World Indoor Champs, Day 2, Evening Session

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What a session! The women's 3,000 meters, where Defar wants to show who is the queen and Kim Smith is showing real guts. In the men's 1,500 meters, who will take the medals? Ramzi, or will Willis surprise? Then, there is the women's pole vault, is Isinbayeva beatable? Can Stuczynski or Feofanova pull an upset? What about the 60 meter hurdles? Will Sussana Kallur set a new record? Can Lo Lo Jones surprise?

We shall see in a few short hours!

World Champs, Day Two
Evening Session
March 8, 2008
Valencia, Spain


Women's 3000 meters -it is Ethiopia 1,2!

Meseret Defar showed her unique place in the world of distance running with her superb display of championship running in Valencia tonight. Never in the lead until after the second kilometer, Defar controlled the race by not controlling the race. Allow me to explain.

Silvia Weissteiner of Italy lead early on, through the 400 meters in 73.77, and 800 meters in 2:23.58, with Jessica August of Portugal taking the lead from 800 meters to the first kilometer, hitting a relaxed 2:59.33. Right behind her were Meseret Defar of Ethiopia, Kim Smith of New Zealand on her shoulder and Mariem Alaqui Selsouli of Morocco in the middle.

Selsouli took over after the kilometer was reached, keeping the lead until two kilometers. Running the second kilo in 2:56, the slight rise in pace broke the pack into two groups: Selsouli, Defar, Smith, Sylvia Kibet of Kenya and Olga Komyagina of Russia. Meselech Melkamu, the second Ethiopian in the race, was in this group as well.

The pace quickened, and Meselech Melkamu took the pace chores, with Defar and Smith in tow. The pace dropped to sub 2:45 kilometer pace (65 pace) and Smith started to drop back. Olga Komyagina moved up, as did Sylvia Kibet ans Mariem Selsoui, but this was Defar's race to win or loose.

Meseret Defar took over with two laps to go and the race was hers. Hitting the bell at 8:11.04, with a last lap of 27.75, Defar took the crown in 8:38.79, putting two seconds on Meseleh Melkamou, who ran 8:41.50. Mariam Selouli of Morocco had to fight for the bronze, in 8:41.66 with Sylvia Kibet of Kenya running 8:41.82 for fourth, a Kenyan national record! The second through fourth positions were within .22 of a second!

In fifth Olga Komyagina of Russia ran 8:44.57, a seasonal best, and in sixth place, running a seasonal best was Kiwi Kim Smith.

In the end, Defar can run from the front, back or anywhere in between. The current indoor record holder at 3k, the current two mile best, indoor and outdoor, and the holder the superb outdoor world record for 5,000 meters, Defar is at the top of her game.

She won by allowing the race to develop and capitalizing on her strengths. She has a remarkable finish, and her ability to change pace, from a swift mid race pace to the devastating kick that she unleashes within sight of the finish line is remarkable. She neutralized the Russian women, who just were not in her class tonight. But then, neither was any one else.

We can not wait to see her in Beijing!


Heptathlon

Bryan Clay continues his domination of the competition. Throwing the shot, 16.12m, 15.78m and 16.12m, Clay gets 864 points. This was Clay's personal best! His three event score is 2849!

Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic has moved to second, with his series of 15.21m, 15.25m, and then, an excellent 16.16m, for 861 points, moving him from fifth to second with a score of 2647.

Andres Raja of Estonia threw 13.62m, then fouled, then 14.86m, to keep third with 2596 for his three events (Raja got 781 for his personal best in the shot!).

In fourth, Dmitry Karpov of Kazakstan, threw 16.04m, fouled then threw 16.19m, for 863 points and a score of 2564, after three events.

Andrei Krauchanka of Belarus threw 14.05m, then a personal best of 14.29m, and then a foul. His pb in the shot scored 746, for a three event total of 2529.

In sixth pace, Donovan Kilmartin of the US threw 14.05m, 14.09m, and then fouled, receiving 734 points for his third event, totalling 2509. The 14.05 m was Donovan's seasonal best!

800 meters, Women Semi finals

Heat 1-Mutola just does it

Tamsyn Lewis of Australia lead this first heat. She took the 200 meters through 29.27, the 400 meters through 60.6 and the 600 meters through 1:32.56. Maria Mutola, in her ninth appearance in the World Indoor champs, took the lead and kept it, finishing in 2:01.81 to move to the final. In second was Mayte Martinez, who charged to the lead at 600 meters, running next to Mutola as they fought down the final straight. The crowd went wild, as the Spaniard held on to second with a fine 2:01.86. Aussie Tamsyn Lewis was rewarded for her bold running with a third place in 2:02..07, also moving on to the final.

Heat 2 Petyluk leads, and leads

Tetiana Petyluk of the Ukraine, doing her impersonation of Janeth Jepkosgei, took the lead and never gave it up. Hitting the 200 meters in 27.90, the 400 meters in 57.60, the 600 meters in 1:28.50, and then, Tetiana just kept on going, taking first in 1:59.58, her seasonal best. In second, Jennifer Meadow of the UK showed her toughness with a personal best of 1:59.73 for second. In third, taking the final position for the final, was Elisa Cusma Piccione of Italy, who had to set a national record, of 2:00.36, to make the final!

800 Meters, Men, Semi Finals

In heat one Fabiano Pecahha of Brazil took the lead, running the first lap in 25.80, and continuing to lead through 400 meters, in 53.92. After the second lap, Dmitriy Bogdanov of Russia took control, leading through six hundred meters in 1:20.45 and keeping that position through the finish in 1:46.83. As Pecanha fell back to sixth, Yusuf Saad Kamel, of Brunei, took second with a personal best of 1:46.88. Only two qualified from this semi. Khadevis Robinson of the US, who had been in the race the whole time, finished third in 1:47.57.

In heat two, Abubaker Kaki Khamis of the Sudan hit the 200 meters in 25.41, the 400 meters in 53.48. Mbulaeni Mulaudzi of South Africa took the lead, but Khamsi did not falter. Mulaudzi hit the 600 meters in 1:21.47, and moved to the final by taking first in 1:47.39, his seasonal best. Khami held on for second in 1:47.41. Robert Lathouwers of the Netherlands, running a personal best in 1:48.27, finished third. The first two finishers move on to the final.

In heat three, Eugenio Barrios of Spain took the lead in 26.40 for the 200 meters. Abdoule Wagen of Senegal lead through 400 meters in 54.65, and Dmitrijs Milkevics of Latvia held the lead through 600 meters in 1:22.16. At the six hundred mark, Nick Symmonds, of the U.S., who had been lurking on MIlkevics' shoulder, took off, running a 25.3 last 200 meters, and receiving a strong applause for his tough last lap. Symmonds will make the final with his come from behind victory in 1:48.43. In second, Latvia's Dmitrijs Milkevics ran 1:48.40 for second place and the final qualifying position for the 800 meter final tomorrow night.

60 meter hurdles, semi finals-Hamstring Scare Ends Kallur's Indoor hurdling

Heat 1

LoLo Jones of the US did this one right. Her start was very good, and her hurdling was nearly flawless, and so, she took first in 7.82. She looked all business, which is what she needs to be now, that she is in medal contention.

In second, Spain's Josephine Oniya hurdled a fine 8.00 for second, moving on to the final. Joined Jones and Oniya will be Yuliya Kondakova of Russia in 8.01, in third, and Yevgeniya Snihur of the Ukraine, who took fourth in a personal best of 8.06.

Heat 2

The race complexion changed when we noticed that Sussana Kallur of Sweden did not line up for the second semi final. We were told that as Kallur warmed up, she felt a tinge in her hamstring. This injury caused her to miss Athens in 2004, and she wants to take no chances.

So, the second semi was a bit anti-climactic, but Anay Tejeda of Cuba ran 7.96 for the win. Candice Davis of the US ran 7.99 for second. Lacena Golding-Clarke of Jamaica ran 8.00 for third. Aleksandra Antonova of Russia and Sarah Claxton of Great Britian tied for fourth, both moving to the final.

Triple Jump, Women, Final

Track and field is all about the competition. Tonight has been one of those magical nights. The women's triple jump showed our sport at its most exciting and the over
used, but perfectly appropriate, saying that it is not over until it is over ( Yogi Berra, the philosopher of American baseball?), was so true.

Hrysopsi Devetzi, of Greece, the silver medalist from Athens and the bronze medalist from Osaka, wanted a gold medal. So, she starts a superb series with 14.93 meters, taking the immediate lead. She follows tha tup with 14.83m, then a foul, then a national record in round four of 15.00 m! Devetzi fouls in round five.

Yargelis Savigne of Cuba had a superb series going. Cementing the silver in round 1, she jumped 14.89m, then 14.44 m, then 14.68 meters, then 14.58 meters and in round five, she jumped 14.60 meters.

Marija Setak of Slovenia took her bronze medal jump in round two, with a series of
14.60m, 14.68m, a foul, 14.65, then two fouls. She had the bronze.

In fourth, Olga Rypakova of Kazakstan ahd two fouls, then started improving, 14.18m, 14.35m, 14.48m and a final jump of 14.58m, good enough to break the Asian record!

But, dear readers, the triple jump was not over. Yargelis Savigne went to the runway for her last jump, and hitting the board a bit early, Savigne popped a 15.05, good enough for a national record and catapulting her into first place!

Devetzi had seen the jump. She came to the runway, composed herself and prepared to jump Devetzi gave her sixth jump all of her effort, and she hit the sand, knowing that it might be close...but it was not, her last jump of 14.91 meters was good enough to be her second best, but in this sport, where medals are decided by centimeters, or hundredths of a second, Hrysopsi Devetzi of Greece would take the World silver
home.

The gold belongs to Yargelis Savigne of Cuba tonight!

60 meter hurdles, Men, semi finals

Heat 1

Allan Scott of Great Britain got out well, winning this first semi in 7.57. Allen Johnson, the octogenarian of the elite hurdle set, ran well and moved to the final, with his excellent 7.64.

Seriously, I could build a graven image of Allen Johnson with all of the hardware this guy has won in the hurdles. He looks like he might add to it here!

Heat 2

In heat two, Thomas Blaschek of Germany moved it up a notch, hurdling a fine 7.59 to take this heat. In second was Evgeniy Borisvov of Russia in 7.61. In third, Jackson Quinonez of Spain was third in 7.63 . All three move on to the final.

Heat 3

The final semi final in the 60 meter hurdles was the Xiang Liu show. Xiang did what he does so well-CONTROL HIS SPEED. His hurdling is exceptional, and his control of the race is extraordinary. His time of 7.57 was a seasonal best. In second place, Stanislav Olijars of Latvia ran a seasonal best of 7.60. And in third, the final qualifier for the third is the always dangerous Yoel Hernandez of Cuba, who took third in 7.63.

High Jump, Men, Final It is Stefan Holm, Finally!

Stefan Holm of Sweden has had a long and successful career. Up to this day, he has not won a Euro Indoor or a World Champs Indoor. Well, scratch one of those off the list.

But Mr. Holm had to work for his excellent adventure! He cleared 2.19 and 2.23 on his first attempts. Then, it was 2.27m on his first attempts.

But, of course, readers, this is athletics. So, Mr. Holm was challenged. He needed three attempts to clear 2.30 meters, and Russia's Yarosloav Rybakov of Russia cleared 2.19-2.30 on his first attempts.

At 2.32 meters, Holm cleared on his first attempt. So did Rybakov. At 2.34 meters, Holm missed his first attempt then passed. Rybakov cleared 2.34 meters on his second attempt.

It was down to the clutch jump. The only way Holm would win was to clear a higher height and Rybakov, due to his fewer attempts, was in the drivers' seat.

Well, how things change. Stefan Holm cleared 2.36 meters on his first attempt. Rybakov missed 2.36m and then passed to 2.38m and missed his final two attempts at 2.38, and the gold was for Mr Holm!

Stefan Holm tried two more attempts at 2.41m, but the gold was the key and after that, no more energy.

Yaroslav Rybakov took the silver in 2.34m. In third, Kyriakos Ioannou of Cyprus and Andra Manson of the US tied at 2.30. It was a seasonal best for Manson!

But in the men's high jump, Mr. Holm has one more championship down on his list!

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