Dafne Schippers at the ISTAF Indoor 2016 meeting in Berlin (© Jean-Pierre Durand)
Dafne Schippers, Dimitri Bascou and Alexandra Wester all produced world-leading marks at the ISTAF Indoor 2016 meeting in Berlin on Saturday evening (13).
Schippers regained sole control of the top of the 2016 60m list, after the world junior indoor record of 7.07 by Poland’s Ewa Swoboda on Friday equalled what Schippers had run at the opening IAAF World Indoor Tour meeting in Karlsruhe a week ago. The Dutch sprinter blazed down the track in the Mercedes-Benz Arena in 7.00, the fastest time in the world for three years.
She also equalled the Dutch record of Nelli Cooman set 30 years ago in 1986 and moved up to equal ninth on the world all-time list for the event.
Schippers had already given notice in her heat that she was in great form, running a world-leading time and personal best of 7.04.
Berlin is a famously fast track, as events throughout Saturday night would prove time and time again. Schippers has been distinctly reluctant to talk about times in the past few weeks but almost inevitably she will now face questions about her capability of getting closer to the long-standing world record of 6.92, ran by Irina Privalova in Madrid in both 1993 and 1995.
“I am very happy with my time of 7.00 because normally I run the 100m and the 200m; they are better for me because I am so tall," said Schippers. "7.00 is a really good time, going under seven seconds would have been amazing but I am saving this for Portland, the World Indoors. I love this competition here: the music, the lights and the support of the 12,000 spectators."
Ivory Coast’s Marie Josee Ta Lou followed her home in a personal best of 7.06 after taking 0.01 off her previous best when running 7.11 in her heat.
Dimitri Bascou also had a day to remember with a French indoor 60m hurdles record of 7.41, the fastest time in the world since 2012.
Following a 7.52 heat, Bascou had no problems in the final defeating Orlando Ortega and handing the Spaniard his first loss of the year, although the latter still ran well to record 7.51 for second place.
“This was a big surprise," said Bascou after becoming the second-fastest European in history. "Our previous French record was very old (7.42 by Ladji Doucoure in 2005) and today I crushed it. It is brilliant that I could achieve that goal today. I wanted to go to the World Indoor Championships anyway, but now I'm going there to run for a medal."
Wester wows Berlin audience
One of the big breakthrough performers of this winter season has been Germany’s 21-year-old long jumper Alexandra Wester.
She improved her lifetime best from 6.59m to 6.72m in her last competition in Dusseldorf 10 days ago and she decimated that mark twice in the German capital, firstly leaping 6.82m in the second round and then reaching a world-leading 6.95m one round later.
Great Britain’s Shara Proctor fought hard and had a jump of 6.91m in the second round and two other jumps beyond 6.80m but still had to settle for second place from the inspired young German.
“It is hard to realise," said Wester. "I wanted to jump 6.75m, the World Indoor Championships standard. I really can't believe this right now. I am still shivering inside. My first jump didn't go well but I knew that I can do better. In the second attempt, I felt better. Now I need to stay focused and repeat my good results.
"I had a pretty hard time, I was injured a lot but I decided to come back to Germany (after being at university in the USA). And I am really happy here."
Brazilian pole vaulter Thiago Braz da Silva was another jumper to have an inspired competition, raising his indoor personal best three times.
He went over 5.77m and 5.85m first time and clinched his win, and an absolute area record, when he negotiated 5.93m at the second time of asking.
World record-holder Renaud Lavillenie was still in the competition, having also cleared 5.85m with his first attempt, but failed three times at 5.93m and had to settle for second place.
Germany’s world silver medallist Cindy Roleder took the 60m hurdles title in 7.96 while St Kitts’ evergreen sprinter Kim Collins was a clear winner of the 60m in 6.53 despite a rather sluggish start, although Great Britain’s James Dasaolu – the fastest man in the heats with 6.58 when he beat Collins – was disqualified for a false start in the final.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF