David Storl in action in the shot (© Getty Images)
With little more than five weeks until the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot, Poland, the PSD Bank Meeting in Düsseldorf produced five 2014 world leading performances, including outstanding marks from local shot put stars David Storl and Christina Schwanitz on Thursday (30).
In front of a home crowd, the reigning outdoor world champion David Storl kick-started the evening with a winning distance of 21.10m.
The 23-year-old took the victory over Poland’s two-time Olympic champion Tomasz Majewski, who was second with 20.53m. All four of the German’s legal efforts would have been enough to take the victory.
“I'm actually a bit dissatisfied, because my best two throws were unfortunately invalid. Before my first attempt (a foul), I was a little nervous and I could not keep my balance; that would have been around 21.60m or 21.70m. But then, I always criticise something and I know I can go much better in championships,” reflected Storl, whose form will have issued a warning to the other big men with Sopot medal ambitions
Schwanitz then followed her compatriot into the ring with a world-leading performance of 19.93m on her first attempt, which also meant an indoor personal best for the European indoor champion.
More world-leading marks followed on the track, with Yuniel Perez equalling James Dasaolu’s 60m time of 6.50 from Glasgow last Saturday. The Cuban set a meeting records but narrowly missed out on equalling his national record by a mere 0.01, while evergreen Kim Collins came home second in 6.58.
Following a strong season opener in Glasgow on Saturday, USA’s Jeff Porter won the 60m hurdles in a world-leading time and a personal best of 7.52.
Former world indoor champion Dayron Robles came second with a season’s best of 7.56.
Kszczot kills opposition with kick
In the men’s 800m, Poland’s Adam Kszczot ran a dominant race, running a world lead and meeting record of 1:45.42, while Great Britain’s Andrew Osagie recorded a personal best of 1:46.48.
“I have only come from my training camp in South Africa yesterday (Wednesday). We have trained there really good. Today it was not easy, but I felt good. My special focus is, of course, on the World Indoor Championships in my home country. Obviously, I would like to get a gold medal there,” said the two-time European 800m indoor champion Kszczot, who was the favourite for a global gold medal in Istanbul two years ago but tied up in the final.
Czech Republic’s 2012 European 400m champion outdoors Pavel Maslak was equally impressive over his favourite distance and showed good early season form when recording a meeting record of 45.81.
Not even The Bahamas’ London 2012 Olympic Games 4x400m hero and gold medallist Chris Brown, who won the 400m in Glasgow last Saturday, had any impact on the end result as he ran 47.27 in the second of two heats.
Kenya’s Caleb Ndiku improved his own meeting record over the 3000m from 12 months ago with a winning time of 7:38.40. Bahrain’s Albert Rop came second in an Asian indoor record 7:39.24.
In the women’s 1500m, Kenya’s world indoor 3000m champion Hellen Obiri tuned up for the defence of her title over the longer distance with a win in 4:07.01.
Afterwards, the Kenyan modestly announced her only aim for Sopot was to be among the top 10.
The men’s 1500m was a Kenyan-dominated race in which Bethwell Birgen came out on top in 3:39.05.
Birgen put some distance between himself and the chasing pack on the last lap as the next six men, led home by Kenya’s Collins Cheboi in 3:40.34, all finished within a second of each other. South Africa’s 2013 World Championships 1500m bronze medallist Johan Cronje had to settle for fifth on this occasion in 3:40.77.
Holzdeppe horror show
Raphael Holzdeppe had a nightmare start to the season in the pole vault, the 2013 world champion failing his opening height of 5.20m three times, while 2012 Olympic and European silver medallist Björn Otto pulled out shortly before the competition.
However, it was not all doom and gloom for the German vaulters, as Malte Mohr saved the day with a victory after going over 5.65m with his first attempt. Greece’s Konstantinos Filippidis also cleared that height but with his third attempt before both failed at 5.75m.
In the women’s sprint events, Germany’s former European 100m champion Verena Sailer took the 60m honours in 7.19, ahead of the USA’s Lakeisha Lawson in 7.20.
Sailer did not get the best start, but was relieved to achieve the qualifying standard for Sopot ahead of the national trials in two weeks’ time.
In the 60m hurdles, Panama’s Yvette Lewis was just 0.03 shy of a world lead in a season’s best of 7.99.
The women’s 800m was a close affair in the end with Lenka Masna narrowly coming out on top in 2:01.69.
The Czech athlete ran a bold race and almost was not rewarded for her courage when Poland’s Angelika Cichocka dipped over the line, but was just 0.01 adrift in the end.
The women’s triple jump took a while to get going, but it was dominated by Germany’s Kristin Gierisch, who was the only jumper to go past the 14-metre mark, with a final leap of 14.13m
Michelle Sammet for the IAAF