Wissman 45.12 Swiss NR

Wissman battles successfully with a wet and cold Malmö
Tuesday 3 July 2007
Malmö, Sweden - No, the wish for some nice summer weather for the third meet of the Swedish “Folksam Grand Prix” series was not listened to by the weather gods. Just like in Sollentuna last week it was a rainy and damp evening when the MAI-galan was held at Malmö Stadion. Add to that a fairly strong headwind in the finishing straight.

45.12 national record for Wissman

David Rudisha (KEN) wins 800m, and looks back to see Webb and Heshko in his wake in Malmö
(Hasse Sjögren)

But still it was a sprinter that produced the real highlight of the evening for the spectators. European silver medallist at 200m last summer Johan Wissman continued his successful transformation into a 400m specialist:

Just over a week ago he upset Ireland’s David Gillick in the European Cup First League winning by half a second in 45.77 and now – seemingly unbothered by the weather – Wissman ran 45.12 to displace Gillick also as the fastest European of the year. The time constituted a lowering of the six years old Swedish NR by over four tenths too.

Wissman used his 200m speed to go out fairly fast (21.5 at 200m) and when it at the end of the last bend seemed that established specialists Lewis Banda of Zimbabwe (44.58 PB) and USA’s Jamaal Torrance (6th in the recent US Championships) were beginning to reel him Wissman – from nearby Helsingborg – just hit another gear and powered down the homestraight to win by three quarters of a second going away.

That the weather conditions were far from optimal for 400m running is illustrated by Russia’s Tatyana Veshkurova (49.99 PB from last year when she also got the silver medal at the European Championships) winning the women’s event with a hard fought 52.42. But it didn’t seem to stop Wissman and the logical conclusion is that the 45.12 today has a considerably higher intrinsic value than what the plain numbers indicate.

The same statement should definitely also be made for the 200m winning time of 20.45 recorded by Jaysuma Saidy Ndure. The Norwegian (just recently acquired the Norwegian citizenship) ran an impressively smooth race facing a considerable headwind in the finishing straight.

Holm makes 107th comp at 2.30 or above

For obvious reasons the jumping events are traditionally main attractions at every major meet in Sweden and this edition of MAI-galan was no exception. The men’s High Jump featured a new match-up between local hero Linus Thörnblad and Stefan Holm with Briton Martyn Bernard – who finished third behind the two Swedish jumpers at the European Indoors this winter – and Olympic fourth placer Jamie Nieto added to the mix.

Despite the conditions (rain on-and-off, gusting head-wind during runup) all these four jumpers approached 2.26 with clean sheets but there Bernard somewhat surprisingly was the only one to make that height on first attempt. Holm and Thörnblad followed suite in the second round while Nieto was eliminated. So with the bar raised to 2.30 it was the Briton in the lead and he stayed there until the ninth and last jump at the height.

That jump belonged to Stefan Holm and after a long concentration he produced what was probably his best jump this summer: There was daylight between him and the bar to such an extent that he probably could have cleared the 2.33 he then tried without success. But still the 107th meet at 2.30 or better could be catalogued by the statistically minded winner.

The Pole Vaulters also had to battle rain and wind (for them cross-wind) with Adam Kolasa of Poland coming out the winner thanks to his second attempt clearance of 5.60 followed by the 5.50’s registered by Alhaji Jeng and Jesper Fritz.

World Junior champ beats Webb and Heshko to set 1:45:10 PB

In the middle and long distance events the men’s 1500m was the most competitive with seven runners at 3:38-3:39 headed by Moroccan Bader Rassioui who won a tough sprint encounter with Italian Christian Obrist: 3:38.05 vs 3:38.11.

However, the top times quality wise were provided by the men’s 800m with tall Kenyan youngster David Rudisha, winning in 1:45.10 (PB) after an impressive last 250 metres in “Billy Konchellah”-style. i.e. he came from the middle of the pack and just majestically strode past everyone. This World Junior champion of last year certainly looks set for future greatness!

American 1500m specialist Alan Webb put up an impressive finishing straight to grab a clear 2nd place in 1:45.80, which constituted an improvement of 0.29 upon the three years old PB which he actually also set at this Malmö meet. Rather disappointing on the other hand Webb’s 1500m colleague Ivan Heshko of Ukraine who ended up 6th over three seconds behind the winner Rudisha.

Other notable winners included Kenya’s Mark Bett in the 5000m (13:17.45), Denmark’s Morten Jensen in the Long Jump (7.96w/7.87ok), Morocco’s Sultana Ait Hammou in the 800m (won by 2½ seconds in 2:02.65) and Bahama’s Chandra Sturrup in the 100m (11.54 into a strong headwind – won by over three metre’s from Britain’s Emma Ania).

Lennart Julin for the IAAF

Click here for FULL RESULTS

Note: Results have mixed-up Kenyan’s Rudisha and Litei in the 800m. As noted in the report above Rudisha won while Litei finished 4th!


Same place isn’t it? :eek: sorry :o my very bad. I know he’s Swedish. No idea why I typed Swiss. Blew a fuse i guess :rolleyes:

Maybe both countries like chocolate!

200m speed kills in the 400m. My fear would be that may tbe training him for the event and get too far from what got him to this time (HIS SPEED!). There are 100’s of people who made breakthroughs the year before the Games and then were no where when it counted.

Yes, I wonder about this as well. Is he training for the 200m and running 400m for strength work, similar to Bolt, or is he now training for the 400m and running the 400m exclusively?

His stride at 200m reminds me of kenteris and he runs it in a similar fashion as well, kicking it in coming off the bend. Has a similar build as well but not as big as Kenteris. Perhaps he can crack 20 by 2008. Check out the similarity in their strides and the race pattern:

I’m from Sweden as well and I have heard that he is going to maintain or develop his speed at 200m to get faster in the 400m. 2006 was the last year he had 200m as his main event, and this year he announced that his main event is going to be 400m, because he can see himself as one of the worlds best in a couple of years in that event.

the 400m will seem like a stroll in the park to Wissman after the tension evident in his 200m. Most of that “tightness” in his neck and shoulders can disappear during the 400m and he for sure can go sub-45 because he has a good rhythm and a sweet quality of contact

I wish him all the best luck - finally, he’s one of the 1st smart guys in an ever increasing bunch. How many track athletes - particularly sprinters - in this world are just below world class in their chosen event, but would be one of the best in the world if they moved up in distance? I’d say a small country full of people. eg, 100m runners at 10.3-10.5, 200m runners at 20.5-21.0, 400m runners at 46-46.5. They could be medal contenders if they moved up a distance or 2. I’m not saying everyone in this position should change - if you love what you’re doing even if you could do somethig else better but still don’t care then all power to you - but a large proportion would darely love to be world class - and could be if the only moved up distance. Wissman realised with the current 200m fields that he was in a hopeless position, so decided to specialise in 400m running, and could well go on to WC and olympc finals and who know’s what else beyond. Finally some talent that isn’t going to be wasted.