Khaddi Saggnia, photo by PhotoRun.net
We asked our friend, Jonas Hedman, to provide us with a view of Swedish and Scandinavian athletes at the World Indoors. In the US, we get a bit spoiled with the plethora of high quality athletes. That is not so in other countries, and perhaps is part of the reason for so much interest in Scandinavia in track & field when they have strong local talent.
WIC day 1
Ups and downs for Sweden during the first day in Portland
Scandinavia in the northern part of Europe is represented by 13 athletes at the World Indoor Championships in Portland. Five of them - all Swedes - competed on Friday with mixed results.
Long jumper Khaddi Sagnia, 21, who was seventh in the World Championships in Beijing last year, came to Portland with a season best of 6.61 but have had a hard winter with a cold that lasted for more than a month.
In the final in Oregon Convention Center she felt pain in her right leg and could not jump properly. After 6.08 and 5.98 she decided to quit in order to not make it worse. She was really sad and cried during the interview in Swedish TV.
Sprinter Odain Rose, 23, was born in Jamaica and his family moved to Sweden when he was three years old. In Portland he participated in his second World Indoor Championships and was just 0.02 from reaching the semifinal, running 6.69.
- "It wasn't a good start but the finish was okay. It's sad that I didn't place among the top-3, but it was the first time I ran sub-6.70 in a heat. If I would have made it to the semifinal I am sure I would have been able get a god time, says Odain who twice this winter have targeted his pb of 6.62." noted Odain Rose.
A few minutes after his race, Odain Rose saw former countryman Asafa Powell ran 6.44 in his heat which was just 0.05 from Maurice Greene's 18 year old World record.
- "What a race! He eased up but still set a pb! He really deserves to win tonight," said Odain.
But after running 6.44 also in the semifinal the former 100m World record holder finished second in 6.50, 0.03 behind Trayvon Bromell from the US.
Odain Rose belongs to the same training group as 60mH World record holder Susanna Kallur in the small village of Falun in the middle of Sweden and says it's great training with her.
- "She put a lot of energy into our training group and see possibilities in everything. Susanna has had a lot of injuries during the years but is back on track now after some good 60m flat races this winter. Her goal is to qualify for the Olympics at 100mH", says Odain Rose.
Two young middle distance runners - Sarah Lahti, 22, and Andreas Kramer, 18, - made their debut on on the world stage and both performed well. Lahti, who's main goal this year is to get the Olympic qualifier at 10 000m which for Swede's are 31:50, was back in the pack in the first heat at 1500m but finished good and set a pb with 4:11.68. That was just 0.91 from the final.
Even closer to get a spot in the final was Finland born Kristiina Mäki who compete for the Czech Republic and finsihed in 4:11.28, also a pb.
Andreas Kramer, who bettered his pb with more than a second to 1:47.85 in Stockholm a month ago, was also last in his heat but passed one on the home straight and finished fourth, just 0.91 from being one of the six finalists.
Heptathlete Petter Olson's goal is top-8 and after the first day he is #10, 125 points behind his pb. He was a bit behind his best in all four events with 7.17 at 60m, 6.99 in long jump, 13.92 in shot and 1.93 in high jump.