The first session to feature British interest at the IAAF World Indoor Championships, at the Oregon Convention Centre in Portland got underway today in a similar vein the previous evening’s pole vault finals.
Spotlight razzamatazz introductions within the arena were the continued theme, but once they had passed, Morgan Lake (Eldon Lake), the first GB competitor at these championships was able to focus on her first event of the women’s pentathlon.
Starting with the 60m hurdles, she performed cleanly to finish in 8.70 secs – 11th of the 12 competing but having the fillip of knowing her favoured high jump event would be next in the morning timetable.
After waiting for what seemed an absolute age to enter at 1.79m, she was able to clear that easily to lead the pack. Her clean series of first time clearances took her through 1.82m, 1.85m, and a second time clearance of 1.88m sealed victory and a points boost of 1080. This took her to fifth position with 2054 points after two events, with favourite Brianne Theisen Eaton sitting in the gold medal position on 2161 points overall.
Her final event of the morning schedule was the shot put and she performed well to put a best of 13.61m giving her 768 points and an overall 2822 points – consolidating her position of 7th to take into the evening’s session.
On the track, Tom Farrell (Mark Rowland) and Lee Emanuel (Joe Franklin) were next up for GB in the men’s 3000m heats. With a testing first four plus four fastest finishers due to progress, Farrell had the harder task, lining up in the first of the two heats, and he made the best he could by leading the pack through the first nine laps before the field flooded past to make the final 1200m a separate race. His seventh place in 7:59.77 left him waiting on the second race result, but to no avail.
“It was a good experience but I’m not going to make any excuses, I just didn’t have it today. I’ll probably take a bit of downtime now and really get the legs back under me with another big block of training. I probably had the best winter I’ve ever had, leading into the indoor season, for whatever reason, it slipped away,” he said.
“Obviously the main focus this year is Rio, so it’s head back down and get a load of work down. It’s all eyes on the trials now and hopefully Rio.”
Emanuel had a better race and in spite of a similar burst of speed during the second half, he kept in touch within the pack and was competitive in the home straight to finish fourth in 7:53.18 and secure an automatic qualifying spot for Sunday’s final.
“I’m happy to be in the final. I had a couple of gears left, it was a bit of a mess – people were falling over and it was a bumpy one,” he said.
“But I got a good line and I knew I was going to qualify anyway with the time, but I thought I’d make it automatic and finish fourth.”
Over in the men’s 60m, James Dasaolu (Steve Fudge) got his world indoor campaign off to a strong start with a win in the second heat in 6.59, easing across the line looking relaxed and pleased to be able to put his last major championship performance behind him.
“It was comfortable and it’s an improvement from Beijing when I went out in the heats, so I’ve learnt from that and I’m happy,” he said.
Andy Robertson (Dan Cossins) also progressed finishing third in his heat with 6.66 from lane two and saving enough for the evening session:
“There’s a lot more in the tank, I got out to 30m hard, but didn’t really attack from 30 onwards, but I will have to do that in the semi if I am going to make the final.”
Qualifying for the evening’s semis and finals was led by Jamaica’s Asafa Powell, whose World leading 6.44 in the fifth heat was a cut above the rest.
Tonight’s GB action will also see British interest in the women’s 60m hurdles, men’s 1500m and the women’s long jump.
Full results are available on https://www.iaaf.org/competitions/iaaf-world-indoor-championships/iaaf-world-indoor-championships-5681/timetable/byday