The CHill Zone of T&F: Conway's View From the Finish Line

Reese 7.25m/23’9” in Highlight Filled Doha…

May 11th, 2013
5:29 pm PST

ReeseWith the Diamond League starting in Doha yesterday it was expected, at least from me, that the yearly lists would get some revision. After all, this would be the first real gathering of the elites outdoors in 2013 – and indeed the yearly lists took a beating. What wasn’t quite expected however, was the extremely high level of performances that were turned in, as several events had results that looked like they were made in August, not early May.

Perhaps the best of these was Brittney Reese’s 7.25m/23’9” leap in the long jump. Reese’s mark was a WL, PR, and moved her ever to within .07m of 24 feet – a mark reached by only seven women in history. Personally I think Reese has the talent to jump 25 feet if she ever became technically proficient. In Doha she had two fouls before leaping 7.10m, the big jump and then two more fouls after. I would think that when she gets truly consistent and solid with her technique that we will see something rather Beamonesque from this talented jumper.

But Reese wasn’t the only athlete hitting something special, as shot putter Ryan Whiting threw a HUGE 22.28m/73’1.25”. That’s up there with names like Randy Barnes, Brian Oldfield, and Ulf Timmerman – some of the giants of the sport (pun intended). It also moves Whiting from promising up and comer to serious contender in the event – and quite possibly the next dominant force in the shot put!

Yet as awesome as these performances were, perhaps the best on the day, they were among ten world leaders and some outstanding competition. For example, there was the women’s 1500. The field that lined up for this one contained several women that have run under 4:00 in the event. Who knew that we would see three perform at that level this early in the season? And not just sub-4 but well under, as Abebe Aregawi and Genzebe Dibaba locked up over the final lap with Aregawi breaking her down on her way to a stunning 3:56.60 ahead of Faith Kipyegon (3:56.99) and Dibaba (3:57.54).

Then there was David Rudisha who makes running the half mile look like a Sunday stroll. He politely followed the pace maker who screamed out in 49.0, then routinely took command of the race and simply stayed in front of everyone else. Young Mohammed Aman – who has twice found a way to beat Rudisha – tried to pressure the WR holder, but was held off as Rudisha crossed the line in 1:43.87 – looking like he had just finished a light training run.

Similarly Asbel Kiprop seemed to be in control of the men’s 1500 over his final lap – which he took in 54.6! Tall and lithe like Rudisha, Kiprop never seems to stress or strain, but rather increases speed almost without appearing to do so. He made his 3:31.13 look like a routine run and leaving me wondering just how fast he can go. It’s been a while since we’ve had the mystique of a miler chasing after a record.

Perhaps my favorite race of the day, however, was the women’s 400. With Allyson Felix, Christine Ohuruogo and Amantle Montsho on the track things promised to be interesting – and the race didn’t disappoint. Felix took things out fairly hard around the track with Montsho holding close. Then a funny thing happened on the way to the finish line, Montsho out finished Felix down the stretch! She crossed the line in 49.88 to take the world lead as Felix finished a strong second in 50.19 with Ohuruogu (50.53) and Francena McCorory (50.58) also finishing well. Many complained about Felix’ showing, but given that she is a sprinter first these days – she ran the 100 last week – I think that this bodes well for her deuce this season. And everyone needs to keep an eye on Ohuruogu if she’s running this well this early.

All in all this was an outstanding meet and a great way to get the season rolling. Next stop on the DL is Shanghai. Before that however, there is lots of collegiate conference action going on this weekend. Check out the global leaders set in Doha.

Yearly Leaders in Doha

49.99 (400) Amantle Montsho – Botswana
1:43.87 (800) David Rudisha – Kenya
3:31.13 (1500) Asbel Kiprop – Kenya
3:56.60 (1500) Abeba Aregaqi – Sweden
9:13.75 (Steeple) Lidya Chepkurui – Kenya
12.60 (100H) Dawn Harper – United States
7.25m/23’9” (LJ) Brittney Reese – United States
22.28m/73’1.25” (SP) Ryan Whiting – United States
68.20m/223’9” (DT) Benn Harradine – Australia
68.23m/223’10” (DT) Sandra Percovic – Croatia

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