News Archive

News Archive

A near World record miss for Adere in Oslo’s Golden League

Two wonderful 5000m

races, a 2.01m High Jump for Inga Babakova, and another majestic (Area record)

Triple Jump of 15.11 for Yamile Aldama were the highlights of the Exxon Mobil

Bislett Games, the first meeting of the 2003 IAAF Golden League.

After a 38 year history the Bislett Games tonight waved farewell to one of

the most hallowed Athletics stadiums in the world, the Norwegian

capital’s famous Bislett stadium, which will be torn down and replaced by

a state of the art facility on the same central city location by 2005.

The main international programme of the evening was opened by Lord Sebastian

Coe, ‘Seb’ to most athletics fans, the double Olympic 1500m

champion who in the years 1979 to 1981 established four World records in this

stadium – one at 800m, two at 1000m and one at the Mile.

Aldama and Babakova jump supreme

Cuba’s Yamile Aldama was for one determined to close the

stadium’s history on the highest of notes and even before the opening

speeches had leapt to an Area Record and world season’s lead of 15.11m in

the women’s Triple Jump. The Cuban’s series was solid to say the

least being backed up with three other marks which ranged from 14.63 to


African record holder Francoise Mbango (CMR) was second with a

season’s best of 14.88, and World champion Tatyana Lebedeva (RUS) who had

leapt 15 metres in Greece last Tuesday (finishing second to Aldama), was today

back in third with 14.86.

The women’s High Jump which ultimately turned out to be the final

curtain of this great stadium produced a high quality result worthy of Bisletts

tradition. Topped by a 2.01m winning effort for 1999 World champion Inga

Babakova who was celebrating her 36th Birthday today, the Ukrainian took her

win on the third attempt. Her compatriot Vita Palomar and Russia’s Irina

Mikhalchenko were both successful over 1.99 for second and third places in that

order after count back.

Babakova’s 2.01 came after a second time success at 1.99, though that

was much cleaner than her higher jump with the bar left wobbling as she came

down to the loud applause of the spectators.

The surprise of the competition was the failure of Sweden’s double

World Indoor champion Kajsa Bergqvist at 1.97m (sixth place – 1.95m).

Two world junior records

World record ambitions were in the mind of at least one athlete this

evening, as World Indoor 3000m champion and record holder Berhane Adere made a

brave attempt on the women’s 5000m record. The Ethiopian, despite a

blistering sprint which she unleashed with 200m to go to finally dispose of any

possible challenge from Werknesh Kidane, the World Cross Country long course

champion, just fell short of China’s Jiang Bo’s 1997 World mark of


Adere finished with 14:29.32 an African record (beating Gete Wami’s

previous 14:30.88) a 2003 world lead, Kidane was second in 14:33.04 (PB), with

a new World junior record in 14:39.94 taken by the third finisher Tirunesh

Diababa, the World Junior Cross Country champion (previous WJR 14:45.90 Jiang

Bo, 1995). That all three runners were from Ethiopia says everything about the

current distance running power of the East African country, which has recently

even been putting Kenya into the shade.

The men’s 5000m, the final track event re-emphasised the point again,

with Ethiopia’s double double World Cross Country champion Kenenisa

Bekele taking a desperately close battle for the tape (12:52.26) from

Kenya’s Sammy Kipketer (12:52.33 PB).

The Kenyans had tried to recover some much needed pride by ganging up on the

Ethiopian, with five of their number led by Sammy Kipketer attempting to

sandwich Bekele as the bell sounded. At one point as Abraham Chebii burst wide

and fast past Bekele’s right shoulder and established a 10 metres lead,

it looked like it might be all over for the young Ethiopian but as the last 100

metres was reached, Bekele was back in command.

Kipketer, the Commonwealth 5000m champion was not giving in though and

Bekele was given a real fight to the finish, just gaining the edge. In third

place Eliud Kipchoge established a new World junior record of 12:52.61

(previous Philip Mosima 12:53.72 - 1996). Chebii was fourth in 12:54.99, a

personal best, with his compatriots James Kwalia (12:54.58) the young find of

the season, and Albert Chepkurui, also going under 13 minutes for personal


Throughout the course of both the men’s and women’s races the

Bislett crowd had pounded their feet and clapped their hands in the rhythms of

old, throwing echoes back to the great feats of distance running which this

stadium has witnessed in it’s illustrious career. Sadly, for the benefit

of the last day of the old Bislett, Adere in particular, couldn’t quite

follow in the successful World record steps of the likes of Ingrid Kristiansen

(1981 and 1984), David Moorcroft (1982) or Said Aouita (1985) but all the same

the two 5ks gave us a moment of typical Bislett magic.

Sturrup upsets White

Chandra Sturrup of the Bahamas surprised US champion Kelli White on the line

in the women’s 100m. Running in lane eight (a novelty for this final

year) next to the crowd, Sturrup was up level with White by the 60m point and

by the tape had edged just enough in front to inflict defeat on White –

10.96 to 10.97. The margin was so close that the victory flowers were initially

given to the American, who had been called the winner by the stadium


The men’s dash turned into a duel between the top Britons, with the

European 100m record holder Dwain Chambers (10.15) having to give best to his

younger colleague Mark Lewis Francis, who had also stolen the British team

berth at last weekend’s European Cup in Florence (at which he also won).

Lewis Francis’s winning time was 10.12.

A stride for stride battle down the finishing straight and a desperate lunge

for the line in the women’s 400m Hurdles brought victory to

Australia’s Commonwealth champion Jana Pittman in 54.42 seconds, ahead of

double European champion Ionela Tirlea of Romania (54.47). USA’s Sandra

Glover was third with 54.80.

Stanislav Olijar improved his own Latvian sprint Hurdles record in the

men’s 110m race, winning in 13.14 to equal the stadium record of Allen

Johnson (1997), and improve his world season’s lead.

Sergey Makarov of Russia, who is currently mister consistent in the javelin,

continued an unblemished season with a 85.61 win. He would seem after the first

meeting of the Golden League to be one of the firmest bets for the 1 million

$US Jackpot, which goes to any athlete who wins his or her individual

discipline at all six of the meetings in the 2003 series.

Bungei beaten

Wilfred Bungei of Kenya would have been many peoples favourite to challenge

for this years jackpot too but he didn’t event clear the first barrier.

The Kenyan who is the reigning world silver medallist both indoors and out, and

who had been under 1:44 three times already this season, unexpectedly tied up

in the home straight, and was passed by South Africa’s Mbulaeni Mulaudzi.

The South African’s winning time was 1:44.11 to Bungei’s 1:44.15.

Spain’s Antonia Manuel Reina was well adrift in third 1:44.65, with World

champion Andre Bucher in fourth 1:44.99.

Maria Mutola, World and Olympic champion at the 800m remained ascendant over

the women’s two lap race taking the win in 2:00.62. Her old arch rival

Stephanie Graf was second in 2:00.92 but Mutola was never really challenged


The women’s 1500m was taken by Ukraine’s Irina Lisinskaya in

4:04.62, with Russia’s Yelena Zadorozhnaya, second (4:04.97) and

Hungary’s Judit Varga 4:05.82 in third. Lisinskaya had taken the race by

the scruff of the neck in the final lap, and entering the final 100 metres had

a clear margin over the Russian who never made any impression on her by the


The men’s Pole Vault which suffered from the late withdrawal of World

Indoor champion Tim Lobinger, the current outdoor world lead, was won by

USA’s Olympic champion Nick Hysong in a four way ‘tie’ on

5.70m. On count back the Sydney gold medallist took the win from World Cup

winner Okkert Brits (RSA), and fellow Americans, Toby Stevenson and Jeff

Hartwig. “Hats off” to Stevenson for even having the courage to set

foot in the stadium, as it was here in Bislett last year that he suffered a

major accident which led to an ambulance trip from the stadium and a long stay

in hospital.

Article © IAAF -