US shot putter Ryan Crouser (© AFP / Getty Images)
Olympic champion Ryan Crouser added 16 centimetres to the world indoor shot put record at the American Track League meeting in Fayetteville on Sunday (24), throwing an almighty 22.82m* to kick off the 2021 World Athletics Indoor Tour series in style.
The world silver medallist, who already owns more 22-metre throws than any other shot putter in history, unleashed his record-breaking effort in the first round. It was so far, it only just about landed on the matting that had been laid out for the discipline. After a few nervous minutes, the officials were able to measure the throw – 22.82m – and they duly added extra mats to the far side of the throwing sector.
Crouser followed it with 21.03m in round two and then once again sent his shot out beyond the old world indoor record with his third-round effort of 22.70m. His throws in the fourth and fifth rounds landed at a similar distance but both were fouls.
The 28-year-old rounded out his series with 22.48m – ‘just’ his third-best throw of the day, yet still a mark that only two other men in history have ever bettered indoors. The previous world indoor record of 22.66m was set by Randy Barnes in 1989.
“It’s a pretty good start to 2021,” said Crouser. “It’s been a long road to get back to normal competition. I felt really nervous on the first throw, but I had a ton of energy. I feel like there's more there.”
Holloway blasts to 7.35, Kerley flies to 45.03
World 110m hurdles champion Grant Holloway hasn’t raced since last August, although you wouldn’t be able to tell. The 23-year-old showed no rust when cruising to a 7.38 clocking in the heats of the 60m hurdles, and he followed it just 80 minutes later with a 7.35 victory in the final, equalling his own North American indoor record.
He was the first to get to the opening hurdle and put together a near-flawless race, extending his lead with each barrier. Michael Dickson was second in a PB of 7.54.
“I always want to go faster,” said Holloway after consolidating his place at No.3 on the world indoor all-time list. “But this is a good start to the season.”
World 400m bronze medallist Fred Kerley also jumped to the top of the world list for the relatively young season. Contesting his first indoor race for three years, the 25-year-old led at half way, reached in 21.06, and held off a determined effort from Jamaica’s Christopher Taylor. Kerley won in 45.03 to Taylor’s 45.73.
Trayvon Bromell’s return to top-level athletics was one of the most positive stories in the sport last year. Since winning the world indoor title in 2016 and reaching the Olympic final later that year, the 25-year-old had endured years of injury problems, but he finally recovered in 2020 and returned to sub-10-second territory for 100m.
His momentum has clearly continued into this year and he was a clear winner of the 60m in 6.48 – just 0.01 shy of the lifetime best he set when winning the world indoor title five years ago. Nigeria’s Divine Oduduru was second in 6.65.
Victories for Thomas and Marshall
In the rarely contested 300m, Gabby Thomas – who had clocked a 60m PB of 7.21 just 20 minutes earlier – sped to a decisive 35.92 victory to move up to sixth on the world indoor all-time list. She won the second of four races from Shakima Wimbley (36.78) while Jenna Prandini won the first race in 36.68. World 100m hurdles record-holder Kendra Harrison, meanwhile, took the third race in 36.83, showing a glimpse of the strength that carried her to a 400m hurdles PB of 54.09 back in 2015.
Tonea Marshall won a highly competitive 60m hurdles final in 7.86, equalling her PB, to win by just 0.02 from world indoor silver medallist Christina Clemons and British record-holder Tiffany Porter (7.89).
The 60m flat was even closer as just 0.03 separated the top four women. Nigeria’s 2013 world 200m bronze medallist Blessing Okagbare, lining up for her first indoor competition in any discipline for 11 years, won in a lifetime best of 7.17.
Jamaica’s Christania Williams was second in 7.18 from Kayla White and Morolake Akinosun, both timed at 7.20.
Elsewhere, Quanera Hayes won the 400m in 51.76, Vashti Cunningham took the high jump with 1.90m, and Megan Clark won the pole vault on countback from Katie Nageotte, both women clearing 4.50m.
Jon Mulkeen for World Athletics
*Subject to the usual ratification procedure