Natalya Sadova celebrates winning gold in the women's Discus Throw (© Getty Images)
Dessau, GermanyThrowing events held a slight edge over the track competition at Friday evening’s Anhalt Meeting in Dessau, a city 100 kilometres south of Berlin known primarily as the birthplace of the Bauhaus style of architecture.
Olympic champion – ‘stable and consistent’ throwing
The women’s Discus Throw was a high-level duel between Athens champion Natalya Sadova and the seemingly ageless Franka Dietzsch, who won her world title six years ago in Seville.
Dietzsch’s world leading throw of 66.29, achieved last weekend in the throwers’ meeting in Halle, gave the Russian something to aim at. And she hit the bullseye on her final attempt, exactly equalling Dietzsch’s mark with her own 66.29 as the best of the night. The German opened slowly and couldn’t find the range until late in the competition, as her evening’s best of 64.17 also resulted from her final trip into the ring.
Sadova enthused at the end, “I’m really pleased with this result. The best thing is that I have a stable, consistent form at the moment. My win in Athens last year has really given me a good push in training this season.”
For the 37-year-old Dietzsch, there was a tone a disappointment. “I wanted to throw a metre farther than I did last weekend, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. Perhaps I was overmotivated.”
Elizna Nauda of South Africa also surpassed the sixty-metre level with 60.41 for third.
World champion Makarov over 86m
Two years ago, Sergey Makarov of Russia won the men’s Javelin Throw competition here with 90.11m. It was the only 90-metre throw of the 2003 season, and there hasn’t been another throw beyond that barrier since.
Tonight’s still winds didn’t help the spears to sail away to those headline distances, but Makarov nonetheless easily won with a second round 86.43. Christian Nicolay of Germany, with 80.20, was the only other competitor in the field of ten to slip into the eighties, as Björn Lange was third at 79.40.
The lack of wind also didn’t aid the Men’s Pole Vault, but the conditions didn’t hinder it, either. Michael Stolle won the the mostly German affair with 5.60, the same height as second-place Björn Otto, as Tim Lobinger was third at 5.50.
Much of the pre-meet publicity centered around the participation of Jamaican long jumper James Beckford and his attempt to break the meeting record of 8.06. As Beckford stalled out just short of eight metres, with a best of 7.99, Gable Garenamotse of Botswana grabbed the opportunity on his final jump and equalled the competition standard to steal the spotlight from the Germany-based Beckford.
“I wasn’t surprised by this result tonight,” said the Botswanan. “I’ve been training well recently. Now that I’ve equalled this meeting record with a good jump in this stadium, I feel almost like a Dessauer!”
South Africa’s Martin McClintock was third with 7.93.
The Men’s Steeplechase included a pair of Kenyans, and as they are wont to do, they finished one-two. As David Chemweno led Sydney champion Reuben Kosgei through the first three laps, it was presumed that the former World Junior champion was running in the service of his elder teammate as a tempo-setter.
As it turned out, the pair only alternated in taking the lead, and both finished in a mad dash to the tape, won by Kosgei in 8:22.06 to Chemweno’s 8:23.04.
Herms - impressive in 800m
Running for the first time this season in his specialty, Germany’s Rene Herms was impressive in winning the men’s 800 Metres in 1:45.70. The runner from Pirna stayed close to the rapid pace set by Peter Wolters of Belgium, as the pair passed the 400 in less than 53 seconds.
As Wolters departed after 500 metres, Herms was alone in the lead, and he stayed there throughout the rest of the race. Nürnberg-area resident Jason Stewart of New Zealand sprinted hard for second with 1:46.45, just holding off Wolters’ countryman, Tom Omey, at 1:46.89.
Perhaps Herms wasn’t looking for a season-opener quite so fast. “I thought the pacemaker was just a little too fast,” he admitted afterwards, “and I was worried about breaking down over the last 300.” But Herms contradicted his position moments later by regretting that he had missed the World Championships A-norm of 1:45.40. He’ll make another run at it next week in Milan.
Natalya Kutkina of Russia won the women’s 800 metres in 2:02.66, as Germany’s Monika Gradzki (2:02.90) clipped Brigita Langerholc of Slovenia (2:03.04) on the run-in to take second.
The 1500 races were both won by German athletes in personal-best times. Stephan Eberhardt dominated the men’s contest in much the same way as had Herms. The Erfurt runner, coached by Dieter Hermann who also brought Nils Schumann to European and Olympic wins, sprinted away to a big lead after pacemaker Sebastian Hock had finished his duties.
Running the final lap in 58 seconds, the 20-year-old took home a 3:40.86 personal-best with his victory, as Great Britain’s Ed Jackson (3:42.35) neutralized the final sprint of German Franek Haschke (3:42.45) for second.
In the women’s race, Antje Möldner accelerated ahead of a pair of runners with 150 left to clock a lifetime best of 4:08.81 in her win. The 21-year-old was followed into the finish by Eleonora Berlanda of Italy (4:10.94) and Hungary’s Livia Tóth (4:12.93).
Disaster befalls McConnell
Much of the interest in the women’s 400 Hurdles lay in Lee McConnell’s first outing in the event. The British 400 runner, winner of the bronze medal in the last European Championships, looked understandably tentative as she approached the first few hurdles, and her lane-two assignment probably didn’t help her confidence. But as the back stretch opened up in front of her, she seemed to find her rhythm as she led the group coming in the final curve.
Hurdle eight was McConnell’s downfall – literally - as she clipped it and fell to the track. This allowed Monika Niederstätter of Italy a clear path to a win in 56.11, as Ulrike Urbansky of Germany took second in 56.51.
The B-section was won by Nora Kalid of Malaysia in 56.83.
Sprints formed much of the early programme in the Paul-Greifzu-Stadion, as the early-arriving audience braved warm temperatures which had reached 32C (91F) during the afternoon.
Thomas Blaschek of Germany won both of the two races of the Men’s 110m Hurdles, first with 13.69 and later with 13.62. On both occasions, he was followed into the finish by Switzerland’s Ivan Bitzi (13.98 and 13.88).
Chris Lambert of Great Britain was the winner in the Men’s 200 metres with 20.81 against a -1.0 wind, as Guus Hoodmoed of the Netherlands (20.97) and European Junior champion Sebastian Ernst of Germany (20.98) took the next two places.
The women’s half-lap race was an exciting duel between a pair of decorated Germans, won by Birgit Rockmeier in 23.46 over former European 400 champion Grit Breuer (23.53).
The men’s 100 metres was easily won by Olusoji Fasuba, like Beckford a non-European athlete currently based in Germany. The Nigerian clocked 10.26 in a still wind as Germans Marius Broening (10.40) and Marc Blume (10.48) held the next two spots.
The women’s dash went to Poland’s Daria Onysko in 11.64, as Vida Anim of Ghana won the B-section with 11.72.
A women’s 3000 metres Race Walk was included in the programme and was won by Ulrike Sischka in 13:29.25, ahead of the 13:38.74 of Maja Landmann.
Ed Gordon for the IAAF
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