THE US SCENE may have hit high gear the second weekend of February with exciting action both at Millrose and other collegiate invitationals, but Europe was also kicking in to help jump start a long World Championships year. The biggest meets were editions No. 3 (Toruń, Poland, February 6) and 4 (Madrid, Spain, February 8) of the IAAF’s World Indoor Tour.
Tori Franklin Triples 47-9¾ (14.57)
She may have lost the triple jump in Madrid, but Tori Franklin captured the indoor American Record to go alongside the outdoor best in her collection. With Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas already in the lead with her booming first-round 48-11½ (14.92) that moved her to No. 12 on the all-time list, Franklin opened up at 46-½ (14.03), then bounded the record 47-9¾ (14.57) on her second try to take down Keturah Orji’s national standard of 47-8 (14.53) from last season. In/out, Franklin’s jump ties the No. 7 performance in U.S. history. She finished off with a solid series: 47-2½ (14.39), foul, 47-6¼ (14.48), 46-9 (14.35).
For Rojas, it was the sign that she had successfully rehabilitated after injuries hampered her ’18 campaign. “I feel a great happiness as all the hard work I have done with my team has paid off today,” she said.
Russia’s Anzhelika Sidorova produced a world-leading 16-1¼ (4.91) in the vault to move to =4 on the all-time list. She handily topped Greece’s Nikoléta Kiriakopoúlou (15-6½/4.74).
Jarret Eaton won a close hurdle final over Spain’s Orlando Ortega, 7.56-7.57. Mike Rodgers took the 60 in 6.57, and Nathan Strother captured the 400 in 46.21.
Samuel Tefera Runs 3:35.57
In Toruń, Ethiopia’s Samuel Tefera, the World Indoor champion who is still only 19, produced a 3:35.57 world leader over 1500 to beat the 3:36.50 Polish record by Marcin Lewandowski. Frustrated by the pace of his rabbit, Aman Wote, Tefera said later that he could have done better. “The opening was a little slow. I was expecting faster,” he said.
Czech Pavel Maslák won the 400 in 46.19 but American Nathan Strother took another section in 46.32. Sam Kendricks captured the vault with a second-attempt clearance at 18-11½ (5.78) and then took three attempts at 19-5 (5.92). Erik Sowinski won a 1:47.49 race in the 800. Ewa Swoboda of Poland topped Marie-Josée Ta Lou in the dash, sprinting 7.15 to the World Indoor runner-up’s 7.16.
An exciting 800 finish saw Ethiopia’s Habitam Alemu outlean Laura Muir at the finish, 1:59.49–1:59.50.
WJR 3:36.21 For Jakob Ingebrigtsen
The Ingebrigtsen family’s season opened up at Baerum, Norway, as Jakob won the 1500 in 3:36.21 and Filip took the 3000 at 7:49.73. Wunderkind Jakob, still only 18, laid a claim to the World Junior Record with his time. Just what is the best undercover U20 mark is open to some debate. The fastest ever, 3:36.05 by Samuel Tefera last year, wasn’t ratified by the IAAF for technical reasons. The IAAF recognizes the best as 3:36.28 by Belal Mansoor Ali in ’07, but T&FN believes the Bahraini’s birthdate is wrong and that Kenyan Michael Too’s 3:36.37 of ’02 should hold the record. In any case, Ingebrigtsen is now in position to inherit the honor.
Genzebe Dibaba Opens Up
The highlight at Sabadell, Spain, as usual, was a Genzebe Dibaba time trial. This time she attacked the 1500 and demonstrated her early-season fitness by clocking a world-leading 3:59.08 to finish nearly 10 seconds up on teenage teammate Hailu Lemlem (4:08.90).
Four days later In Liévin, France, a Dibaba attempt on Maria Mutola’s 1000 record of 2:30.94 fell far short. The Ethiopian had gone out hard in a solo attempt but faded so much on the final lap that her 2:37.40 just edged the
Ugandan Record 2:37.80 of Winnie Nanyondo.
Kendricks Reclaims Vault Lead
The world’s leading men’s pole vaulters are staging a great game of keepaway this winter, the yearly world lead continually finding a new claimant. American star Sam Kendricks, the reigning world No. 1, claimed the lead at 19-2 (5.84) in Paris on January 27. Pole Piotr Lisek took that away 3 days later with his 19-2¼ (5.85). But in Berlin on February 1 it was the American’s turn again with a 19-2¾ (5.86) clearance. That only lasted a few hours, as Mondo Duplantis heard the news and cleared 19-3 (5.87) at home in Baton Rouge. The pendulum then swung to American Andrew Irwin, competing in Arkansas on February 8, where he raised his PR to 19-3½ (5.88). The next day, in Rouen, France, it was Kendricks’ turn again and he slipped over 19-4¼ (5.90) on his first attempt, matching his second-highest indoor clearance ever. Kendricks finished his day with three shots at an absolute PR of 19-8½ (6.01).