If 2018 was a year to remember for Ireland’s Phil Healy, it looks like 2019 will be more of the same, especially with the Glasgow 2019 European Athletics Indoor Championships fast approaching.
Healy moved to the top of the world lists with a brilliant performance, winning the women’s 400m in 52.31 at the Vienna Indoor Classic ahead of two of her likely rivals for the title in Glasgow.
The Netherlands’ Lisanne de Witte, who won the European outdoor bronze medal in Berlin last August, clocked 52.66 and Great Britain’s Eilidh Doyle was third fastest across the heats in 53.08.
It was in Vienna last year that Healy ran her personal best of 52.08. She also improved her 100m national record to 11.28 last year and became the first Irishwoman to break the 23-second mark for 200m with 22.99.
With Glasgow not far away, she will now focus on making her mark at the European Indoor Championships. One of her biggest rivals for the title will be the reigning European 400m hurdles champion Lea Sprunger from Switzerland who opened her season with a 52.35 clocking in Magglingen the following day.
Slovenia’s Luka Janezic from Slovenia ran 46.13 to win the men’s 400m in Vienna from Turkey's Yavuz Can in 46.70 with teammate and 3000m steeplechase specialist Marusa Mismas producing a personal best of 2:03.57 for victory in the 800m.
Klosterhalfen defeats Simpson over 5000m in Boston
Konstanze Klosterhalfen’s progress towards the European Athletics Championships remains impressive as she showed at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston on Saturday (26) evening.
The German star, who won European indoor 1500m silver behind Laura Muir in Belgrade in 2017, now trains in Portland, Oregon in the United States and she won the 5000m at the 24th New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in 15:15.80.
Her victory came ahead of 2011 world 1500m champion Jenny Simpson, the American running at the distance for the first time in a decade and finishing second in 15:33.38. Klosterhalfen broke away from Simpson just after the halfway point, covering the fourth and fifth kilometres in 2:53.81 and 2:51.59.
As Ethiopian Hagos Gebrhiwet won the 3000m in a world lead of 7:37.41, Spain’s reigning European indoor champion Adel Mechaal was third in 7:45.56 with Brits Andrew Butchart (7:46.50) and Chris O´Hare (7:47.78) in fourth and fifth respectively.
There were national records aplenty in the mile. Canada’s Gabriela Stafford, who trains with Muir, won in a national record of 4:24.80 while Yolanda Ngarambe was fourth in a Swedish record of 4:28.30, just ahead of European 1500m fourth-placer Ciara Mageean who set an Irish record of 4:28.31 in fifth.
Struggling with illness ahead of the competition, Greece’s two-time European pole vault champion Ekaterini Stefanidi had to settle for second with 4.71m behind Katie Nageotte from the United States who cleared a world-leading 4.86m.
Twenty four hours after competing at home in Erfurt, Germany’s German Christina Schwanitz was also second in the shot put with 18.87m as US athlete Maggie Ewen improved her world lead to 19.28m.
World lead for Mihambo; Norwegian records for Lillefosse and Guttormsen
In Sindelfingen on Saturday, Germany’s European champion Malaika Mihambo moved to the top of the world lists as she continued her preparations for Glasgow in good style.
Not only did Mihambo win the long jump with 6.70m, she also showed her speed by finishing second in the 60m in 7.45.
Lithuania’s Airine Palsyte was superb as she won the European indoor high jump in Belgrade with 2.01m and she opened her season at home in Vilnius on Saturday with a clearance of 1.94m at the Federation Cup
In Stockholm at the Just Pole Vault meeting on Saturday, Norway’s European U18 champion Pal Haugen Lillefosse cleared 5.50m for a national U20 record while Sweden’s Angelica Bengtsson cleared 4.60m to win the women’s competition.
While Lillefosse cleared a national U20 record, US-based Sondre Guttormsen, 19, cleared an indoor record of 5.71m in New York - second only to his outright Norwegian record of 5.75m from the European Championships in Berlin last August.