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World 60m hurdles records for Holloway and Jones in Albuquerque

By running the fastest time in hurdling history on Friday (16), Grant Holloway also extended one of the sport’s longest stretches of dominance.

On the first day of the US Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Holloway ran 7.27* in the heats to break his own 60m hurdles world record before skipping the final hours later because he was already assured of a berth on the US team bound for the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow next month. 

The victory was Holloway’s 60th consecutive at the senior 60m hurdles, part of an astounding, decade-long streak that has left him still the only hurdler all time to dip under 7.30, a feat he has now achieved three times. That longevity and speed ensures he will arrive at Glasgow the prohibitive favourite to win a second straight world indoor gold medal – what he called the “main goal” of this season.

“I knew it was going to be a good one after I got out of the blocks,” Holloway said. “My main thing was just to continue going through with my steps and my rhythm. I wasn’t too upset about it but, you know, 7.27 at a nice track is always a good thing.”

With Holloway a spectator for Friday’s final, Trey Cunningham’s comeback season continued with a personal best 7.39 to claim his first national indoor title. The silver medallist at the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Oregon, Cunningham was hobbled by an injured back and hamstring in 2023, but has returned to form. 

Holloway’s world record run came only 20 minutes after another. Tia Jones equalled the women’s world record in the 60m hurdles by clocking 7.67* in the heats to match the mark set by Devynne Charlton of The Bahamas just five days earlier at the Millrose Games.

After crossing the finish line and bouncing off the facility’s protective padding, Jones glanced at the clock and initially turned away – before doing a double-take when recognising she had just equalled Charlton’s mark. 

In the final more than two hours later, Jones nearly matched her record yet again. Her winning time of 7.68 was 0.10 ahead of Jasmine Jones.

They were not the only favourites to win convincingly on the championships’ first day.

World-leading marks were set by Daniel Haugh, whose weight throw of 26.35m also broke the US record; Chase Jackson, who led the shot put from her first attempt and won it on her third with a mark of 20.02m; and long jumper Tara Davis-Woodhall, who described herself as “shocked” after leaping a personal best of 7.18m. Despite acknowledging that she was struggling with her approach on her final four jumps, Davis-Woodhall’s mark moves her to No.6 on the all-time list indoors.

“I think we have more in the tank,” said Davis-Woodall. 

In the pole vault, Chris Nilsen set a US Championships record with his winning vault of 6.00m, ahead of Sam Kendricks, who cleared 5.95m. Nilsen missed once and Kendricks twice at a US record height of 6.05m, before Nilsen raised the bar to 6.10m and missed two more attempts at the record. In one of the night’s few instances where a top contender stumbled, KC Lightfoot finished eighth on 5.65m.

Elle St. Pierre, the only racer in the 3000m with the World Indoor Championships standard, ran alone for much of the final to win in 8:54.40, nearly nine seconds ahead of second-placed Josette Andrews. Countries are allowed two entrants per event for the World Indoor Championships – unless they also have a wild card entry in certain disciplines due to athletes winning the World Indoor Tour in 2023 or 2024, as is the case for Holloway – and competitors must either own their event’s qualifying standard or, if not, advance via world ranking.

Expecting a tactical race, St. Pierre, who was accustomed to racing at Albuquerque’s altitude after months of training at elevation in Arizona, took control of the pace early. If she qualifies for the World Indoor Championships in the 1500m as well, St. Pierre indicated she “would just focus on the 3km” in Glasgow.

Like St. Pierre, Yared Nuguse entered his own 3000m final as the only racer already owning the standard for the World Indoor Championships. Unlike St. Pierre, he waited out a slower, more strategic race with his kick to win in 7:55.76.

Running in fifth through 1400m, Nuguse moved up to stay patient in second until taking the lead entering the bell lap. He never let it go by closing the final 400m in 54.39 to edge Olin Hacker, who was second in 7:56.22. Nuguse set the US mile record last year, but said he and his coach had aimed for the 3000m in Glasgow out of a desire to maintain the strength he’d accumulated during winter training.

Will Nuguse race Josh Kerr in Glasgow, in what would be a showdown of top 1500m medal contenders stepping up to a longer distance? Kerr, fresh off running 8:00.67 for two miles at the Millrose Games, has not tipped his hand. 

“Honestly, I like the suspense factor,” Nuguse said. “Maybe he’ll be there, maybe he won’t. It’s great.”

Vashti Cunningham’s reign in the high jump continued, needing only three jumps and never missing en route to winning her eighth consecutive indoor national title at 1.92m. Cunningham will enter Glasgow in position to add to her gold and silver medals earned at previous World Indoor Championships, as her season’s best of 1.97m is tied for third-best in the world this season. 

The men’s high jump saw another repeat champion, as Shelby McEwen leapt 2.28m to retain his title. McEwen has not yet met the World Indoor Championships standard of 2.34m, but could advance based on world ranking.

In other finals, Chris Carter won the men’s triple jump on his last attempt, though his mark of 16.49m remains short of the world indoor standard. Nick Christie claimed the men’s 3000m race walk in 11:56.06, and Miranda Melville claimed the women’s title in 13:55.24.

(02/17/2024) Views: 324 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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2024 USAFT Indoor Championships

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