It's said that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. Yelena Isinbayeva hasn't forgotten her history, but she still almost repeated it during Friday afternoon's session of the World Indoor Championships.
Photo: Bershawn Jackson on his way to victory in his 400-meter semifinal Friday. Michael Steele/Getty Images
The Russian pole vault world record-holder no-heighted at the 2009 World Outdoor Championships, a fact she discussed at Thursday's pre-Championships press conference, saying she uses that failure as motivation. Nevertheless, there she was Friday afternoon in Doha, one miss away from no-heighting at the Indoor Championships following two poor jumps. Beyond that, the elite performer who normally radiates confidence look frazzled and tense prior to her final attempt. Then the old Isinbayeva returned and she soared confidently over the bar. She waved happily to the crowd, the old swagger back in her movements, the confidence again in her eyes, as she looked forward to Sunday's final.
Midway through her 1,500-meter heat Friday, Ethiopia's Kalkidan Gezahegne was clipped from behind by another competitor and fell. But the 18-year-old sensation bounced back quickly and dashed through the field to win the heat in 4:08.91. Countrywoman Gelete Burka won the first heat (4:12.08). Americans Sarah Bowman and Erin Donohue both qualified for Sunday's final.
In other women's track action, Ethiopia's Meseret Defar was the fastest in the 3,000 meters (8:48.23). American Desiree Davila also qualified for Saturday's final. Russia's Tatyana Firova (51.36) led all qualifiers in the 400-meter semifinal. American Debbie Dunn won the other heat (52.08). Among the non-qualifiers was two-time World Indoor champion Natalya Nazarova of Russia. The final is set for Saturday. Qualifiers in the 60 meters included LaVerne Jones-Ferrette of the U.S. Virgin Islands (7.14), Jamaica's Veronica Campbell-Brown (7.21) plus Americans Carmelita Jeter (7.30) and Mikele Barber (7.37). Semifinals and the final will be run Sunday. Canada's Priscilla Lopes-Schliep (7.94) and American Lolo Jones (7.95) led the 60-meter hurdles heat winners. American Ginnie Powell (8.07) also qualified for Saturday's semifinal with a victory.
The top men's hurdlers all qualified for Saturday's semifinal, including Americans Terrence Trammell and David Oliver (both 7.60). Cuba's Dayron Robles started and finished slowly but was lightning fast in between to win his heat in 7.74. China's Liu Xiang did not seem in top form and placed third in his heat (7.79), but advanced to the semis. Dwain Chambers of Great Britain led the qualifiers in the straight 60 (6.59). Americans Trell Kimmons (6.61) and Mike Rodgers (6.69) both won their heats to advance to Saturday's semifinal. American Bershawn Jackson (46.13) and Ireland's David Gillick (46.15) nearly collided before finishing 1-2 in their 400-meter semifinal. American Jamaal Torrance (46.69) also advanced to Saturday's final. Abdalaati Iguider of Morocco (3:37.14) and Ethiopia's Deresse Mekonnen (3:39.66) won their 1,500-meter heats. American Garrett Heath also qualified for Saturday's final. Kenya's Augustine Choge (7:43.80) and American Bernard Lagat (7:59.99) - running his usual smart tactical race - won their 3,000-meter heats. American Galen Rupp also qualified for Sunday's final.
American Bryan Clay holds a one-point edge over Russia's Aleksey Drozdov, 3,549-3,548, in the heptathlon. Drozdov was paced by a personal best shot put effort of 17.17 meters (56 feet, 4 inches). Clay should maintain the lead through the next two events. He's superior to Drozdov in the 60-meter hurdles, while the two are about even in the pole vault. But Drozdov's personal best in the final event, the 1,000 meters, is six seconds better than Clay's. American Trey Hardee is fifth overall (3,450).
In the field events, Fabrice Lapierre (8.19/26-10¼) beat the automatic qualifying standard and fellow Australian Mitchell Watt (8.00/26-3) matched it. Among those not qualifying for Saturday's final, surprisingly, was 2008 Olympic champion Irving Saladino of Panama, who fouled twice then fell short on his final attempt (7.80.25-7). Russians Ivan Ukhov and Yaroslav Rybakov both cleared 2.29/7-6 in the high jump. Among the six qualifiers who cleared 2.26/7-5 were Americans Jesse Williams and Dusty Jonas, who cleared 2.26 on his third try. Cuba's Yoandris Betanzos of Cuba (17.11/56-1½) and the rejuvenated Christian Olsson of Sweden (17.07/56-0) topped the automatic qualifying mark in the triple jump. The triple jump and high jump finals are Sunday.