Monday, 10 March 2014

Indoor Venture a Blessing for Fraser-Pryce


When you can boast the sort of athletic resume that Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has, it is little wonder that the Jamaican sprint superstar found herself in strong contention for the global 60m gold medal in only her second season of competing indoors.

The 27-year-old 2008 and 2012 Olympic 100m champion utilised her major championship experience and lightning-fast speed to scorch to the 2014 IAAF World Indoor crown in Sopot, Poland this evening - collecting a remarkable eighth global title in the process.
Sprinting to a world-leading 6.98 victory, Fraser-Pryce in turn claimed the Caribbean island’s fourth 60m win in the 16-year history of the championship and shot to seventh position on the world all-time list.

Not that the impressive statistic means anything to the 2013 IAAF World Championships 100m, 200m and 4x100m outdoor champion:

“I’ve said many times that I’m not one of those people who check statistics, follow history and see ‘if I do this, what will happen’,” she revealed.

“I just line up and I compete. I think I get going because I try not to put added pressure on myself because a lot of times, you can be very good at what you do but when you get ready, you have to be prepared to get it going.”

Flying out of the blocks with a 0.159 reaction time, Fraser-Pryce enjoyed a slight advantage after just the 10-meter point before maintaining the pole position all the way to the finish, shattering her 7.04 lifetime best set when winning the XL Galan meeting in Stockholm last winter.

Having begun her 2014 campaign with a 7.11 clocking in Kingston, her only loss of the season was having to settle for second place behind 2013 world outdoor 100m and 200m runner-up, Murielle Ahoure of Ivory Coast at the Birmingham Grand Prix in mid-February – her fierce rival who claimed the silver medal in Sopot with a 7.01 clocking.

On what will surely become the first of many world indoor titles, Fraser-Pryce explained:

“I was surprised – I knew I could do well here and I was more focused on getting that start so I just relied on past experience in the final and I think I got it right.

“I’m pleased I got the chance to compete at my first world indoor championship. I’m just humbled and thanking God at the same time for this opportunity – I’m so happy for everything that’s happened so far.”

Sprinting to a 7.12 first round clocking before progressing to 7.08 in the semi-final stage on Saturday, Fraser-Pryce’s sparkling 6.98 winning time was surprisingly achieved off no specific preparation:

“No special preparations, I’m still preparing for my outdoor season so nothing special for the 60m - I just came here and wasn’t prepared for the 60m,” she revealed.

“I knew I had a good start and just wanted to come here to do my best. I don’t think it was what I expected – it was ok, the 60m doesn’t make that much difference to my 100m.

“A lot of people do run well at 60m but can’t transfer it to the 100m because there’s still 40m to go and anything can happen in that last section.”
Ever the eternal competitor and perfectionist despite her apparent relaxed attitude to the 60m event, Fraser-Pryce last words confirmed her unwavering focus for preserving her winning reputation:

“Whenever we line up on the start line, we know we’re going to bring it, there’s no ‘oh, tomorrow’,” she insisted.

“We’re always laying it down and I think that’s important in order to run fast times because we’re competing.”

IAAF World Indoors - women's triple jump and men's long jump final report:


Women’s long Jump final report:

France’s Eloyse Leseur more than made up for missing out on a medal in the 2008 edition, flying to a 6.85m surprise victory.

Twelve months after claiming the European indoor title, the 25-year-old captured her first global medal in taking the women’s long jump title in fine style.

The European outdoor champion opened her campaign with 6.72m before leaping 6.74m and then her best effort arrived in the fourth round.

In fact, Leseur snatched the gold medal from Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson with her fourth attempt, having eclipsed her rival’s 6.81m marker which she put down on her first jump.

The 21-year-old world junior champion will be delighted with the silver medal, following her failure to qualify for the pentathlon event here.

The world heptathlon fifth-placer improved on her 6.75m lifetime best to collect her first major championships medal as a senior, and enjoyed a consistent series with 6.69m, 6.69m, 6.54m, 6.68 and 6.62m also. 

Serbia’s world outdoor bronze medallist, Ivana Spanovic was disappointed to leave the competition with the bronze medal with 6.77m, having leapt 6.92m this winter to be billed as the favourite.

Replicating the same distance she registered in the qualifying round yesterday, the 2008 world junior champion and Olympic finalist’s best mark arrived in the sixth and final round.

In fourth place, Great Britain’s Shara Proctor could not repeat her 2012 world indoor bronze medal-winning form, jumping 6.68m – 1cm down on her qualifying distance.

The USA’s world outdoor finalist, Tori Polk finished fifth with 6.61m whilst Poland’s Teresa Dobija claimed sixth position with 6.52m just ahead of Russia’s two-time European indoor champion and 2012 world indoor fourth-placer, Darya Klishina who leapt 6.51m.

Men’s triple jump final report:

Russia’s Lyukman Adams improved on his 2012 world indoor bronze to snatch the 2012 title in a world-leading 17.37m in the sixth and final round.
The 25-year-old Olympic finalist stole the gold medal from Cuba’s Ernesto Reve in the closing moments of the competition to win by a tight 4cm margin.

Having exceeded the 17-metre mark on three occasions with 17.21m in the second round and 17.17m in the fifth, Adams saved his best effort until last as Reve was forced to leave the arena through injury after his third jump.

The 22-year-old 2010 world junior runner-up claimed the silver medal with 17.33m in his debut indoor season ahead of team-mate, Pedro Pablo Pichardo who took the bronze with 17.24m.

The 20-year-old world outdoor silver medallist and 2012 world junior champion unleashed his furthest jump in the final round to push Romania’s 2004 Olympic silver medallist, Marian Oprea into fourth position (17.21m).

The 31-year-old’s bad luck in this championship thus continued, having finished fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively in previous editions.

Meanwhile, Poland’s Karol Hoffman finished fifth with a 16.89m season’s best as US champion, Chris Carter – who has improved by over half a meter this winter to 17.15m – placed sixth with 16.74m.

IAAF World Indoors - men's and women's 4x400m final reports:


Men’s 4x400m relay final report:

The USA quartet smashed the 15-year-old men’s 4x400m relay world record, scorching to victory in 3:02.13.

Led off by the individual 2014 world indoor 400m bronze medallist, Kyle Clemons who settled behind Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s two-time world indoor 4x400m runner-up, Conrad Williams, the US squad then utilised 2014 world indoor 400m fourth-placer, David Verburg who moved them into the lead.

Clocking a 45.62 split, Verburg passed the baton on to Kind Butler who recorded 45.41 on the third leg before 2012 world indoor 4x400m champion, Calvin Smith who in turn brought the Americans home with an impressive 45.12 final effort.

Improving the previous world record by seven tenths of a second, the USA’s gold medal-winning performance captured the nation’s ninth title in the 12 editions of this event in the championship.

With silver, Great Britain registered a 3:03.49 season’s best in a tight battle which saw the Jamaican team settle for the bronze medal with a 3:03.69 national record.

Poland finished fourth in a 3:04.39 season’s best whilst Russia placed fifth in 3:07.12 and Ukraine in sixth with 3:08.79.
Women’s 4x400m final report:
The USA asserted their dominance from the outset, storming to a world-leading 3:24.83 victory in the women’s 4x400m relay – an event, quite surprisingly, the Americans have won only once in the history of this championship.
Led by three-time world outdoor 4x400m champion and 2010 world indoor 4x400m gold medallist, Natasha Hastings who – after three faulty starts - composed herself to speed to a 51.95 opener – the US quartet then utilised the world indoor 400m 6th-placer, Joanna Atkins who registered a 50.85 split to maintain their comfortable winning margin.
Benefitting from the individual world indoor 400m champion, Francena McCorory who sprinted to an impressive 50.36 clocking, the gold medallist then trusted NCAA 400m hurdles champion, Cassandra Tate to anchor them home with a 51.67 split in first position.
Improving on their 3:29.06 world lead from the qualifying round, the US outfit finished clear of Jamaica who bettered their 3:29.43 national record from the heats to clock 3:26.54.
2012 world indoor winners, Great Britain and Northern Ireland captured the bronze medal ahead of eight-time champions, Russia as world outdoor 400m champion, Christine Ohuruogu completed their campaign in a 3:27.90 season’s best.
Poland finished in fourth place with 3:29.89 as Nigeria placed fifth in 3:31.59, a day after recorded their 3:29.67 personal best.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Feature: IAAF World Indoors - Whiting Revealed to Live Up to the Favourite Tag


Having come into the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot with the furthest throw of the winter under his belt, Ryan Whiting felt the pressure to live up to the mantle of favourite for the men’s shot put gold medal.

The 27-year-old American had failed to capitalise on the number-one tag at the IAAF World Outdoor Championships in Moscow last summer and so he was determined to consolidate his dominant form this time around.

Arriving in Poland as the defending champion, Whiting successfully retained his title with a huge 22.05m throw but admitted to feeling nervous about what his fierce rival, Germany’s runner-up David Storl could surprise him with:

“I came in the favourite and I’m just glad I did execute as I was the favourite last summer and I didn’t so now I know I can do that, I plan to be the favourite a lot in the future so it’s a good step,” the world outdoor silver medallist explained.

“It’s just a matter of time before he (Storl) goes over 22m and he makes it more nerve-wracking that it could have been. I’m in shape to throw really far and I think you’ll see that outdoors for sure.”

The pair established their intentions for glory with impressive qualifying efforts in the morning session, with Storl unleashing a 21.24m throw ahead of Whiting’s 20.75m put.

Nine hours later in the final, Whiting – the four-time US champion – opened his campaign with 20.89m before Storl – the two-time world outdoor champion – responded with 21.35m.

The 23-year-old’s reaction was a sign of how the competition would go on to progress with the pair again swapping the lead in the second round, with Whiting hitting back with 21.47 before his younger counterpart went on to register a 21.79 season’s best. 

Whiting, an Olympic finalist in 2012, had evidently decided that he was tired of playing second-fiddle to the German and so unleashed his winning 22.05m throw which Storl could not respond to, to guarantee the world indoor crown.

“He (Storl) threw his opener and then I came out and responded and he took the lead again,” Whiting recalled.

“I’m so used to competing against him in the Olympics and in World Championships, I just expect that from him – he’s going to bring his best on the day and I think you’re just seeing the beginning of one of the greatest shot put rivalries in history.”

With subsequent distances of 21.95m and 21.11, Whiting’s consistent series – with only one foul - ensured that the 22.23m man defended his title in style.

“No-one really knew who I was two years ago but I felt like I was in really good shape this time so felt I was in great shape to throw even further than the 22-metres I threw then. There’s more there,” he revealed.

“This is my sixth time in Poland so I’m used to it, the people have always been great to me. Just to know the area – I took a tour of the stadium and I like the set-up, I was ready to go it was just a great atmosphere.”

In the bronze medal position, New Zealand’s Tomas Walsh threw a 21.26m Area record to cause a surprise and break the hearts of the expectant Polish crowd, who had grand hopes for their two-time Olympic champion Tomasz Majewski, who placed fourth with a 21.04 season’s best.

With Bulgaria’s 2004 world junior champion, Georgi Ivanov setting a 21.02m national record, this event boasts the first time in the 16-year history of the championships where five men have broken the 21m barrier.

Now with the indoor season capped off in magnificent fashion and with his confidence as high as his 6ft3 frame, Whiting spoke of continuing his winning form into the summer:

“I plan to just relax for the next two weeks and decompress from this experience,” he explained.

“I’ll rest to get reved up for outdoors and my goal this year is to win the Diamond League series again.”

IAAF World Indoor Champs - men's 60m heats, semis and final report:


Men’s 60m round one report:

In the absence of the injured James Dasaolu and Jimmy Vicaut, Great Britain duo Richard Kilty and Dwain Chambers qualified fastest for tomorrow’s semi-final stage.

The 24-year-old Kilty, third behind his team-mate in the British championships last month, equaled his 6.53 personal best to win the fourth heat, whilst 35-year-old Chambers – the 2010 world indoor champion and 2012 world indoor bronze medalist - took heat six with a 6.57 clocking.

Behind the 6.42 European record holder in third quickest of the afternoon is Germany’s Lucas Jakubczyk. The 2012 European 4x100m relay runner-up claimed the fifth heat with 6.57, whilst four men registered 6.58 during the heats:

Iran’s Reza Ghasemi’s performance with second place in the fourth heat earned him the national record, as Polish champion Dariusz Kuc pleased his home crowd with a lifetime best in the runner-up position in the fifth heat.

Jamaica’s two-time Olympic and two-time World 4x100m champion, Nesta Carter opened his campaign in search of consolidating his silver medal position from the 2012 event in Istanbul with third place in heat four, whereas China’s Bingtian Su sped to a commanding second heat victory.

Jason Rogers, the 2011 world 4x100m relay bronze medallist from St Kitts and Nevis clocked 6.59 for second in the third heat, and Zambia’s Gerald Phiri claimed the tight first heat with the same time. 

Setting a 6.59 lifetime best, Jamaica’s Kimmari Roach finished in the runner-up position in heat one, ahead of the USA’s Marvin Bracy. Registering 6.60 for third place, the US champion arrived at the event carrying the ‘gold medal favourite tag’ courtesy of an impressive 6.48 at altitude at the US
Championships in Albuquerque last month. 

Others who impressed include the Bahamas’ Warren Fraser with 6.6.1 for second in heat three, Japan’s Yoshihide Kiryu who ran 6.65 for the runner-up spot in the second heat and two-time world indoor fourth-placer, Trell Kimmons of the USA who registered 6.68 just behind the 18-year-old.

Men’s 60m semi finals report:

2012 world indoor silver medallist, Nesta Carter laid down a fine 6.50 season’s best marker to confirm that he is intent on capturing the gold medal this time around.

The 28-year-old Jamaican scorched to victory in the first semi final and looks set to add another title, following his two Olympic 4x100m and two world outdoor 4x100m crowns.

Behind, Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s Richard Kilty continued his impressive breakthrough season with a 6.52 lifetime best. The 24-year-old progressed from 6.53 in the qualifying round and is in contention to claim his first major championships individual medal. 

US champion and favourite coming into the event with a world-leading 6.48, Marvin Bracy took the third semi final with 6.52, as Qatar’s 2011 world outdoor 400m finalist, Femi Ogunode registered 6.55. 

Jamaica’s Kimari Roach and Zambia’s Gerald Phiri claimed the last two spots for tonight’s final with a 6.55 personal best and a 6.57 national record, respectively.

Of those who failed to qualify, Britain’s Dwain Chambers will be disappointed – the 2010 world indoor champion and 2012 world indoor bronze medalist running 6.58, as will two-time world indoor fourth-placer, Trell Kimmons of the USA who could only manage 6.62.

Zimbabwe’s Gabriel Mvumvure’s exit was consolidated by a 6.60 national record.

Men’s 60m final report:

Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s Richard Kilty flew to a mighty 6.49 lifetime best to capture the men’s 60m gold – his very first major championships individual medal.

The 24-year-old’s superb breakthrough season continued in fine style, having registered personal best marks in each of rounds here with 6.53 in qualifying and 6.52 in the semi final stage.

Following in the footsteps of Britain’s 2004 winner, Jason Gardener and their 2010 champion, Dwain Chambers, Kilty upstaged his more established rivals as the USA’s pre-race favourite, Marvin Bracy had to settle for silver.

Clocking 6.51, the US champion edged Qatar’s Femi Ogunode in a tight battle, as five men finished within 0.02 seconds of each other.

Bronze medallist Ogunode, the 2011 world outdoor finalist over 800m, pushed China’s Bingtian Su into fourth with the 2013 Asian champion having registered a 6.52 national record.

Zambia’s Gerald Phiri also set a national record of the same time, whilst 2012 world indoor bronze medallist, Chambers finished sixth with 6.53.

Twice Olympic 4x100m and twice world outdoor 4x100m champion, Nesta Carter of Jamaica could not replicate the form which saw him capture the silver medal two years ago and his 6.50 clocking from the semi final stage, placing seventh with 6.57.

His team-mate, Kimari Roach closed the field with 6.58.

IAAF World Indoor Champs - women's 400m heats, semis and final report:


Women’s 400m heats report:

In the opening track event at the IAAF World Championships in Sopot, Poland, the women’s 400m exponents began their qualifying campaign. 

Nigeria’s Regina George clocked the fastest qualifying time in the first round by a comfortable margin, registering a swift 51.60 season’s best to take the first heat.

The 23-year-old winner of the Birmingham Grand Prix is followed by Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas. The 19-year-old 2010 world junior champion and world outdoor fourth-placer looked confident with 52.10 to cross the line first in the second heat.

Poland’s Justyna Sweity took advantage of the rapturous home support, speeding to a 52.13 lifetime best in finishing runner-up to George, as Jamaica’s Patricia Hall also qualified from the first heat with a 52.19 clocking.

Olympic 400m hurdles fourth-placer, Kaliese Spencer of Jamaica took charge in the second heat with 52.26, whilst Denisa Rosolova - the Czech Republic’s Olympic 400m hurdles finalist, claimed the fourth heat with a 52.37 season’s best.

Behind her, Francena McCorory - the fastest woman in the world this winter with a commanding 50.85 to capture the US title last month – registered 52.37. The 25-year-old Olympic 4x400m relay champion is determined to make amends for missing out on the silverware in the last three major international outdoor championships.

European outdoor runner-up Kseniya Ryzhova of Russia took second place in the third heat with 52.47, as Lisanne De White of the Netherlands claimed the runner-up spot in the second heat with a 52.61 personal best.

Capping the top ten positions from qualifying is the USA’s national silver medallist, Joanna Atkins who placed third in heat two with 52.61.

Women’s 400m semi-final report:

The fastest woman of 2014, Francena McCorory of the USA, stormed to the fastest time of the semi-final stage with a swift 51.35 clocking.

The 25-year-old comfortably claimed the second heat, which was significantly quicker than the first as the US champion and 50.85 sprinter enters tomorrow’s final as the firm favourite for the gold medal.

Behind, Jamaica’s Olympic 400m hurdles fourth-placer, Kaliese Spencer registered a 51.58 lifetime best to assert her intentions for a global medal on the flat.

19-year-old Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas sped to a 51.63 season’s best with third position in the same heat. The 2010 world junior champion and 2013 world outdoor fourth-placer could well be set to capture her first senior medal at a major championships.

Jamaica’s Patricia Hall took the first heat with a 52.82 clocking ahead of Polish favourite, Justyna Sweity whose progression courtesy a 52.97 run into the two-lap final whipped the home crowd into an excitable frenzy.

Lisanne De White of the Netherlands took the final qualification spot with 53.12 for third place in the first heat.

Of those to miss out on a spot in the final were European outdoor runner-up, Kseniya Ryzhova of Russia who finished fourth in the second heat with 51.64 and the USA’s Joanna Atkins who clocked a disappointing 53.20 for fourth in heat one.

The Czech Republic’s Olympic 400m hurdles finalist, Denisa Rosolova failed to finish the first heat, whilst Nigeria’s Regina George, the fastest in the first round, failed to contest the semi-final stage altogether.

Women’s 400m final report:
The USA’s Francena McCorory lived up expectations as the favourite, speeding to a popular 51.12 two-lap victory.
The 25-year-old 2012 Olympic 4x400m relay champion made up for placing only sixth in the world outdoor championships in Moscow last summer by claiming her first major championships individual medal.
The fastest woman of 2014 with a 50.85 clocking, McCorory bided her time in fourth position at the bell before unleashing an almighty kick with 150m remaining to outclass her rivals.
Jamaica’s Kaliese Spencer, the 2012 Olympic fourth-placer in the 400m hurdles, sprinted to a 51.54 lifetime best and the silver medal position, as former world junior and world youth champion, Shaunae Miller collected the bronze with 52.06.
The 19-year-old led the field up until the 200m point but faded in the closing stages.
Polish hearts were broken as Justyna Sweity had to settle for fourth place with a 52.20 clocking, whilst 2011 world outdoor 4x400m silver medallist, Patricia Hall of Jamaica finished fifth in 52.51.
US runner-up, Joanna Atkins completed the field in sixth position with 52.55.

IAAF World Indoor Champs - men's 400m heats, semis and final report:


Men’s 400m heats report:

2010 world indoor 400m winner, Chris Brown asserted his dominance despite his 35-years in leading the fastest qualifiers with an impressive 45.84 clocking. The Olympic 4x400m relay champion claimed the fifth heat and is followed by the Czech Republic’s European indoor and outdoor champion, Pavel Maslak, who registered 46.01 for the runner-up spot behind him.

Lalonde Gordon, the Olympic bronze medallist from Trinidad and Tobago, took the first heat with 46.07 - a comfortable run-out considering he is by far the fastest man among the entrants with a swift 45.17 under his belt this winter.

Jamaica’s world outdoor 4x400m relay silver medallist, Edino Steele clocked 46.38 for second in the first heat, whilst US champion, Kyle Clemons won the fourth heat with 46.42.

Estonia’s 2006 world junior 200m champion, Marek Niit registered 46.52 for third in heat one, as the
Dominican Republic’s Olympic silver medallist, Luguelin Santos strode to a 46.54 clocking to claim heat three.

David Verburg, the world outdoor 4x400m relay champion and US silver medallist, crossed the line first in heat two with 46.62, whilst Costa Rica’s 2012 world indoor champion, Nery Brenes registered the same time for the runner-up position in the third heat.

Closing the top ten positions is Great Britain’s Nigel Levine, the 2012 4x400m relay silver medallist,
with 46.64 for third in heat three.

Men’s 400m semi-finals report:

The Czech Republic’s Pavel Maslek stamped his authority on the men’s two-lap event with a dominant 45.79 heat one victory.

The 23-year-old progressed from a swift 46.01 in the first round to assert himself as a strong contender for the gold medal and will be keen to add the world indoor crown to his European indoor and outdoor titles over the distance.

US champion, Kyle Clemons came home behind with a 46.06 clocking and 2010 world indoor winner, Chris Brown of the Bahamas registered the third fastest time of the round with 46.19 to claim the second heat.

The 35-year-old Olympic 4x400m relay champion clocked the fastest time in the qualifying round with 45.84 and could well be on course to replacing himself as the eldest medallist or winner of the event in the history of these championships. He will now become the eldest finalist in the 16 editions
of the event.

Costa Rica’s 2012 world indoor champion, Nery Brenes sped to a 46.25 season’s best in taking the runner-up spot in the second heat, as Olympic bronze medallist Lalonde Gordon finished behind with 46.29.

With an impressive 45.17 clocking under his belt this winter, the Trinidadian may well have another gear to step up to come the final.

The USA’s world outdoor 4x400m relay champion, David Verburg claimed the final qualifying position with 46.33 for second place in heat two to ensure the US have two representatives in the six-man final.

Notable names who failed to progress include Olympic silver medallist, Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic who finished fourth in the second heat with 46.37 and Great Britain’s Nigel Levine, the 2012 world indoor 4x400m relay silver medallist, who took the fourth spot in heat one with 46.84.

Jamaica’s world outdoor 4x400m relay silver medallist, Edino Steele was disqualified from the first
heat for a lane violation.

Men’s 400m final report:

European indoor and outdoor champion, Pavel Maslak significantly improved upon his fifth position in the 2012 edition to scorch to a 45.24 victory.

The 23-year-old Czech athlete claimed the national record to boot, beating pre-race favourite Chris Brown in the process.

The Bahamian in turn, sped to a 45.58 lifetime best – a remarkable feat considering his 35 years of age – thus becoming the eldest medallist in the 15-year history of these championships.

The 2010 world indoor 400m winner and Olympic 4x400m champion pushed Kyle Clemons into the bronze medal position – the US champion clocking 45.74.

In fourth, Clemons’ team-mate, David Verburg – the world outdoor 4x400m relay champion and US silver medallist – registered 46.21, whilst Olympic bronze medallist and world leader with 45.17, Lalonde Gordon of Trinidad and Tobago came home in 46.39.

Costa Rica’s 2012 world indoor champion, Nery Brenes put up a brave defence of his title, passing the bell in second place before fading in the home straight and jogging in with 47.32. 

IAAF World Indoor Champs - men's 1500m heats and final report:


Men’s 1500m heats report:

The men’s 1500m heats threw up many surprises, with 2011 world outdoor runner-up, Silas Kiplagat and 2012 world indoor bronze medallist, Mekonnen Gebremedhin failing to qualify for tomorrow’s final.

Kenya’s Kiplagat finished third in the second heat with 3:39.90, whilst Ethiopia’s Gebremedhin fell victim to the slow first heat, clocking only 3:47.22.

The mantle of fastest qualifier went to Ethiopia’s 2012 world indoor fourth-placer, Aman Wote, who claimed heat three with 3:36.75.

Also progressing with ease were the next three men behind him – Morocco’s 2012 world indoor champion and the Olympic bronze medallist, Abdalaati Iguider (3:37.83), US silver medallist, Will Leer (3:38.02) and Kenya’s Bethwel Birgen who registered 3:38.56.

Djibouti’s Ayanleh Souleiman, the 21-year-old world outdoor 800m bronze medallist, stepped up in distance to win the second heat with 3:38.94, whilst New Zealand’s 2008 Olympic silver medallist, Nick Willis followed him home in 3:39.14.

The 2012 world indoor runner-up, Iham Tanui Ozbilen of Turkey did just enough to progress, courtesy of a 3:39.31 clocking for fifth place in heat three.

Further back, Mitja Krevs set a Slovenian record with 3:43.22 for seventh place in the second heat but it was not enough to qualify.

Men’s 1500m final report:

Djibouti’s Ayanleh Souleiman completed his successful transition from the 800m discipline to capture the metric mile gold medal in 3:37.52.

In commanding fashion and showing tactical nous, the 21-year-old world outdoor 800m bronze medallist took the race by the scruff of the neck from the outset, passing the 400m mark in 59.21, 800m in 1:58.96 and picked up the pace to clock 26.26 between the 1200m and 1400m points before closing with a final 100m in 13.03.

Ethiopia’s Aman Wote collected the silver medal with 3:38.08 to make amends for finishing fourth in the 2012 edition of these championships, having moved into a medal position in the final third of the race.

Abdalaati Iguider could not retain his 2012 world indoor title but claimed the bronze medal with 3:38.21 to add to his Olympic medal of the same colour.

Turkey’s 2012 world indoor runner-up, Ilham Tanui Ozbilen placed fourth in 3:39.10 as 2012 world indoor 800m runner-up, Jakub Holusa of the Czech Republic finished in fifth with 3:39.23.

In sixth, the US silver medallist, Will Leer clocked 3:39.60 ahead of Germany’s Homiyu Tesfaye in 3:39.90 and Kenya’s Bethwell Birgen, who faded badly in the final lap with 3:40.66.

New Zealand’s 2008 Olympic silver medallist, Nick Willis originally finished in fourth but was later disqualified.

IAAF World Indoor Champs - Women's long jump qualifying and men's triple jump qualifying reports:


Women’s long Jump qualifying report:

If the qualifying round is anything to go by, then tomorrow’s women’s long jump final should be a thrilling contest between Serbia’s Ivana Spanovic and Russia’s Darya Klishina.

Spanovic, the world outdoor bronze medallist, progressed with the furthest distance of the day, leaping 6.77m on her first attempt whilst Klishina - the two-time European indoor champion – registered a 6.76m season’s best on her first jump.

With 23-year-old Spanovic having flown to 6.92m this winter, the Olympic finalist will be keen to capture her first major championship title since taking the 2008 world junior crown.
Klishina meanwhile, will be determined to medal following two near-misses with fourth and fifth place in the 2012 and 2010 event, respectively.

2012 world indoor bronze medallist, Shara Proctor narrowly missed the 6.70m automatic qualifying mark but her 6.69m mark was good enough to finish as the third best qualifier.

France’s Eloyse Leseur qualified with 6.63m and finished just outside of the medals in fourth place back in 2008 so the European outdoor champion will be keen to make amends here.

The home crowd were pleased to see Poland’s 2009 world outdoor finalist, Teresa Dobija progress to the final courtesy of a 6.63m jump.

World junior champion and world heptathlon fifth-placer, Katarina Johnson-Thompson – who recently leapt a 6.75m lifetime best – found 6.60m enough here, as the USA’s world outdoor finalist, Tori Polk and Sweden’s European indoor bronze medallist, Erica Jarder qualified with 6.53m and 6.50m efforts, respectively.

Men’s triple jump qualifying report:

Only eleven men attempted to qualify for tomorrow’s final with 2004 Olympic silver medallist, Marian Oprea the sole athlete to surpass the 17-metre mark.

The 31-year-old Romanian leapt 17.02m on his second effort to put himself in contention for a medal, having finished fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively in previous editions of these championships.

Cuba’s Pedro Pablo Pichardo qualified with the second furthest jump with 16.82m. The 20-year-old world outdoor silver medallist and 2012 world junior champion leads the world list with 17.32m this winter and is on course to add another major championship medal to his collection.
2012 world indoor bronze medallist, Lyukman Adams of Russia registered 16.68m, as the Olympic finalist qualified marginally ahead of Cuba’s Ernesto Reve.

The 2010 world junior champion jumped 16.55m and can also be considered a medal contender.

Following a 17.15m personal best to claim the US title in Albuquerque last month, Chris Carter had a best effort of 16.54m, whilst China’s Shuo Cao leapt a 16.47m season’s best to qualify in sixth position.

Polish hopes were raised as Karol Hoffman progressed courtesy of 16.37m, having reached 16.71m en route to taking the national crown in the same venue last month.

The final qualifying position went to Ukraine’s Viktor Kuznietsov – the 2004 world junior champion reaching 16.29m in only his second competition of the season.

Pearson Aiming for Golden Redemption

With injury scuppering plans of retaining her IAAF World outdoor 100m hurdles Championship crown in Moscow last summer, Australia’s Sally Pearson is seeking a victorious return to the top of the medals podium this weekend.

The 27-year-old – who spent much of 2013 nursing two serious hamstring tears – today spoke at the official press conference for the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot, Poland, where she revealed her intention to successfully defend her 60m hurdles title:

“I think everyone plans to win their event – I want to win and I’m in good shape to do that,” she insisted.

“The hurdles is very unpredictable but I hope to be the best on the day.”

The Olympic champion heads the 2014 world list with a scintillating 7.79 clocking from the ISTAF meeting in Berlin five days ago and despite speaking confidently on her title defence, Pearson highlighted the USA’s long-jumper-turned-hurdler, Janay DeLoach Soukup as her biggest rival for the gold medal.

Having sped to a stunning 7.73 Area Record en route to her win in Istanbul at this event two years ago, the 2011 world outdoor champion did not dismiss the possibility of her eclipsing the 7.68 world indoor record held by Sweden’s Susanna Kallur:

“I felt I could have gone a lot faster in Berlin and now I’m in better shape,” she explained.

“The world record’s possible but I’m not sure if I’m quite in the shape to do that now. Coming off the back of the Australian season is quite tiring with what I’ve raced already and the times I’ve run but it could be possible.”

The aforementioned season Down Under saw Pearson register 11.24 and 23.18 over 100m and 200m, respectively before scorching to an impressive 12.59 100m hurdles in Perth last month to stamp her authority coming into the event.

“Training’s been going well and to run 12.59 in my first race and then 7.79 in the heat in Berlin was great,” she recalled.

“Berlin wasn’t the perfect race – I’d only been working on my technique for a few weeks and I’ve only done the three indoor hurdles races.

“There’s definitely more to improve on, especially my flight time over the hurdles but that comes with practice and so I hope to go a lot faster in Sunday’s final - I’m doing everything in my power to stay strong and healthy.”

Indeed, it appears only another untimely dose of bad luck could stop the in-form Pearson from once again enjoying victory on the global stage.

Following her injury-ravaged 2013 campaign, she switched coaches to work with long-time training partner, Antony Drinkwater-Newman to ensure injury would not damage her golden aspirations again:

“The thing that was the hardest last year was getting over two hamstring tears in eight weeks in order to get ready for the World’s (in Moscow, where she won the silver medal),” Pearson explained.

“It was a huge rollercoaster but I kept going and I knew I could make the podium – it was all about who was the best on the day and I gave it everything I could and thankfully got a medal.

“I changed coaches at the end of last year to focus on our goal of strengthening my hamstrings before getting into any hurdling and speed-work.”

Now evidently fully-recovered and almost back to her best, Pearson – who may have the USA’s two-time champion, Lolo Jones’ 7.72 championship record in her sights – has at last, the opportunity to grab her golden redemption.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014



With just three days to go to the start of the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships in the Polish city of Sopot, which will be held between 7-9 March, the IAAF website editorial team have put the spotlight on some of the top athletes in action this weekend in the women's events at the ERGO Arena.

Please note that this preview is based on entry information received by the IAAF but before the official start lists have been decided.


Ivory Coast’s Murielle Ahoure heads the world list with a swift 7.03 and the 26-year-old boasts no less than five of the top 10 times this season. With her 6.99 lifetime best surely in danger, she will be determined to improve upon her global silver medals from this event’s last edition in Istanbul two years ago and from Moscow over both 100m and 200m outdoors last summer.

Jamaica’s double world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, whose indoor experience is improving with a 7.10 best this campaign, will be keen to add more gold to her impressive resume in her IAAF World Indoor Championships debut.

Also look out for Jamaica’s 2010 and 2012 world indoor winner and two-time Olympic 200m champion Veronica Campbell-Brown, as well as the British and US 2014 60m champions Asha Philip and Tianna Bartoletta.


USA’s Francena McCorory and Russia’s Kseniya Ryzhova are the joint favourites over two laps of the track.

McCorory will be the only woman in Sopot to have dipped below 51 seconds this winter with 50.85 when capturing the national title at altitude in Alberqueque little more than a week ago. Behind her, Joanna Atkins finished second in a 51.13 personal best.

Ryzhova clocked 51.03 when winning the Russian title last month and, after many successes as part of Russia’s relay teams, is now looking for individual honours.

Nigeria’s Regina George, a winner in Birmingham last month, could also surprise.


United States pair Ajee Wilson and Chanelle Price have enjoyed breakthroughs indoors this winter to occupy the top two positions on the 2014 world list with 2:00.43 and 2:00.48, respectively, after their one-two finish at the US Indoor Championships.

Both are making their debuts in the event and Wilson, still only 19, will be chasing a senior crown to add to her world junior and world youth titles.

Another young athlete, Great Britain’s 20-year-old Laura Muir, goes into the event full of confidence following a 2:00.94 best in January and an impressive victory over 1500m in Birmingham.


With reigning champion and recent world record-breaker Genzebe Dibaba opting to focus on the 3000m, this event seems to be Abeba Aregawi’s for the taking.

In Stockholm early last month, the 23-year-old Swede registered 3:57.91, making the world champion the second-fastest woman ever indoors.

It makes her the fastest woman over 1500m in Sopot by more than seven seconds, with the Netherlands' Sifan Hassan looking to be Aregawi's nearest challenger.

USA’s prodigious 17-year-old Mary Cain, having set an American junior indoor record over the mile with 4:24.11 earlier this year, was forced to withdraw from the US team due to injury.

She had looked to be a medal contender, but now the battle for minor medals could be between Russian champion Svetlana Karamasheva, Albanian record-holder Luiza Gega and Olympic silver medallist Gamze Bulut.


The outstanding favourite for gold will be Genzebe Dibaba, confirmed by her magnificent world record-breaking spree this winter.

In the space of a two-week period in early February, the 23-year-old Ethiopian scorched to 3:55.17 1500m and 8:16.60 3000m world records and a 9:00.48 two mile world best.

Dibaba appears to be a different athlete to the woman who finished eighth in the Moscow 1500m and exited in the heats of the London 2012 Olympic Games through injury.

Kenya’s reigning champion, Hellen Obiri, is the best of the rest having run 8:29.99 this winter. She will be supported by her teammate, Irene Jelagat.

Either Almaz Ayana or Hiwot Ayalew will be the second Ethiopian runner and both are capable of getting among the medals while Bahrain’s two-time world 1500m champion Maryam Jamal warmed up for Sopot by winning the Asian indoor title last month.

60m hurdles

Australia’s Sally Pearson ran in Berlin on Saturday, her first indoor competition since her 2012 gold medal-winning run in Istanbul, and showed that she is ready to mount a fierce defence of her crown with a scintillating 7.79 world-leading time in her heat and 7.80 in the final.

The Olympic champion also recorded 12.59 outdoors in Perth last month but US champion Nia Ali and long-jumper-turned-hurdler Janay DeLoach Soukup should challenge after running lifetime bests of 7.80 and 7.82 at the US Indoor Championships.

Germany’s Nadine Hildebrand and Great Britain’s Tiffany Porter, both of whom have run 7.91 this season, could in the medal mix as well.

High jump

Blanka Vlasic has returned from injury and leapt 2.00m in Prague last week, so the two-time former world indoor and outdoor champion will be looking to make amends for missing both the 2012 Olympic Games and the World Championships last summer.

Russia’s Maria Kuchina tops the 2014 world list with 2.01m from Stockholm in early February and one of the best Polish hopes for a medal in Sopot lies with Kamila Stepaniuk-Licwinko, who has improved her indoor best by eight centimetres this season to a national record 2.00m.

Also in the hunt for medals should be Spain’s reigning European champion, indoors and outdoors, Ruth Beitia, who has also gone over 2.00m this winter.

Pole vault

The host nation’s best bet for gold possibly lies with Anna Rogowska.

The 2009 world champion cleared 4.76m in Gent in early February to achieve her best height in three years and top the 2014 world list.

A 4.85m vaulter at her best, Rogowska collected world indoor silver in 2006 and bronze in 2010, but Great Britain’s 2013 European indoor champion Holly Bleasdale, Germany’s Silke Spiegelburg and the USA’s world indoor record-holder and 2012 Olympic champion Jenn Suhr can all interrupt her ambitions for a global indoor gold medal.

Long jump

Russia’s Svetlana Denyaeva-Biryukova has twice leapt 6.98m on her home turf this season – an improvement of more than 20 centimetres – and the 22-year-old will be hoping for more success on her debut on the global stage.

Serbia’s 2013 world outdoor bronze medallist Ivana Spanovic leapt a 6.92m national record recently and will be joined by France’s Millrose Games winner Eloyse Lesueur, USA’s Tori Bowie and Great Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson in the quest for medals.

Triple jump

A close battle between Russia’s Yekaterina Koneva and Ukraine’s Olha Saladuha, the silver and bronze medallist from the 2013 World Championships, is likely to ensue, with the pair both having registered 14.65m this season.

There is quite a distance between the leading pair and the rest but, of those expected to be in the fight for the bronze medal, Jamaica’s Kimberly Williams and Kseniya Dziatsuk of Belarus should feature highly.

Shot put

New Zealand’s Valerie Adams is a firm favourite to add to her 2008 and 2012 victories, following her impressive return from ankle and knee surgery to throw 20.19m outdoors at home in Christchurch last month.

The 29-year-old two-time Olympic Games and four-time world outdoor champion will be looking to extend her extraordinary winning streak to 44 finals.

Germany’s Christina Schwanitz, the silver medallist behind Adams in Moscow, should be her closest challenger. Schwanitz is unbeaten in five competitions this year and boasts the top five indoor distances in the world in 2014 with a best of 20.05m.


Sharon Day-Monroe will go to Sopot as the 2014 world leader after setting a US record of 4805 points at the US Indoor Championships.

However, she faces the heptathlon gold and silver medallists from Moscow: Ukraine’s Hanna Melnychenko and Canada’s Brianne Theisen-Eaton, the latter having not competed in a pentathlon since 2012.

Melnychenko is in great shape and has set two personal bests during the indoor season with 8.20 in the 60m hurdles and 14.19m in the shot put.

Yana Maksimava of Belarus is number two on the 2014 world list with a 4686 personal best and has since won her national indoor high jump title with a 1.93m personal best.

4x400m relay

The US squad includes three of the top four 400m exponents in the world this winter with McCorory, Atkins and 2013 world indoor 400m bronze medallist Natasha Hastings and so have the mantle of being the favourites.

Behind the Olympic champions, a close battle should expected between reigning world indoor champions Great Britain and 2013 world champions Russia, the former utilising world 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu, who is not running in the individual event.

Coincidentally, the medal order was Great Britain, USA and Russia in Istanbul two years ago.

Nicola Bamford for the IAAF (with Mirko Jalava providing the pentathlon preview)