Report08 Feb 2013

Otto, Ahoure and Craddock on top form in Dusseldorf


Bjorn Otto celebrates his victory in Dusseldorf (© Gladys Chai)

Meeting records from Bjorn Otto in the Pole Vault and Murielle Ahoure in the 60m, plus a world-leading performance in the 60m Hurdles by Kevin Craddock, were among the highlights of the PSD Bank Meeting in Dusseldorf on Friday (8).

The 60m Hurdles world lead was in fact rewritten twice this evening in the German city as former US indoor champion Omo Osaghae clocked 7.53 in the heats. But that lasted for just 70 minutes as the top mark of 2013 as American team-mate Craddock sped to a 7.50 victory in the final.

In a close finish, Osaghae was just 0.02 behind to equal his personal best, while Hungary’s Balazs Baji set his third PB of the year with 7.57 in third place. It wasn’t a good night for World champion Jason Richardson who finished just sixth in his heat with 7.73, failing to advance to the final.

Two weeks after shooting to the top of the 2013 world lists with her 7.00 national record in the 60m, Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast maintained her winning streak this season by setting a meeting record of 7.08. USA’s Barbara Pierre, who finished fourth at last year’s World Indoor Championships, finished second in 7.12 – her fastest time at sea level.

Otto delighted the home crowd with victory in a close-fought Pole Vault contest. The Olympic silver medallist was expecting fellow German Raphael Holzdeppe to be his toughest opponent, but tonight the Olympic bronze medallist finished in fourth. Instead it was China’s Yang Yansheng, the 2005 World youth champion, who came to the fore.

Otto and Yansheng were still tied in first place through to 5.80m, by which point all other athletes had exited the competition. Yansheng’s clearance at that height was a Chinese record, but the bar went up to 5.90m straight after. Otto cleared it on his second attempt to secure the win, while Yansheng failed twice and then for a third time at 5.95m.

Meeting records by Ndiku and Clarke, world lead from Saladuha

The quality of the speedy Dusseldorf track was again confirmed in the men’s 60m. After the heats it looked as though the final would be a three-way shoot-out between Jimmy Vicaut, Yunier Perez and Lerone Clarke – all of whom dipped under 6.60 in the first round.

But Perez, one of the revelations of the 2013 indoor season after recently clocking a world-leading 6.51, pulled up 10 metres from the finish line in the final, seemingly carrying a slight injury. Clarke powered on ahead to equal the meeting record of 6.52, just about holding off Vicaut (6.53) with Angel David Rodriguez setting a Spanish record of 6.55 in third.

As she prepares for the defence of her World triple jump title later this year, Ukraine’s Olha Saladuha opened her 2013 campaign with her best ever season opener. Any one of her five legal jumps would have comfortably been enough to win, but it was her second-round leap of 14.52m – a world-leading mark – that was the best of the day.

German indoor champion Kristin Gierisch was a distant second with 13.91m, two centimetres ahead of World indoor record-holder Tatyana Lebedeva.

Caleb Ndiku and Albert Rop upset their more experienced rivals in the 3000m. After a speedy opening kilometre of 2:31.41, the pace dropped slightly in the middle section of the race. But Ndiku and Rop took up the running in the last few laps, leaving behind the likes of double Olympic silver medallist Mahiedine Mekhissi, World indoor silver medallist Augustine Choge and 2004 Olympic bronze medallist Paul Kipsiele Koech.

Ndiku crossed the line a clear winner in 7:38.77, almost a full second ahead of Rop (7:39.70) as the top four finishers bettered the previous meeting record. Mekhissi was third in 7:43.72, comfortably ahead of Koech and Choge.

Souleiman takes 1500m, Lewis the sprint hurdles victor

Ayanleh Souleiman was one of the most improved middle-distance runners in the world last year, but an untimely injury before the Olympics meant he had to miss the London Games as his training partner Taoufik Makhloufi went on to strike gold. But if his performance in Dusseldorf tonight is anything to go by, perhaps 2013 will be Souleihman’s year.

The 20-year-old defeated Bethwel Birgen, the Kenyan who had notched up two victories on the circuit this year, setting a Djiboutian record of 3:36.13 – and looking as though there is a lot more to come. Birgen finished half a second behind, while David Bustos (3:38.41) and Benson Seurei (3:38.58) set PBs in third and fourth.

USA’s Yvette Lewis was the only woman to break eight seconds in the heats of the 60m Hurdles and it was the same story in the final. Her winning time of 7.94 was her best since her appearance at this same meeting in 2010 where she clocked 7.90.

The men’s 800m boasted one of the best fields of the night, but it sadly did not live up to expectations. No one went with the pace maker, despite him going off at a moderate pace, and it left Polish pair Marcin Lewandowski and Adam Kszczot to battle it out on the last lap. Kszczot used his trademark finish to kick ahead and take the win in 1:47.96 – two and a half seconds slower than his winning time from this meeting last year.

Olympic bronze medallist Timothy Kitum was a distant fourth, ahead of 2004 Olympic champion Yuriy Borzakovskiy and 2010 World indoor silver medallist Boaz Lalang.

The women’s middle-distance events were similarly lacking in fast times. Olympic bronze medallist Yekaterina Poistogova was a clear winner of the 800m in 2:03.54, while Ukraine’s Anzhelina Shevchenko was just as convincing in the 1500m, winning in 4:09.13.

Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF

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