes in the opening session of the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot on Friday morning, including medal hope Laura Muir who crashed out in the first round of the women’s 800m.
She later tweeted: “Disappointing day today, but lots to build on for future championships. You learn more from your mistakes than your successes.”
Just three members of the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team progressed through to the next stages of their events – Nigel Levine, Margaret Adeoye and Andrew Osagie.
Muir was joined by Chris O’Hare, Lee Emanuel, Mukhtar Mohammed, Richard Buck and Shana Cox who also saw their hopes for success in Sopot come to an end.
Both Levine and Adeoye advanced to this evening’s 400m semi finals with fastest loser spots, Levine running 46.64 in the third men’s heat and Adeoye clocking a season’s best 52.69 in the first women’s heat.
In the men’s event Bahamas’ 2010 world indoor champion Chris Brown proved he means business, clocking 45.84 in the final heat to qualify as quickest ahead of Czech Republic’s Pavel Maslak with 46.01, while Buck missed out on a place in the next round and was later disqualified.
Nigeria’s Regina George went quickest in the first women’s round, running a season’s best 51.60 in the first heat, while a time of 53.10 in the second heat wasn’t enough to see Cox through.
Osagie was second quickest in the men’s 800m heats, the 2012 world indoor bronze medallist running confidently to clock 1:45.88 and qualify as a fastest loser behind Poland’s twice European indoor champion Adam Kszczot with 1:45.76 in the final heat. Ethiopia’s reigning world indoor and outdoor champion Mohammed Aman won the first heat in 1:46.73 but with the heats speeding up that was the slowest time of the first round. American Nick Symmonds, Spain’s Kevin Lopez and Mohammed were among the first round casualties.
Although Muir was boosted from third to second in the first women’s 800m heat following the disqualification of Icelandic teenager Aníta Hinriksdóttir, her time of 2:02.55 wasn’t enough to see her through as a fastest loser.
Having been in lane one, the 20-year-old Scot needed a quick start to secure herself a decent position but she got caught up when other athletes came across in front of her and she found herself blocked.
“I tried to start off quick to get a good position but I think I got a little bit caught out and because I was in lane one, the field came across and I got a bit blocked off,” said Muir, who sat third on the 2014 world rankings for both the 800m and 1500m ahead of the competition and had been a real contender for the podium having demonstrated tactical running and a strong kick a number of times this season.
“I lost a lot of ground. It was a case of trying to get back into position and I lost a lot of energy,” added the Scot, who was unable to demonstrate her usual finishing strength.
Poland’s Angelika Cichocka was the quickest overall with a world-leading 2:00.37.
Ethiopia’s Aman Wote and American Will Leer were among those to make it through to Saturday’s 1500m final, as O’Hare and Emanuel missed out.
Although Emanuel was pushed off the track at one stage, he admitted he hadn’t been happy with his performance generally and couldn’t use that as an excuse.
Genzebe Dibaba comfortably made her way though to the next stage of the women’s 3000m along with the likes of Hellen Obiri, Hiwot Ayalew and Gabrielle Grunewald.
Out in the field and Croatia’s Blanka Vlasic, two-time world indoor and world outdoor champion, was among those to go through to the high jump final, though only just. She placed joint eighth with Belgiums’s Nafissatou Thiam, the European junior heptathlon champion, with a best clearance of 1.92m. Spain’s Ruth Beita topped qualifying, having cleared heights up to 1.95m each on the first time of asking.
Germany’s David Storl threw the furthest in shot qualifying with 21.24m on his final throw, while defending champ Ryan Whiting of the US managed the automatic qualifying distance on his first go. Tomasz Majewski kept home fans happy with 20.60m to also make it through.
In the triple jump only two athletes automatically qualified – Jamaica’s Kimberley Williams and Ukraine’s Olga Saladukha with 14.35m and 14.31m respectively. China’s Li Yanmei was also among those to make it through, her 13.73m enough to book her spot in the final.
World decathlon and heptathlon record-holder Ashton Eaton ended the morning session just 48 points off where he was at when setting his world record in 2012. An equal 60m PB of 6.66 was followed by 7.78m in the long jump for a total of 2012 points.
His wife, world heptathlon silver medallist Brianne Theisen-Eaton, also had a strong start in the women’s competition. Six of the eight athletes clocked personal bests in the 60m hurdles, Theisen-Eaton taking four hundreths off her best to clock the quickest time of 8.13. She followed that up with a season’s best 1.84m in the long jump and a big personal best of 13.86m in the shot. Dutch athlete Nadine Broersen set a national indoor record with her 1.93m to win the high jump to put her top with 3035 points after three events. Just 129 points separates the top four which also includes Sharon Day-Monroe, Theisen-Eaton and Alina Fodorova.
» Full results from the first session of the IAAF World Indoor Championships can be found here