Stockholm Indoor -3Feb06- Ignisious Gaisah 8.36m

Friday 3 February 2006

Stockholm, Sweden - Usually it has been the High Jumps that have produced the highlight performances at the GE Galan - IAAF indoor permit - meeting at the Stockholm Globe Arena. But last night (2), the men’s 5000m and Long Jump that turned out as the top events resultswise thanks mainly to Sileshi Sihine and Ignisious Gaisah respectively.

Fourth on all-time list

Yuriy Borzakovskiy sprints home in vintage style in Stockholm
(Hasse Sjögren)

In the 5000m Sihine simply “wore out” all opposition by relentlessly keeping the pace tough through all the 25 laps to 13:06.72. A clocking that not only constituted a best mark for the year but also the best non-World record mark ever in the event. Sihine now occupies the 4th position on the all-time list behind only legends Kenenisa Bekele, Haile Gebrselassie and Daniel Komen.

After following pacesetters Eliud Njubi and Isaac Sang through kilometres of 2:35, 2:39 and 2:36 Sihine took over full responsibility and a fourth kilometre in 2:39 forced also the last challenger – young Kenyan Mike Kigen – to lose contact. Then Sihine motored through the last kilometre in 2:37 to win by ten seconds over Kigen who now is No 8 of all-time with his 13:17.46.

African indoor record

In the Long Jump Gaisah grabbed the early lead with his 8.06m opener with 2006 World list leader Salim Sdiri second in 7.84m. And even though Sdiri improved by 29 centimetres in the second round he found himself further from the lead as Gaisah improved by one more centimetre when bounding to a magnificent 8.36m on his second attempt!

With that jump Gaisah took over as the furthest jumper in 2006 and his new Ghanaian and also African record mark moved him up to number 15 on the all-time indoor list. It also constituted a new personal best overall for Gaisah whose top mark outdoors is the 8.34m that brought him the silver medal at the World Championships last August in Helsinki.

So it is not really surprising that Gaisah – after 7.93m in the third round - decided to pass the last three attempts. Sdiri, however, added a 8.08m and a 7.96m. Somewhat unexpectedly the third jumper getting over 8 metres this evening was neither James Beckford or Miguel Pate, but Romanian Danut Simion, the European U23 Champion from last year.

Rybakov – 2.31m

Although the High Jumps as said didn’t provide the “usual” extraordinary performances they still were top quality competitions with very impressive winners. In the men’s event Yaroslav Rybakov was unquestionably the most consistent jumper having a clean sheet through 2.28 and after narrowly missing on his first attempt he sailed over 2.31 on the second for a new personal best mark of 2006.

Although none of his three attempts at 2.35 – two centimetres over the current World leading mark – was extremely close to succeed you got the very strong impression that it is just a matter of weeks or days before Rybakov will be consistent at such heights. Swede Linus Thörnblad did thus keep his position at the top of the current World list even though he tonight had to settle for fourth place with his 2.24.

The top three places were occupied by Rybakov plus Italian Nicola Ciotti and young Russian Andrey Silnov. The latter looked very much like a man of the future and will almost certainly bring the PB of 2.28 he equalled this night several centimetres higher already this winter.

Stefan Holm, who shares the top position in the IAAF World Rankings for the event with Rybakov, continued struggling to find his technique although he improved from 2.20m in Bydgoszcz last week to 2.24m – and also had at least one decent attempt at 2.28m. Some minor injury problems (foot, calf) and some infections late last year has kept him some 3-4 weeks behind schedule in his training technique-wise.

Even in “too good a shape” Bergqvist wins!!

When the bar was raised to 1.92m in the women’s High Jump the two jumpers eliminated surprisingly were Viktoriya Styopina (1.97m a few days ago) and Anna Chicherova (1.95m very recently). The remaining six all made 1.92m but at 1.95m only the two 2m-jumpers of 2006 – Kajsa Bergqvist and Blanka Vlasic – made it on first attempts. On second attempt they were joined by Tatyana Efimenko who thereby established a new national record for Kirgizstan!

At 1.98 Vlasic passed, Bergqvist flow over with inches to spare on her second attempt while Efimenko was eliminated after three failures. At 2.00 it was Bergqvist who chose to pass and after seeing Vlasic miss three times the victory as secured. The World champion then asked for 2.02m – 1 cm above her current WL mark – and just about everyone of the 10,000+ in the Arena having seen her jumps at the earlier heights expected her to clear.

But now Bergqvist was perhaps pressing a little bit too much and lost the timing somewhat and failed three times. She was still happy with her win (her 5th at GE Galan) and in her analysis afterwards came with a slightly paradoxical explanation:

“I really felt in perfect physical shape today with lots of “spring” in my legs,”confirmed the winner. “Probably I was in too good a shape, because at this early stage of the season the technique was not sufficiently stable too handle that speed and strength!”

Injured Kuptsov takes the victory

Also in the third vertical jumping event of the evening, the men’s Pole Vault, the world leading mark was under serious attack. Three vaulters cleared 5.70 and those three happened to be the top-3 statistically before the meet: Tim Lobinger, Oleksandr Korchmyd and Dmitriy Kuptsov. But only Kuptsov had a perfect record so far, Lobinger had one miss at 5.56 and Korchmyd two at 5.70.

Kuptsov continued his impressive vaulting at 5.76, clearing also that new personal best on the initial attempt. Korchmyd missed his three attempts, while Lobinger passed when he realised he needed the next height (5.82) to snatch the victory from Kuptsov. 5.82 incidently was 1 cm better than the seasonal top mark of 5.81 set in Wien two days ago by Lobinger himself. While Kuptsov injured himself slightly on first attempt and refrained from taking any more vaults Lobinger made use of all his chances – but to no avail.

Four out of four for ‘vintage’ Borzakovskiy

The last three years Yuriy Borzakovskiy had run the best indoor time of the season for 800m at GE Galan and with training partner Boris Kaveshnikov “hired” as pacesetter everything looked good for making it 4-out-of-4. And Borzakovskiy did make it 4-out-of-4 as far as the win: The last 150m were truly “vintage Borzakovskiy” leaving even Wilfred Bungei completely unable to put up any response.

However, time wise the race did not live up to history and to expectations, because although Kaveshnikov provided a perfectly balanced “good” pace (two laps of 26 seconds) everyone else seemed to look only at each other and at 400m the main group was over a second behind Kaveshnikov’s 52.4. This scenario perfectly suited Borzakovskiy’s exceptional finishing ability and he won comfortably in 1:46.99. Actually the second fastest 800m time of the evening was not that of Bungei in the A-final but that of Frenchman Antoine Martiak who won the B-race in 1:47.34.

Season lead at 1500m for Dumbravean

But the oval racing still did produce one more top mark for 2006 as the whole field of 1500m women followed their early pacemaker for the first 800m after which Briton Helen Clitheroe made certain that the pace was kept honest. In the concluding very tight sprint finish Romania’s Corina Dumbravean prevailed in 4:08.90 with five more bunched between 4:09.28 and 4:10.74.

Susanna fights back from poor start

It was the only race of the evening on the straightaway, but the women’s 60m Hurdles really did provide a very impressive piece of running/racing from Susanna Kallur. She could have thought in advance that a perfect start would be necessary to be competitive against the Jamaican trio of Michelle Freeman, Vonette Dixon and Delloreen Ennis-London. But the start was anything but perfect and after a slight stumble in the first step Susanna was almost a metre behind the leading Freeman at the first hurdle.

The tide only started to turn about halfway through the race but in the last 15-20 metres Susanna stormed from far behind, to slightly behind at the last hurdle and to win by 0.07 - going away! Despite the almost disastrous start the winning time of 7.88 was just two hundredths off her own world leading time set in Glasgow last Saturday (28).

Her own comment after the race summed it up very well:
“It was the worst-ever fastest race I have run! I had the right attitude: Not to give up because of the lousy start but instead to work hard!”

After winning all seven competitions at 60m Hurdles last winter Susanna has now this winter added two more meets to that winning streak despite having competed against all the top Jamaican’s (Lacena Golding-Clarke in Glasgow).

The final 2006 world leading indoor mark of the GE Galan: The attendance figure of 10,536 in the sold out Stockholm Globe Arena!

Lennart Julin for the IAAF

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