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Thorkildsen thrills Bislett, Powell, 9.96 and 9.98 in Oslo - IAAF Golden League
Friday 2 June 2006
Oslo, Norway - On the opening night of the IAAF Golden League 2006, which began in cloud, ended in sunshine but always remained chilly, a Norwegian national record, one of six world season leading performances this evening, and a brace of sub-10 sprints from Asafa Powell, warmed the crowd at the ExxonMobil Bislett Games.
Thorkildsen thrills with 91.59m national record
IAAF Golden League logo
There is never anything more uplifting than a big home win for any audience, and Olympic champion Andreas Thorkildsen’s 91.59m second round Javelin Throw set the feet pounding and hands clapping in delight. The Norwegian national record made Thorkildsen the sixth longest thrower of all-time, surpassing Finn Tero Pitkämäki’s 91.53 result from the Kuortane meet last year. This one statistic surely made the victory doubly satisfying for the Norwegian, as Pitkämäki was the victor here ahead of him last year, and was down in third place today with 86.31m. In second was the most recent addition to the 90m club, Olympic silver medallist Vadim Vasilevskis who produced 88.09m in the third round.
“This wasn’t really a 100% successful throw,” said Thorkildsen. “It was a lot of power but it was not a maximum throw, I can do better than this.”
Two sub-10 runs for Powell
joint World 100m record holder Asafa Powell wins in Oslo
SUCH A SHAME NIKE IS SO BEREFT OF IMAGINATION THAT THEY SHOULD OBLIGE ALL THEIR CLIENTS TO WEAR EXACTLY THE SAME UNIFORM. THESE NIKE DRONES ARE INDISTINGUISHABLE FROM ONE-ANOTHER AT A DISTANCE TO ALL BUT THE CLOSEST OBSERVERS OF THE SPORT. AT A TIME WHEN THE SPORT IS CRYING OUT FOR SOME PERSONALITIES, NIKE GIVES YOU CLONES. kk :mad:
When joint World 100m record holder Asafa Powell floated gracefully to a 9.96 second clocking to win the first of three qualifying 100m heats with the assistance of a +1.6m/s wind, it looked like we would be in for something very special in the final. While USA’s Olympic 200m champion Shawn Crawford (10.01; +1.6m/s) in the second and Marc Burns in the third heat (10.11; +0.5m/s) were really stretching to clock their victories, Powell looked effortless in his opener. The surprise non-qualifier for the final was the new African record holder Olu Fasuba, who finished fourth in 10.19 in the third race.
However, our expectations were perhaps too high on a cold night, and exactly two hours later when the final round got underway Powell looked under some strain as he fended off Crawford with a 9.98 to 10.02 finish. The fact that Powell was again under 10 seconds shows the class of the Jamaican but the fluency which he had showed earlier on this evening had vanished.
“It wasn’t too spectacular,” was Powell’s response, who admitted to driving for home too soon after feeling Crawford’s presence at his side.
Sanya Richards improves to 49.82 in Oslo
(AFP / Getty Images)
In third came USA’s Marcus Brunson (10.06), with Trinidad and Tobago’s Burns, fourth in 10.14.
Richards gets faster – 49.82
The women’s one lap sprint saw a dominant display from USA’s Sanya Richards, the World silver medallist and IAAF World Ranked number one for the women’s 400m. The 21-year-old who came into tonight’s meeting with the fastest time in the world this year (49.89) improved to 49.82 seconds in conditions which were undoubtedly a lot cooler than in Kingston, Jamaica, where she had set her previous season’s lead on 6 May.
Tirunesh Dibaba wins the women’s 5000m in Oslo
“This sets me up really well for the Golden League (Jackpot),” commented Richards.
The Jamaican born American was followed home distantly by two Jamaicans, Sherika Williams (50.93 – PB) and Novlene Williams (51.15).
Tirunesh’s sprint beats sister; Masai – Kenyan record
Jeremy Wariner running the 400m in Oslo
Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba tore away to a world season’s lead with a dominating performance in the women’s 5000m. The race passed through 3000m in 8:43.18 with Dibaba doing some of the front running. By the time the bell was reached (8:43) Kenyan Edith Masai had been forcing the pace for two laps. As the toll resounded, Ethiopia’s World 5000m and 10,000m champion pounced. Dibaba’s sudden attack (57.98 last lap) left her older sister Ejegayehu and Masai surprised, with the former giving the best pursuit.
Crossing the line Tirunesh was a dominant winner in 14:30.40, a personal best, her sister was next in 14:33.53 (also a PB), and Masai, who ran a 2:30 marathon recently and is 39 years of age, came home third in 14:33.84, to improve her own Kenyan record. In all there were personal best clockings for eight of the top-9 finishers in a remarkably high class race.
Bekele destroyed by Songok’s sprint
The men’s 5000m seemed to be set for the usual finishing flourish from World record holder Kenenisa Bekele, as his younger brother Tariku led him through 3000m (7:49.70) and 4000m (10:27.18). But tonight, though the Ethiopian World and Olympic 10,000m champion sprinted away with 400m to go, as the final bend was reached he was caught by Issac Songok of Kenya whose turn of speed left the 2004 and 2005 World Athlete of the Year heavy legged. Songok, 22, won in 12:55.79 – another world season’s lead – with Kenenisa Bekele second (12:58.22) holding off Mike Kigen of Kenya (third, 12:58.58). The next two home also dipped under 13 minutes – Edwin Soi (12:59.45) and Abreham Cherkos (12:59.53) – in personal bests.
“I am the most surprised today,” said Songok. “I did not think it was possible to win this race…Unbelieveable.”
This was a magnificent display of finishing speed by Songok, who had trailed home a well beaten second to Bekele in the World Cross Country Championships short race in Fukuoka, Japan, at the beginning of April. It is a rare racing occurrence when the 23-year-old Ethiopia looks anything less than god like, but it was distinctly Songok’s finish of the two which was heavenly inspired tonight.
800m and Mile world leads too
Mohammad Alazemi of Kuwait, already the world season’s quickest at 800m thanks to his surprise 1:44.80 run in the ‘B’ race in Doha last month, improved to 1:44.59, a personal best, in a tight finish with Latvia’s Dmitrijis Milkevics (1:44.65 – PB). The effort left the Kuwaiti sprawling on the ground as he dived to take the two lap win in a national record.
The ExxonMobil Dream Mile which closed the track programme, also brought another middle distance season’s best. Alex Kipchirchir of Kenya, who went through 1500m in 3:34.1, came home in 3:50.32, pursued strongly by the habitually late-finishing Ukrainian Ivan Heshko, the World Indoor champion, who crossed in 3:50.89.
World and Olympic 400m champion Jeremy Wariner was given a slight scare coming off the final bend in the one lap, as four lanes outside him the Bahamas’ Chris Brown held the advantage. Yet the 22-year-old American was only playing with us, as a change of gear brought him clearly home in the last 60m, crossing in 44.31, with Brown second in 44.80.
However, another American World and Olympic champion, long jumper Dwight Phillips couldn’t raise his game enough to beat the challenge of 23-year-old Irving Saldino who won that event with 8.53m (+0.9m/s), just 3 centrimetres short of his Area record which already held the season’s world lead. The Panamanian who won the World Indoor silver medal last March is very much in form, with this performance his fourth successive win of the current outdoor season. Phillips, 28, the preeminent jumper of the last few years was second with 8.21m in an assisting wind (+3.4m/s), and compatriot Miguel Pate, third, just one centimetre back (0.0m/s wind). Greece’s Louis Tsatoumas was the only other 8m jumper this evening (8.17m – 1.8m/s)
Alekna remains unbeaten with 68.39m
Lithuania’s double World and Olympic champion Virgilijus Alekna had a solid men’s Discus lead from his round two 67.54m release, and improved that in the fifth to 68.39m. However, the 34-year-old must have breathed heavily in the final round when Olympic silver medallist Zoltan Kovago of Hungary blasted his implement to 68.02m to secure second place. Estonia’s World Championship runner-up Gert Kanter closed out a quality podium with 66.13m. Alekna is unbeaten this season with six wins to his credit.
Debbie Ferguson McKenzie backed-up her Ostrava victory on Tuesday (30 May) with a 11.22 win in the 100m run into a 1.4m/s wind, confirming that the Olympic 200m bronze medallist from the Bahamas is past a long stretch of injury problems.
In the women’s 200m tonight, it was Belgium’s Kim Gevaert who dominated in her season’s best of 22.58, with Cydonie Mothersill of the Cayman Islands also breaking 23 seconds (22.87). In the women’s 100m Hurdles, Jamaica’s Brigitte Foster-Hylton took the victory in 12.70, ahead of USA’s Lolo Jones (12.82) and Danielle Carruthers (12.85).
In the men’s 1500m, there was a Kenyan 1-2-3 finish led home by Brimin Kipruto’s 3:36.53 run, while the women’s 800m, paced through 400m in 59.34, ended in a close three-way finish. Kenya’s Janet Kepkosgei won in 2:00.51 with Jamaica’s Kenia Sinclair in third (2:00.73), their finishing straight battle eventually being split just before the line by a late run from Great Britain’s Rebecca Lyne (2:00.67), who had steadily worked her way through the field.
After failures at 2.00m, Croatia’s Blanka Vlasic and Belgium’s Tia Hellebaut could not be separated in the women’s High Jump on countback at their best of 1.98m, a national record for the latter. A jump off was called which Vlasic took at 1.94m, as the pair firstly passed unsuccessfully down through 1.98 and 1.96m.
Russia’s Olympic champion Yelena Slesarenko was third (1.96m) with World champion Kajsa Bergqvist of Sweden, fourth with 1.93m.
Klüft – last round win
Another Swedish heroine Carolina Klüft was more successful, winning a low key women’s Long Jump with a leap of 6.67m in the last round, having been surpassed by USA’s Daniela Lincoln-Saavedra’s 6.56m PB moments before.
Chris Turner for the IAAF