Sanya Richards, Dason Robles Dazzle World Athletics Final Crowd!


It is all about the competition! Even at the end of a long, long track season, Sanya Richards runs 49.37, Dason Robles run 12.92 and scores of other athletes brought the crowd of 25,000 to its feet! Meseret Defar ran a start to finish 8:27 win at 3,000 meters and then there is the Kenyan Edward Soi, who improved on his seconds in 3k/5k at the World Cup 2006 with his wins at both distances here! Also nice kick for Alan Webb, who ran a fine last lap to move into fourth in the 1,500 meters....


by Bob Ramsak
(c) 2007 TRACK PROFILE Report, all rights reserved

STUTTGART, Germany – A slew of sensational performances, topped by Dayron Robles’ 12.92 victory in the 110m hurdles, highlighted a thoroughly entertaining second and final day of the 5th IAAF/VTB Bank World Athletics Final in Stuttgart this afternoon.

Continuing his impressive late season campaign, the 20-year-old Cuban slashed the year-old meet record set by Liu Xiang, leaving thoughts of “what might have been” had the Chinese world record been here to defend his title. It was also a personal best and national record for Robles --he ran 13.00 here last year-- in this his fifth victory in as many races since his disappointing fourth place showing at the World Championships in Osaka. Robles is now tied as the fourth fastest hurdler in history.

American David Payne, the Osaka bronze medallist, was second in 13.08, ahead of Osaka silver medallist Terrence Trammell (13.15).

After a slew of world records and bests, her first world title and an undefeated season, Meseret Defar raced as though she wanted to get her 2007 campaign over as quickly as possible. And that’s precisely what the 23-year-old Ethiopian did with her captivating 8:27.24 gun-to-tape victory.

Taking control of the race from the gun, she upped the tempo throughout before covering the second half in just over 4:10 and the final kilometer in 2:45.22. But in Defar’s personal universe, the year’s second fastest performance wasn’t all that fast.

“Without a pacemaker, it’s difficult to run fast,” she said. “But 8:27 is still alright.” The world leader in the event after her 8:24.51 en route performance in the Brussels two-miler nine days ago, Defar said she’s targeting 8:20 next year. With a 14:16.63 world record in the 5000 behind her, her target for the shorter distance is well within reach.

After one more outing --the 5000 in Shanghai on Friday-- Defar said she’s planning a brief getaway in Greece to celebrate what she describes as “a very special season.”

Behind her, Vivian Cheruiyot and Priscah Jepleting were pulled to an epic battle of their own, with the former prevailing after a stride-for-stride battle in 8:28.66 to the latter’s 8:29.06. Both were career bests, capping the Kenyan pair’s solid season. Cheruiyot was second behind Defar in her World record run in Oslo and again in Osaka. All three dipped under the previous competition record of 8:34.22 set by Defar last year.

The men’s 200 produced one of the weekend’s major surprises. 23-year-old Norwegian Jaysuma Saidy Ndure powered midway through the bend to a stellar 19.89 victory, well under his previous 20.25 best. On Saturday, the Gambian-born sprinter who’s lived in Norway since 2001, finished second to Asafa Powell in the 100m, clocking 10.06, another national record. [For more on Ndure, please see my story for the IAAF at ].

Never in the hunt, Osaka bronze medallist Wallace Spearmon was a distant second in 20.18.

Sanya Richards produced yet another dominating performance to take the 400 in 49.27, equalling her own world leader from Berlin a week ago. And yet again, she left the Osaka podium trio well in her wake. Jamaican Novlene Williams, third in Osaka, was second here in 50.12, with world champion Christine Ohuruogu third (50.20).

In pure money terms, Edwin Soi was the weekend’s big winner after becoming the first man to clinch the 3000/5000 double. The 21-year-old Kenyan, who missed a trip to Osaka after taking fourth in the Kenyan Trials 5000, won that race here in 13:38.16 to leave Stuttgart $60,000 richer after the weekend. Kenyans Micah Kogo (13:39.91) and Moses Masai (13:39.96) had nothing in reserve when Soi shifted gears with 200 to go. Soi apparently likes late-season competitions. Last year, he finished runner-up at both distances.

With another commanding front-running performance, Janeth Jepkosgei dominated the 800 with her 1:57.87 win. The margin of victory –Osaka bronze medallist Mayte Martinez of Spain was second in 1:58.14—was somewhat deceiving, so in control of the proceedings was the recently-minted world champion.

“I like to run from the front because I can control my self and the other girls,” said Jepkosgei, who has produced the season’s three quickest performances, topped by her 1:56.04 national record in Osaka, the fastest in the world since 2003. “It’s much easier for me to do it this way.”

Her performance here easily eclipsed the 1:59.02 meet record set by Zulia Calatayud last year, the woman Jepkosgei succeeded as world champion.

Briton Marilyn Okoro’s feisty performance, a 1:58.76 for third, was a career best, and a memorable gift for her 23rd birthday, which she celebrated today.

Paul Kipsiele Koech also illustrated that’s clearly the world’s finest steeplechaser at the moment. Controlling the race from the outset, he ran to a surprisingly fast 8:00.67 to win handily. Behind him, Richard Mateelong (8:07.66) and Brimin Kipruto (8:11.05) took the minor spots, altering slightly their third and first place finishes in Osaka.

Continuing her fine late season momentum, Carmelita Jeter ran away from a high calibre field to take the 100m in 11.10.

“I just concentrated on my thing today, not getting nervous about the big names in this competitive race,” said Jeter, who rose to the fore with her surprise bronze medal showing in Osaka where she lowered his career best to 11.02. Here in Stuttgart, she powered through the second half to win decisively over Allyson Felix, the World 200m champion, who crossed the line in 11.15.

A modest 11.5 sprinter just one year ago, the 27-year-old Jeter first attracted attention with her third place showing at the U.S. Championships to earn her ticket to Osaka. In the Japanese coastal city, Jeter said, “I found my rhythm.”

A week after her win at Berlin’s Golden League fixture, Jeter appears to have found a firm belief in her abilities.

“I felt much more confident in Stuttgart than in Osaka. I know now that I belong here among the best in the world.”

Frenchwoman Christine Arron looked strong in the early half of the race but failed to accelerate, and finished a distant third in 11.20. European champion Kim Gevaert of Belgium was fourth (11.29), just ahead of Osaka silver medallist Lauryn Williams (11.31).

Daniel Kipchirchir Komen continued his late season on a high. After victories in Brussels and Berlin, the 22-year old kicked to a seemingly effortless victory in 3:37.96, well ahead of Frenchman Mehdi Baala (3:38.35). Alan Webb’s decision to return to Europe for one more contest was a worthwhile one. Next to last at the bell, the U.S. champion and world leader fought his way to fourth over the final stretch, reaching the line in 3:38.84.

Cuban world triple jump champion Yargelis Savigne won her sixth consecutive competition, reaching 14.78 to thwart Russian Tatyana Lebedeva’s double plans. Greek Chrisopiyi Devetzi, competing for the first time since her third place showing in Osaka, was a close second with a 14.75 leap, three centimeters ahead of the Russian.

Bahamian Donald Thomas, the surprise world high jump champion, remains one of the most entertaining young and still very raw talents around. He won with a last round success at 2.32, before bowing out after one attempt at 2.39 when overcome by a cramp in his calf. Still jumping in training flats, one wonders what he’ll achieve when he actually learns how to jump correctly. Give him time; he took the world title just one year after his first competitive jump.

World champion Brad Walker took the win in the pole vault, topping out at 5.91 before taking on relatively decent attempt at a would-be world record 6.16. Germany’s Bjorn Otto was second with a 5.86 clearance, and Aussie Steven Hooker third (5.81).

Italy’s Andrew Howe made his first outing since striking silver in Osaka a notable one, winning with a third round 8.35. American Brian Johnson was a distant second (8.16).

In a close contest in the women’s 400m hurdles, Pole Anna Jesien edged world champion Jana Rawlinson 54.17 to 54.19. Jesien, third in Osaka, said she didn’t expect the win here.

In a fine shot put contest, Nadzeya Ostapchuk prevailed over world champion Valerie Vili with a third round 20.45 effort. Vili, who opened the competition with a solid 20.06 throw, reached 20.40 in the third. Germany’s Franka Dietzsch received a hero’s welcome when the discus throw field was announced, and the three-time world champion didn’t disappoint after her 62.58 victory.

World champion Ivan Tikhon of Belarus dominated the hammer throw, winning with his final round 82.05 heave. His 81.07 from the first round would have sufficed; Hungarian Krisztian Pars was a distant runner-up with a 78.42m best. Another world champion repeating here was Finn Tero Pitkamaki, who again prevailed over Norway’s Olympic champion Andreas Thorkildsen in the javelin throw with an 88.19 throw. The Norwegian was a distant second some three meters behind (85.06).

Despite the late date, the second day of competition was clearly an unabashed success, with a significantly larger crowd of some 25,000 on hand. On Monday, discussions will take place about the location of next WAF, but a decision isn’t expected until later in the fall.


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For a related story from the iaaf:

Complete results from the iaaf:

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