World Indoor Champs, Day 2, Evening Session, 2.00


A championship is a rare event. The World Indoor in Valencia, Spain will go down in history for being one of the most competitive ever! The women's triple jump and men's long jump won on one of the last jumps of the competition! A 1,500 meters for men that was part roller derby, part, professional wrestling! And a heptathlon that will not quit! Here is my second part of the evening session, will catch up on Sunday!

World Indoor Champs
Valencia, Spain
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Evening session, part 2

Final Events,

High Jump, Men, Final It is Stefan Holm, Finally!

Stefan Holm of Sweden has had a long and successful career. Up to this day, he has not won a Euro Indoor or a World Champs Indoor. Well, scratch one of those off the list.

But Mr. Holm had to work for his excellent adventure! He cleared 2.19 and 2.23 on his first attempts. Then, it was 2.27m on his first attempts.

But, of course, readers, this is athletics. So, Mr. Holm was challenged. He needed three attempts to clear 2.30 meters, and Russia's Yarosloav Rybakov of Russia cleared 2.19-2.30 on his first attempts.

At 2.32 meters, Holm cleared on his first attempt. So did Rybakov. At 2.34 meters, Holm missed his first attempt then passed. Rybakov cleared 2.34 meters on his second attempt.

It was down to the clutch jump. The only way Holm would win was to clear a higher height and Rybakov, due to his fewer attempts, was in the drivers' seat.

Well, how things change. Stefan Holm cleared 2.36 meters on his first attempt. Rybakov missed 2.36m and then passed to 2.38m and missed his final two attempts at 2.38, and the gold was for Mr Holm!

Stefan Holm tried two more attempts at 2.41m, but the gold was the key and after that, no more energy.

Yaroslave Rybakov took the silver in 2.34m. In third, Kyriakos Ioannou of Cyprus and Andra Manson of the US tied at 2.30. It was a seasonal best for Manson!

But in the men's high jump, Mr. Holm has one more championship down on his list!

400 meters, Women, Semi Final

Semi 1

The Mondo indoor track in Valencia is fast. The 400 meter runners in the semi finals showed that, with Olesya Zykina of Russia running 51.75 to win. Antonina Yefrremova of the Ukraine ran a personal best of 51.79 for second, and Moushaumi Robinson of the US ran a personal best of 51.85 for third. The top three from this first semi final moved on to the final.

Semi 2

In the second semi final, Natalya Nazarova of Russia ran 51.62 for the win. In second was Shareese Woods of the US with a personal best of 51.87. In third was Angela Morosanu of Romania, who ran 52.83, her seasonal best.

The final should be good, with two Russians and two Americans, the first time this has happened in a few years. Finals on Saturday.

Heat 1

400 meters, Men, Semi-final

Heat 1

Tyler Christopher of Canada, the bronze medalist from Helsinki, ran this semi final to win, running a strong 46.57 to take first. Johann Wisman of Sweden ran 46.86 for second, and Sean Wroe, in only his second indoor 400 meter race ever, ran a personal best of 47.13 for the third qualifying position from this first semi.

David Neville of the U.S. was never in the hunt, as Christopher controlled this race, hitting 21.22 for the 200 metes. Neville finished sixth in 48.18.

Heat 2

Chris Brown of the Bahamas ran 46.68 to take semi final two. Brown had lead at 200 meters in 21.46.

Nery Brenes of Costa Rica took second in 46.85, and Maksim Dyldin of Russia took the third and final spot in the final with a time of 46.92.

60 M Hurdles, Women, Final--US goes 1,2, it is Lo Lo Jones

If anyone could have predicted this one, well, they are relly good! While most of us were looking for a record run from Sussana Kallur, that changed when Ms. Kallur had a hamstring pain and pulled out of the semis as a cautionary move.

In the final, it looked then to be Lo Lo Jones, Josephine Onyia of Spain. The race got off and it was pretty clear that LoLO JOnes was running very well, with Candice Davis of the US looking good as well. Yuliya Kondakova of Russia and Josephine Onyia of Spain were out as well.

Jones continued to dominate, with Davis hurdling very well. Just before the last hurdle, as Onyia seemed to realize she was loosing the race and began to push,
she hit the hurdle and fell down, finishing in 43.72, and last.

Lo Lo Jones held on to win the gold, in 7.80. In second was Candice Davis of the US in 7.93 and in third, Amay Tejeda of Cuba ran 7.98 for a fine bronze medal.

After her gold, LoLo told USATF: "I'm really excited. I knew I was going to run fast. I'm having a tremendous year. When it's your time to peak, it's your time. But I do wish Susanna (Kallur) had run but I'll take the medal. It's my first medal and it's gold. How cool is that? I felt like all of the pressure that had been on Susanna was shifted to me (because she was out of the race). "

Candice Davis the silver medalist observed: "I was happy for the false start. It helped me get the reaction that I wanted the second time around. I stayed in the race and got the silver and I'm happy with silver. We went 1-2 and that's great. This is a small piece of what's to come. I'm looking forward to Beijing."

This has been a championships of surprises!

Pole Vault--What a competition!

Yelena Isinbayeva had her winning streak of 23 times broken in late February. Jennifer Stuczynski of the US had a good indoor season, and was, finally, healthy. Svetlana Feofanova of Russia looked healthy, and the Monika Pyrek of Poland looked good as well!

The event started with some real attraction for Spain, as Naroa Agirre of Spain took three clearances to clear 4.30m, then cleared 4.40m on her first, passed at 4.45 and missed her three attempts at 4.55m. Agirre finished ninth.

Anne Battke of Germany cleared 4.30m and 4.45 on her first attempts, then did not clear 4.55m, finishing eighth.

Pavla Rybova of the Czech Republich took three to clear 4.30m, missed twice at 4.45, took her last jump at 4.50m, cleared there, but then missed all three at 4.55m. Rybova finished seventh.

Anna Rogowska of Poland cleared 4.40m on her first attempt. She then cleared 4.55m on her second attempt. She then tried 4.65, missed there once and took her last two attemtps at 4.70, missing on both. Rogowska finished sixth.

Svetlana Feofanova had an off day. The Russian cleared 4.40m, 4.50m, 4.60m all on her first attemtps. She missed at 4.65m, then passed to 4.70meters and missed her final two attempts here.

Monika Pyrek of Poland cleared 4.40 meters on her first attempt. First attempts at 4.60eters and 4.70 meters put her in medal contention. Pyrek's three misses at 4.75 meters put her in fourth place.

And now, for the medals.

Fabiana Murer of Brazil had a superb day. Clearing 4.40 meters, 4.50 meters and 4.60 meters on her first attempts. At 4.70 meters, Murer cleared on her first attempts, setting a South American record. Her three attempts at 4.75m were for naught, and Murer finished in the bronze.

Jenn Stuzynski of the U.S. came to this meet healthy. And it showed. Stuzynski cleared 4.50 meters and 4.60 meters on her first attempts. 4.70 meters came on her first attempt and she was looking good. Jennifer took two attempts at 4.75m and she was guaranteed a medal.

By this time, Isinbayeva had taken two jumps. One at 4.60 meters, which she cleared o her first attempt and one at 4.75 meters, which she cleared on her first attempt. Unless Stuzynski cleared a higher height on an early attempt, Isinbayeva was the gold medalist.

Both women missed all three attempts at 4.85 meters, after a long and exhausting evening, and the gold and silver were determined.

Jenn Stuczynski, after her silver medal, noted this to USATF: "It was good. I felt bad in the beginning, I was a little off, but then it started to come together. I had a couple of great attempts. I passed at 4.80 because the American record is 4.85 and I wanted it, but it just wasn't there."

Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia defended her title from Moscow, winning the gold in Valencia, Spain at 4.75 meters. Jennifer Stuczynski of the U.S continued her mythic progression in the vault ( four years ago, she was a basketball player), winning her first world champ medal, and silver one at that, on her second attempt jump at 4.75 meters, which was also a personal best. Fabiana Murer of Brazil took the bronze, with a clearance of 4.70 meters, a South American record.

In the end, Isinbayeva is the queen of the pole vault, but she should begin looking over her shoulder.

Long Jump, Men, Final

In an event that had the lowest standard in elite events at Valencia, Spain, Godfrey Khotso Mokoena of South Africa pulled his win out in the fifth round, taking the gold, with a jump of 8.08 meters. Mokoena's series was 8.05m, 8.01m, 8.03m, 8.03m, 8.08 meters and a foul.

Chris Rawlinson of Great Britain took the lead in round 1, with a jump of 8.06 meters, then 8.04, then 8.01, a foul, then 7.90 and his final jump, 7.95 meters, taking the silver after Mokoena's final jump of 8.08 meters.

Saudi Arabia's Mohammed Salman Al Khuwal won the bronze in a long jump with his fourth round jump of 8.01 meters.

60 Meter hurdles, Final! Surprises

This is a championship event, and experience pays.

Xiang Liu of China, showing his talent and experience, hurdled a fine 7.46, his seasonal best, to take the gold medal in the 60 meter hurdles.

Out in lane eight, hurdle veteran, actually, Allen is 37, but stay with me for a moment. Allen Johnson, hurdle deity, showed that no one should bet against this guy, as he hurdled a fine 7.55 meter to take the silver medal! Allen is the oldest medalist and oldest competitor in the World Indoors!

Stanislav Olijars of Latvia, continued his improvement an ran a seasonal best for the 60 m hurdles, in 7.60, taking the bronze.

Allan Scott of Great Britain had a hard race, and finished sixth in 7.65.

Can Xiang Liu be beat? Of course, but that was not the story today. Liu is confident, a veteran and his hurdling shows it. Allen Johnson makes hurdling look easy, but making this many teams and winning this many medals on the hardest team in the US to make-the US Track team-Allen Johnson should have a statue built of him going over a hurdle with his medals. Johnson is just that good.

Proper finish of this article should go to Allen Johnson, who got up one time at six am to speak to me from Zurich before winning his race. Always a great competitor, but always a gentleman and sportsman, Johnson is the veteran this blogger would never bet against. Here is Johnson's understatement on his silver medal: 'm happy to get a medal, silver is good. It lets me know I am right where I want to be for the Olympic Games."

I know who I am betting on.

Men's 1,500 meters-What a race, what the heck is happening?

Okay, let's get this straight. In a distance championship, there is pushing, shoving and other bits of roller derby. Add the indoor element, and what was on the line-it is Spain and it is the 1,500 meters-and this race was a blast to watch.

Daniel Kipchirchir Komen of Kenya took it out in an honest 27.88. Derese Mekonnen, all two feet one of the guy ( he is short), lead through 57.72, when Komen jumped bak and lead through 600 meters in 1:28.71.

Now, here is what is going on in the pack. Nick Wallis of New Zealand is in second third place, and then gets himself caught on the inside lane. Arturo Casado and Juan Carlos Higuero, both of Spain are menacing and Rashid Ramzi of Bahrian, in his second incoor race, is also there.

Youssef Baba of Morocco takes the lead at 1:59.10, only to loose it to Mekonnen, who seemed to take a short step in front of Willis. Willis then put his arm out to keep on his feet, and sometime near 1000 meters, which Mekonnen passed in 2:29.34, Nick Willis of New Zealand went off the track. It looked to me liked he was crowded off. Remember, there was lots of pushing and shoving.

The pace quickened as Deresse Mekonnen of Ethiopia took control and started to move. Covering the last 300 meters in just under 40 seconds, Deresse Mekonnen of
Ethiopia took the win, with Daniel Kipkichir Komen in second and Juan Carlos Higuero in third, and Spains' Arturo Casado in fourth and Willis in fifth. All five were between 3:38.3 and 3:38.91!

Rashid Ramzi of Bahrain was sixth!

Then the story changed, and Komen was announced as the winner, and the crowd went nuts as Spain took 2 and 3, with Higuero and Casado taking those !

Mekonnen and Willis were disqualified due to IAAF rule 163.3. About three in the morning we heard that the protests had resulted in Mekonnen being restated, but Willis had not. We will sort this out on Sunday morning! Good night from Valencia!

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