Friday March 7, 2014
Nadine Broersen of the Netherlands earned the first gold medal of the World Indoor Championships by hanging on for victory in the pentathlon. Broersen took a 116-point lead after the morning events, then leaped a respectable 6.17 meters (20 feet, 2¾ inches) in the long jump, giving her a 101-point lead entering the final event, the 800 meters - one of Broersen's weaker events. She placed sixth overall in the 800, finishing in 2:14.97, but that was enough to give her a winning total of 4,830 points. Canada's Brianne Theisen-Eaton was second in the 800, passing Alina Fodorova of Ukraine in the standings to take the silver medal. Theisen-Eaton earned a national-record 4,768 points while Fodorova finished third with a personal-best 4,724. American Sharon Day-Monroe led all runners in the 800 but fell six points shy of the bronze medal.
American Ryan Whiting won a stirring duel with Germany's David Storl in the shot put, giving Whiting the day's second gold medal. The defending champion led after his first throw, which reached 20.89/68-6¼, before Storl answered with his first-round attempt of 21.35/70-½. Whiting threw 21.47/70-5¼ in the second round but Storl reached 21.79/71-5¾ to maintain the lead. After both throwers fouled in round three, Whiting found more distance in the fourth round, tossing the shot 22.05/72-4. Storl had no more responses and had to settle for the silver. New Zealand's Tomas Walsh set two Oceania records in the final two rounds, topping out at 21.26/69-9 to gain the bronze.
Ashton Eaton has 3,653 points and is just one point behind his 2012 world record pace after four events in the heptathlon. Eaton threw the shot 14.88/48-9¾ and cleared 2.06/6-9 in the high jump as he tries to defend his championship. But the big story of the afternoon session was Andrei Krauchanka of Belarus, who was second overall in the shot (15.42/50-7) and first in the high jump (2.21/7-3, a World Indoor Championship heptathlon record) to finish the day with 3,583 points. Ukraine's Oleksiy Kasyanov sits in third with 3,516 points. Tomorrow's events include the 60-meter hurdles, pole vault and 1,000-meter run.
Sally Pearson of Australia led all qualifiers in the women's 60-meter hurdles, running a season-best 7.79 seconds. Other heat winners included American Nia Ali, France's Cindy Billaud and Great Britain's Tiffany Porter. Eight competitors ran under eight seconds in advance of Saturday's semifinals.
Great Britain's Richard Kilty ran a personal best 6.53 seconds to pace qualifiers in the men's 60 meters. Another British runner, Dwain Chambers, also won his heat, as did Lucas Jakubczyk of Germany, China's Su Bingtian, Gerald Phiri of Zambia and Jason Rodgers from St. Kitts and Nevis. The semifinals are scheduled for Saturday evening.
In a surprising high jump qualification, Poland's Adrian Strzalkowski thrilled the home crowd with an indoor national record of 8.18/26-10 to qualify on his first attempt. Four more jumpers topped the automatic qualifying distance of 8.05/26-4¾, while event favorite Alexandr Menkov of Russia just 1 millimeter behind. The non-qualifiers included 2008 Olympic champion Irving Saladino and American Tyron Stewart, who seemed a very likely finalist after jumping 8.00/26-3 in the first round. Indeed, Stewart passed in the second round but returned in the third after finding his position threatened, but he couldn't improve and finished ninth, 1 millimeter behind the final qualifying spot for Saturday's final.
Event favorite Abeba Aregawi of Sweden won her 1500-meter heat in 4:08.74. American Heather Kampf was a surprise in her heat, leading almost all the way until Morocco's Rababe Arafi passed her to win in 4:10.95. But Kampf held on to the second qualifying spot in a personal best 4:11.27. American Treniere Moser won the final heat in 4:12.63 to qualify for Saturday's final.
Kenyans Caleb Ndiku (7:42.75) and Augustine Choge (7:44.85) won the men's 3000-meter heats. Ethiopians Hagos Gebrhiwet and Dejen Gebremeskel, plus Americans Bernard Lagat and Galen Rupp, are among the notable qualifiers for Sunday's final.
American Francena McCorory was the fastest in the women's 400-meter semifinals, winning her heat in 51.35. Jamaica's Patricia Hall won the first semi in 52.82. An on-track collision knocked the Czech Republic's Denisa Rosolova out of the first race and slowed American Joanna Atkins, who finished fourth and didn't qualify for Saturday's final. Russian champion Kseniya Ryzhova was a surprising non-qualifier in the other semifinal. On the men's side, Pavel Maslak of the Czech Republic won the initial semifinal in 45.79 while 35-year-old Chris Brown of the Bahamas took the second semi in 46.19. Americans David Verburg and Kyle Clemons will both race in the final.
Friday March 7, 2014
The World Indoor Championships began in Sopot, Poland this morning and American Ashton Eaton is where he was expected to be, comfortably on top of the heptathlon standings. Eaton led all eight competitors in both the 60 meters (a personal best 6.66 seconds) and the long jump (7.78 meters - 25 feet 6¼ inches) to finish the morning session with 2,012 points, which is 48 behind his world-record pace of 2012. Ukraine's Oleksiy Kasyanov is second overall at 1,870, followed by Canada's Damian Warner at 1,861.
Nadine Broersen of the Netherlands has opened a 116-point cushion after three events of the pentathlon. She was third overall in the 60-meter hurdles with a personal best 8.32 seconds, then topped all competitors with a national record 1.93/6-4 in the high jump. She finished her morning by placing fourth in the shot put and stands with 3,035 points. Sharon Day-Monroe of the United States is second overall at 2,919 while Canada's Brianne Theisen-Eaton is third at 2,914. The pentathlon concludes with the long jump and 800-meter run later today. Broersen is not strong in those events, so the gold medal remains up for grabs.
In preliminary competition, seven women qualified for Saturday's high jump final by clearing 1.95/6-4¾, with only Spain's Ruth Beitia doing so without a miss. Two more women, including two-time champion Blanka Vlasic, qualified at 1.92/6-3½.
Nigeria's Regina George led the women's 400-meter qualifiers with a season-best 51.60. Two Americans - Francena McCorory and Joanna Atkins - plus Jamaicans Kaliese Spencer and Patricia Hall, are among the qualifiers for Saturday's semifinals. On the men's side, Chris Brown of the Bahamas led qualifiers for tomorrow's 400-meter semis with a season-best time of 45.84. As in the women's event, two Americans (David Verburg and Kyle Clemons) and a pair of Jamaicans (Akheem Gauntlett and Edino Steele) advanced to the semifinals.
Three shot-putters topped the automatic qualifying mark of 20.70/67-11 to reach Friday night's final. Germany's David Storl took three attempts to reach 21.24/69-8, American Ryan Whiting needed just one try to throw 20.75/68-1 and German Lauro of Argentina reached 20.73/68-0 on his second try. Other qualifiers include home-nation favorite Tomasz Majewski. Non-qualifiers include American Kurt Roberts.
Favorites Olha Saladuha of Ukraine and Ekaterina Koneva of Russia advanced to Saturday's triple jump final, although Jamaica's Kimberly Williams led all jumpers by leaping a season-best 14.35/47-1 on her first try.
In the women's 3000, Maryam Yusuf Jamal of Bahrain (8:53.07) and Ethiopia's Genzebe Dibaba (8:57.86) won their heats to move on to Sunday's final. Other qualifiers include American Shannon Rowbury and Kenya's Hellen Obiri.
Aman Wote of Ethiopia won the third and fastest heat in the men's 1500, finishing in 3:36.75. All three non-automatic qualifiers came from the heat, including American Will Leer. Ayanleh Souleiman of Djibouti edged New Zealand's Nick Willis in the second heat while Homiyu Tesfaye of Germany won the first heat. Non-qualifiers include Lopez Lamong of the U.S., Mekonnen Gebremedhin of Ethiopia and Kenya's Silas Kiplagat.
Two Polish runners thrilled the home crowd by leading the way in the men's and women's 800-meter heats. Poland's Angelika Cichocka ran a world-leading 2:00.37 to lead all qualifiers in the women's 800. Natalia Lupu of the Ukraine and Switzerland's Selina Buchel won the other heats to reach Sunday's final. American Chanelle Price qualified for the final but Ajee Wilson did not. Adam Kszczot was the men's leader at 1:45.76. Ethiopia's Mohammed Aman and Andre Olivier of South Africa won the other heats. A second Pole, Marcin Lewandowski, qualified for the final but Americans Nick Symmonds and Erik Sowinski did not.
Wednesday March 5, 2014
The 15th World Indoor Championships begin in Sopot, Poland on Friday. Among the intriguing matchups is the expected battle between 39-year-old American Bernard Lagat, a three-time World Indoor gold medalist at 3000 meters, and 19-year-old Ethiopian Hagos Gebrhiwet, the 2014 world leader at 7:34.13.
Russia's Ivan Ukhov has dominated the indoor high jump season and leaped as high as 2.42 meters (7 feet, 11¼ inches). He'll not only be seeking gold in Sopot, but a shot as Javier Sotomayor's indoor world record of 2.43/7-11½. Speaking of world marks, Ashton Eaton set the indoor heptathlon world record in the 2012 Championships and may take a run at improving the standard this weekend.
On the women's side, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will compete in her first World Indoor Championships, in the 60 meters. With a personal best of 7.04 and a season best of 7.10, she's not the favorite - Murielle Ahoure (6.99 PR/7.03 season best) holds that honor - but Fraser-Pryce is at her best in the big meets, which should make the 60 a must-see event. Genzebe Dibaba, who's set three indoor world records this season, is the 3000-meter favorite. The injury-plagued Blanka Vlasic is apparently healthy and will shoot for her third World Indoor high jump title.
Among the late scratches due to injury are French pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie and American middle distance prodigy Mary Cain.
Thursday February 27, 2014
Russia's Ivan Ukhov has established himself as the huge high jump favorite in next month's World Indoor Championships. Ukhov has posted seven of the world's top eight clearances this season, from 2.36 meters (7 feet, 8¾ inches) to 2.42/7-11¼. Ukhov achieved his world-leading performance at the Prague Indoor Meet on Tuesday, which was just short of Javier Sotomayor's indoor world record of 2.43/7-11½ set in 1989.
On the women's side, Croatia's Blanka Vlasic is apparently healthy again after winning the high jump in Prague by clearing 2.00/6-6¾. The performance puts Vlasic in the mix in Sopot. Maria Kuchina tops the 2014 high jump charts so far with a 2.01/6-7 clearance at Stockholm in early February.
Cuba's Pedro Pablo Pichardo established the second world lead in Prague, leaping 17.32/56-9¾ in the triple jump. In other recent highlights, Ivana Spanovic of Serbia recorded a world-leading 6.92/22-8½ in the long jump in Istanbul on Feb. 22.
Check out a new series on beginner's and intermediate hurdles, for both athletes and coaches. You can read articles on coaching new hurdlers; walkover drills; intermediate drills; hurdling form; and fixing common mistakes.