The final session of the 2018 World Indoor Championships in Birmingham began with the men’s Pole vault, and ironically, ended with the same event which went on for three-and-a-half hours.
So intense was the competition which saw World Record (WR) holder Renaud Lavillenie return to global reckoning after a turbulent 2017 which saw him settle for Bronze at the 2017 World Championships in London.
But the French vaulter has certainly gotten his groove back and was brimming with confidence in Birmingham, considering that he was coming to the competition as the World Leader in the event with his mark of 5.93m. It was therefore no surprise that he was the only man on the field to successfully clear 5.90m, which was the winning mark at the World Indoors.
He then requested for the bar to be moved to 6m and made three attempts at the height, which he came close to clearing. However, he will have to wait for another day.
London 2017 GOLD medallist Sam Kendricks settled for Silver with a mark of 5.85m, having failed his two attempts at 5.90m, and one attempt at 5.95m. Piotr Lisek claimed Bronze with the same mark, while Australian youngster Kurtis Marschall placed 4th in a Personal Best (PB) of 5.80m.
The women’s Long Jump was another keenly contested battle between World Leader Ivana Spanovic, and reigning World outdoor Champion Brittney Reese. But this time around, the Serbian jumper finally got one over her long-time rival, securing a long-elusive global title, having won Bronze in Sopot four years ago, and Silver in Portland 2016.
The 27-year old recorded only three valid jumps, opening with 6.89m and then leaping to a distance of 6.74m in the second round. She was fouled on her third attempt, after which she sailed to a WL of 6.96m, improving on her previous WL by 3cm.
Being the fierce competitor that she is, Reese tried to respond, but her best effort landed at 6.89m, an SB which she got in the fourth round. The American was less than pleased at finishing 2nd, but Germany’s Sosthene Moguenara-Taroum was thrilled with her Bronze medal which she secured with an SB 6.85m.
Spanovic was almost inconsolable after missing out on a medal in London last year, but striking GOLD in Birmingham will definitely be one of the highlights of her career.
Meanwhile hosts Great Britain claimed their second GOLD medal at the World Indoors, courtesy of hurdler Andrew Pozzi who upstaged the US pair of Aries Merritt and World No.2, Jarret Eaton, to win the men’s 60m Hurdles.
It was a close race between the British athlete and Eaton, and it took some moments after the race for the European Indoor Champion to be confirmed winner of the event with an SB of 7.46s, with the American coming a close 2nd in 7.47s.
Frenchman Aurel Manga deprived WR holder Aries Merrit a podium placing, taking Bronze in 7.54s as the former finished 4th with a time of 7.56s.