Ivana Španović and Orlando Ortega provided the highlights of the PSD Bank Indoor Meeting in front of a capacity 2,000 crowd in Düsseldorf’s Arena Sportpark on Wednesday 3 February, the second of the 2016 European Athletics Indoor Permit Meetings.
Last year’s European indoor long jump champion, Španović flew out to a world-leading 6.79m in the third round but had hoped to make an even bigger statement.
“I’m not happy because I was expecting so much more after my warm up. In the competition itself, I got far too excited and I was rushing my run up," reflected the Serbian.
"This winter I will alternate, one week sprinting, another jumping. So last week I was sprinting in my home city of Novi Sad, this weekend I will be sprinting again and then my next long jump competition will be in Stockholm (on 17 February),” she added.
“I will follow that up with more sprinting and then will also jump in Belgrade at the competition there to test out the new facilities that will be used for the 2017 European Indoor Championships there, it’s a new arena that’s really good, before going to the World Indoor Championships.”
The 2015 world championships bronze medallist actually was pressed surprising hard for her win as Germany’s 21-year-old Alexandra Wester added 13 centimetres to her best, indoors or out, with a stunning second-round effort of 6.72m to initially take the lead before Španović responded in the following round.
Spanish hurdler Orlando Ortega managed two world-leading times, firstly when he clocked 7.54 in his heat and he stopped the clock in a Spanish record 7.49 in the final.
In the second race France’s Dimitri Bascou – who had earlier clocked 7.60 in his heat – pushed Ortega hard all the way down the track but the 2015 European indoor silver medallist finished 0.03 back in a season’s best of 7.52.
“I was very happy with my race today, it’s a Spanish record, technically it was good and my confidence was strong after my heat but I know I can go faster. I’m in a good place now, my living conditions are good, my training is going well, I’m happy generally,” said the Madrid-based Ortega.
Kenyan runners Elijah Manangoi and Augustine Choge added world-leading marks in the German city when winning the men’s 1500m and 3000m in 3:39.77 and 7:39.23 respectively.
There were also two impressive wins for Polish athletes.
Teenage sprint talent Ewa Swoboda, 18, arrived in Dusseldorf fresh from her European junior indoor 60m record of 7.13 in Luxembourg on Saturday and went close to that time when winning in 7.16, having looked impressive in the heats when she clocked the fastest time of 7.19.
Great Britain’s Desiree Henry, only 20 herself, ran a personal best of 7.21 for second in the final.
Another Polish win went to two-time European indoor 800m champion Adam Kszczot who front-ran his way to a win over four laps of the track in 1:46.00, the fastest time by a European so far this year.
In the women’s 60m hurdles final, two-time European indoor champion Alina Talay from Belarus just held off local star and 2015 world silver medallist Cindy Roleder, the pair timed at 8.00 and 8.01 respectively.
Jenny Elbe, the World University Games triple jump silver medallist, produced an indoor personal best of 14.12m in the fifth round to edge out her German compatriot Kristin Gierisch.
Gierisch had led with her fourth-round 14.07m, the first jump beyond 14 metres in an otherwise modest contest, before Elbe responded one round later. Gierisch improved to 14.10m with her final effort but it was not quite enough.
Greece’s 2014 world indoor champion Konstadinos Filippidis could go no higher than a relatively modest 5.60m but it was still enough to beat Canada’s reigning world champion outdoors, Shawn Barber, by virtue of less failures in the competition.
The winning streak of 2013 world champion Raphael Holzdeppe, who had three consecutive victories in January, came to an end when he couldn’t clear his opening height of 5.60m.