This is piece 1 by Stuart Weir on the ISTAF Indoor Berlin, which was held on Feb 5, 2021. Including heats, the meeting, without an onsite audience, had ten events, and kept Stuart Weir engrossed via his Television.
ISTAF Indoor Berlin
The ISTAF Indoor event in Berlin consisted of 4 track events and 2 field events in an hour and a half’s program. As all of the 10 races (4 finals and 6 prelims) were over 60m, the event showcased the two field events. It was just a shame that German COVID regulations prevented any spectators from being present.
Arthur Cissé, something of an indoor specialist, set a national record in the 60m of 6.53 with Lamont Jacobs in second place run a PR of 6.55. The first two in the men’s hurdles Aaron Mallett (USA) and Orlando Ortega (Spain) both stopped the clock at 7.64 with Mallett winning with the aid of a photo. Mallett commented: “Coming out like that and then beating a guy like Ortega and the rest of the field, I was happy with that. This time I am first in the photo finish [unlike in Düsseldorf where he came second in the photo finish]. I just needed a little more rest, get acclimated in Europe. I am really happy to come out on top this time”.
Ernest Obiena (Philippines) won the men’s pole vault from Torben Blech – both on 5.80. For Obiena, that was a new PR and nation record, improving from 5.62. He commented: “I do not really know how this was possible. Now I am seeing some kind of light in the tunnel and I am happy with the 5.80m jump. The attempt at 5.80m felt easy, I did not want to move up with poles. I had this issue mentally. This is why competing with Torben is always nice. It felt easy. If I had had another one, I know I could have made the 5.87m. It is ISTAFBerlin! Growing up I watched this on YouTube. Now that I have the Bear Trophy, it is nice. Cloud Nine!”
There were four Germans in the women’s 60m final but Maja Mihalinec-Zidar (Slovenia) beat them all. She assessed her performance: “I am happy to be running close to my PB in the start of the season. I am ready for faster times and am focussing on the European Indoor Championships and hopefully I will improve until then. It was very nice here. Of course, it was not the same without spectators, but the organizers are doing a great job. They get us in the mood, create a wonderful atmosphere with the music and the lights”.
Chrisitina Clemons won the women’s hurdles – see separate post – but a special mention for Nooralotta Neziri, who set a new Finnish record of 7.91 – breaking the old record of 7.92 which SHE set last week in Karlsruhe.
It’s a bit like saying that the pope is a Catholic when I tell you that Malaika Mihambo won the long-jump with 6.77, a world lead. The German virtual crowd was virtually thrilled.