03 April, 2018

The 2018 Indoors: a few great moments

This year's World Indoors were a source of great joy for me. Two of my preferred athletes got their first world title. This should suffice in order to make these championships memorable. 

Since I have already written about the disqualification excesses I am not going to talk about any negative aspects. Also do not expect a discipline by discipline presentation. If you wish to have all the details on the championships just head over to the IAAF page where you'll find everything.

M. Ahouré winning the 60 m

Muriel Ahouré dominated the women's 60 m beating twice E. Thompson and D. Schippers. In the final together with Marie-Josée TaLou they managed a one-two Ivorian triumph. I was really elated at watching their race. The podium was completed by M. Kambundji who won in Birmingham her first global medal.

The Ivorian double: Ahouré and TaLou

The men's 60 m was won as expected by C. Coleman but I am still unconvinced (and I do not like his style). I guess I have to wait till next year's outdoors before forming a definitive opinion on him. On the other hand I was impressed by the performance of B. Su who won here his first individual world medal.

Harrison's first global medal (and Visser's as well)

The women's 60 m hurdles saw K. Harrison win at long last her first (!) international medal (let alone a world title). It was a high-level event which saw S. Pearson and A. Talay eliminated in the semi-finals and C. Roleder relegated to a 5th place. The one hurdler who broke the US dominance was N. Visser, one of the dutch heptathletes I am keeping an eye on. In Birmingham Visser won bronze and was the first european of the race.  Does this mean that she will focus on the hurdles for this summer's European's? I guess that we'll have to wait till Berlin.

 Hassan, Dibaba and Muir

I don't wish to talk about Niyonsaba winning the women's 800 m neither about the men's farcical 1500 m run at almost 4 minutes.  At least we have had two great women races over 1500 m and 3000 m, both won by G. Dibaba with S. Hassan and L. Muir  permuting on the remaining podium places. 

The Belgian-Borlée team

But the most exciting race was the last one, men's 4x400 m relay. Poland managed to beat the US establishing a new world indoor record. The belgian (Borlée) team was present as always securing a place at the podium.

Spanovic flying to her first world title

I have been waiting for this for years but I have always been convinced that the moment would come. It came. Ivana Spanovic is World Champion. And she won the competition by beating her nemesis, B. Reese. At one point Reese managed to take the lead of the competition but this lasted only for one jump and Spanovic was back to the top. After last year's disappointment at the London World Championships Spanovic has proven in Birmingham that she is the top long jumper today.

An emotional moment for Spanovic

Men's long jump has also been an exciting event with just 4 cm separating the three medalists (20 year old) J.M. Echevarría at 8.46 m, (2017 world champion) L. Manyonga et 8.44 m and (2016 indoor world champion) M. Dendy et 8.42 m. Something similar occurred at the men(s triple jump where Claye, Dos Santos and Evora jumped 17.43 m, 17.41 m and 17.40 m respectively to share the three medals.

Women's triple jump saw again the victory of Y Rojas. I am  somewhat disappointed at the 6th place of V. Papachristou in the final and even more so of the 11th place of G. Petrova  whom I consider a very talented jumper. I cross my fingers for things to improve for her.

S. Morris' first world title

For once I will not be celebrating a victory of Stefanidi in women's pole vault. This time she was beaten not only by Morris but also by Sidorova. Well, much as I admire Stefanidi I must admit that Morris is physically one of the strongest pole vaulters I have ever seen and it is only thanks to her technical supremacy that Stefanidi has managed to keep the upper hand till now. I just hope that she will manage to do so in the future as well. E. McCartney was 4th with 4.75 m but ex-world champion Y. Silva could only manage a 4.60 m height for 7th place. And I was really disappointed with A. Bengtsson's 4.50 m for 11th place. 

Men's pole vault saw the victory of R. Lavillenie. Does this signal a return to the top for the world record holder or is this the swan song? Time will tell. Anyhow the competition was a most interesting one. I was particularly happy with E. Karalis' personal best at 5.80 m with which he finished at the 5th place, ahead of his direct, age-wise, opponent, A. Duplantis (who jumped only 5.70 m but had attempts up to 5.90 m). The competition was disappointing for Olympic or World champions T. Braz, P. Wocjiechowski,  S. Barber and (to some extent also for) K. Filippidis. 

Kuchina-Lasitskene dominating the high jump

D. Lysenko took his revenge from last year's World's by beating M.E. Barshim with a last try clearance at 2.36 m, while Lasitskene affirmed once more her supremacy jumping 2.01 , 8 cm more than the remaining medalists. A minor disappointment for Y. Levchenko's and M. Demireva's 5th and 6th places at 1.89 m.

A first medal in shot put for Jamaica with Thomas-Dodd

Men's shot put confirmed T. Walsh as the best thrower of today. Women's event saw the crowning of A. Marton. But what is more interesting is that both the gold (Marton) and silver (D. Thomas-Dodd) medalists of the women's event are spinners. This is the first time something like this happens. Does this mean that women will be following the same path as men, switching gradually form the glide technique to the spin one? Time will tell.

Rodriguez, Johnson-Thompson and Dadic

K. Johnson-Thompson won the pentathlon with just 4750 points, very far from her personal best of 5000. In fact, had I. Dadic had better jumps she might have won the world title. Be that as it may this was Dadic's first global medal. She will be one that I will be watching more closely in the competitions to come.

Mayer and Warner at the end of an exhausting heptathlon

I was somewhat disappointed by K. Mayer. His vertical jumps were really below par and D. Warner had a real chance for the gold medal. It is only thanks to his tenacious competitiveness that Mayer could secure the world title. I just hope that his performance at more than 100 points adrift of his personal best is due to a temporary fatigue and lack of freshness. I cross my fingers for this summer's Europeans. I have been always following the two talented grenadian decathletes K. Felix and L. Victor but this time they managed to disappoint me completely dropping out of the competition after three events. 

Was it a good championship? Frankly, I cannot tell. But the victories of Ahouré and Spanovic were two unforgettable moments making the 2018 Indoors really special.

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