World Indoor Champs, 2010: Day 1, Session 1, by Larry Eder

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Anna Pierce, at Rbk BIG, February 2010, photo courtesy of PhotoRun.net. Since that 1,000m race, Anna Pierce has won her events with convincing tactics and just a hint of the power that she possesses. She continued this level of performance in Doha, Qatar, winning her 800m round in a perfect tactical race.

Well, sports fans, 149 countries applied to send teams to sunny Doha, Qatar, where the temp outdoors is a wonderfully uplifting 91 degrees. The air conditioning in the Aspire Stadium, however, keeps us at a nice 60 degrees, where my short sleeve shirt keeps me just warm enough! A good session this morning.
And now, powered by one double espresso, a pepsi light and a nice cheese & tomato sandwich, this writer will give you his highlights (in some order ) of the morning!

Most impressive performance? Anna Pierce! read on!

Women's 400 meters, round 1

Debbie Dunn continued her winning ways, running a fine 52.24, over Christine Amertil of the Bahamas. Amantle Montsho of Botswana, ran a NR of 52.72 to also move on.

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Dee Dee Trotter, Rbk BIG, February 2010, photo by PhotoRun.net.

DeeDee Trotter, ran 52.75, tying with Denisa Rosolova of Russia, who also ran 52.75. Alian Pompey of Guyana ran 52.76, to move on, as did Bobby-Gaye Wilkins of Jamaica, who was fourth in 52.86 and also moved on! Trotter is looking strong after battling 18 months of injuries.

In heat 3, Natalya Nazarova of Russia ran 53.50 to win, with Vania Stambolova of Bulgaria in second in 53.57. In heat 4, Tatyana Firova of Russia ran 52.67 and Novlene Williams-Mills ran 52.73 to move on, with Maris Magi of Estonia taking the last qualifying place in 53.21.

My take: Dunn looks great, but Nazarova and Rosolova are seasoned Russian track goddesses. DeeDee Trotter has the savvy, and Dunn, the raw power, to both medal, IF they keep their heads on. Also Novlene Williams-Mills is not the kind of athlete who finishes fourth-this women is a spoiler.

Men's 400 meters, round 1

Dmitry Buryak won the first heat in a sleepy 47.03, with Michael of the Bahamas second in 47.10. Renny Quow of Trinidad, a top world class quarter miler, did not finish the race.

Two time European Indoor Champ, Irelands'David Gillick ran a very smar 46.92 to win this round, He noted afterwards, “At World Championships it is always a tough one, especially in the morning,“My goal was a top 2 and to control the race. Coming from the last bend everyone had to get out a little bit as we were caught off by surprise by a pole that was sticking out. Hopefully I've earned an outside lane for the evening.”

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Bershawn Jackson, Rbk BIG, February 2010, photo by PhotoRun.net.

In round three, the Bershawn Jackson, took the lead early lead, hitting the 200 metes in 21.54, held on and wone in 46.87. Mr. Jackson made it quite clear what he wants in Doha: a gold medal.

U.S. champ, Jamaal Torrence took his round, easy in 46.70, after hitting 21.84.

My thoughts: David Gillick versus Bershawn Jackson and Jamaal Torrence-worth twenty hours of flying! Jackson and Gillick will be tough, but I see a sub 45 to win!

Women's high jump, qualifying

As I was walking around the stadium, I noted Gwen Mikinski, (formerly Wentlund), one of our top high jumpers, watching the high jump from the stands. " I am helping the jumpers here", Gwen told me later.

Chaunte Howard Lowe made the final, so that was great. The other finalists are Ruth Beitia of Spain, Emma Green of Sweeen, Svetlana Shkolina of Russia, Iva Strakova of the Czech Republic, Xingjuan Zheng of China, Marina Aitova of Khazakstan, Nadiya Dusanova of Uzbekistan and Blanka Vlasic of Croatia.

Only major jumper of year not in is Ariane Friedrich, who cleared 2.02m this season, but whose knee was tender, so she did not compete in Doha.

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Blanka Vlasic, Berlin 2008, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Blanka Vlasic is here, and she is on. She has cleared 2.06m so far this season. Her comments afterwards put the competition in perspective: "Today, the main issue was the qualification. I did what was necessary, now I can relax and do my usual things. For me, final will be another competition, I do not want to have much pressure. Of course, I want to defend my title. I am healthy and in Shape, living my dream. I always want to jump higher than before, so that would be my answer to the world record question. But, I am taking all step by step. Surface is fast, hard, but thick and if you are able to get used to it, you can jump high!"

Women's 800 meters, round 1

Anna Pierce won her heat. Staying second or third, hitting the 200 meters in 29.98, the 400 meters in 61.64, Pierce moved up on Zinurova, who held her off past the 600 meters, hit in 1:32.98. Pierce stayed on Zinurova's shoulder and went by with 100 meters to go, winning in 2:03:09.

Jenny Meadows won her heat, taking the lead from the first step, holding off all, and winning in a leading 2:00.39. Meadows, who broke the British indoor record of one Dame Kelly Holmes (Athens 800m/1,500m champ), looks to be the class of the field.

Alysia Johnson of the U.S., taking 3rd in heat two, ran a fine race and also moved on. Two U.S. women in the semi-finals!

My picks: I think that this race will come down to Jenny Meadows and Anna Pierce. I will put my money on Pierce, and a time around 1:56!

Men's 800m qualifying

Ismail Ahmed Ismail came her to run, leading the qualifiers with his 1:46.69. Adrew Osagie of Great Britain, continuing his PB rewriting (from AVIVA Grand Prix, Feb. 20), ran a fine 1:47.40 her with Abubaker Kaki of the Sudan in third in 1:47.48. David Bustos of Spain had the fourth best qualifying time.

Duane Solomon, the second placer from the U.S. champs, ran 1:49.69, taking second in his heat, and moved to the semi finals. Nick Symmonds, who was cited for cutting in early, was disqualified. A protest has been filed by USATF, and we will update you on that!

Men's shot put qualifying

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Christian Cantwell, Greece, 2009, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Ralf Bartels,Germany, bronze medalist from Berlin 2009, is leading qualifier today in 20.91m. " For me, all is okay. The ring was good for me, but I can imagine, not for everybody. The feeling not to have the final on the same day is new. I do not know what to expect. Since I am competing at the world level that is for the first time. I will tell you afterwards."

Christian Cantwell had second best qualifying, in 20.72m. Scott Martin of Australia was third in 20.61m. First non-qualifier was Cory Martin of U.S. who threw 20.23m.

My pick: Christian Cantwell is the World outdoor champ, and two time world indoor champ. This is his event, and he is in shape and ready to throw, very, very, LONG. Watch this event. Tomasz Majewski of Poland, the 2008 Olympic champ, who looks like a very large follower of the Grateful Dead, is one to watch and enjoy throwing.


Men's Indoor, Heptathlon

60 meters

After a false start, Bryan Clay took off, running 6.67 for 1003 points, with Trey Hardee in second, running 6.80 for 955 points and Oleksiy Kasyanov of the Ukraine running 6.93 for 907 points.

Bryan Clay, the 2008 Olympic champion, commented, " It is always nice to get off with a good start. The race was not pretty, but I will take the time!"

In the race, competing in his seventh world indoors is the great multi-eventer, Roman Sebrle, who is in sixth place! Roman said this, "I am excited and happy I can compete here! I am enjoying very much my seventh World indoors. In the 60, the feeling was for around 7.10 wehn I finished. But also, 7.20 is ok and I beat two guys!

Sebrle, the world record holder in the decathlon, is a true sportsman. One of the most amazing moments I have ever had in sport, was in Edmonton in 2001, when Roman noticed a strikingly beautiful women, standing by herself across the media room.

He excused himself and rushed over to see Daniela Zatopekova, the wife of the late Emil Zatopek, a former gold medalist (and still holds wooden javelin best, I believe), who is a sports treasure in the Czech Republic. Daniela won her javelin gold, in 1952, as her husband entered the stadium in Helsinki, winning his third Olympic medal of the games, after winning the 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters.

Daniela coached for several years, but came back in 1960 to win the Olympic bronze in the javelin, her second javelin medal.

Daniela lit up, as this mountain of a man, Roman Sebrle, bent over to give her a kiss on the cheek. Daniela is a national treasure in the Czech Republic. The Zatopeks were persecuted under the Soviet domination after 1968, as Emil had refused to bow down to the Soviet crushing of the Czech revolution. Emil Zatopek was put in a prison, where his back was hurt, stopping him from ever running again. He was also only allowed the crudest of jobs, as the Soviets sought to break him. Daniela and Emil lived with honesty and self respect. Never broken, Emil told me, in a 1990 interview that of course he was a Communist, but he was a nationalist first!


Long Jump, heptathlon

Oleksiy Kasyanov jumpedm 7.78m in the long jump, giving him 1005 points and the lead over Clay, 1921-1881. Clay jumped 7.27m in the long jump, with Trey Hardee in third, with his long jump of 7.28m.

More to come on heptathlon later today, with the shot put.

Men's pole vault qualifying

The pole vault is a chess game with high stakes. Make your move, but make your best move. Some start at the low heights, collecting clearances like some collect stamps. Others, control their jumps, as they control their energies, and come in high, where others falter.

Steve Hooker cleared 5.60m, his first and only jump. Derek Miles cleared 5.45m and 5.60m on his first jump, and qualified. Tim Mack did not move on, missing three times at 5.60m. Steve Lewis of Great Britain cleared 5.60m on his third jump.

And that ends the first session of the World Indoor Champs, Doha. See you in two hours!

For more on the sport, please click on www.runningnetwork.com.

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