Godfrey Khotso Mokoena of South African in the men's Long Jump (Getty Images) © Copyright

Mokoena, Hessien win as Thomas is defeated - Tampere Indoor Meet report

After a below par clearance of 2.15m in Tampere with a taped ankle and new shoes World High Jump champion Donald Thomas has decided to cut his indoor season short and fly back home to the United States.

The expected stars of the meeting did not shine at the annual Indoor Meeting "Tähtien kisat" in Tampere on Wednesday, but some solid results were nevertheless witnessed especially in the sprinting events.

Reigning High Jump World champion, Donald Thomas of the Bahamas, was expected to show a rising form ahead of the World Indoor Championships, but Thomas cleared only 2.15m and told reporters that there will be no Valencia for him.

"I used tape on my left ankle for the first time and I also used High Jump shoes for the first time. That’s why I did not feel comfortable," said Thomas.

Thomas fell down last week in a competition in Bydgoszcz, Poland, at his last attempt at 2.30m. There is no real injury in his ankle, but for security reasons he is putting an end to his indoor season now.

"Instead of Valencia, I am going to fly back home to the USA, have a little rest and start practicing for the outdoor season."

The competition was won by Russia’s Alexei Dmitryk, who leapt 2.21m at his third attempt.

O’Rourke passes Valencia, too

The same piece of news was heard from Ireland’s Derval O’Rourke despite her winning the second of two 60m Hurdles races in 8.10 and saying it was an encouraging result.

O’Rourke has decided not to defend her World title from Moscow in 2006.

"I must be realistic now. I lost too much time due to a foot injury earlier in this winter and I was ill for ten days too in January."

"It’s time for practicing, not competing for me now because this year is an Olympic year. I’ll have a training camp in Monte Gordo, Portugal in April," said O’Rourke.

In the first race O’Rourke placed 2nd in 8.21 - only 0.01 seconds behind Russia’s Yulia Kondakova, who was second in the later race in 8.12.

Mokoena happy with 7.99m

South Africa’s Long Jumper Godfrey "Khotso" Mokoena was much more satisfied even though he could not quite break Italy’s Andrew Howe´s Arena record of 8.02m from last year.

Mokoena jumped 7.99m and won ahead of Finland’s Petteri Lax by 10cm. Jamaica’s James Beckford placed third with 7.78m.

"This competition was a good preparation for Valencia. I had four outdoor competitions with the best result of 8.19m practically without any technical training. That is what must focus on now," said Mokoena.

Another satisfied man was Finland’s Jukka Keskisalo, the European Steeplechase champion in 2006 after winning the 1500m in 3:47.46. It was Keskisalo’s last race indoors before flying back to the South African mountains to train for Beijing.

Hession 10.36 at 100m

Paul Hession of Ireland was in a very good mood after winning the men’s 100m in 10.36. Finland’s Visa Hongisto, the European U23 champion in 2007 set his PB 10.43 and took second place.

"It was very interesting to run 100m in February! It went well - better than 6.71 in the 60m," smiled Hession.

Hession whose specialty event (the 200m) will not be contested in Valencia, believes that reaching the Olympic final at 200m will be easier than in the 100m.

"Making it to the final is not impossible. I was the 12th fastest man in the semi-finals at the World Championships in Osaka last year, but in the 100m there will be too many really fast men in Beijing, too."

Great Britain’s Emma Ania took a very easy victory in the women’s 60m in 7.24 seconds - 0.11 ahead of Russia’s Anna Geflikh. Ania did not run the 100m, in which Geflikh was the best in 11.54.

The men’s 60m Hurdles second race was very close. Russia’s Iakov Petrov and Stanislav Sajdok of the Czech Republic clocked 7.80, but the Photo Finish gave the win to Petrov.

Antti-Pekka Sonninen for the IAAF