Friday, March 7, 2008

Fast & Furious: World Indoors Championships, Day 1 Blogging

Angela Williams triumphs over obstacles to win first 60-meters title.

The medal count for Team USA is off to a good start on the first day of the 2008 World Indoor Championships in Valencia, Spain. The U.S. has two athletes competing in each event. Participating athletes won roster spots at the U.S. indoor nationals two weeks ago in Boston.

It was an exciting first day for Team USA in Valencia, beginning a weekend of what is expected to be high level performances. The first day was filled mostly with preliminary races and three final events.

Angela Williams won her first elusive 60-meter title and prepared to shake up the female sprint world come this summer. The 28-year-old American sprinter won gold and collected a $40,000 winner’s prize for a superb effort and a confidence booster for Beijing. Williams was timed in a very respectful 7.06.

After the race Williams said, “It feels awesome, I’m so excited. Just confirmed that working hard and believing in yourself pays off. I was confident, but I didn’t want to be cocky. I said ‘today is the day Angie’. It’s about staying calm and focused on my race. I’m so happy. Now it’s a new beginning with the outdoor season.”

Great Britain's Jeanette Kwakye battled to the end before finishing second in 7.08 to set her nation's new 60-meter record. Back just a hair was Taheisa Harrigan of the British Virgin Islands finishing in 7.09--which was another national record.

After the incredible indoor season by American shot putters, it would have been quite disappointing if they didn’t make some serious noise in Spain. But they brought their A game.

American shot putter Christian Cantwell is back to his winning ways by taking another world indoor title after besting American Reese Hoffa. Cantwell’s 71 feet, 5.25 inch heave solidified his come-from-behind victory. The world title ends Christian’s streak of track meets since 2004 in which he has failed to medal in major meets.

When asked how he felt Cantwell said, “I’m happy with the win. My training has been going ok so far. There is no one in the world that can compete with us (Americans) in the shot. We’re expected to win.”

Americans fail to win men's 60-meters.
The chances of an American winning the 60-meters at the world champs went down with Leonard Scott at the USA Indoor Nationals when he pulled a hamstring in Boston. Scott is the former 2007 U.S. indoor national champion with a tremendous amount of international race experience.

Africa has found the continent's next elite sprinter since Nambias' Frankie Fredricks in Nigeria's Olusoji Fasusba, who sprinted to a dramatic victory in the 60-meter finals in 6.51. It marks the first title for Africa and Nigeria.

UK's controversial runner, Dwight Chambers ran a close second with a late charge and was followed by Kim Collins of St. Kitts & Nevis in third place. Both sprinters were credited with a joint silver medal in 6.54. Chamber is making his second come back after struggles to get reinstatement to British national team after serving a two-year drug suspension.

Michael Rogers of the United States ran a personal best of 6.57 and finished fourth after a sluggish start out of the blocks. The slow start probably cost him a medal. American Leroy Dixon took seventh in his heat in 6.75 and didn't advance.

Fans can watch Team USA online via live, daily Webcast at

Go to IAAF for reviews of the day's preliminary races in the men's 400, 800, 1500, triple jump, and the women's 400, 800, pentathlon long jump and pentathlon 800-meters.

By Jay Hicks, a.k.a. Track Evangelist

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