London Diaries, Day 1, Session 1: Jessica Ennis hurdles 12.54
by Larry Eder
The day started off cloudy, then rainy, and now, wondrous. It is 4:30 pm Local time in London, and we have two and a half hours to go before the evening sessions start. Here is how I saw the first session of track & field.
A few points. 80,000 people jam packed the stadium as Jessica Ennis entertained and British athletes did quite well (so did US athletes). Stadium is beautiful, crowds well behaved and media are happy, as the sun is out and we are covered (well some of us are).
What a grand first session of track & field. IAAF President Lamine Diack noted last evening, at a special dinner that finally, the heart of the Olympic summer games was about to start. IOC President Jaques Rogge apparently smiled and noted that track & field was the, how can we say this, the icing on the cake.
However one translates the comments, track & field is the favorite sport in the Summer Games, so, in my mind, the Summer Olympics actually began today! And in grand style.
100m hurdles, heptathlon event 1
Jessica Ennis showed the 80,000 fans in the stadium, with her flawless hurdling in heat 5, that the British heptathlon record holder is, well, on a mission! Hurdling 12.54, Ennis opened the heptathlon with a new British hurdle record as well as her personal best! In fact, Jessica Ennis' hurdle time was faster than the 2008 100m hurdle gold medal winning time from Beijing! Jessica Ennis scored 1,195 points for that hurdle master class.
Right behind Ennis, Canada's Jessica Zelinka hurdled 12.65 for 1,178 points and second. Hyleas Fountain of the US hurdled 12.70, to take third in the first event, with a score of 1,170.
Men's shot put qualifying
No real surprises here. World Champion 2011 stud David Storl, all of 22, hit 21.15m to auto qualify on his first throw. Tomasz Majeswki of Poland, the 2008 Olympic champion, hit 21.03m for an auto, and German Lauro, of Argentina, threw 20.75m, a new National record, and made the only other auto qualifier in Group A.
2009 World Champion, Christian Cantwell, who has thrown a WL 22.31m this year, finished fifth in Group A, with a 20.41m and moved on to the final.
In Group B, Reese Hoffa threw 21.36m, best throw of the qualifying, to take an auto qualifier. Ryan Whiting, 2012 World Indoor Champion, threw 20.78m to move on to the final. Dylan Armstrong, the silver medalist from the Worlds last year, threw 20.49m to move on.
The grand daddy of shot putters, Ralf Bartels, missed the final with a throw of 20.00. My picks for the final: Hoffa, Storl, Cantwell. Majewski to spoil.
Women's Triple Jump qualifying
Kimberly Williams jumped a pb of 14.53m to move to the final. GBR's Yamile Aldama, the silver medalist from the World Indoor Champs, who jumped 14.45m. Olha Saludha, the Ukrainian jumper, cleared 14.35m, as the greatest LJ/TJ women combo, Tatyana Lebedeva, jumped 14.30m to also qualify for the final.
In group B, Olga Rypakova hit 14.79m to make sure Caterine Ibarguen of Columbia knows that the Kazakstan jumper has some serious jumps in her repertoire. Ibarguen moved on with 14.42m.
This should be a battle. My picks: Ibarguen, Rypakova, and Kimberly Williams, all over 15 meters.
400m hurdles, Men, Qualifying
In heat 2, Michael Tinsley of the US, the Trials winner, won here in 49.13. In heat 3, Dai Greene, 2010 Euro Champ, 2011 WC, won from lane 1, with the thunderous support of the crowd, as he ran 48.98, with Emir Bekric of Serbia in second in 49.21. Javier Culson ran the fastest time of the heats, with 48.33. Kerron Clement, WC in 2007 and 2009, is looking good, with a seasonal best of 48.48. In heat 5, 2000 and 2008 Oly champ, Angelo Taylor won his heat in 49.29, with Jehue Gordon of Trinidad in second in 49.37.
Felix Sanchez, 2004 Olympic champ and 2003 and 2005 World Champ, won heat six in 49.24 with youngster Jack Green, (who ran pbs in 400m and 400m hurdles in AVIVA two weeks ago), ran 49.49, looking good.
Womens' 400m, qualifying
Francena McCorory and Christine Ohuruogu dueled to the finish in heat 1, 50.78-50.80. In heat 2, WC 2011 Amantle Montsho of Botswana ran 50.40, to show who was boss. In heat three, DeeDee Trotter, now healthy and racing well, took her heat in 50.87. Sanya Richards-Ross won heat 4 in 51.78. In heat 5, Antonina Krivoshapka or Russian jogged a 50.75. Novelne Williams-Mills ran 50.88 to win heat 6. In heat seven, Regina George of Nigeria ran 51.24 to take an easy heat seven. Amy Mbacke Thiam of Senegal ran 53.23 and did not go on.
Men's steeple qualifying
Heat 1, Mahiedine Mekhissi Benabbad of France won the first heat in 8:16.23, after Evan Jager leading until last five meters, but Jager was not trying to win. He ran to qualify. Abel Kiprop Mutai was third in 8:17.70. Jager looks great, he just needs to watch out for Mekhissi-Benabbad, who is a beast master.
Heat 2, Brimin Kipruto jogged an 8:28.62, as the Olympic champ showed little of his stuff. Yuri Floriani or Italy ran 8:29.01, with Brahim Taleb of Morocco winning in 8:29.02 and Jukka Keskisalo of Finland running 8:29.13. Kyle Alcorn of US looked good for six laps, then he just faded to ninth.
Heat 3, Roba Gari won here, as the Ethiopian ran 8:20.68. Ezekial Kemboi of Kenya was second in 8:20.97. Hamid Ezzine of Morocco was third in 8:21.25. Don Cabral of the US, who ran so well this season, ws fourth in 8:21.46 as he moves on!
Okay, this is going to be a turf war. The Kenyan steeplers will make Jager earn his medal and the Frenchman Mehkassi Benebbad runs the steeple like he plays offense in professional ice hockey.
Still, I believe Jager and Cabral are destined for great things. If Jager listens to Schumacher, his coach, we could be in for a real treat. Key is for Evan is to observe, make move when it is in his best interest. Mkehassi Benebbad can run a fast last 150 over hurdles, he is the Kenyan's nightmare.
Men's hammer qualifying
In group A, Japan's Koji Murofushi, World Champion and 2004 Olympic champion, and Primoz Kosmuz, 2008 Olympic champion went 78.48m and 78.12m to lead this group of qualifiers. Kibwe Johnson of the US, pulled it together and threw 77.17m to qualify-his seasonal best.
In group B, Kristian Pars of Hungary threw the farthest, 79.37m to show he shoul be considered. AG Kruger of the US, throwing 72.13m, did not move on.
Watch out for Murofushi. He has been training in San Jose, Ca with his coach and a small
group of supporters. Murofushi just focuses, trains and comes out throwing like the champion he is. Pars is no one to disregard.
Heptathlon, High Jump, Event 2
Austra Skuyjte of Lithuania cleared 1.92m, a pb, gaining herself 1,132 points. Katerina Johnson-Thompson, the long jump World Junior champion, cleared a pb 1.89m. Yana Maksimava of Belarus cleared 1.89m as well and Jessica Ennis and Hyleas Fountain both cleared 1.86m for 1054 points. The conditions were wet, then dray. Jessica Ennis did not have a particularly good high jump, but here 2249 total score is her fourth best of all times.
Now lets see what Jessica Ennis can do in the shot put, I am predicting 15 meters.
For complete results from session 1, go to: http://www.iaaf.org/mini/oly12/Results/ResultsByDate.aspx