Sopot Diary: Day One, Session One, Fast times, few surprises, by Larry Eder

The first session of the 2014 World Indoor Championships went off with few hitches. The wifi and wired internet connections are problematic, but seemed to work better as time went on. A fine facility to watch indoor track and field, an appreciative crowd and athletes ready to run, jump and throw, should make this a superb World Indoor Championships. 


Ergo Stadium, Sopot, Poland, photo by

A good morning session on Friday, March 7, 2014.  Ergo Stadium has a banked MONDO track, great seating, and good visibility wherever you are. The athletes were up to task:

Men's Shot Put: Ryan Whiting, the defending champion, was all business, as he used a 20.75m throw to qualify early. German Lauro, the Argentinian star, threw 20.73m, after a 20.65m first throw. Tomasz Majewski, the Polish two time Olympic champion, started out at 19.90m and then, threw 20.60m, not happy with his second throw. Majewski, like all good throwers, is prone to self analysis, and is seldom happy with his throws. Georgi Ivanov, Bulgaria threw 20.45m, with Tomas Walsh of NZ at 20.41m, a National Indoor record for the Kiwi. Orazio Cremona, RSA, was seventh in 20.28m and Alexandr Lesnoi, Russia, was the eighth qualifier in 20.26m. David Storl stole the show, as the German, getting over a leg injury, let go and threw 21.24m, the longest qualifier for the day. 

Women's high jump: Ruth Beitia, Spanish star, and Euro indoor gold medalist, was the leading high jumper today with a 1.95m clearance, leading seven over 1.95m (Maria Kuchina, RUS, Marie-Laurence Jungfleisch, GER, Kamila Licwinki, POL, Levern Spencer, LCA, (a NIR), Justyna Kasprzycka, POL, and Emma Green Tregaro, SWE, the Euro silver medalist). Both Nafissatou Thiam, BEL and Blanka Vlasic, CRO, made it to the final, with clearances of 1.92m. 

Women's 400 meters: 

heat 1: Regina George, NGR won heat 1 in 51.60, over Justyna Swiety, POL, in a pb of 52.13. Patricia Hall (52.19), JAM, and Margaret Adeoye, GBR, 52.69, all qualified. 

heat 2: Kaliese Spencer, JAM won here in 52.26. Lisanne De Witte, NED was second in 52.61 and Joanna Atkins, US, was third in 52.61, All qualified. 

heat 3: Shaunae Miller, BAH, won her ein 52.10, with Kseniya Ryzhova, RUS, in second in 52.47. 

heat 4: Denisa Rosolova, CZE, ran well here, running 52.37 to win. Francena McCorory, US, was second in 52.37 and Esther Cremer, GER, was third in 52.71m. All qualified. 

Shana Cox was one of surprising retirees in first round. 

Men's 400 meters: 

heat 1: Lalonde Gordon, TTO, is fast and adept on the indoor track, as he ran 46.07, to lead Edino Steele, JAM, 46.38, and Marek Niit, Estonia, 46.52, all qualified.

heat 2: David Verburg, US, showed some skill today, as he moved around the track nimbly, running 46.62 to win heat two. Rafal Omelko, Poland, is huge, and fast, running 46.84 for second heat qualifier. 

heat 3: Lugelin Santos, DOM, was winner, here as the 2012 400m bronze medalist ran 46.54 to lead Nery Brenes, CRC, 46.62 and Nigel Levine, GBR, 46.64, to all qualify. 

heat 4: Kyle Clemons, US, ran very well, and stayed out of trouble, by LEADING. Kyle ran 46.62 to win, with Akheem Gauntlett, JAM (I love his name!), in second in 46.85. 

heat 5: Chris Brown surprised me here, as the man just flew, running 45.84. Pavel Maslak ran well, as the Czech stud was still surprised how fast he had to run, 46.01 to make to the next round. 

Women's Triple Jump: Kimberly Williams, JAM, jumped 14.35m to lead the TJ. Olga Saladukha, UKR, was not far behind in 14.31m, and Ekaterina Koneva, RUS, was third in 14.20m. Took 13.76m to make it to the final. Yarianna Martinez, CUB, was fifth in 14.04m.

Women's 3,000 meters: Genzebe Dibaba, the current WIR at 1,500m and 3,000m can intimidate anyone, and she just ran a 1 kilo run, with a two kilo jog, using a 2:47 last kilometer to win in 8:57.86, with Sifan Hassan, Margharetia Magnani, ITA, and Shannon Rowbury, going on in heat 1. In heat 2, Maryam Jamal, BRN, ran 8:53.07 to win, leading Hellen Obiri, KEN, Bethlem Desalegn, UAE, Hiwot Ayalew, Renate Plis, POL, and Gabe Grunewald, US all to the final. Dibaba, is as close to unbeatable at this world champs as it gets.

Men's 1,500 meters: 

heat 1: Homiyu Tesfaye, ETH won here in 3:47.07, with Jakub Holusa, CZE in second in 3:47.20. Lopez Lomong, US champion, gave up too much real estate early and did not compete well, finishing fourth. 

heat 2: Ayanleh Souleiman, DJI, wanted two medals in Moscow, and it did not happen. In Sopot, Souleiman just ran it hard, and won in 3:38.94, with Nick Willis, the 2008 silver medalist, in fine shape and racing form, taking second in 3:39.14. 

heat 3: Aman Wote, ETH ran 3:36.75 and won here, leading Abdalaati Iguider, MAR, 3:37.83, Will Leer, USA, 3:38.02, Bethwell Birgen, KEN, 3:38.56, and Ilham Tanui Ozbilen, TUK, 3:39.31 to move on. 

Women's 800 meters: 

heat 1: Angelika Cichocka, POL won here, in a WL 2:00.37. Anita Hinriksdottir, Iceland's junior star, was on her shoulder the whole race, running 2:01.10, at first a new WIR, but then she was DQed, with rule 163.3. Laura Muir, GBR, was second, in 2:02.55 an did not move on. 

heat 2: Natalia Lupu won here in 2:00.65, with Marina Arzamasova, BUL, in second in 2:01.15. Ajee Wilson was a lackluster fourth, in 2:02.90, just looking jet lagged. 

heat 3: Selina Buchel, SUI, won in heat three, in 2:00.93, with Chanelle Price, who had lead until the near end, in 2:01.05, moving on. Lenka Masna, CZE, was third in 2:01.25, also moving on. 

Men's 800 meters: 

heat 1: Mohammed Aman won here, as the leading 800m indoors in world just did what he had to do, winning in 1:46.73. 

heat 2: Andre Oliver, RSA won here in 1:46.18, with Marcin Lewandowski, POL, 1:46.26, Thijmen Kupers, NED, 1:46.55 was third, all three qualifying. Nick Symmonds, USA, was fourth in 1:47.29, a seasonal best. 

heat 3: Adam Kszczot, POL, European indoor champion, ran 1:45.76, to win going away, with Andrew Osagie, GBR, following the Polish star, running 1:45.88. 

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