Dibaba’s WR, Nelson’s throw, 6 world leaders @ Boston Indoor

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    BOSTON – The 2005 Visa Championship Series got off to a record-breaking start Saturday evening at the Reebok Indoor Games. A remarkable world record in the women’s 5,000 meters and a phenomenal competition in The Running Network men’s shot put competition provided the biggest crowd-pleasing moments of the evening.

    Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba’s stunning world record of 14:32.93 thrilled a packed Reggie Lewis Center crowd, which included a strong presence of Ethiopian nationals. Her world-class warm-up act, however, was the featured men’s shot put, held at center stage on the infield of the track.

    Nelson goes long

    The first round of throwing saw three-time world champion John Godina leading the competition at 20.68m/67-10.25, followed closely by 2004’s #1 world-ranked Christian Cantwell (20.44/67-0.75) and two-time Olympic silver medalist Adam Nelson (20.34/66-8.75). Cantwell grabbed the lead in round 2 with his longest toss of the day, 20.94m/68-8.5, but his lead lasted mere moments. When Nelson stepped into the ring next, he took the lead for good with 20.97m/68-9.75.

    The two-time Olympic Trials champion was not content with that mark, however, has he popped a giant throw of 21.66m/71-0.75 in the third round.

    Dibaba crushes WR

    Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba, the 2003 world outdoor champion and world junior record holder, added an impressive open world record to her resume in the women’s 5,000-meter run. Running much of the race with her older sister, Ejagayehu, the 19-year-old Tirunesh ran splits of 2:55.85 for 1 km and 5:50.9 for 2 km, aided by pacesetter Yelena Kenales. After Kenales dropped off, Dibaba forged ahead with 8:51.2 at 3 km, and 11:46.62 4 km. She blasted the final kilometer in 2:46.7 to cross the line in 14:32.93, which annihilated the world record of 14:39.29 set by countrywoman Berhane Adere in 2004. Ejegayhu Dibaba was second in 14:58.25.

    Her performance caused meet director Mark Wetmore to lighten his wallet by $25,000, making good on his world-record bonus offer. Dibaba happily accepted an oversized Visa check card symbolizing her reward.

    Rotich wins fast men’s 1,500

    The men’s 1,500 meters provided plenty of speed and excitement as world indoor bronze medalist Laban Rotich moved past Olympic silver medalist and #1 world-ranked Bernard Lagat to win the Reebok Joe Concannon men’s file. Rotich finished in 3:53.18 to break the Boston Indoor Games meet record, followed by Lagat in 3:53.61. The duo led seven finishers under 4 minutes, including Elkanah Angwenyi (3:54.23), Mark Fountain (3:54.77), Nate Brannen (3:55.11), Rob Myers (3:58.83) and Scott McGowan (3:58.91).

    Cragg overtakes Bekele in dramatic 3,000

    Former University of Arkansas standout Alistair Cragg won a somewhat bizarre Reebok men’s 3,000-meter run. With 400 meters remaining, Olympic 10,000-meter champion Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia appeared to be unaware that two laps remained. Sprinting as if he had only 200 meters left, Bekele crossed the start/finish line first, with Cragg behind him. But Bekele discovered that another lap yet remained. Cragg immediately passed Bekele, who never recovered. Cragg finished in 7:39.89 to Bekele’s 7:41.42. Markos Geneti was third in 7:42.97.

    Another Ethiopian, Olympic 5,000m gold medalist and 2004 world indoor 3,000m champion Meseret Defar, came within an eyelash of breaking the world record in the Reebok women’s 3,000 meter run. Impeded briefly by two runners she was lapping with 60 meters remaining in the race, Defar sprinted to the finish in 8:30.05, just shy of Berhane Adere’s three-year-old world record of 8:29.15.

    American winners

    American record holder David Krummenacker showed he is back in form after a year and a half of injury-induced setbacks. The 2003 world indoor 800-meter gold medalist took the men’s 1,000 meter run in 2:20.91, not far off his American record of 2:17.86, set at this meet in 2002. Defending Boston Indoor Games champion Berhanu Alemu of Ethiopia was second in 2:21.19.

    Olympic finalist Muna Lee easily won the women’s 200 in 22.99 seconds, while Jason Smoots ran a personal best of 6.53 to win the men’s 60 meters over Leonard Scott at 6.59.

    In her first race as a professional, 2004 University of Illinois grad Danielle Carruthers scored an upset over two-time Olympic bronze medalist Melissa Morrison-Howard in the Visa women’s 60-meter hurdles in 8.06 seconds. Morrison-Howard was second in 8.11.

    Kluft wins LJ

    Olympic heptathlon gold medalist Carolina Kluft posted a best mark of 6.63m/21-9 on her final attempt to win a Reebok women’s long jump competition, which she led since the second round of jumping. Nolle Graham’s best of 6.39m/20-11.75 was good for second, with Olympic Trials runner-up Grace Upshaw third at 6.34m/20-9.75.

    World indoor record holder Jolanda Ceplak of Slovenia easily won the women’s 800 meters with her time of 2:01.52.

    More winners

    In other events, national high school cross country champion Aislinn Ryan won the junior girls’ mile, catching leader Nicole Blood with 300 meters and going on to win the 4:49.92. Hood was second in 4:50.87. Leaf Barnes won the junior boys’ 1-mile run in 4:13.61. Jerry Harris used a furious kick in the final 60 meters to win the men’s 400 meters in 46.82.

    The Reebok Boston Indoor Games will be broadcast Sunday from 5-6:30 p.m. Eastern Time on ESPN.

    For more information on the Visa Championship Series, visit http://www.usatf.org/visa

    Athlete Quotes

    Men’s Shot Put

    Adam Nelson, winner: “I’ve been felling very comfortable. I’ve worked a lot on my flexibility this year and it’s helped. It’s allowed me to adapt quicker to the indoor ball.

    “My goal this year is to come out and execute the way I should have last year. This year I’ve put a lot of focus into balance, flexibility and throwing and that’s helped me.

    “The Visa Championships Series helps us subsidize our training costs. We all work really hard in training and for Visa to step up, it shows their commitment to the Olympic movement and we really appreciate it.”

    Women’s 3,000 meters

    Tirunesh Dibaba, winner: “The money was not a major thought for me. The fans made me run faster. Two months ago, my training was not going very well and I never thought I could do such a thing. Then, things changed. I will go home with some very good memories.”

    Women’s 200 meters

    Muna Lee, winner: “This race was mainly a dress rehearsal. I was working on all different phases of my race that I need to work on. It’s a little different running indoors, but mainly the same. In the off-season I was more serious about my weight training and gaining a little weight. I’m working on the things I need to work on.”

    Men’s 60 meters

    Jason Smoots, winner: “The race felt really good. My start was really good, I had a good, smooth transition and I stayed in control the whole race. It’s an excellent start to the indoor season and a great win to start. It was a PR for me. This is the best I’ve felt. This is definitely fun.”

    Women’s 60m Hurdles

    Danielle Carruthers, winner: “It’s great to have my first race, my first win. I’m really excited to come to Boston and win my first professional indoor race. I’m focusing on my technical abilities. I’ve always been a fast hurdler, but now I’m working on technical things. Making the transition from college to professional has been tough, but it’s great.”

    Men’s 1,000 meters

    David Krummenacker, winner: “It’s feels good since this is my first race. The best thing is that I was victorious. It bodes well for the rest of the season. Coming into the race, I was thinking ‘whatever happens, happens. My main goal for this year is to focus on the 800 meters outdoors and to make the medal stand in Helsinki.”

    Women’s Long Jump

    Carolina Kluft, winner: “It feels good. I had a great competition. It started out kind of tough today. But, my last jump I had a good jump. This competition fits very well into what I’ll do the rest of the season. I will do the high jump and the long jump in other competions. I need to be focused.

    “It’s the first competition, I needed to get the feel of the runway and takeoff, and to put everything together. In the last jump, I put them together and had a good jump. I’m satisfied.

    “I try to do my best and have fun. I take one day at a time. I try to live now; not in the future, not in the past. It was a great atmosphere here today, a great crowd. I liked when they were cheering and clapping. I felt great with them behind me.”

    Men’s 400 meters

    Jerry Harris, winner

    “It felt really good with that being the first race of the year. My nerves were bothering me more than anything. This is a prestigious event to come to and open the year.

    It’s (my time) is good for the first meet. Everything in the race felt good. I didn’t feel too much pressure in the beginning. I’ve always had a good kick and I relied on it.

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