Hartwig Wins at Cottbus!


Jeff Hartwig, American record holder indoors (6.02m) and outdoors, (6.03m), is also now the masters world record holder in the vault at 5.60m. Well, in Cottbus, Germany, on Wednesday night, Jeff upped his world record to 5.65m and also won the elite competition! What does this tell us, dear campers? Well, our friend, Jeff Hartwig, could be in a very interesting position to 1) be in the hunt for the U.S. team in Eugene. A piece by Jorg Wenig, for the iaaf:

Hartwig makes the headlines in Cottbus in style
Thursday 31 January 2008

Cottbus, Germany - At the age of 40 Jeff Hartwig, the Area record holder both indoors (6.02m) and outdoors (6.03), is still flying high. The American was the surprise winner of the Pole Vault competition at the Cottbus Indoor meeting on Wednesday night (30).

Also, in front of the capacity crowd of more than 2000 spectators Marina Aitova of Kazakhstan took the women’s High Jump with a fine 1.96m.

More Masters' improvement

Hartwig was the only one to have cleared 5.65m at his first attempt, which was a Masters’ World best as well (40yrs+ category). In the process he improved his own Masters’ category personal best of 5.60m, which he had jumped a couple of days before in Dormagen, Germany. And there is room for more improvement this season.

Spectators had been asked to pick a winner before the start of the meeting in a prize competition, but very few had picked Hartwig.

“I am very happy with the meeting in general since we have an absolutely packed arena with great atmosphere. There were even people outside who we could not allow to come in. Because of safety reasons we could not sell any more tickets,” said Uli Hobeck, the meet organiser, who also takes care of the outdoor meeting in Cottbus, keeping alive athletics at a traditional venue of the sport. “But I had hoped that we would get a slightly better result in the Pole Vault,” Hobeck admitted.

Hobeck and the spectators were hoping for a great return of their national champions: Danny Ecker and Björn Otto, who had both cleared a meeting record of 5.82m a year ago. But it was not to be on Wednesday night. Otto had difficulties at his first height already. But when he finally cleared 5.50m at his third attempt it looked as if he would be capable of much more. But early in the season Otto was not consistent yet and had difficulties with the run-up. He passed 5.60 and 5.65 and then missed 5.70m three times. So he had to be content with 5th place.

Ecker also showed his potential, but 5.70m, which is the German qualifying mark for the World Indoor Championships in Valencia, was too high on that day as well. He had cleared 5.60m before which was good enough for third. While Ecker and Otto both had turned 30 last year – ten years younger than Hartwig they were number two in the age rankings in Cottbus – it was 24-year-old Alexander Straub who edged out his more experienced German rivals for second place. He cleared 5.65m at his second attempt and then just missed 5.75m.

“The age group World records are a nice side effect but nothing more. Of course it is nice to jump a couple of records, but I will fully focus on making the Olympic team in the summer for one last time,” said Hartwig, who has improved the Masters’ World record for the fourth time this season.

“Being 40 I don’t feel any difference compared to last year. In contrast my technique is even better this year than before. So I just have to improve physically,” explained Hartwig, who had jumped 5.85m last year and has a personal best of 6.03m. “If you would have asked me at 30 I would never have imagined to be still here ten years later. But this will be my last season. You have to draw a line in the sand at one stage.”

Women’s High Jump

In the women’s High Jump a battle between Marina Altova and Viktoriya Styopina (Ukraine), who is the meeting record holder with 1.97m from 2006 and had also won in Cottbus in 2005, developed. Both had jumped every height at their first attempts until it came to 1.92m. While Altova again made no mistake Styopina cleared it only at her second jump. It would have been enough for 25-year-old Aitova to win but the Asian Games winner from 2006 continued to clear 1.94 and 1.96 at her second attempt each. Having tied her personal best she then missed 2.00m three times, but her second attempt looked very promising.

Nicole Forrester (Canada) and Barbora Lalakova (Czech Republic) shared third place with 1.88m.

Jörg Wenig for the IAAF


PV, Men:
1. Jeff Hartwig USA 5.65
2. Alexander Straub GER 5.65
3. Danny Ecker GER 5.60
4. Sergey Kucheryanu RUS 5.50
5. Maksim Mazuryk UKR 5.50
5. Björn Otto GER 5.50
7. Igor Pavlov RUS 5.40

HJ, Women:
1. Marina Aitova KAZ 1.96
2. Vita Styopina UKR 1.92
3. Nicole Forrester CAN 1.88
3. Barbora Lalakova CZE 1.88
5. Annett Engel GER 1.88
6. Julia Hartmann GER 1.88
7. Deirdre Ryan IRL 1.88

For more on the sport, click: http://www.iaaf.org

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