Report17 Jan 2021

Mu threatens world U20 indoor 800m record, Lightfoot tops 5.94m, Browning scorches wind-assisted 9.96 - weekend round-up


US 800m runner Athing Mu in College Station (© Errol Anderson)

Athing Mu kicked off her collegiate career with the second fastest indoor U20 800m performance of all-time at the Ted Nelson Invitational in College Station, Texas, on Saturday (16).

In a largely solo effort, Mu, 18, clocked a 2:01.07 personal best in her 2021 debut, coming up just 0.04 shy of the world U20 indoor record Ethiopian Meskerem Legesse set in 2004. Her performance was also an early-season world lead.

Elsewhere, Bryce Deadmon sped to a 45.68 victory in the 400m, another world lead.

Tyra Gittens, who also competes for Texas A&M, won the long with a 6.62m leap to break the national indoor record for Trinidad & Tobago. The 22-year-old, who also hold the national record in the heptathlon, won the high jump with 1.83m.

Lightfoot tops 5.94m in Lubbock

KC Lightfoot topped an early-season world lead of 5.94m at the Corky Classic in Lubbock, Texas, on Saturday (17) to break the US collegiate indoor record in the pole vault.

Making his 2021 debut, the 21-year-old sailed over the height on his first attempt before closing out the competition with three attempts at 6.00m. Lightfoot, a member of the US squad at the 2019 World Championships, entered the year with personal bests of 5.83m indoors and 5.82m outdoors.

"It was a good day overall," said Lightfoot, who added one centimetre to the NCAA indoor mark set by Chris Nilsen one year ago. "Some things fell into place and the collegiate record stayed up there. There are plenty of things to work on, and I believe a 6-metre bar will be coming sooner rather than later."

The meet also witnessed a world lead in the men's 800m, courtesy of Takieddine Hedeilli who clocked 1:45.98. The 24-year-old Algerian clipped 2.52 from his previous best and also broke the national indoor record of 1:46.87 set by Reda Abdenouz in 1992.

Elsewhere, Courtney Lindsey turned in a double sprint victory, taking the 60m in 6.59 and 200m in 20.45, both lifetime bests for the 22-year-old. 

Nigerian Ruth Usoro, also a student at Texas Tech, won the long jump/triple jump double (6.51m/ 14.28m) while Justin Hall won the men's long jump with a leap of 8.01m.

Browning scorches wind-assisted 9.96

Rohan Browning sped to a wind-assisted 9.96 clocking over 100m at the Illawarra Track Challenge in Wollongong on Saturday (16), making him the second-fastest Australian over the distance in any conditions.

Browning, who turned 23 just two weeks ago, opened his afternoon by winning his 60m heat in a wind-assisted 6.62 (2.8m/s). Two hours later, he was back on track for the 100m and was unopposed as he flew to victory in 9.96, aided by a 3.3m/s following wind. Joshua Azzopardi was a distant second in 10.29.

National record-holder Patrick Johnson is the only Australian to have recorded a faster time over 100m. Back in 2003, Johnson recorded three sub-10-clockings, including a wind-assisted 9.88 (3.6m/s) and a wind-legal 9.93 (1.8m/s).

Little more than 90 minutes after his 100m triumph, Browning returned for the 60m final and sped to a 6.55 victory, this time wind-legal (0.1m/s), making him the fastest Oceanian athlete ever for the rarely-run outdoor 60m.

Elsewhere in Wollongong, 19-year-old Monique Quirk won the women’s 60m in 7.28 (0.0m/s) and World Championships semifinalist Bendere Oboya was a comfortable winner of the 400m in 53.35.

Wanjiru and Muneria take top honours at Kenyan Prisons Cross Country

Rosemary Wanjiru and Charles Muneria produced dominant displays at the Kenya Prisons Inter-regional Cross Country Championships in Ruiru on Saturday (16).

Wanjiru, the fourth-place finisher over 10,000m at the World Athletics Championships Doha 2019, covered the 10km course in 33:44 to win by 34 seconds from 2017 world cross-country bronze medallist Lilian Kasait Rengeruk.

Three-time Berlin Marathon winner Gladys Cherono was third (35:08), while Alice Aprot, the 2016 African champion over 10,000m and cross country, made a promising return after a 17-month break from competition to place fourth in 35:56.

Muneria, who represented Kenya in the 5000m at the Rio 2016 Olympics, was also a convincing winner. He broke away from the rest of the men’s field to win in 30:01, finishing 42 seconds ahead of runner-up Boaz Kiprugut.

Wilfred Kimitei, the 2016 African 10,000m silver medallist, and Patrick Kipngeno were third and fourth in 30:45 and 30:55 respectively.

Steiner and Gardiner impress indoors

University of Kentucky student Abby Steiner hadn’t raced since clocking an outright 200m PB of 22.57 in February 2020, making her the world indoor leader for that season.

The 21-year-old picked up where she left off, though, and sped to victory at the Rod McCravy Invitational in Lexington on Friday (15), running 22.83 for 200m. As the facility houses an oversized unbanked track, it won’t count for record purposes but is nonetheless a promising start to the year.

Over in Birmingham, Alabama, world 400m champion Steven Gardiner opened his 2021 campaign with a comfortable 300m victory in 32.70 – just 0.44 shy of his own Bahamian indoor record.

Three-time world 4x400m champion Jessica Beard won the women’s 300m in 37.54.

Renaud Lavillenie in action in Bordeaux (© Jean-Pierre Durand)


Former world pole vault record-holder Renaud Lavillenie also enjoyed a strong start to 2021. The 2012 Olympic champion won the Perche Elite Tour meeting in Bordeaux with a clearance of 5.92m.

He needed two attempts at 5.72m and at 5.82m, by which point he had the competition won as younger brother Valentin bowed out with a best of 5.72m. Lavillenie, now 34, then got over 5.92m on his second try before wrapping up his series with three misses at 6.00m.

The women's contest was decided on countback as Netherlands' Femke Plum, Belgium's Fanny Smets and Switzerland's Angelica Moser all cleared 4.51m. Plum, who cleared her first three heights on her first attempts, came out on top.