Oscar Husillos wins the 400m at the IAAF World Indoor Tour meeting in Madrid (© Jean-Pierre Durand)
The Madrid Indoor Meeting was highlighted by Spain’s Óscar Husillos, who beat multiple world indoor and European indoor 400m champion Pavel Maslak, while Maria Lasitskene comfortably won the high jump before attempting a would-be career best of 2.07m at the Spanish stop of the IAAF World Indoor Tour on Thursday (8).
The other highlight from the infield came from Brazil’s Almir Dos Santos, who produced a world-leading PB of 17.35m to win a quality triple jump competition.
Husillos delights the home crowd
The much-awaited men’s 400m witnessed a frantic start by Maslak. Drawn in the outside line, the two-time world indoor champion reached the bell in 21.49 but Spain’s emerging star Husillos was just inches behind.
Maslak held off the pressure from Husillos for much of the second half, but on the short final straight the Spaniard found an extra gear to overtake the Czech sprinter, much to the delight of the home crowd. His reward was a career best and national indoor record of 45.86 while Slovenia’s Luka Janezic also pipped Maslak to the runner-up spot, 46.08 to 46.14.
“Breaking my national record and beating such an extraordinary athlete like Pavel Maslak are fantastic achievements for me,” said Husillos, who will compete at the Spanish Championships next weekend. “I can’t ask for more in my opener over the distance this year. I look forward to competing in Birmingham (at the IAAF World Indoor Championships).”
While the men’s 400m went down to the wire, there was nothing unexpected about the winner of the women’s high jump.
Lasitskene was an overwhelming victor, enjoying first-time clearances at1.85m and 1.90m before needing two attempts to get over 1.95m and 2.00m. The bar was then raised to 2.07m, a would-be career best for the two-time world champion. She had three decent attempts but had to be content with her 34th win in a row.
With a best of 1.85m, Cuban heptathlete Yorgelis Rodríguez finished a surprise second on countback from Germany’s Marie Laurence Jungfleisch and Britain’s Morgan Lake.
“Honestly, I’m a bit disappointed today because I didn’t expect to be the only jumper in contention so early,” said Lasitskene, who reportedly doesn’t do any weight lifting in training as her coach Guennadi Gavrilián says she is strong enough without it. “It was a very short competition for my taste. Anyway, today has been another step towards the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham.”
Dos Santos, a star in the making
The men’s triple jump was a thrilling battle between Dos Santos and Portugal’s 2008 Olympic champion Nelson Evora.
Evora took an early lead with his opening leap of 17.02m while Dos Santos landed at 16.96m. The 33-year-old, who is now based in Spain, extended his lead in round two with a big season’s best of 17.30m, just three centimetres shy of the indoor PB he set 10 years ago.
But Dos Santos, a former high jump specialist, responded with an outright lifetime best of 17.35m in round three to not only take top spot in the competition but also pole position on this year’s world list.
The 24-year-old went on to produce a fine 17.19m fourth-round leap – his second furthest ever – while Evora didn’t manage another valid jump with his remaining attempts.
Dibaba, Stanek and Kszczot maintain momentum
On the day of her 27th birthday, Genzebe Dibaba was once again victorious in her specialist event, the 1500m.
The Ethiopian star was perfectly paced by Colombia’s Muriel Coneo, who went through the opening 400m in 1:03.21 and followed with a 2:07.50 800m split. Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen, in a bid to improve on her recent PB of 4:04.00, was just 10 metres behind Dibaba at that point.
As was the case in Karlsruhe five days ago, Dibaba’s speed slowed down slightly when the pacesetter left. With 3:29 showing on the clock as the bell sounded for Dibaba’s final lap, it became clear that another sub-four-minute effort would be just outside her reach.
The three-time world indoor champion won in a meeting record of 4:02.43, while Klosterhalfen never gave up and finished second in 4:04.72, just 0.7 outside her PB. Britain’s Eilish McColgan was third in an indoor PB of 4:08.07.
World leader Tomas Stanek opened the men’s shot put with a 21.51m heave. After a foul in round two, he extended his lead in the third round with a meeting record of 21.69m before rounding out his series with a foul, 21.15m and 20.02m.
The European indoor silver medallist remains unbeaten this season in three outings. Poland’s Michal Haratyk came second with 20.96m to finish two centimetres ahead of Croatia’s Stipe Zunic. USA’s Ryan Whiting was never a factor but managed a season’s best of 20.36m.
The men’s 800m promised to be a fierce encounter between ‘Mr Indoor’ Adam Kszczot of Poland and Spain’s rising star Álvaro de Arriba.
After three relatively comfortable laps – and having passed the half-way point in 52 seconds – the Pole injected his trademark turbo as he approached the bell and was never threatened by De Arriba. Kscczot went on to win in 1:46.53 while Morocco’s Mostafa Smaili came through to take second place in 1:46.72. De Arriba was third in 1:47.29.
Filippidis prevails over Lisek
Greece’s 2014 world indoor champion Konstadinos Filippidis defeated pre-event favourite and world silver medallist Piotr Lisek in the pole vault.
Filippidis was on the brink of exiting the contest as he needed three attempts at 5.75m. He then cleared 5.85m on his second attempt to move into the lead. After clearing 5.80m, Lisek skipped straight to 5.90m but was unable to scale that height. The Pole still leads the World Indoor Tour standings, though, with Filippidis moving into second place ahead of Raphael Holzdeppe.
Switzerland’s European 400m hurdles bronze medallist Lea Sprunger was a clear victor in the women’s 400m. After reaching the bell in 24.42, the long-legged 27-year-old romped home in a European-leading 51.61 to move up to third on this season’s world list.
In the absence of Yunier Pérez, who injured himself after winning his semifinal in 6.58, USA’s Michael Rodgers won a close 60m final in 6.63, just 0.01 ahead of 2014 world indoor champion Richard Kilty.
Elsewhere, Viktoriya Prokopenko won the women’s triple jump with a fourth-round leap of 14.31m to finish 10 centimetres ahead Romania’ Andrea Panturoiu.
Djibouti’s 2012 world indoor champion Ayanleh Souleiman won the men’s 1500m in 3:38.47 while Sweden’s Meraf Batha won the women’s 3000m in a Swedish record of 8:42.46 ahead of Ethiopian junior Fantu Worku, 8:42.69.
Emeterio Valiente for the IAAF