This past weekend’s World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Turkey were an affair that in an off Olympic year may grab more notoriety but with this summer’s games approaching they were swamped by its shadow. Despite this, it gave the world and national athletics boards the chance to see who is looking good and who may be in need of a shift in tactics.
The big winners as a team was the United States who came away with 18 medals total and proved that – despite a lack of the some high profile competitors from other nations – the team may be rounding into sound form.
The 3k victory by Bernard Lagat over former countrymen Augustine Choge and Edwin Soi showed that the longer distances are becoming this veritable athlete’s new home from the 1500 meter which he succeeded in for a decade.
America’s jump teams that included Will Claye, Janay DeLoach, Brittney Reese and Christian Taylor gave the nation hope that our young field competitors can reclaim dominance as the older generation led by Dwight Phillips begins to age.
The biggest surprises came as 2004 Olympic golf medalist Justin Gatlin proved he may have gas left in him as he won the 60 meters and could translate this into spot on the 100 meter team and half miler Erica Moore grabbing a rare distance medal by breaking two minutes and making her a contender in a stacked women’s middle distance field.
However, this strong showing should not give way to complacency with the rest of the world still brushing up some of its best and America becoming absentminded such as losses in the 4X400 relays.
As to the other surprises and takeaways from the meet is that Veronica Campbell Brown at any distance under 400 meters is a force not to be trifled with in her win in the 60 meters over rising star Murielle Ahouré of the Ivory Coast.
Britain’s Olympic hope in the heptathlon Jessica Ennis has a legitimate rival in the Ukraine’s Nataliya Dobrynska who took the indoor pentathlon.
Former world record holder Liu Xiang though taking second place in the 60 meter hurdles looks to be clear of injuries which sidelined him in 2008 and would be part of 110 hurdle race in London that shouldn’t be missed.