Steve Hooker Rocks the Millrose Games! by Alfons Juck, Note by Larry Eder

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If a picture is worth a thousand words, this one is worth much, much more. From the left, Meet Director Mark Wetmore, Global Athletics & Marketing, center, Steve Hooker, Australia/Reebok, and Meet Director Emeritus (1974-2003). after Steve cleared a new Millrose, Australian, and Oceana records plus the highest jump in the world! (Photorun.net/Victah Sailer)


HOOKER OVER 601 AT MILLROSE

NEW YORK (USA, Jan 30): Australian Pole Vault Olympic winner Steve Hooker provided the real highlight of 102nd Millrose Games (IAAF Permit, the oldest meet in the world). In his first competition since Beijing win he cleared new Oceaniana record and meet record 588 in third and then shocked the crowds with first attempt success at 601 and three good tries at new world indoor record height 616 cm. It is not only new Oceanian indoor record, world lead, his overall best and only second career six metres, but also US all-comers indoor record (before Sergey Bubka had 600 in Los Angeles 1992). Last time six metres were achieved indoors was before nearly seven years as Jeff Hartwig jumped 602 on March 10, 2002 in Sindelfingen, Germany. US Derek Miles as distant second went over 570. „It was a little unexpected. I've had a really interrupted preparation. I've had one complete pole vault before I came here. About four weeks ago I broke a pole while I was jumping and it hit my knee, and I haven't vaulted since then. To come out here and jump a personal best is a bit of a surprise, and to have such good jumps at the world record, is very exciting and very surprising. He (Bubka) is the benchmark in pole vault. That's the first time I ever put the bar up to his world record. I think that's a good experience, particularly in the first meet of the year. Hopefully I'll get a couple more shots in coming weeks. I'd like to think that I've got more in me. The more jumps I do, hopefully my technique will become more solid. I'm not going to get too ahead of myself, but it's definitely a good way to start the season. My last jump (at the world record), I felt, was really, really good. I probably just need a bigger pole and I'll get closer. I think I blew into it a bit. Either I need to push the stands back a bit or just get on a bigger pole. I think it's achievable, after attempting it. Even now, I can't believe I've just attempted the world record. I'll go watch videos of the competition with my coach, but right now, I'm just happy. There's not much more I can say," Hooker was quoted by USATF website. He stays in USA, his next meet will be on February 7 in Boston.

In total seven world leads and two meet records were registered. Also women´s Pole Vault saw a world best mark 2009 as Jenn Stuczynski achieved 471 in first and tried for US indoor record 482. The record holder herself Stacy Dragila was actually also jumping pretty high with second attempt clearances at 451 and 461. It is her best result since 2004 indoors. Bernard Lagat got his expected Wanamaker Mile win (3:58.44) and tied the Millrose record of legendary Eamonn Coghlan with seven wins. Olympic medalist Nick Willis of New Zealand was beaten to second (3:59.48). 10 000 m world bronze medalist Kara Goucher clocked her PB (and world lead) to win the women mile in 4:33.19. Impressive speed for nowadays more a marathon runner (2:25:53 last year New York marathon debut). World leads also in both men sprints. Former Olympic medalist Terrence Trammell clocked 7.45 at 60 m Hurdles in his first race since Beijing injury and missed his PB from 2003 only by 0.03 (title defender Antwon Hicks second in 7.64). He was later second at 60 m flat with another impressive time of 6.54. Only the winner and last year US Champion Mike Rodgers was better with world leading 6.51 (also PB). Third Olympic medalist Shawn Crawford got 6.62 ahead of Briton Tyrone Edgar (6.63) as another favorite Travis Padgett false started. In women hurdles Olympic medalists duel Canadian Priscilla Lopes-Schliep prevailed with years best 7.95 just marginally over Australian Sally McLellan (7.96, her first ever indoor race and new Oceanian indoor record). Bianca Knight won the 60 m in 7.23 beating a group of more experienced runners (Muna Lee 7.28, Mechelle Lewis 7.29 and Carmelita Jeter 7.30). In other technical events the big duel in Shot Put was dramatic, but big marks were left. Adam Nelson won with last attempt 20.79 ahead of Christian Cantwell (20.53) and Reese Hoffa (20.48). Amy Acuff cleared 192 to win the High jump over US last year number one Chaunte Howard (189). Monica Hargrove clocked world lead and meet record at 600 y (1:19.50) and beat by 0.01 Alian Pompey of Guyana. Solid marks in both weight throws – Thomas Freeman (23.77) and Amber Campbell (23.33). 17-years old Devon Smith clocked impressive 6.65 to win the junior 60 m race. Next stop in Visa Championships Series is the Reebok Boston Indoor Games on February 7.

In the midst of an 80 mile training week for the BAA Boston marathon, Kara Goucher defended her MIllrose women's mile. (photo courtesy of PhotoRun.net/victah sailer).


OTHER RESULTS

CLEMSON (USA, Jan 30): Jacoby Ford continues in fast races. At Clemson Games he clocked 6.64 in heats and 6.58 to win the finals.

SEATTLE (USA, Jan 30): Junior Chris Derrick (18) improved at oversized track during Washington Invitational to 13:44.02 at 5000 m what is also a world lead. Arkansas posted a new facility record in distance medley relay 9:28.35.

UNIVERSITY PARK (USA, Jan 30): Fast hurdles during first day of Penn State Invitational. 400 Hurdles Olympian Queen Harrison improved to 8.02 and won. Second Aleesha Barber clocked 8.13, she had 8.13 already in semifinals, in both cases new national record for Trinidad. Kristi Castlin who posted 8.05 in semis was fifth (8.33). Gayle Hunter scored 4236 points to win the pentathlon. Reggie Dixon achieved the fastest 60 m time with 6.67 in semifinals.

PRETORIA (RSA, Jan 30): At second meet of Yellow Pages series the best result came from Commonwealth Games gold medalist LJ Van Zyl who won the 400 m in 45.82. For the 400 m Hurdles specialist a great PB at the LC de Villiers stadium in Pretoria. Second Talkmore Nyongani got 46.12 and third Pieter Smith 46.19. Surprise in men´s 200 m as the winner of B-race Thabo Mathibidi was faster (20.81, +0.5) then the best in A-race Thiso Mpuang (20.83,-0.5). In women sprints African Championships fourth placer Tsholofelo Thipe won the 100 m (11.48,-0.1, PB) and 400 m (53.27), while Isabel Le Roux was the best at 200 m (23.44, -0.5). Janet Wienand got good 56.93 at 400 m Hurdles and Shaun Bownes 13.90 (-0.3) at 110 m Hurdles. In distances at altitude to note Dutch Yvonne Hak winning the 800 m (2:05.0) and former Olympic medalist Hezekiel Sepeng was competing at 3000 m (8:31.7, way down as 22nd). In technical events African shot put record holder Janus Robberts posted solid 19.96, hammer thrower Chris Harmse 70.75 and last week world qualifier Sunette Viljoen this time 60.09 in javelin. As media are informing, chaos reigned in the women's 100m Hurdles when the hurdles were placed on the wrong markings and the race had to be re-run later in the evening.


OTHER NEWS

MALMO (SWE): Great fields are expected for inaugural Malmo Indoor Gala on February 3. That despite the late withdrawal of world record holder and IAAF Athlete of the Year 2008 pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva. The organisers informed she will not participate because of a flu. "It is very sad, Yelena was looking forward to come to Malmö and compete, „says Daniel Wessfeldt who is meet director and agent of Yelena. Her indoor calendar was so shortened to three meets in Donyetsk, Birmingham and Praha. But still with Blanka Vlasic returning into action after a small-break or great shot put duel (Olympic winner Tomasz Majewski against US heroes Christian Cantwell and Reese Hoffa) something special should be seen. World leader David Oliver runs the 60 m Hurdles, home star Linus Thornblad will compete in High Jump and Olympic finalist Kim Collins at 60 m. Pole Vault women start list even without Isinbayeva promises a spectacular competition with South American record holder Fabiana Murer, top duos from Poland Monika Pyrek and Anna Rogowska and Germany Carolin Hingst and Silke Spiegelburg.

ROMA (ITA): Italian long jump European Champion Andrew Howe has been selected for the international match Italy against Finland scheduled for Tampere on Saturday 7 February. He will make a rare appearance at the 100 m indoors. His outdoor best is 10.37 from 2007. He will start his year on Sunday at Russian Winter in Moscow.

NEW YORK (USA): Jamaican Olympic 200 m winner Veronica Campbell-Brown had her first book signing for her book "A Better You: Inspirations for Life's Journey" on Thursday at the Jamaican Consulate in New York. The book can be purchased by visiting her website: www.veronicacampbellbrown.com

LONDON (GBR): Mark Butler provided for BBC some interesting data from revolutionary timing system (transponders) when all distance runners wore a tiny transpoder on the inside of their front bib number. ST Sportservice provided this technique during the Olympic Games. For example in the men's 10,000m with 35 finishers, some 3500 separate times were recorded. The fastest last 100 m in the distance races was achieved by 800 m winner Wilfred Bungei (13.0) but close to that were also 1500 m winner Rashid Ramzi (13.3, but had 12.6 on the final bend), steeple winner Brimin Kipruto (13.5 with a barrier) and Kenenisa Bekele at 10 000 m (13.7). In the same women stats Nancy Lagat winning the 1500 m achieved 15.1 and Tirunesh Dibaba 15.4 in the 5000 m finals. From this it is also seen that Pamela Jelimo faded with 15.6 last 100 m in the 800 m finals. The transponder timing measurement was not extended to sprint events in lanes, but it is hoped that this will be possible at future meetings.

VIENNA (AUT): The ‚Indoor Classic Vienna' on February 3rd can be seen in full length live on www.indoor-classic-vienna.com from 18:15h on. Ivet Lalova from Bulgaria and Stephanie Durst from the USA are the top names for the women's 60m. Another highlight should be men´s Pole Vault with six jumpers having 550 or more. In men´s 60 m Briton Ryan Scott runs against US Ernest Wiggins and best Austrian Ryan Moseley. Kenyan Timothy Kiptanui is entered for 1500 m. The current participation overview shows new record with 351 entries from 31 countries.

ROME (ITA): The anti-doping department of the Italian Olympic Committee demands a life-long ban for the Italian long distance runner Roberto Barbi who was tested positive on EPO and Ephedrin in July 2008 in Mende (France). Barbi had already been banned for three months because of abuse of ephedrin in 1996. In 2001 before the World championships in Edmonton (Canada) he had also been tested positive on EPO and been banned for four years. The ban was later reduced to 25 months.

BARBERTON (USA): Double Olympic champion at 400 m Hurdles (1956 and 1960) Glenn Davis died at age of 74 after long illness. He also won relay gold at Rome Olympic Games and was first sub 50 seconds runner with 49.5 in 1956.

UTRECHT (NED): 30 years old Kenyan Sammy Chumba will return to Utrecht Marathon on April 13. The last year winner (2:12:07) won in 2008 in difficult winter weather. In 2007 he was second in 2:11:22 as the winner Mariko Kiplagat clocked course record 2:11:16. Earlier it was announced that also Dutch Marathon Champion 2008 Greg Van Hest will compete.

Special thanks to Alfons Juck, EME News.

For more information, please click on www.american-trackandfield.com

Special thanks to Photorun.net!

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