In a stunning display of speed and agility at the World Indoor Tour Gold meeting in Astana for Amin Tuyakov Prizes 2024, Nigeria's Tobi Amusan, the world record holder in the 100 meters hurdles, emerged victorious in the women's 60m hurdles.
She not only won the race but also set a new African record with a time of 7.77, surpassing Glory Alozie’s previous record and improving upon Devynne Charlton’s world seasonal best.
Nia Ali, a two-time world indoor champion, secured the second spot with a notable 7.89.
Ali’s Cultural Exploration: Ali shared her enthusiasm about her first visit to Kazakhstan: “It’s thrilling to explore new places, and Kazakhstan's unique cuisine was a major draw for me. I eagerly anticipated trying horse meat and other local delicacies. Competing here is the start of a global journey, challenging myself in new environments.”
Remarkable Performance in Men’s 3000 Meters In the men’s 3000 meters, a spellbinding performance was witnessed from Ethiopia's Samuel Tefera, a two-time world indoor champion. He not only won the event but did so in spectacular fashion, recording this year's fastest global time of 7:33.85. In a gripping race, he was closely followed by compatriot and Olympic 3000 meters steeplechase runner-up, Getnet Wale, who finished in 7:34.36. Tefera's strategic brilliance was evident in his decisive move in the final 500 meters.
Tefera’s Ambitious Season Goals: Tefera shared his contentment and future aspirations, stating, "The competition here was exhilarating. My aim for the season is ambitious, targeting the 3000m, 5000m, and 10000m events."
Women's 60m Dash: Former world under-20 champion Anthonique Strachan of the Bahamas won the women's 60 meters.clocking 7.21. A close second, Poland's former world under-18 silver medalist Magdalena Stefanowicz finished with a commendable 7.22. Adding to the event's international flair, Asian Indoor champion Farzaneh Fazihi from Iran matched her national record with a time of 7.23.
Strachan's Victory Statement: Reflecting on her victory, Strachan expressed her exhilaration: "This is my inaugural indoor meet of the season, and winning it feels fantastic. My objective is to gain speed, using the indoor season as a stepping stone for the outdoor races. The results are showing, and I never anticipated such a swift start."
In a remarkable coincidence, five athletes recorded an identical time of 7.25 in the women's 60 meters heats, showcasing the event's high competitive level.
Ethiopian Dominance in Women’s Mile The women's mile race showcased Ethiopia's dominance in middle-distance running. Diribe Welteji, the world outdoor silver medalist in the 1500 meters, clinched first place with a world-leading time of 4:23.76. She was followed by a string of compatriots, with Gela Hambese, two-time world indoor silver medalist Axumawit Embaye, and Dahdi Dube filling the next spots.
Men’s Pole Vault: Duplantis Starts the Season In the men’s pole vault, Olympic champion Armand "Mondo" Duplantis from Sweden made a notable season debut. Duplantis, renowned for his world record of 6.23m, managed to clear 5.80m, securing his victory in Astana. He made a commendable attempt at 6.00m, showcasing the form that has made him a global sensation in the sport.
Duplantis Reflects on His Performance: Duplantis, reflecting on his performance, noted, “It wasn’t my best, but I feel good about my shape. The run-up didn't feel as light as I'd hoped, but competing in a new place was exciting. My aspiration is to maintain my current level and continually strive to perform at my best.”
Belgium's Ben Broeders finished second with a commendable 5.70m, edging out China’s Tao Zhong.
Sprint Action in Men’s 60 Meters The men’s 60 meters final was a showcase of raw speed and fierce competition. Demek Kemp, the world indoor champion from 2019, claimed victory in 6.55 seconds. He was closely followed by a contingent of swift sprinters, including Japan’s Shuhei Tada and Akihiro Higashida, Britain's Richard Kilty, Jamaica’s Rohan Watson, and Canadian Olympic champion André De Grasse.
Kemp’s Emotional Victory: An emotional Kemp reflected on his journey, saying, “After two challenging years marred by injuries, it feels great to clock a good time and earn some points. I'm optimistic about improving in future races.”
André De Grasse, sharing his experience, added, “Visiting Kazakhstan was a new and enjoyable experience. The snow here reminds me of Canada. I’ve always been curious about this place and it’s great to finally compete here.”
Men’s 60 Meters Hurdles: The men’s 60 meters hurdles final was a thrilling affair, featuring an impressive performance from China's rising star, Junxi Liu. Liu set a new personal best of 7.58, clinching a well-deserved victory. He narrowly defeated Milan Trajkovic from Cyprus and Great Britain's former world indoor champion, Andy Pozzi. This race not only highlighted Liu's burgeoning talent but also showcased the depth of international competition in hurdles.
Men’s 400 Meters: The 400 meters races were a testament to endurance and speed. Spain's Inaki Canal triumphed in the first race with a strong finish of 46.36, outpacing Ericsson Tavares from Portugal. The second race saw Patrick Sorm from the Czech Republic claim victory, showcasing his prowess in a tightly contested race against the three-time world indoor champion Pavel Maslak.
Men’s Shot Put: In the field event of men’s shot put, Britain's Scott Lincoln emerged victorious, throwing an impressive indoor personal best of 20.81m. His throw not only won him the title but also demonstrated his strength and technical skill. The reigning NACAC champion, Roger Steen from the USA, finished as the runner-up, marking a competitive field event.
Women’s High Jump: The women's high jump was a captivating event, with Lithuania's Urte Bayskstite taking the top spot. Her personal best jump of 1.92m was a clear display of athleticism and determination. She narrowly outperformed competitors Nadezhda Dubovitskaya and Michaela Hruba, making the event a highlight of the meeting.
Women’s 400 Meters: In the women’s 400 meters, Carla Azevedo from Portugal emerged as the champion with a remarkable time of 52.64, edging out Ireland's Sophie Becker and Jamaica’s Stephanie Ann McPherson. This race was a perfect blend of strategy and speed, showcasing the depth of talent in women's quarter-mile racing.
Women’s Long Jump: The women’s long jump witnessed a fierce competition, with Serbia's Milica Gardasevic, the European under 20 champion, claiming victory. Her consistent jumps of 6.45m in the fourth and fifth rounds were enough to secure the win over Diana Lesti and Shiqi Xiong.
The next World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold Level meeting, the Czech Indoor Gala, is scheduled to take place in Prague on January 30th.