Sydney McLaughlin in the New Balance Women’s 500m. Photo Copyright
IAAF World Indoor Tour kicks off in Boston, as numerous professional debutants shine at New Balance Indoor Grand Prix
In an IAAF World Indoor Tour opening meet that saw a host of national records fall, Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha produced one of the highlights of this year’s New Balance Indoor Grand Prix when he stormed to a world-leading 3:51.70 mile victory. His time – an Ethiopian indoor record – moves him to 12th on the world indoor all-time list and secures him full points in the IAAF World Indoor Tour rankings.
Meanwhile, in the women’s mile, several national records fell, led by Canadian Gabriela Stafford produced a powerful finish to take the victory in a national indoor record of 4:24.80. Closely behind her was Elinor Purrier of the USA, who set a personal best in 4:24.88, while both Sweden’s Yolanda Ngarambe and Ireland’s Ciara Mageean clocked national indoor records of 4:28.30 and 4:28.31, respectively.
There was a dominant victory by Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen in the New Balance Women’s 5000m as she clocked 15:15.80 ahead of American Jenny Simpson with 15:33.38. Meeting record-holder Hagos Gebrhiwet produced an equally impressive victory in the men’s 3000m, with an almost gun-to-tape win in 7:37.41.
Another dominant display came from track and field’s rising superstar Sydney McLaughlin in the New Balance Women’s 500m. McLaughlin, who made her professional debut for New Balance today, took the win in 1:09.46. Fellow New Balance sprint pro debutants Kendall Ellis and Gabby Thomas went 1-2 in the women’s 300m with 36.97 and 37.03 respectively.
The men’s 800m was built up as one of the main events to watch with last year’s winner Donavan Brazier going head-to-head with training partner and Olympic bronze medalist Clayton Murphy, and it did not disappoint. With one lap to go, it looked like Murphy might be coming out on top this year. Brazier, however, made his move on the final backstraight to shift himself up to the shoulder of his compatriot. The pair pushed each other all the way to the finish line with Brazier once more reigning supreme in Boston in 1:45.91 – just 0.03 ahead of Murphy.
While the middle-distances often take center stage in Boston, the field events produced equally superb entertainment for the 4383 fans crammed into the Reggie Lewis Center.
In the women’s pole vault, 2018 US indoor champion Katie Nageotte continued her strong early season form that saw her clear 4.74m in Reno last week with a victory in Boston. She defeated world and Olympic champion Katerina Stefanidi thanks to a flawless display of first-time clearances all the way up to a world-leading 4.86m, with only 4.92m proving too high at this stage in the season. Stefanidi, who’d been battling a cold all week, finished second with a 4.71m clearance.
“It was amazing,” says Nageotte of her first outing in Boston. “This meet, I feel like I finally began to find my own stride and I think it’s only going to continue to get better.”
In the women’s shot put – which was the sole event contested before the senior track events began – USA’s Maggie Ewen threw a personal best 19.28m to take the win and secure maximum points in the IAAF World Indoor Tour rankings. Germany’s Christina Schwanitz, who only arrived in Boston hours before the start of the event, finished second with 18.87m.
There was drama in the women’s 600m, with 400m hurdles specialist Georganne Moline setting the early pace. With just over 100m to go she stumbled, leaving the door open for 800m specialist Raevyn Rogers to ease past. The former Oregon Duck took the victory in 1:27.31.
In the men’s 400m, Nathan Strother held off the competition in 46.97 to set himself up for an early lead in the World Indoor Tour rankings. 400m hurdles specialist Rai Benjamin won the Jesse Loubier Memorial men’s 300m in 32.88, while Michelle-Lee Ahye took the honours in the women’s 60m in 7.21.
In the men’s 60m hurdles, the top four were separated by a mere two-hundredths of a second. World indoor silver medalist Jarret Eaton got the nod with 7.64, while Aaron Mallet (7.65), Freddie Crittenden (7.66) and Josh Thompson (7.66) all came within a whisker of Eaton.
Next, the IAAF World Indoor Tour is headed to Karlsruhe, Germany where athletes will continue to chase tour ranking points with the aim to bring home the $20,000 tour jackpot as well as wildcards for next year’s IAAF World Indoor Championships in Nanjing, China.