BOSTON – As the 2020 World Athletics Indoor Tour got underway in Boston on Saturday night (25), World Champion Donavan Brazier continued his annual tradition of topping the podium at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix.
Brazier obliterated the 600m field in 1:14.39, nearly six seconds ahead of second placed Michael Stigler. His winning time is the second fastest ever recorded over the distance indoors – with Brazier himself having set the world best of 1:13.77 last winter.
Commenting on his winning streak in Boston, he said: “It feels great. This is my tradition so far while being a professional. I’ve run at Boston’s Reggie Lewis four years straight now and I’ve come out with four wins in a row – so might as well just keep coming back.”
Another world champion from Doha showing great form in her season opener was Nia Ali in the women’s 60m hurdles.
The American already looked sharp in the heats and secured the win in the final over world indoor silver medalist Christina Clemons in 7.94 to 7.98.
While Brazier and Ali were favourites coming into the meet, one athlete who managed to upstage a medalist from the Doha World Athletics Championships was Australia’s Jessica Hull.
Germany’s world bronze medalist Konstanze Klosterhalfen said in the pre-meet press conference she wanted to race hard and pushed the pace early on.
Tucked in behind was Hull, who with less than 50 meters to go outkicked her training partner to produce one of the biggest upsets of the night and take the victory in a national record 4:04.14.
Klosterhalfen finished closely behind in 4:04.38 with Ireland’s Ciara Mageean bettering her own national indoor record set here last year by half a second for third.
More national records tumbled in the men’s 1000m and the women’s two miles.
In his first indoor race as a professional, 800m NCAA indoor and outdoor champion Bryce Hoppel caught Britain’s Jake Wightman on the line to take the victory in 2:17.41.
Wightman, who’d been leading going into the final lap, was rewarded for his early efforts with a British indoor record 2:17.51.
17-times NCAA champion Edward Cheserek had to settle for second in the men’s 3000m as world indoor bronze medalist Bethwel Birgen won the Kenyan duel in 7:44.21.
With about 1000m to go, Cheserek had moved to the front, but a lethal kick from Birgen with just over 300m to go secured the victory.
Elinor Purrier, who already showed strong closing speed at last year’s New Balance Indoor Grand Prix continued her strong form this year.
After a stumble early on, Purrier fought her way to the front alongside 2017 World Steeplechase Champion Emma Coburn and outkicked Coburn and training partner Dominique Scott over the final lap.
Her winning time of 9:29.19 is a lifetime best, with Scott’s 9:31.98 second place a South African indoor record.
Chris O’Hare and Nick Willis provided a thrilling finish in the Tommy Leonard Memorial Men’s Mile, with O’Hare just holding off veteran Willis – who made his meet debut in Boston some 17 years ago – 3:59.62 to 3:59.89.
In the sprints, Harvard graduate Gabby Thomas stormed to a 300m victory in 36.52, while Demek Kemp won the men’s 60m in a lifetime best 6.50.
In the Jesse Loubier Memorial Men’s 400m, Obi Igbokwe took the win in 46.50. After Sydney McLaughlin’s withdrawal from the 500m, the race presented itself wide open, with Lisanne De Witte taking the victory in 1:10.50.
Nerves of steel were on show in the men’s triple jump. Spaniard Pablo Torrijos unleashed the biggest jump on the day – 16.75m – in the fifth round, having fouled his first four attempts. Over in the women’s high jump, Amina Smith won with 1.89m to take maximum World Indoor Tour points, while Priscilla Frederick, who cleared the same height for second, set an Antiguan indoor record.
The World Athletics Indoor Tour next moves on to Karlsruhe (January 31), Germany, where the world’s best athletes will continue their chase for wildcard positions for the World Athletics Indoor Championships in March.