ATHLETICS: World Indoor 1,500 m Record falls to Tefera in Birmingham

World Indoor Record for Ethiopia's Sam Tefera in Birmingham (Video screen shot)

All eyes in Birmingham (GBR) were on Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha in his attempt at the indoor world record in the 1,500 m, but it was his countryman Samuel Tefera who beat him to the tape and took the title of “World Record Holder” for himself.

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Kejelcha had run alone the week before in the Millrose Games in New York, but Kejelcha and Tefera pushed each other to the finish and that may have been the difference:

400 m: The first pacesetter was Bram Son (NED), who covered the first two laps in 55.69, faster than Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj’s 1997 world-record pace of 56.0 and about the same as Kejelcha’s 56.25 for 409 meters (allowing for the mile vs. 1,500 m) at Millrose last week.

800 m: The pace was now being carried by Jordan Williamz (AUS), who finished four laps in 1:52.70. That’s right on pace with El Guerrouj’s 1:52.6 from 1997, but a little slower than Kejelcha’s 1:52.99 for 809 m last week.

1,200 m: The pacesetters dropped off and Kejelcha led the race, but with Tefera in close attendance. The six-lap split was 2:49.28 for Kejelcha, just faster than El Guerrouj’s 2:49.4 and right on pace with Kejelcha’s 2:50.93 at Millrose.

1,500 m: Kejelcha lost the mile record with a little slowing on the sixth and seventh laps. But he couldn’t do that in Birmingham with Tefera right behind, and Tefera flew by going into the final turn and sprinted down the home straight, covering the last 300 m in about 42.0 seconds compared to 42.9 for Kejelcha in his mile last week and that was enough to get Tefera home first as the new record holder.

“I can’t believe that,” said Tefera. “I’m delighted with the outcome and to have the world record is a special feeling.”

Kejelcha’s time was still sensational at 3:31.58, the third-fastest indoor 1,500 m of all time.

There were two other world leaders during the meet: Bingtian Su (CHN) running 6.47 in the men’s 60 m and Laura Muir (GBR) in the women’s mile at 4:18.75.

Su was impressive in beating Reece Prescod (GBR) and Mike Rodgers of the U.S. in 6.47 to 6.53-6.54.

Muir, to the roar of the British crowd, ran away with the mile and won in 4:18.75, the third-fastest women’s mile in history! “To get the British record was fantastic, but, for me, it was just about having a solid run today, coming away with the win and with a good time,” she said afterwards. “I have done that with the world lead and the joint third fastest time ever behind the current world and European record … I will take third. When you run by yourself, it is tough, but I felt good.”

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Among the other notable performances was Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson was the winner of the women’s 60 m in a good 7.13, ahead of Asha Philip (GBR: 7.14) and Marie-Josee Ta Lou (CIV: 7.15). The women’s pole vault the top three placers all clear 4.81 m (15-9 1/2), but Britain’s Holly Bradshaw won ahead of Katie Nageotte (USA) and Katerina Stefanidi (GRE) on misses.

Japan’s Naoto Tobe scored another Indoor Tour win at 2.29 m (7-6) in the high jump and Cuba’s Juan Miguel Echevarria continued to improve in the men’s long jump, winning at 8.21m (26-11 1/4).

Americans Jarret Eaton and Freddie Crittenden went 1-2 in the 60 m Hurdles in 7.51 and 7.53, moving to nos. 3 and =5 on the year list.

The final World Indoor Tour meet comes Wednesday in Dusseldorf (GER), but it will be hard to duplicate the atmosphere and results from Birmingham. Summaries:

IAAF World Indoor Tour
Birmingham (GBR) ~ 16 February 2019
(Full results here)

60 m: 1. Bingtian Su (CHN), 6.47; 2. Reece Prescod (GBR), 6.53; 3. Michael Rodgers (USA), 6.54. Also: 6. Bryce Robinson (USA), 6.65.

400 m: 1. Nathan Strother (USA), 46.45; 2. Luka Janezic (SLO), 47.04; 3. Luguelin Santos (DOM), 47.38. Also: 4. Marcus Chambers (USA), 47.55; … 6. David Kendziera (USA), 48.27.

800 m: 1. Joseph Deng (AUS), 1:47.27; 2. Jamie Webb (GBR), 1:47.51; 3. Joseph Reid (GBR), 1:47.83. Also: 4. Erik Sowinski (USA), 1:48.29.

1,500 m: 1. Samuel Tefera (ETH), 3:31.04 (World Indoor Record; old, 3:31.18, Hicham El Guerrouj (MAR), 1997); 2. Yomif Kejelcha (ETH), 3:31.58; 3. Stewart McSweyn (AUS), 3:35.10.

60 m Hurdles: 1. Jarret Eaton (USA), 7.51; 2. Freddie Crittenden (USA), 7.53; 3. Milan Trajkovic (CYP), 7.54. Also: 5. Aaron Mallett (USA), 7.63; … 8. Josh Thompson (USA), 7.82.

High Jump: 1. Naoto Tobe (JPN), 2.29 m (7-6); 2. Jeron Robinson (USA), 2.26 m (7-5); 3. Luis Joel Castro (PUR), 2.23 m (7-3 3/4). Also: 8. Trey Culver (USA), 2.16 m (7-1).

Long Jump: 1. Juan Miguel Echavarria (CUB), 8.21 m (26-11 1/4); 2. Tajay Gayle (JAM), 8.10 m (26-7); 3. Militiadis Tentoglou (GRE), 7.97 m (26-1 3/4). Also: 7. William Williams (USA), 7.52 m (24-8 1/4).

60 m: 1. Elaine Thompson (JAM), 7.13; 2. Asha Philip (GBR), 7.14; 3. Marie-Josee Ta Lou (CIV), 7.15. Also: 8. Tawanna Meadows (USA), 7.50.

400 m: 1. Stephenie Ann McPherson (JAM), 52.24; 2. Elidih Doyle (GBR), 52.43; 3. Lisanne de Witte (NED), 52.61. Also: 6. Jaide Stepter (USA), 52.90.

800 m: 1. Shelayna Oksan-Clarke (GBR), 2:01.16; 2. Adelle Tracey (GBR), 2:01.95; 3. Liga Velvere (LAT), 2:02.00.

Mile: 1. Laura Muir (GBR), 4:18.75; 2. Winnie Nanyondo (UGA), 4:29.40; 3. Rababe Arafi (MAR), 4:29.74.

3,000 m: 1. Alemaz Samuel (ETH), 8:54.60; 2. Axumawit Embaye (ETH), 8:54.97; 3. Meskerem Mamo (ETH), 8:55.03. Also: 10. Dana Giordano (USA), 9:26.30.

60 m Hurdles: 1. Evonne Britton (USA), 7.91; 2. Andrea Invancevic (CRO) 8.09; 3. Cindy Ofili (GBR), 8.12. Also: 5. Jade Barber (USA), 8.23.

Pole Vault: 1. Holly Bradshaw (GBR), 4.81 m (15-9 1/4); 2. Katie Nageotte (USA), 4.81 m (15-9 1/4); 3. Katerina Stefanidi (GRE), 4.81 m (159-9 1/4).

Long Jump: 1. Ivana Spanovic (SRB), 6.78 m (22-4 1/4); 2. Abigail Irozuru (GBR), 6.59 m (21-7 1/2); 3. Jazmin Sawyers (GBR), 6.36 m (20-10 1/2).