Piotr Lisek in Berlin (© organisers)
Sprinter Tatjana Pinto and pole vaulter Piotr Lisek produced the highlights at the ISTAF Indoor in Berlin on Friday (26).
Competing before a crowd of 12,100 in the capital’s Mercedes Benz Arena, the German sprinter took the 60m in 7.13 after producing a world lead of 7.08 earlier in the heats.
The 25-year-old's performance in the heats was only 0.01 off of her personal best and 0.08 shy of Dafne Schippers' 7.00 meeting record set in 2016.
In the final Pinto narrowly edged Mujinga Kambundji of Switzerland who crossed the line in 7.14. In a close race, Michelle-Lee Ahye of Trinidad and Tobago was third in 7.16 while Lisa Mayer took fourth with 7.17 with fellow-German Gina Lückenkemper following in 7.19. Marie-Josee Ta Lou of Ivory Coast had to settle for sixth with 7.22.
"I really looked forward to this meeting because of the tremendous atmosphere," Pinto said. "I was able to stay relaxed and concentrated on myself. My big goal is the World Indoor Championships. It was a great start into my season.”
Lisek tops 5.83m
Lisek, the winner at this meeting last year and the London 2017 silver medallist, didn't start well, needing a second attempt at his opening height of 5.45m before sailing clear. However, the 25-year-old Pole then went from strength to strength, clearing 5.60m, 5.70m and 5.78m all with his first jumps. There was already some pressure on world record holder Renaud Lavillenie of France who passed 5.78m after Lisek cleared. Lisek then topped 5.83m with his second attempt. Lavillenie missed twice, handing Lisek the victory.
Olympic Champion Thiago Braz da Silva topped 5.45m, 5.60m and 5.70m on his first attempts and finished second, topping Lavillenie on countback.
"I have now won this event for the second time. I like to come here, the crowd is awesome and the people support me,“ said Lisek, the reigning European indoor champion who confirmed he'll compete next at the jumps meeting in Cottbus, Germany, on 31 January before turning his focus on preparations for the IAAF World Championships Birmingham 2018.
China’s Su Bingtian showed that he will be ready for the World Indoor Championships as well. He took the 60m in 6.55, comfortably ahead of Italy's Filippo Tortu who clocked a lifetime best 6.62.
Kim Collins of Saint Kitts and Nevis continues to go strong at age 41, clocking 6.64 for third.
"Last year, the London World Championships were my last championships outdoors," said Collins, who won the world 100m title in 2003. "So this year Birmingham should be my last championships indoors. I do not know about the outdoor season yet. My son will be 20 years old next year. I have had an extremely long career. But I still love it."
Pozzi and Talay take hurdles wins
Britain’s Andrew Pozzi also showed good form in his build-up to Birmingham. The reigning European indoor champion won the 60m hurdles in 7.58, edging Hungary's Balazs Baji who clocked 7.61. Aurel Manga of France was third in 7.65.
Hopes for a German victory in the women's 60m hurdles didn't materialise as Alina Talay surged to a 7.89 victory over Pamela Dutkiewicz and Cindy Roleder, who each clocked 7.93. took second and third with both given the same time of 7.93.
"I was really nervous," Talay said of her season's debut. "But now I am really satisfied coming first with such a time in a strong field."
Roleder was also pleased with her comeback to international competition after a long injury lay-off.
"I am really satisfied with my race. To run below eight seconds after my comeback - that is really amazing for me. I never dreamt of running that fast that early in the season. I would not mind my season to continue like that." She last raced on 12 May.
Sharika Nelvis of the US followed in fourth with 7.94.
Weisshaidinger takes discus honours
In the discus throw, the evening's final event, everything pointed towards a German victory by Daniel Jasinski, who took an early lead after a 61.86m effort in the second round. But that all changed with the final few throws. First, Berlin’s local hero Robert Harting took command with 62.32m. However an upset for the London Olympic Champion followed when Austria Lukas Weisshaidinger reached 63.91m. Jasinski couldn't respond and was forced to settle for third. Belgium’s Philip Milanov took fourth with 60.82.
"I never expected to win this one," said Weisshaidinger, Austria's national record holder with 67.24m. "It is unbelievable to beat Robert Harting.”
German Nadja Käther won the long jump at 6.56m ahead of Cuban Yariadmis Arguelles who reached 6.47. Olympic Champion Tianna Bartoletta had to settle for fourth with 6.38m after clocking 7.33 in her 60m heat, and failing to qualify for the final in that event.
Jörg Wenig (organisers) for the IAAF