Ryan Whiting winning the shot at the Pedro's Cup (© Adam Nurkiewicz)
Within the last 15 minutes of the Pedro’s Cup meeting in Lodz, the Atlas Arena came alive as three world-leading marks were set on Tuesday (17).
It may have been Pancake Day, but the atmosphere was anything but flat as Orlando Ortega clocked 7.45 to win the 60m hurdles, closely followed by Ryan Whiting sending his shot out to 21.80m before Kim Collins rounded out the evening with a 60m victory in 6.47.
Whiting had won at this meeting three times before, but for the first half of tonight’s competition he was chasing Tomas Stanek. The 23-year-old Czech opened his series with a PB of 20.89m and then improved on that in the third round with 20.94m.
Two-time world indoor champion Whiting trailed Stanek by 10 centimetres but then came alive in the fourth round with 21.45m to improve on his own world lead. He went even farther with his final throw, sending his shot out to a winning 21.80m, smashing the meeting record.
Moment before Whiting landed his winning throw, the athletes in the men’s 60m hurdles were taking to their blocks. Olympic champion Aries Merritt had the best start, but Ortega – who had clocked 7.52 in the heats – caught up with him just after half way and then pulled clear, crossing the line in a PB of 7.45.
Merritt held on for second place in 7.54, his fastest time since winning the world indoor title in 2012. Ortega’s compatriot Dayron Robles, the 2008 Olympic champion, finished third in 7.64.
But the star of the show proved to be Kim Collins, who, at 38, improved on his PB and world-leading mark once again in the men’s 60m. He took it easy in the heats, posting 6.66 and allowing Daniel Bailey to catch him before the line. But in the final, he came out all guns blazing.
The former world 100m champion sped to a 6.47 clocking, equalling the Central American and Caribbean record set three years ago by Lerone Clarke. Behind him, US champion Mike Rodgers equalled his season’s best of 6.52, while world indoor champion Richard Kilty also recorded his best mark of 2015 with 6.54 for third place.
Licwinko and Lisek delight home crowd
Polish athletes dominated the vertical jumps. World indoor champion Kamila Licwinko notched up another high jump victory, clearing 1.98m to lead a Polish 1-2 from Justyna Kasprzycka, who cleared 1.92m.
Licwinko ended her series with three attempts at a would-be national record of 2.02m, some of which showed promise, but it was not to be.
In the men’s pole vault, Piotr Lisek recorded first-time clearances up to and including 5.75m, the height at which the last of his opponents – including world indoor champion Konstadinos Filippidis – exited the competition.
He had the bar raised to 5.88m, which would have bettered the national indoor record he set last week in Dessau, but all three attempts ended in failure.
The closest contest on the night was undoubtedly the women’s 60m as just two hundredths of a second separated the top five finishers.
Bulgaria’s 2012 European 100m champion Ivet Lalova had the best start, but was caught on the line by former European indoor champion Olesya Povh, who was awarded the win in 7.22. Lalova and Povh’s fellow Ukrainian Nataliya Pohrebnyak were also given the same time.
South Africa’s Carina Horn took fourth in 7.24, while rising Polish sprint star Ewa Swoboda recorded the same time in fifth place, breaking the national junior indoor record for the fifth time this year, having clocked 7.25 in the heats.
There was another Ukrainian win on the track, thanks to Hanna Plotitsyna in the 60m hurdles. After clocking a 7.99 PB in the heats, she came close to that mark in the final when winning comfortably in 8.01.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF