Lausanne, SwitzerlandA sensational 12.88 seconds World record was set by China’s Liu Xiang in the men’s 110m Hurdles on a miraculous night of athletics at 31st edition of the ‘Athletissima’ - IAAF Super Grand Prix meeting - in Lausanne (Tuesday 11 July), the first of two Swiss legs of the IAAF World Athletics Tour in 2006.
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But it didn’t end there as under pale blue skies on a near perfect summer night the Lausanne show was also highlighted by an outstanding 19.63 seconds run by Xavier ‘X-Man’ Carter, the second fastest time ever recorded in the men’s 200 metres, a race in which four men dipped under 20 seconds.
Other world season leading marks were set by Michelle Perry (12.43) in the women’s 100 metres Hurdles, a convincing 4.90m by Pole Vault star Yelena Isinbayeva, and a close victory by Kenya’s Janeth Jepkosgei (1:56.66) in the women’s 800 metres.
Another good display, though short of her own world lead, was shown by triple jumper Tatyana Lebedeva who leapt to 15.19m.
World record obliterated
Olympic champion Liu Xiang smashed the 110m World record with a sensational 12.88*, (+1.1m/s) running three hundredths of a second faster than the previous joint World record he had shared with the Briton Colin Jackson. The 22-year-old, who had run a World junior record in Lausanne when he won the ‘B’ race in 2002 (13.12 sec), came from behind to take the race victory last night.
The World record was a special early present for the Chinese star whose 23rd birthday is on Thursday 13 July.
USA’s Dominique Arnold also dipped under the previous World record with a new Area record of 12.90. In third, Terrence Trammell, the previous season’s fastest (13.06 – Paris 8th July) equalled his PB with 13.02, while 19-year-old Dayron Robles from Cuba, improved his PB again to 13.04 for fourth place. It was a fantastic race in depth with reigning World Junior champion Aries Merritt from the USA setting a PB with 13.12.
“It’s great. I cannot believe it,” said Liu Xiang. “It’s a dream which came true. I have already broken the World junior record in Lausanne (2002). Thank you Lausanne. It’s hard to explain. In Paris (8 July) I ran 13.19. It was not a good performance. But today I made history. I can run faster. The best part of my race was between the fifth hurdle to the finish-line. I proved again that I am the best in the world”, said Liu Xiang during a crowded press-conference.
Carter storms to 19.63
Four-time NCAA champion Xavier Carter, 20, who only turned professional in the last few weeks, stormed to a sensational 19.63 seconds triumph in the 200 metres (+0.4m/s), setting the second fastest time in history behind Michael Johnson’s historic 19.32 run in the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996.
Running his first 200 metres since becoming professional, the ‘X-Man’ as he is nicknamed overhauled even Frankie Fredericks’s second place 19.68 clocking on the all-time list. Carter's previous fastest time was the 20.02 seconds he ran in May last year.
Tyson Gay, last year's World Athletics Final winner in Monaco, also smashed his previous PB from 19.93 to an astonishing 19.70. Another PB came from Jamaican Usain Bolt with 19.88 beating Wallace Spearmon, fourth in 19.90, which was the previous world seasonal best which the latter had shared with Asafa Powell!
“It’s an honour for me to set the second fastest time in history behind Michael Johnson who is someone I admire a lot,” confirmed Carter. “I realised during the race that I was running very fast. It’s crazy. It’s the first time four sprinters finish under-20 seconds.”
“It was not a problem running in lane eight. I like running in the outside lane because I am big and I am a fighter. The atmosphere in Lausanne was great. I think that I can catch Michael Johnson and I have time to get closer to his 19.32. I am confident that it’s possible.”
Isinbayeva grows in confidence
Yelena Isinbayeva cleared a 4.90m world seasonal best in the women’s Pole Vault, improving from her 4.76m in Paris last Saturday (8 July) to indicate that she is getting used to the new technique methods she is learning from her new coach Vitaliy Petrov. However, only one height before she had been on the verge of defeat!
The Olympic and World champion opened with a first clearance at 4.60m but after failing two of attempts, one at 4.70m and one at 4.75m, she was left with a third and final attempt at 4.79m which she vaulted successfully clinching the win over Poland’s Monika Pyrek who had provisonally taken the lead jumping 4.75 at the first time of asking.
Isinbayeva sealed today’s competition with a third time 4.90m clearance before three unsuccessful attempts at a new World record of 5.02m, the first of which was the closest.
Former World record holder Svetlana Feofanova in third place cleared a seasonal best at 4.70m.
Perry equals PB
A world seasonal best in the women’s 100m Hurdles was set by reigning World champion Michelle Perry who equalled her PB with 12.43 (+0.6m/s). Her compatriot Damu Cherry smashed her previous PB with 12.44. Brigitte Foster-Hylton also dipped under the 12.50 barrier with 12.49, while Germany’s Kirsten Bolm and US Lolo Jones performed well too, clocking respectively 12.65 and 12.68.
France’s Eunice Barber, 2005 World silver medallist in the Heptathlon and bronze medallist in the Long Jump, showed very good form by winning the 100m Hurdles 'B' race with a very good 12.80, edging out 2006 World Indoor silver medallist Glory Alozie from Spain by two hundredths of a second.
An 800m dazzler
The women’s 800 metres threw up another world seasonal best, this time by Kenyan Janeth Jepkosgei who clocked 1:56.66 to hold off Mozambique’s legendary Maria Mutola who also dipped under 1:57 with 1:56.77, her fastest of the year too. Also in this year's 1:56 club was reigning World outdoor champion Zulya Calatayud who clocked 1:56.91, her fastest performance since her 1:56.09 personal best from 2002.
15m once more for Lebedeva
Tatyana Lebedeva tripled over the 15 metres barrier again with 15.19m, just four centimetres off her seasonal best set at last week’s Athens IAAF World Athletics Tour meeting (3 July).
The Russian triple and long jump star had a difficult start to her competition opening with 14.22 and a foul. Cuban World silver medallist Yargelis Savigne took the lead with her first attempt of 14.49m which she increased to 14.85m, which nearly missed her new national record set in Athens last week by just six centimetres. However, Lebedeva recovered on her third attempt leaping to 14.60m before overhauling Savigne in the fifth round with 15.19m.
Olsson from injury to firm bet
Olympic men’s Triple Jump champion Christian Olsson of Sweden already looks to be a firm bet to retain his European title when the continental gold medal is contested in his home town of Gothenburg in one-month’s time. His 17.62m seasonal best last night, in what was only his fifth meeting since returning from injury, is the third best performance in the world this summer. Brazilian Jadel Gregorio also leapt to a seasonal best (17.54) for second spot over USA’s World outdoor and indoor champion Walter Davis (17.40).
Jones is sub-11 again
USA’s Marion Jones showed that she has returned to form by nearly repeating her Paris Golden League’s performance with a 10.94 second run over the women's 100m holding off Melisa Barber, who ran a 11.03 PB finishing runner-up ahead of her compatriot Torri Edwards (11.07). World champion Lawryn Williams set a seasonal best ending up in fourth place in 11.13.
In the men’s 400m Hurdles reigning World champion Bershawn Jackson dipped under the 48 seconds barrier with an impressive 47.77 which earned him a comfortable win in the men’s 400m Hurdles over Greek record holder Periklis Iakovakis (48.08), and last Saturday’s Paris winner Alwyn Myburgh from South Africa, third with 48.26. US champion and reigning World Junior champion Kerron Clement, who holds the fastest time in the world this year with 47.39, finished a distant sixth with 49.07.
Olympic champion downed by Howard
US high jumper Chaunté Howard missed her PB by two centimetres but managed to beat Olympic champion Yelena Slesarenko on countback at 1.99m in the women’s High Jump. Howard cleared 1.99m on her second attempt to Slesarenko’s clearance at the same height on her last try.
Quality Middle distances
Russian Yelena Soboleva again ran into sub-four minutes territory with a new meeting record of 3:58.60 in the women’s 1500m. France’s Latifa Essarokh, third in Paris’ Stade de France last Saturday, backed up this feat with a solid 4:00.50. Local favourite Maryam Yusuf Jamal of Bahrain, winner in Lausanne last year, finished third in 4:02.45.
World Indoor champion Wilfred Bungei clinched his second 800 metres win in a row following on from Paris with 1:44.41 defeating his training partner William Yampoy (1:44.56 seasonal best), US champion Khadevis Robinson (1:44.86). A typically late run attack from Russian Olympic champion Yuriy Borzakovskiy (1:44.92) basically ran out of track before he could catch the leaders.
Surprisingly the overall quickest 800m time was set by Kenyan Alfred Kirwa Yego who ran an impressive 1:43.92 to win a high quality 800 metres ‘B’ race defeating World Championships finalist Gary Reed from Canada (1:44.16), and another Kenyan Ismael Kombich (1:44.24). All three set their personal bests.
Another Kenyan Shadrack Korir narrowly beat world seasonal leader Daniel Komen Kipchirchir and US Bernard Lagat after a close battle in the finishing straight of the men’s 1500m. Lagat, Kipchirchi and Korir engaged in a head-to-head battle in the final 100 metres which went to Korir in a new personal best 3:31.96, to Kipchirchir’s 3:32.12, and Lagat’s 3:32.19.
Kenyan revelation Edwin Soi, who ran 12:52.40 for 5000m in Paris, in a 7:31.84 assault on the finish defeated World Youth champion Abreham Cherkos Feleke, whose time was a World Youth best of 7:32.37, and 2003 World 5000m champion Eliud Kipchoge (7:33.35) in the 3000 metres.
Reigning 3000m Olympic Steeplechase champion Ezekiel Kemboi of Kenya won his second consecutive European race of the season following his victory in Paris, crossing the finish-line in 8:12.79 ahead of Richard Matelong, also from Kenya, second in 8:12.90.
Scott convincing over 100m
Former American footballer Leonard Scott sprinted to a convincing 100 metres win in 10.05. African record holder Olusoji Fasuba from Nigeria and World silver medallist Michael Frater from Jamaica were credited with the same time of 10.09 but second place went to the former. Last year’s Lausanne winner Ronald Pognon finished fifth with 10.13.
US sprinter Kellie Willie took the 100 metres 'B' race in 10.13 defeating Trinidad and Tobago sprinters Darrel Brown (10.16) and Marc Burns (10.23).
Spotakova 65.89m PB
The winner of a high-class women's Javelin Throw was Czech Barbora Spotakova, 25, who speared 65.89m, a personal best, the second longest throw of 2006. Steffi Nerius from Germany finished second with 64.67m ahead of Christina Scherwin with 63.49m. World and Olympic champion Menéndez Osleidys was back in 6th (61.69m).
Jamaica’s Jermaine Gonzales and France’s Leslie Djhone ran 44.91 for the 400m but the Jamaican prevailed in the photo-finish.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF