World Indoors Day 2: Iguider Turns Back Young Turk Ozbilen, Genzebe Dibaba Lives Up to the Hype, Ashton Eaton, Sanya Richards Ross, Chaunte Lowe and Justin Gatlin(uh) Get Gold
March 10, 2012
Saturday saw some tremendous action at the World Indoor Track and Field Championships in Istanbul, Turkey as we had our first track finals. We recap all the action below starting with the two distance finals the men's and women's 1500m finals.
Men's 1500m: Abdalaati Iguider of Morocco Ruins The Turkish Party for Ilham Tanui Özbilen, Centrowitz Challenges Finish 7th
The coronation of Turkey's Ilham Tanui Özbilen as the next young great miler will have to wait as Morocco's Abdalaati Iguider withstood a furious kick by Özbilen to prevail in a thrilling three way battle on the final lap to capture his first world title in 3:45.21. Özbilen got the silver before the home crowd while Ethiopia's Mekonnen Gebremedhin rounded out the medals. American outdoor bronze medallist Matt Centrowitz who challenged for the lead with 300 to go faded to 6th.
Ilham Tanui (William Tanui of Kenya) Özbilen, the world junior record holder in the mile, was only cleared late last month to compete for his new country of Turkey. He was attempting to make his Turkish debut a smashing success before the home crowd. Instead, Iguider, the silver medallist at the 2010 indoor champs, moved up one spot on the medal stand.
The race started out slow, 2:09.59 at 800, and would have been even slower if it wasn't for an injection of pace by Francisco Javier Abad. The real racing began with 500m to go. In the 100m before the 1000m mark, Centrowitz moved up from last to challenge for the lead as they hit the 1000m in a pedestrian 2:39.20.
Özbilen decided it was time to start running and he picked up the pace, making contact with Centrowitz in order not to get boxed in, and then sprinting for the lead. The real racing was on as Özbilen was making his move for home with 500m to go. With 2 laps (400m) to go, Özbilen led followed by Iguider and Gebremedhin, with a small gap to Centrowitz. That gap widened tremendously the next 100 as Özbilen blasted a 13 second 100m. Could the front 3 maintain this pace for the final 300m? They were now well clear of the field with Centrowitz in no man's land in fourth giving chase.
At the bell, Özbilen led with Gebremedhin on his shoulder and Iguider behind. There was some contact on the turn but it didn't phase Özbilen or Gebremedhin. Özbilen flew down the backstretch with the lead, worried about Gebremedhin to his outside. Özbilen even looked over his shoulder to see where Gebremedhin was. That left an opening on the inside for Iguider. He tried to pass Özbilen on the inside. Just as Iguider nearly pulled up even, Özbilen saw him and quickly moved back inside making contact with Iguider with 100m to go, causing Iguider to go back, and letting Özbilen keep the pole position. As they hit the final straight Özbilen led with Iguider behind him. Less than 50 meters of running remained.
Özbilen had been almost all out since 500 meters to go and now just needed to maintain it the final straight. He looked over his shoulder once, twice, three times, and then a fourth time. What he saw he could not have liked, as Iguider was getting closer. Iguider passed him with 10 meters to go to get the gold. Özbilen got silver and Gebremedhin bronze. Matt Centrowitz faded to 7th with the exact same time as world outdoor silver medallist Silas Kiplagat who was 6th.
Looking at the results you'll see only 4 seconds separated the entire field but in a race like this that is an eternity. The front three were clearly best today and the rightful medallists.
Quick thoughts: Özbilen being cleared to represent Turkey makes medalling at the Olympics that much harder. Passing a fading Iguider at the World Championships is what brought Matt Centrowitz his medal in a race that had a final 400m faster than this one. However, kicking off a 2:09 pace (today) is different than kicking off a 2:01 pace (world outdoors). Centro is better suited for kicking off the faster pace. Plus, today he had to use a lot of energy moving up from last to first from 600m to 500m to go. Then right when Centro got to the front Özbilen made his mad dash for home with 500m to go. Özbilen ultimately couldn't keep it up for 500m but there was no way Centro was going to be able to keep it up for 600m.
A year ago if you told Centro he'd tie Silas Kiplagat at World indoors, he'd jump at the chance. London is what matters for both of them.
|2||298||Ilham Tanui Özbilen||TUR||3:45.35|
|8||84||Francisco Javier Abad||ESP||3:48.14|
Women's 1500m: Genzebe Dibaba Arrives
Genzebe Dibaba got a gold medal to prove what she's been showing all winter, she's currently the top 1500m runner in the World.
The younger sister of Tirunesh (11 World Championship gold medals, world 5,000m record holder) and Ejegayehu (Olympic silver at 10,000m) Dibaba, Genzebe had moved down from the 5000m this winter and the results have been remarkable. She's crushed the competition in every race and it was no different today.
Being the favorite in a 1500m can be a curse because front running can be treacherous as can making it a kicker's race. Dibaba tried the front running routine here and her victory was perfectly executed as she led gun to tape.
Although Dibaba led early, the pace was slow (71.12). From that point on she gradually increased the pace and thinned out the field until she was the only one left. 800m was reached in 2:16.59 (65.47) and she was followed by teammate Tizita Bogale and Mariem Selsouli of Morocco. By the 1200m mark 3:19.34 (62.75) Dibaba was still in front and Selsouli had moved up on the shoulder of Bogale to try and give chase. At the bell, Dibaba had opened up a 5 meter gap on Selsouli and would only extend it the final lap. Dibaba got the gold in 4:05.78, Selsouli was clearly second best in 4:07.78 and the crowd was still roaring. Why? Asli Alptekin of Turkey had passed the fading Bogale (who would finish 6th) and was going to get the bronze for Turkey.
Quick thoughts: Dibaba has had a fabulous indoor season and leading wire to wire here was impressive. Controlling the race indoors however is easier than outdoors because passing is that much more difficult with the short straightaways. How will Dibaba do in a championships race outdoors versus a tougher field?
Winning the Olympics are a whole different ballgame. Don't believe us? See what Turkey's Alpetkin said after the race: "My big aim for this year, of course are the Olympic Games, who knows, maybe I can make it to the final there."
Nonetheless Dibaba has clearly found her event. Her sisters may be long distance stars and she may be a junior world cross country junior champ, but for now she's a miler.
|2||673||Mariem Alaoui Selsouli||MAR||4:07.78||.|
|3||767||Asli Çakir Alptekin||TUR||4:08.74||(NR)|
|5||591||Hind Déhiba Chahyd||FRA||4:10.30||.|
Mens Heptathlon: Ashton Eaton Gets World Record and $90,000 And Runs 2:32.77 1000m
Ashton Eaton is fabulous at the heptathlon. He showed that once again on Saturday by winning the gold medal and setting his third world record in the heptathlon and picking up $90,000 in the process.
This is a distance running site so we'll give Eaton some props for his 1000m. According to the IAAF, Eaton only needed a 2:39.54 to break his world record. What did he do? Go out and run 2:32.77 to smash the world record. 2:32.77 isn't even a pr for Eaton as he has run 2:32.66. More on the 1000m here.
Eaton keeps getting better and better. His focus like everyone else is on London and decathlon gold as he said, "I didn't have any bad event. It's a good beginning into the season and I will be now preparing for the Olympic Trials, which you know are very competitive in the US." AP recap here.
|4||76||Adam Sebastian Helcelet||CZE||2:43.05||(PB)||840|
Women's 400: Sanya Richards Ross is Back, Fedoriva Impresses in First Year at 400
Sanya Richards Ross showed some signs of her old self last year in the 400m, but she was not consistent as she returned from injury and illness. This year she has been consistently the best. She showed that Saturday by cruising to gold in 50.79 ahead of Russia's Aleksandra Fedoriva as Natasha Hastings picked up the bronze for the US. Fedoriva is a former short sprinter who moved up to the 400m this indoor season. This race may make her realize her future is in the 400 as she said afterwards, "This race and this medal are very important for me because I have just started to run the 400m. In the next weeks to come I will decide if I will specialize in the 400m or stay with the 4x100m relay. "
QT: As good as Richards Ross has been in past years, this was only her second individual world championship gold medal, indoors or out.
Women's High Jump: Mom Chaunte Lowe Gets Gold
Giving birth to a child last year has not slowed Chaunte Lowe. She got the American record earlier this year and more importantly got the world indoor title here. Three women were perfect through 1.95m, but none of them cleared 1.98 and that made Lowe the winner.
|Antonietta Di Martino||O||O||O||O||XXX|
Men's 60m: Drug Cheat Justin Gatlin Shows He's Back Too
Justin Gatlin used to be the top sprinter in the world. After serving a four year drug suspension (twice the amount of time most people spend), Justin surprised people here with the gold.
Gatlin, who was coached by notorious doper Trevor Graham, still has not admitted to intentionally doping. That means he was either the unluckiest SOB in the world as he was not only clean, but he happened to be coached by Trevor Graham, and happened to have a masseuse who secretly doped him, or he's still a lying cheat. Either way he's a bright hope for the US sprint corps which are hurting with Tyson Gay on the mend. Go USA!
Women's 60m Hurdles: Only Hurdles Can Stop Sally Pearson
Sally Pearson of Australia is clearly the best hurdler in the world. That's what will make the Olympics so interesting as in the hurdles there is always the chance a hurdle gets the best of any athlete and takes them out like Gail Devers. That wasn't the case today.
Men's 400m: Nery Brenes of Costa Rica Gets Gold
You probably haven't heard of Costa Rican Nery Brenes but he has run sub 45 seconds at the Olympics. He did something more impressive than that here as he ran 45.11 to get the gold over last year's NCAA indoor champ Demetrius Pinder of the Bahamas (and Texas A&M). World outdoor champ Kirani James drew lane 1 and never was a factor in this one.
Men's Pole Vault: Renaud Lavillenie Comes Back from Surgery for Gold
Renaud Lavillenie is one of the top vaulters in the world, a member of the 6.00m club. After breaking his hand in a vaulting accident in December he had surgery but he showed no ill effects here as he got the gold. Brad Walker of the US got the bronze here to go with his gold in 2006 and silver in 2008.
Women's Triple Jump: 39 Year Old Yamile Aldama Gets Gold
Aldama got a world outdoor silver 13 years ago and today she got the surprise gold. Not a plastic Brit, she's came to Britain for Cuba because of love. Her husband turned out to be a heroin dealer. She's stuck with him and Britain may have a chance for a surprise gold from her in London.
Men's Long Jump: Mauro Vinicius da Silva Wins Closest Long Jump You'll Ever See
It's almost impossible to get a closer long jump than this. The medallist were all 1 centimeter apart. Brazil's Mauro Vinicius da Silva and Henry Frayne both jumped 8.23, but da Silva jumped it twice on his fifth and sixth jumps, so he won on the countback (length of second best jump).
|1||37||Mauro Vinicius da Silva||BRA||8.23||.|
|5||266||Ndiss Kaba Badji||SEN||7.97||(SB)|
|8||89||Luis Felipe Méliz||ESP||7.50|
Women's Shot Put: Valerie Adams Gets Another Gold, Michelle Carter Gets Surprise Bronze
Valerie Adams got her 6th world title in a close battle with Nadzeya Ostapchuk as Michelle Carter of the US got the bronze over her teammate Jillian Camerena-Williams. Carter is the daughter of 1984 Olympic silver medallist Michael Carter, who was also a three-time Super Bowl Champion with the San Francisco 49ers as a nose tackle.