Monday, February 9, 2009

Hot Weekend in the Pole Vault, High Jump and Distances

Another solid weekend of track and field saw Aussie Steven Hooker take another shot at 20 feet and Sergei Bubka at the Boston Indoor Games. Hooker took over the #2 spot on the All Time list with his 6.06m (19' 10.5") clearance to win the event in Boston. He then took three solid tries at 6.16m, a centimeter above Bubka's record set back in 1993. Hooker was a full foot above his competition as Derek Miles was second with a 5.72m (18' 9.25") mark.

Boston was clearly the venue for vaulting as Jenn Stuczynski set an American Record of 4.82m (15' 9.75") improving Stacy Dragila's previous record by a centimeter. Stuczynski's mark put her in the #3 position all time behind Russians Yelena Isinbayeva and Svetlana Feofanova.

If Boston was the place to vault, then Arnstadt, Germany was the place to high jump, as Ivan Ukhov improved his world lead with a 2.36m jump in Germany. Jesse Williams (US) set an indoor PB in second with a clearance of 2.34m. On the women's side, German Ariane Friedrich also set an indoor PB with her 2.02m win moving within .02m of world leader Blanka Vlasic who set a WL 2.04 this weekend in Stuttgart.

Female distance runners cranked it up a notch this weekend as well. Boston also served up a hot dual in the women's 5000 as Sentayehu Ejigu of Ethiopia and Shalane Flanagan of the US battled to the wire with both crossing the line in a WL 14:47.62. Ejigu was awarded the victory by .005sec while Flanagan was rewarded with an American Record. Flanagan now holds the Indoor records for 3000 and 5000 and the Outdoor records at 5000 and 10000, and is beginning to sow the competitiveness of Mary Slaney, Regina Jacobs, Suzy Hamilton and Deena Kastor. Shalane, along with Shannon Rowberry and Kara Goucher (who won the 3000 in Boston in 8:46.65) are forming a nice core for US distance hopes.

As hot as the track was in Boston, it was sizzling in Stuttgart as runner extraordinaire Meseret Defar of Ethiopia outdueled Russian Anna Alminova in a blistering 5000 meters. Defar crossed the line in a sizzling 8:26.99 - a world leader and the #3 performance in history. Alminova was spectacular in defeat as she ran 8:28.49 in second - the #6 performance all time indoors. Stuttgart also produced a world leader in the 800 meters as Ismail Ahmed Ismail (1:45.73, SUD) outran Yuri Borzakovski (1:45.96, RUS).

Not to be completely outdone, the sprinters gave us world leaders in the 200 meters as Shalonda Solomon (US) won at Boston in 23.17 and Greg Nixon (US) edged Chris Berrian (US) 20.65 to 20.68 in Eaubonne, France. Nixon now has the world lead in both the 200 and 400 meter events. And 60 meter world leader Michael Rogers (6.51, US) won the 60 in Boston against a solid field in 6.58. The field included Olympians Darvis Patton, Travis Padgett and Shawn Crawford.

All in all an outstanding weekend of competition.

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