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Norwich Union Grand Prix

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Jo Pavey
Jo Pavey

For full results from Birmingham, click here.

 

A world record courtesy of Kenenisa Bekele highlighted the Norwich Union Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham. The Ethiopian great stepped down in distance to the rarely-run 2000m and won convincingly, taking almost three seconds off compatriot Haile Gebrselassie’s previous world indoor best. His time of 4:49.99 was one of the top-ten fastest clockings of all-time, indoors or out.

Jo Pavey’s world record attempt in the two miles was not to be, however. After the pacemakers had dropped out, Pavey worked hard to maintain the tempo but Commonwealth 1500m champion Lisa Dobriskey caught up. But the Exeter harrier had saved enough for a final lap kick and strode away to win in a national record of 9:32.00.

Jason Gardener showed that his seventh-place finish at last week’s UK Indoor Championships was just a one-off winning the 60m with a confidence-boosting 6.57 ahead of training partner Craig Pickering, while Simeon Williamson set a huge PB of 6.60 in third. Double European sprint champion Francis Obikwelu was fourth.

A disqualification in the men’s 400m swung in Great Britain’s favour as Robert Tobin was awarded the victory having crossed the line in second behind Xavier ‘X-Man’ Carter. The American was found to have stepped inside his lane before going on to run 45.91. Minutes later, however, both he and team-mate Bershawn Jackson were disqualified, making Tobin the victor. His time of 46.07 was the fastest by a Briton this year and the second best in Europe.


Kenenisa Bekele
Kenenisa Bekele Celebrates His New World Record

 

However a disqualification in the men’s sprint hurdles did not go down so well with the home crowd. UK indoor champion Andy Turner jumped the gun at the second time of asking following William Sharman’s first false start and had to sit out. American Ron Bramlett went on to score a surprise win, defeating world leader Dayron Robles. The young Cuban clattered the first hurdle and also knocked the second. Both athletes ran 7.52.

Nicola Sanders replicated her Sheffield performance quite literally with another 50.60 clocking. Hurdler Emma Duck made a big breakthrough in second place, taking almost a second from her indoor PB and even running faster than her outdoor best with her time of 52.62, making a strong European Indoor relay team look likely.

Jenny Meadows also set an impressive PB to win the 800m from Brigita Langerholc. Her time of 1:59.88 makes her the fourth fastest woman of the year. Marilyn Okoro also set a PB of 2:00.91 in third.

European cross country champion Mo Farah won an exciting ‘Devil-take-the-hindmost’ mile race in 4:00.46 whilst Bernard Lagat set an American record in the 3000m, running 7:32.43 to win from Ethiopia’s Markos Geneti.

Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva failed in her attempt to set another world indoor record. She won with 4.73m from rival Svetlana Feofanova, who cleared 4.65m. Kate Dennison was seventh with an easy clearance at 4.30m and looks as though progression through the 4.40s is just a matter of time. Christian Olsson registered just one legal attempt in the triple jump, but his 17.34m was more than enough to win with Nathan Douglas second in 16.97m.

A high-quality long jump competition saw Irving Saladino set a stadium and Panamanian record of 8.31m. Louis Tsatoumas of Greece cemented his status as Euro Indoor favourite with an 8.15m jump, while South Africa’s Godfrey Mokoena was the third man over 8m. Chris Tomlinson was fifth with 7.82m.

Jason Gardener
Jason Gardener
Elsewhere, Kelly Sotherton won the women’s long jump with 6.48 from club-mate Amy Harris, who leapt 6.34. Two-time European indoor champion Kim Gevaert opened her indoor season with a 7.22 win in the 60m. World indoor champion Reese Hoffa won the men’s shot with 21.18. Yaroslav Rybakov won the high jump with a 2.33m jump, while Samson Oni made amends for a disappointing performance in Sheffield by setting a PB of 2.27m, going to No.6 on the UK all-time list and only narrowly missing out on 2.30m.

Steve Green won the 400m ‘B’ race in a big PB of 46.69, leading him self and Dale Garland through to strong performances which they would hope to justify selection for the European Indoor Relay team. Also trying to stake a claim for 2 weeks time, Richard Hill avenged his Sheffield defeat in the 800m, beating UK indoor champion James Brewer. Both set PBs of 1:48.52 and 1:48.75 respectively. Finally Neil Fachie won the disability 60m in 7.58 ahead of Ian Jones in a personal best 7.70.

 

For further details and reports from todays action at the Norwich Union Grand Prix, see this Thursday's edition of Athletics Weekly magazine.

 

Watch the Mens 60m Final - Courtesy of BBC Sport