Will Claye en route to his 17.63m leap in Albuquerque (© Kirby Lee)
Albuquerque, USAWill Claye bounded 17.63m in the Triple Jump for the furthest mark by an American in 23 years on the opening day of the USA Indoor Championships at the Albuquerque Convention Center on Saturday (25).
The effects of the nearly mile high altitude of the New Mexico town pushed Claye onto the cusp of the all-time top-10 indoors, and into third on the all-time U.S. performer list behind Michael Conley’s 17.76m national record at the 1987 national championships and the 17.73 World indoor title winning leap by Walter Davis in 2006. Claye’s 17.63m effort was the furthest since Conley’s mark of 17.65m in Budapest in 1989.
Claye will compete in the Long Jump on Sunday (26) in an attempt to join Conley as the first athlete to win the Long Jump and the Triple Jump in the same year at the USA Indoor Championships since 1986. The two-day meeting is a qualifying meet for theIAAF World Indoor Championships in Istanbul (9-12 March).
Claye overtakes Banks on the All-Time U.S list
Claye exceeded his 2012 World Leading and PB 17.39m from the USATF Classic in Fayetteville on 11 Feb on three consecutive jumps of 17.40m in the second round, 17.44m in the third and 17.63m in the fourth round.
Claye jumped 17.25m to open the competition and passed on his fifth and sixth jumps. Not bad for an abbreviated approach of 16 steps from his customary 18 steps outdoors. Claye said that he tried to stay relaxed as he improved through each round than trying to strain for distance. In the third round, Claye supplanted Willie Banks, who was in attendance at the meet, for the No. 6 spot on the U.S. list.
“I knew it was further than what I jumped before but I didn’t know it put me past Willie Banks,” Claye said.
Banks presented Claye with his medal on the awards podium and the two talked and posed for photographs.
“Willie Banks is an awesome guy and it’s an honour,” Claye said. “I am blessed to come out and do some of the things that Willie did in the past. I just want to follow his footsteps and hopefully get a big mark out there in an Olympic year.”
Claye repeats victory over World champion Taylor
Claye repeated his victory at the USATF Classic over reigning World Outdoor Champion Christian Taylor. Taylor, who finished second at 17.21m after fouling on four of his six jumps, and Claye were college teammates at the University of Florida. Claye now trains with Jeremy Fischer at the United States Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista in southern California. Taylor is coached by Rana Reider in Atlanta.
“Christian is always on my mind but I don’t go out there to just jump against Christian,” said Claye, who finished third to Taylor in the 2011 Daegu World Championships. “I go out there to jump the best that I can and if I jump far and beat Christian and I jump far and lose to Christian it's fine with me. I just want to do my best.”
Amanda Smock won the women’s Triple Jump over Erica McLain, 13.77m to 13.74m.
Clutch performance for Williams in High Jump
Defending World champion outdoors Jesse Williams won the High Jump at 2.29m for the third consecutive year in Albuquerque after posting third attempt clearances at 2.26m and 2.29m to defeat Jamie Nieto. Nieto finished second at 2.26m.
Jenn Suhr needed only two jumps to win the Women’s Pole Vault at 4.67m before taking three attempts at 4.90m to try to eclipse her American record of 4.88m set two weeks ago.
Lagat wins 3000m over Rupp
The thin air of Albuquerque resulted in tactical races in the men’s and women’s 3000m. Bernard Lagat won the men’s 3000m in 7:47.51 over Lopez Lomong (7:51.75) and Galen Rupp (7:57.36). Lagat overtook the lead from Rupp with four laps to go with Lomong in tow and pulled away by running 56 seconds over the final 400 metros and 25 seconds on the final lap.
In the women’s 3000m, Jenny Simpson won in 9:19.15 over Jackie Areson (9:20.61) and Sara Hall (9:21.87).
60m Hurdles world lead for Faulk in qualifying
Dexter Faulk clocked a World leading 7.40m in the 60m Hurdles qualifying with David Oliver who advanced with a 7.60 heat win. Multi athlete Ashton Eaton ran 7.66 to advance but will scratch from the semifinals and compete in the Long Jump.
Justin Gatlin ran a U.S. leading 6.51m in the 60m qualifying. In the women’s 60m qualifying, World leader Tianna Madison was the fastest at 7.10. Sanya Richards-Ross paced the women’s 400m qualifying at 51.33 and Frankie Wright had the fastest time in the men’s 400m at 46.26. Duane Solomon (1:48.81) and Erica Moore (2:03.24) ran the top times in the men’s and women’s 800m.
Meet records for Campbell in Weight Throw and Barron in the Race Walk
Amber Campbell set a meet record of 24.78m in the first round in the women’s Weight Throw to eclipse her own standard of 24.70m set in 2010 and win her sixth national title. A.G. Kruger threw 24.70m in the men’s Weight Throw for his seventh championship. Trevor Barron timed a meet record of 11:36.27 to win the 3.000m Race Walk.
Kirby Lee for the IAAF