In the heart of winter, the Meeting Hauts-de-France Pas-de-Calais Liévin transformed into a battleground for athletic legends and rising stars. As part of the prestigious World Athletics Indoor Tour - Gold, this event on February 10th was not just a competition; it was a spectacle of human prowess and determination.
Holloway narrowly misses his world indoor record
Grant Holloway won the second 60 metres hurdles heat with the fastest time of 7.39. Lorenzo Simonelli finished second in 7.51 missing his Italian record by just 0.01. European 110 metres hurdles bronze medallist Just Kwaou Mathey from France won the first heat setting the second fastest time in his career with 7.52 ahead of Polish record holder Jakub Szymanski (7.56).
Holloway won the final in 7.32 missing his own world record by just 0.03. Kwaou Mathey smashed his PB to 7.43 to finish second ahead of Szymanski, who came close to his national record by 0.01. Simonelli confirmed his very good period of form with 7.52.
Grant Holloway: “I am happy but not satisfied. I don’t mean that I wanted to go quicker today, but I am talking about the rest of the indoor season. I still have the Trials and the World Championships. I feel very confident about making the team for the World Championships. If I can fix my start, I can produce very fast times. I feel fast and strong. It’s just about getting my start right. If I am aiming for a world record in Glasgow ? What happens, happens. For me, it’s just about winning.
Women’s 3000 metres:
World 1500m indoor record Gudaf Tsegay from Ethiopia won the women’s 3000 metres setting the world seasonal lead with 8:17.11. Tsegay clocked the third fastest time in history and the second best time in her career after her PB of 8:16.69 set in Birmingham last year. Only Genzebe Dibaba ran faster in history with 8:16.60 in Stockolm in 2014. Ethiopia’s Hirut Meshesha finished second in 8:29.71. World 3000m steeplechase record holder Beatrice Chepkoech finished third improving her PB to 8:30.87 ahead of Wubrist Ashal from Ethiopia, who improved her seasonal best with 8:40.97.
Gudaf Tsegay: “It’s a very fast time, but I know I was capable of breaking the world record. The first lap was very fast, but after that the pace slowed down. My focus is not on the indoor season. I focus on the Olympic Games. It my big dream. I am not sure if I will be competing at the World Indoor Championships, but I wanted to run here in Liévin because I have good memories on this track. I broke the world record in 2021”
Women’s 400 metres:
World 400 metres hurdles champion Femke Bol won the women’s 400 metres for the second consecutive year in Liévin improving her world seasonal lead by 0.01 to 49.63. Bol’s training partner Lieke Klaver took second place improving her seasonal best to 50.50. Naomi Van den Broeck from Belgium set her PB in third place with 52.23.
Femke Bol: “I felt good today. Liévin is always nice because of the atmosphere. This is the second fastest time of my career, and a lot faster than last year in Liévin. I can only be happy. In training It’s going very well, but have to do it on raceday. I am very glad that I am running 49’ers again. I don’t know if I will ever break my indoor record again, but the advantage is that I am the record holder. I can just run for the medals, and that’s what I will also do in Glasgow”.
Men’s shot put:
World outdoor silver medallist Leonardo Fabbri won the men’s shot put with 22.37m at the start of the meeting breaking the Italian indoor record held by his friend and training partner Zane Weir, who won the European Indoor gold medal with 22.06m in Istanbul last year.
Leonardo Fabbri: “If this is a surprise for me ? Not really because in the warm-up I threw very further. So in the next weeks, I expect to throw further. The fact that I threw a World lead does not matter for me, because I know very well that Ryan Crouser can go way further. What’s a big pleasure, is that I perform well in France because that’s what I will have to do in the summer at the Olympic Games in Paris. It’s the furthest throw ever by an Italian shot putter indoors. It’s better than I did in Budapest. This is giving me confidence. Does it mean I can win a medal in Glasgow? We will see. My goal is to have fun in Glasgow, and the performance will follow. Before the World Champs I will have the National Championships and Madrid in the schedule”.
Fabbri has moved up to second in the European all-time list, missing Ulf Timmermann’s continental indoor record of 22.55m since 1989.
Fabbri backed up this result with three more throws of 22.06m, 21.92m and 21.69m.
Two-time Olympic bronze medallist and 2017 world champion Tom Walsh from New Zealand finished second improving his seasonal best to 22.16m. Tomas Stanek from Czech Republic took third place with 21.32m beating Zane Weir (21.03m).
Women’s 1500 metres:
Ethiopia’s Freweyni Hailu won the women’s 1500 metres setting the third fastest time this year with 3:57.24. Her compatriot Diribe Welteji also dipped under the 3:58 barrier with 3:57.48, the fourth fastest time in the world this year. Birke Haylom and Habitam Alemu finished third and fourth clocking 4:00:00 and 4:00.97 respectively. Sarah Healy from Ireland set the national record with 4:03.83.
Men’s 2000 metres:
World indoor 3000m record holder Lamecha Girma from Ethiopia won the men’s 2000 metres setting the second fastest time in history with 4:51.23. Girma moved ahead of his compatriot Haile Gebrselassie in the world all-time list. Only world record holder Kenenisa Bekele ran faster than Girma with his world all-time best of 4:49.99 set in Birmingham in 2007.
Lamecha Girma: “I did not have a pacemaker leading the way. The wavelights were setting the pace, and I knew I had to keep up with it, but it was too challenging. With a fast pacemaker, I believe I could break the world record. I enjoyed the competition. The organization is excellent. Liévin is a place I like to come to. I am ending my indoor season now. My next competition will be one of the Diamond League meetings this season”.
Women’s pole vault:
Eliza McCartney from New Zealand, Olympic bronze medallist in Rio de Janeiro 2016, won the women’s pole vault setting the world seasonal best of 4.84m in her first attempt. World Championships fifth placer Molly Caudery clinched second place with 4.75m in her first attempt beating European outdoor and indoor champion Wilma Murto from Finland and 2018 Commonwealth Games champion Alysha Newman from Canada on countback.
Men’s 3000 metres:
Olympic 10000m champion Selemon Barega from Ethiopia won his second consecutive 3000 metres race this season in 7:31.38 following his victory in Torun in 7:25.82. Ethiopia’s 17-year-old Biniam Mehary crossed the finish-line in his seasonal best of 7:33.04 just a few days after clocking 3:34.83 in Torun. Olympic 3000 metres steeplechase fourth placer Getnet Wale completed the Ethiopian top-three with 7:35.04.
Men’s 200 metres:
World silver medallist Erriyon Knighton set the world seasonal best in the men’s 200 metres with 20.21 in the first indoor 200 metres race of his career. Ryan Zeze from France finished second in 20.56 missing his seasonal best by 0.05.
Erryion Knighton: “I beat Grant Holloway’s 200m PB, which was my main goal for today. He always thinks he is on the same level as me, but now I could prove otherwise. Runnin a 200m on a short track was much tougher. It felt more like a 400 metres race, but I still enjoyed my first indoor race ever. The crowd was incredible. I won’t be extending my indoor season. I am heading back to the United States to prepare for the outdoor season”.
Women’s 60 metres hurdles:
World record holder Tobi Amusan from Nigeria won her second 60 metres hurdles race this season with 7.83 following her victory in Astana in an African record of 7.77. She then improved her continental record to 7.75 in Boston.
Laeticia Bapté finished second with 7.97 holding off Irish record holder Sarah Lavin by 0.01.
Men’s 800 metres:
European indoor bronze medallist Elliot Crestan set the world seasonal lead with 1:45.10 to win the men’s 800 metres. World indoor champion Mariano Garcia finished second in 1:45.50 beating European silver medallist Benjamin Robert from France also dipped under 1:46 to take third place in 1:45.70.
Men’s triple jump:
World outdoor champion Fabrice Hughes Zango from Burkina Faso leapt to 17.21m in his second attempt to win the men’s triple jump for the fourth time in his career in Liévin. European bronze medallist Jean Marc Pontvianne took second place with 17.13m ahead of world outdoor finalist Emmanuel Ihemeje from Italy, who improved his seasonal best to 16.93m.
Fabrice Hughes Zango: “I had bigger expectations, but today’s focus was mainly on fixing some technical aspects to prepare for the World Indoor Championships. I am genuinely happy with today’s performace because I jumped with some more adrenaline and emotion. Liévin feels like my crowd. It’s like competing in World Championships conditions. I just need to fine- tune a few last details, and then I will be fully ready for the World Championships. I have a lot of confidence in myself and in or preparations to reach my peak form in Glasgow”.
Men’s pole vault:
Two-time world outdoor champion Sam Kendricks won the Liévin meeting for the second time in his career in the men’s pole vault clearing 5.76m in his second attempt. Kendricks made three attempts at 5.82m. World outdoor finalist Thibaut Collet from France finished second with 5.70m beating Piotr Lisek on countback.
Sam Kendricks: “It was a strange day. I felt incredibly fast, but it some time to really get into the competition. I felt I needed my best effort to take the win at 5.76m, so I used my best jumps. That meant I didn’t have them left for 5.82m”.
Men’s 1500 metres:
European 1500 metres indoor bronze medallist Azeddine Habz won the men’s 1500 metres setting the French record with 3:34.39 holding off 2021 world under 20 champion Vincent Keter, who improved his PB to 3:34.44. Germany’s Robert Farken finished third in 3:36.11.
Women’s 800 metres:
Jemma Reekie from Great Britain claimed the win in the women’s 800 metres in 2:00.40 ahead of national record Noelle Yarigo from Benin (2:01.19) and European under 20 Audrey Werro from Switzerland (2:01.43).