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Welcome to the RBR coverage of the 2011 Aviva Indoor Grand Prix. This fixture is one of the meets that I have followed since I started visiting UK meetings in 2005. This meet is an example of how an indoor meet can function and succeed. And this year, it takes on an even more prominent place with the European Indoor Champs, March 4-7 (RBR will be covering that meeting as well as next weeks USA Indoor and Brooks PR invitational, so three weeks of wonderful athletics competitions!).
I will be sending out tweets of live results on each major event here in Birmingham. I will then write a few lines about each event here, and update the blog, so you can check things out in a variety of ways.
What can US learn from the Aviva Indoor Grand Prix? Wonderful crowd, well produced and well orchestrated events, providing world class competition and always, always, local stories. It is my biggest beef with some US events. The reason meetings are sold out over here ? They actually advertise and promote events more than a month before the event! Amazing isn’t it?
I have also linked to some of the newest stories on the meet. Like all major athletic meetings, the AVIVA Indoor Grand Prix has lost some top athletes: Robles, Oliver, Ennis. It is the part of the sport that hurts us. I do not know why meet directors do not have injured athletes show up, sign autographs and do a junior clinic–it would be great television.
1.Men‘s Pole Vault:
Mark Hollis of the U.S. had a superb victory here, clearing 5.60m for the win. Hollis cleared 5.35m, 5.50m, and 5.60m on first attempts! Luke Cutts of Great Britain took second in 5.60m, clearing, 5.35m, 5.50m and 5.60m all on second attempts-I like that kind of guts!
In third, Fabian Schulze of Germany was third, also clearing 5.60m, with 5.50m on his second attempt and 5.60m on his third. He made three game attempts at 5.70m, as did Hollis and Cutts, with none clearing that height.
2. 400 meters national: It’s Richard Stachan in 46.3!
Hitting the 200 meters in 21.69, Richard Strachan made a successful bid to the lead, hitting the 200 meter mark in 21.69. Nick Leavey moved up onto his shoulder, but that was as far as he could go, and Richard Strachan won in 46.36, with Nick Leavey in second, also under the European Champs Indoor Standards!
3. 60 Meters, Men, heats: Rodgers in 6.53!
Mike Rodgers wins in 6.53 with Lerone Clarke of Jamaica in second. Mark Lewis-Francis is injured about 40 meters into race. Trainers on track right away. Not sure nature of injury, but could be hamstring cramps.
4. 60 Meters, Men, heats: Burns in 6.60
Marc Burns wins heat 2 in 6.60, with Kim Collins, 2003 World Champ in 6.61 and Harry Aikines Aryeety in 6.64, seasonal best!
5. Long Jump, Men:
Pretty pedestrian jumping right now. Michel Torneus of Sweden jumps 7.97 for the win. Ignisious Gaisah in second, jumping 7.78, Rogerio Bispo for third in 7.77m, JJ Jegede of GB in fourth in 7.70m, Trevell Quinley in fifth in 7.59 (Trevell is U.S.).
With pacemakers taking field through in 55.4 for 400 meters, 1:53 for 800 meters, with Choge following closely by Mekonnen. 1,100 meters hit in 2:37 as Choge charges into lead and does not look back. Choge hit the bell at 3:06.43 and ran a 26.8 for the last 200 meters, running a world leading 3:33.24, with Mekonnen in second. Colin McCourt, Andy Baddeley and Nick McCormick, a 5,000m specialist, all Brits, ran under the European standards! Congrats to Russell Brown, NB Mile champ on February 5, for running a pb of 3:38.17 here!
Choge won in 3:33.24, Derese Mekonnen was second in 3:33.97, Bethwel Birgen was third in 3:37.07, Brimin Kipruto of Kenya was fourth in 3:37.80, and Henok Legesse was fifth in 3:38.07, his pb. In sixth, in a pb was Russell Brown, who beat Legesse in Boston. Brown ran a pb here in 3:38.17. Colin McCourt ran a pb of 3:38.71 for seventh, qualifying for the Euros. Andy Baddeley ran 3:39.16 for 8th, qualifying for the Euros. Nick McCormick, a 5,000m specialist, ran 3:40.69, also qualifying for Euros standard.
7. 60 meter hurdles, Men, heat 1: Aries Merritt wins in 7.50!
Aries Merritt took the first heat of the 60m hurdles going away, running 7.50.
8. 60 meter hurdles, Men, heat 2: Andy Turner in 7.57.
Andy Turner spanked this round with run from behind to front victory, running 7.57. The European Champ had the largest appluse from the near capacity crowd.
9. 60 meter hurdles, Women, final:
Kellie Wells of the U.S., won her fifth final of 2011 with this blistering 7.87 win. Next three finishers were Americans: Danielle Carruthers in 8.06, Yvette Lewis in 8.14 and Nichole Denby in 8.14. Gemma Bennett, GB champ, was fifth in a seasonal best of 8.15.
10. 200 meters, Women, final:
Bianca Knight, the U.S. athlete who went pro after one college season, showed her stuff today, with her win over the 200 meters, in a world leading 22.90! Bianca blazed the lap and ran a world leader!
In second, Alexandria Anderson ran 23.32, her seasonal best (Alexandria is from U.S.). In third was Joice Maduaka, who ran 23.59 in third and in fourth was Sharese Woods, who ran 23.87.
11. 1,000 meters, Men:
Abubaker Kaki barely held on for the win at the 1,000 meter distance in 2:17.75, his seasonal best. Running 25.01 for 200 meters, 51.28 for 400 meters, 1:19.88 for 600 meters and 1:49.64 for 800 meters, Kaki stayed behind first Abdelgarder at 200m and 400m, then Matt Scherer at 600meters and Boaz Lalang of Kenya at the 800 meters.
It took a last minute lunge by Kaki to win over Lalang, who ran 2:17.81pb. Jackson Kivuva of Kenya ran 2:18.46pb for third, and Andrew Osagie ran a pb of 2:18:56. In fifth,
Musaeb Abdulrahman Balla of Qatar ran a NR of 2:21.71.
12. High Jump, Men:
Tom Parsons wins in 2.21, clearing on his first jump. Martin Gunther of Germany was second, also in 2.21m, with Gunther taking two attempts to Brit Parsons first clearance.
In third was Osku Torro of Finland, who had one less clearance than Gunther, cleared 2.21 on his second, 2.17 on his first.
13. 400 Meters, Men:
In indoor racing, especially in the long sprints, he or she who leads at the bell can make everyone else work much harder for the prized real estate of first place. Nigel Levine hit the 200 meters in 21.37 and ran his personal best, running a fine 46.17. Rabah Yousef nearly caught Levine, running a NR of 46.24, and Calvin Smith of the U.S. fresh off his NB Boston win over 300 meters, just could not respond, and was unable to use his 45 second speed in this race!
14. 400 Meters, Women:
Novlene Williams Mills took this race over early and made it hers. Leading the entire way, Williams Mills took the win in 51.87, her seasonal best. In second, Shana Cox ran 52.32. Janin Lindenburg of Germany was third in 53.35, with Kelly Massy of GB in fourth in 53.54, personal besst for both third and fourth! Leslie Cole was fifth in 53.65 and heptathlon Olympic bronze medalist Kelly Sotheron, now focusing on the 400 meters, ran 53.70 for a rough day in the office. She told TV’s Uwe Thomas that she felt good at the finish, but while frustrated, ” will not cry myself to bed.”
15. 3,000 meters, Women:
Sentayehu Ejigu of Ethiopia won this one in 8:30.26, her seasonal best! Kalkidan Gezahegn, the 2010 World Indoor champ, ran 8:37.47 for her personal best in second.
Marcy Njorge of Kenya was third in 8:39.70, her personal best. A superb run by Brit steeple goddess Helen Clitheroe, running a fine 8:39.81 for fourth place, and a personal best! In fifth, Mary Cullen of Ireland ran 8:53.01, her seasonal best. And in sixth place, Siham Hilali of Morocco, run in a pb of 8:59.60!
16. 60 Meters, Men, Final: Mike Rodgers wins on the lean, WL!
Kim Collins took the lead early, with Lerone Clarke and Mike Rodgers pursuing. As all three leaned for the tape, Mike Rodgers, World Indoor silver medalist, leant the best, winning in a world leading 6.50, with Kim Collins, 2003 World Champ in second and Lerone Clarke in third!
The 6.50 for Mike was his personal best! Kim Collins, the statesmen of sprinters, ran a NR for his country of St. Kitts! Marc Burns ran 6.55 in fourth for a personal best and Brian Mariano of the Netherlands ran 6.63 for a national record! Harry Aikines Aryeety of GB ran 6.65 for sixth place.
17. Triple Jump, Men:
Phillips Idowu pulled it out like the champion he is. Starting out at 16.93m, then a foul, then 17.16m, then 17.26m, which gave him the lead finally over Christian Olsson of Sweden. Idowu then fouled in round 5, and blew the competition out in round 6, with a fine 17.57m, cementing his win and making a world leader! Christian Olsson was second in 17.20, and Randy Lewis of Grenada was third in 16.62.
18. 1,500 meters, Women:
Abeba Aregawi wanted the fastest time in the world and she got it. Karen Shinkins took the field through the 400m in 64.32, the 800m in 2:10.52. Then, Abeba Aregawi took over and hit the 1,200m in 3:15.58.
This race was all about getting fast times. Abeba Aregawi of Ethiopia had the win, running a WL 4:03.28. Then the fast times starting coming in! Irene Jelegat of Kenya ran a NR of 4:06.90, Hannah England ran a Pb of 4:07.24, and Stacey Smith of GB also ran a pb, running 4:07.42! Norway’s Ingvill Makestad ran a NR of 4:09.17 to also join the Brits in making the European standard. Makestad is a former UW Husky (Seattle)!
19. 60 Meters, Women:
Coming from behind, Gloria Asumnu held off fast charging Bernice Wilson and Me’Lisa Barber. Asumnu ran 7.25,
20. 400 meter hurdles, Men:
I have seen the future of the sport, and it is the 400m hurdles INDOORS! Half roller derby, half insanity, this race lived up to the hype and more. First, Felix Sanchez, Olympic and World Champ, and Reuben McCoy, of the US, and surprising Richard Yates, dug in and just raced.
At the first lap, Richard Yates of GB cut across like I have never seen to take the lead, as Sanchez and McCoy fought up, inch by inch, to his shoulder. Yates’ move must have cost his some energy and Reuben McCoy moved into second. Sanchez’s chances looked doomed!
Felix Sanchez did what every veteran hurdler would do: with a hurdle just meters before the finish, Sanchez cleared the hurdle and took a flying leap, as if he was long jumping, over the finish line!
Felix Sanchez won in 49.76, Seasonal Best. Reuben McCoy was second in NR of 49.78, and Richard Yates ran 50.21 for GB record.
Mel Watman, former AW editor had Never seen 400m hurdle race before this. Edwin Moses, 1976 and 1984 Olympic Gold medalist, was present and noted that he had never seen such a race, and ” I did not run indoors that well and am not sure I would have raced it, but the race was very exciting!” ( I saw Edwin run a 600 meters, I believe in 1977 at SF Indoor meet.)
21. 60 Meter hurdles, Final, Men:
Aries Merritt is on a tare. Hurdling flawlessly, Merritt won this race in 7.49. Jeff Porter of the US was second in 7.58, with Euro champ and UK stud Andy Turner in third in 7.61. Joel Brown was fourth in 7.62, a seasonal best.
22. 200 Meters, Men:
Sebastian Ernst ran a brilliant 20.58, for a personal best and a win here. In second, Danny Talbot of GB ran 20.94, and in third, Mike Rodgers, the 60m champ, came back and took third here in 20.97, his seasonal best. Kim Collins, second in the 60m straight,
took fourth here in 21.33, for his seasonal best.
23. 800 Meters, Women: It’s Jenny Meadows!
Want to thrill a crowd in NIA? Have the last two races won by Brits! Jenny Meadows followed Vicki Griffiths through the 400 meters in 58.32 and that was all she wrote. Meadows accelerated through 600 meters and just held on for a strong win in 1:59.22, her seasonal best. Morgan Uceny came through in second, her personal best, in 1:59.97, her personal best, as the crowd erupted to Meadow’s victory. Jana Hartmann of Germany was third in 2:03.28 and Danielle Christmas of Great Britain ran a personal best of 2:04.39 for fourth!
As Uwe Thomas said what the crowd of 8,500 were thinking: ” Good Luck Jenny in Paris and bring us back a medal!”
24. 5,000 meters, Men: Euro, British and American records! Its the Mo & Galen Show!
Mo Farah wanted Nick Rose’s 1981 record for 5,000 meters indoors. And he did it in a proper way.
Running 2;36.09 for 1,000 meters, 5:16 for 2,000 meters and 7:52.08 for 3,000 meters, it was all down to Galen Rupp and Mo Farah. Galen, training for the 10,000 meter race he is running in Christchurch, New Zealand next weekend, looked effortless leading from 3k to 4.6k.
Mo Farah was running well as his new training partner, Galen Rupp and him ran 63 pace. Galen made Mo Farah work for his race today, pushing the pace with 400 meters to go. Rupp lead until 100 meters were left and charged to the front, kicking all the way to the finish.
Having run 7:35 in Boston two weekends ago, Mo Farah broke the European and British records, running a fine 13:10.60! Not to be outdone, as the crowd screamed it’s approval, Galen Rupp broke Bernard Lagat’s AR from 2010, running 13:11.44. Shedrack Korir of Kenya was third in 13:39.52, with Rui Silva of Portugal set a NR in 13:41.93 (one must always be careful of Silva in a World Champ or Euro Champ, the guy loves close races).
Mo noted after the race:
“I am really happy. The crowd made a big difference and it was a nice race for me with Galen Rupp, my new training partner, so I’m looking forward to the next few months. We had a plan going into the race. We wanted to start off steady and work our way through–that was the aim.”
And with that, RBR closes its same day coverage of the Aviva Indoor Grand Prix! Special thanks to the UK athletics press team, and Ian Stewart, who first convinced me to
come to his fine event!
Watch for coverage tomorrow with some great quotes and photos! Good evening from Birmingham, UK.
Final note: Special congrats to Katharine Merry, 2000 Oly bronze medalist and one of my favorite announcers (she does Pre infield, NIA and other AVIVA fixtures)-she had a baby boy today, just around noon. We wanted to nominate her for the performance of the meet, but Mo Farah got that for a Euro and British 5,000 meter record! Can you believe it?