Bjorn Otto in Donetsk
Björn Otto, David Storl and Verena Sailer produced the highlights of the two-day German Indoor Championships in Karslruhe over the weekend. Otto took the Pole Vault by equalling his personal best of 5.92 m while Storl set a personal best indoors in the Shot Put with 21.40 m. Sailer stormed to a 7.15 seconds victory in the 60m.
Men’s events: Storl getting stronger
Storl, the World Shot Put champion, produced the best result of day one in Karlsruhe. On Saturday he took the event with a personal best of 21.40 m. This lifted the 21-year-old up the current world season’s list to third place. Storl showed that he will be in contention for the title at the World Indoors in Istanbul in two weeks time.
“My aim was a result of 21.50 metres, but I am happy with what I got,” said Storl, who improved his indoor PB by 16 centimetres and had a strong series as well. After opening with 20.79m and a fault in round two he produced three throws well over the 21-metre mark: 21.21m, 21.21m and 21.40m. In round six he had a fault again. “I wanted to check my form today and it is improving. My aim is to win a medal in Istanbul, but I expect five athletes to be fighting for the three medals,” said Storl, who was well ahead of Candy Bauer (19.77m) in Karlsruhe.
Sebastian Bayer left it late before he finally produced a great jump. The European indoor record holder had difficulties hitting the board well. But in round five he did and sailed to 8.12m. It was the only jump beyond eight metres in the competition and the only one by a German jumper so far this season. He still missed the qualifying mark for Istanbul by three centimetres, but qualifying was no aim anyway. “This was more than I had hoped for,” said Bayer, who intends to concentrate on the summer. Julian Howard took second with 7.88m.
While Gregor Traber defended his title in the 60m Hurdles with a fine 7.59, Christian Blum took the 60m sprint with 6.62. In the semi final he had clocked 6.60, while Germany’s fastest sprinter so far this season was disqualified for a false start: Julian Reus had improved to 6.59 recently.
Otto signalling strong return to form
On day two the jumping events produced the highlights. After three years where he has not managed to jump higher than 5.61m indoors and 5.75m outdoors Otto suddenly has reentered world class this year. After surprisingly clearing a personal best of 5.92m for a brief world lead eight days earlier he confirmed his great form in Karlsruhy by jumping this height again.
The 34-year-old showed great mental strength as well. When Raphael Holzdeppe managed to clear 5.82m at his second attempt, Otto saved his third and final one for the next height of 5.87m. And he managed to clear this and then went on to jump 5.92m at his first attempt as well. Malte Mohr who had passed 5.82m and then also cleared 5.87m at his first attempt was finally beaten, missing 5.97m three times. With noone left in competition – Holzdeppe took third with 5.82m - Otto went for 6.01m. But after two faults he gave up.
“We reached great heights in this competition, but this is what you expect in a German Championship. This is never easy. My jump of 5.87m would not have been enough for the win today. I was a bit tired after this, but I plan to jump high again at the World Indoors. Six metres is the next step,” said Otto. Fourth placed Karsten Dilla had cleared 5.62m.
In the High Jump Raúl Spank as expected won the championship clearing 2.32m.
Women’s events: Sailer with personal best
Verena Sailer produced what was probably her best race since taking the European 100m title in Barcelona in 2010. After injury marred her 2011 season the 26-year-old took the 60m sprint title in style on day one. First she had improved her season’s best to 7.21 in the semi final. Then in the final she got a perfect start and kept going strong. With 7.15 she bettered her personal best from 2009 by two hundredth of a second. “Finally I was able to show what I can do. I knew for some time that I could do better but somehow I had not been able to show it,” said Sailer, who has not yet decided if she will compete at the World Indoor Championships. Well behind Germany’s number one Yasmin Kwadwo (7.28) and Tatjana Pinto (7.34) took second and third.
As Martina Strutz ended her indoor season early Silke Spiegelburg dominated the Pole Vault. She took the event with 4.57m from Kristina Gadschiew (4.52m) and Lisa Ryzih (4.47m). Spiegelburg had hoped to clear much higher heights, but she failed three times at 4.67m.
There was bad luck for Carolin Nytra, who developed a calf problem during competition and had to be content with second place in 7.98 in the 60m Hurdles final. Cindy Rohleder was ahead with 7.96.
On day two Ariane Friedrich was back on top of the podium. After her Achilles tendon injury, which kept her out of the whole year of 2011, she won the competition with 1.91m from Marie-Laurence Jungfleisch (1.89m). “It was a long competition today, so the height is very good for me. It was great to be back and not sitting on the stands any more,” said Friedrich, who will now concentrate on preparing for the summer season.
The biggest surprise of the day came in the women’s 800m final, where Carolin Walter improved to a notable 2:01.29. Establishing a championships’ record she also qualified for the World Indoor Championships.
German Team for the World Indoor Championships:
60m - Christian Blum
3000m - Arne Gabius
60m Hurdles - Helge Schwarzer
HJ - Raúl Spank
PV - Björn Otto
SP - David Storl
800m - Carolin Walter
60m Hurdles - Cindy Roleder
PV - Silke Spiegelburg
LJ - Nadja Käther
TJ - Kristin Gierisch
SP - Nadine Kleinert
Jörg Wenig for the IAAF