ISTANBUL, TURKEY -- Ashton Eaton easily bettered his own world record in the men’s heptathlon to lead a four-gold, three-bronze medal charge for Team USA as the 14th edition of the World Indoor Championships continued Saturday from the Atakoy Athletic Arena. Competition concludes the final session Sunday.
Along with Eaton, Sanya Richards-Ross (women’s 400m), Chaunte Lowe (women’s high jump) and Justin Gatlin (men’s 60m) all established themselves as 2012 world champions Saturday. When added to Ryan Whiting shot put gold medal from Friday, Team USA’s total of eight medals gives them the overall lead in the medal table ahead of Great Britain with four. Team USA won 17 medals at the 2010 World Indoor Championships and 12 finals are scheduled for Sunday.
Meanwhile, Team USA picked up bronze medals Saturday from Natasha Hastings (women’s 400m), Brad Walker (men’s pole vault) and Michelle Carter (women’s shot put).
When Eaton came to the line in the men’s 1000m he had to run within just seven seconds of his personal best of 2:32.67. Eaton responded by running 2:32.77 and left no doubt about extending his world record, which he initially set in 2010 of 6,499. Over the two day competition, Eaton won five of the seven events to finish well ahead of Oleksiy Kasyanov of the Ukraine (6,071).
Richards-Ross entered the 400m final with the goal of winning a gold medal and setting an American record in the process. Her winning time of 50.79 equalled her season best from the USA Indoor Championships and is easily the fastest time in the world this year. In her first indoor season since 2006, this is Richards-Ross first World Indoor Championships medal.
Lowe completed a two-week stretch that saw her set an American record, win the indoor Visa Championship Series and win a World Indoor Championships gold medal. In sixth position heading into what would be the winning height of 1.98m/6-6, Lowe cleared it on her first attempt as the rest of the field failed to do so. Lowe is also the American outdoor record holder.
Gatlin ran the same time of 6.46 Saturday to win the men’s 60m as he did to win the World Indoor title in 2003. The season best time for Gatlin left little doubt from the start as he finished well ahead of Jamaica’s Nesta Carter, who won the silver in 6.54. Trell Kimmons finished with the same time as Great Britain’s Dwain Chambers of 6.60, but finished in fourth place.
Hastings took a charge at Richards-Ross on the race’s final lap before finishing third in 51.82. It marks the first time in the history of the World Indoor Championships that Team USA has won two medals in the event.
Carter was able to best American indoor and outdoor record holder Jillian Camarena-Williams to win the bronze medal with a throw of 19.58/64-3. The 2004 World Junior champion, this is the first medal for Carter at the World Championships. Camarena-Williams placed fourth at 19.44m/63-9.5.
For the fifth time Walker claimed a medal at a World Championships with his vault of 5.80/19-0.25 to win the bronze. The 2006 World Indoor Championships gold medalist also won a World Indoor silver medal in 2008. The height he cleared Saturday was the same height he won the gold medal with in 2006. Scott Roth failed to record a mark.
Will Claye advanced into the finals in the men’s triple jump during Saturday’s morning session before finishing fourth in the long jump in the afternoon. Claye scratched three jumps including his final attempt to finish at 8.04m/26-4.25. Claye will be joined in the triple jump final by Christian Taylor, who jumped a season best of 17.39m/57-0.75 and the best mark of the day.
Matthew Centrowitz made a move for the leaders in the final laps of the men’s 1,500m final before fading to a seventh place finish. The 2011 World Outdoor Championships bronze medalist crossed the finish line in a time of 3:47.42.
Aries Merritt advanced past the first round of the 60m hurdles by winning his heat in a time of 7.66 and into Sunday’s semi-finals. Kevin Craddock was forced to withdraw from the race due to a hamstring injury.
Jesse Williams will lead a 10-man field into Sunday’s finals of the men’s high jump after clearing a height of 2.29m/7-6 while the men’s 4x400m team of Frankie Wright, Jamaal Torrance, Manteo Mitchell and Quentin Iglehart-Summers won the opening heat in a time of 3:07.47 to advance to the finals. The women’s 4x400m did not feature any preliminary action.
World-leader Tianna Madison and Barbara Pierre advanced into Sunday’s semi-final round of the women’s 60m by recording the same time of 7.24 while two-time USA Indoor Champion Janay DeLoach (6.90m/22-7.75) and two-time reigning World champion Brittney Reese (6.72m/22-0.75) advanced to the finals of the women’s long jump.
For continuing updates on the World Indoor Championships check www.usatf.org.
Lagat, Richards-Ross named team captains
At a team meeting Thursday prior to the 14th edition of the World Indoor Championships, Bernard Lagat and Sanya Richards-Ross were selected by their peers as Team USA captains. Two veterans of the sport, this is Lagat’s sixth time being a member of Team USA in World Championships and Olympic competition and the eighth time for Richards-Ross.
Lagat qualified for the team in hopes of defending his World Indoor 3,000m title. He advanced into the final Friday, which will be run Sunday. Lagat owns a total of seven indoor and outdoor American records and has won a pair of World Indoor Championships gold medals.
Competing in her first indoor season since 2006, Richards-Ross won a gold medal Saturday in the women’s 400m. The American outdoor record holder, she is also the 2009 World Outdoor gold medalist and the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist.
Team USA Medals
Ryan Whiting, men’s shot put, 22.00m/72-2.25
Ashton Eaton, men’s heptathlon, 6,645 (WR)
Sanya Richards-Ross, women’s 400m, 50.79
Chaunte Lowe, women’s high jump, 1.98m/6-6
Justin Gatlin, men’s 60m, 6.46
Natasha Hastings, women’s 400m, 51.82
Brad Walker, men’s pole vault, 5.80m/19-0.25
Michelle Carter, women’s shot put,
Athlete Quotes - Evening Session
Ashton Eaton - men’s heptathlon
“It’s always a relief to come out of a multi with no injuries. The crowd here was good. They like athletics. My next target is going to be the Olympic Trials because we have such a good team. It was really hard today. I thought I would feel better in the 1,000m. But it is hard running by yourself. I hit the last 400m and I thought I was really going to have to get going. I’m a lot further along (then I was during the world record in 2010) now as a professional. I haven’t peaked yet. I hit some good marks. I just want to stay healthy.”
Chaunte Lowe - women’s high jump
“I’m excited. I wanted this to happen. I didn’t think it would be this easy. I knew I had to make that last height on my first attempt. I put everything into that jump. I just knew that I had to keep fighting. It feels so good to come here and get the victory. I feel so blessed. Something just clicked with me right before USA Indoors. I changed something with my approach and I hope to take this momentum into outdoors.”
Sanya Richards-Ross - women’s 400m
“I’m really happy with this. This is my first World Indoor title. Running two rounds (Friday) took a little out of my legs. I wanted to get the American record, but more importantly I wanted to win gold. I wanted to go out strong and still be able to bring it home. I’m definitely excited for London. I’m healthy. This is my first time competing indoors in six years and I feel good.”
Justin Gatlin - men’s 60m
“I felt great. My first title in 2003 I ran the exact same time so I think that I’m back. Everyone needs to stay tuned because the USA is going to show you something. I knew I had to do what I had to do. I’m just thankful. I wanted to make sure I got out of the blocks and once I put my head up all I saw was yellow and green. I just wanted to do anything that I could. I’m going to go home and take a breather and start working on the next 40 (meters).”
Natasha Hastings - women’s 400m
“I had the goal win. Now my focus is on the summer. It’s great to know I am able to compete. I think this means for will need to look out for Team USA this summer in London.”
Michelle Carter - women’s shot put
“I really need to concentrate on my form from here on. I loved the crowd support. I thought that I had a good chance to medal. This is my first medal at a World Championships and I’m very happy with where I am at.”
Jillian Camarena-Williams - women’s shot put
“It was a rough day. I had some technique issues. But this was a good test for me. Those top two girls were battling and I thought I could hang with them. I’m happy for Michelle (Carter) to be able to win a medal. It’s a good day for the women’s shot put. We had two of us right in it.”
Brad Walker - men’s pole vault
“I have never left a World Indoor Championships empty handed. This is my first bronze, but I am happy to get on the podium. I had to make a third attempt and I thought that would get me a medal. I just had to put it together.”
Will Claye - men’s long jump
“I felt all right. I had a few fouls but they were definitely fouls. Nothing surprised me at all. I know I could have done better but I have to move on from this. Tomorrow I know Christian (Taylor) and I are going to push each other and it comes down to whoever jumps farther. My legs are fine. I’m good to go. I’m going back to the hotel to get some rest and tomorrow get back at it.”
Matthew Centrowitz - men’s 1,500m
“When you are running indoors positioning is huge. If you make a wrong mistake it is hard to come back. It is different running in here. There are different tactics involved. To run at this caliber is great experience. I’m healthy and this was my first World Indoor Championships team so whatever happened I was going to be happy.”
Jesse Williams - men’s high jump
“I have some things I need to work out. The track is fast and I think I can make adjustments into the finals. There are going to be 10 guys left. I wanted them to take eight, but unfortunately they stopped at 10 so it’s two more guys to worry about. I think the finals are going to be something special. My legs are feeling good. If I get the rhythm on the track I think my legs are going to be there.”
Brittney Reese - women’s long jump
“My coach just told me to ‘see it, feel it, trust it.’ I’m going to try and get the American record in the finals.”
Janay DeLoach - women’s long jump
“I’m happy that I made it into the finals. This is my second national team, but my first World Indoor team. The track is fast and I felt good. I feel good about tomorrow.”
Will Claye - men’s triple jump
“It’s good to come here and get the automatic. It’s not as good as I wanted, but I feel good. I’m still fresh and luckily I didn’t have to take three jumps. That will definitely help me. Coming here this morning and doing the triple jump I think is really going to help my long jump.”
Christian Taylor - men’s triple jump
“I felt great. I don’t want to be a one and done jumper. That jump felt all right. I was a little flat, but a lot of that was nerves. I think I got that out of me. I jumped a season best so I am confident. God willing I want to keep going. I just have to keep the faith.”
Aries Merritt - men’s 60m hurdles
“It was very easy. I just wanted to stay relaxed. I’m happy to get through. It was an easy round. I want to come here and execute my race. If I execute my race I am confident that I can get a medal.”
Barbara Pierre - women’s 60m dash
“I felt great. I thought there was a false start, but I kept running. I thought I ran slower, but I guess that just shows how good I feel. I’m very superstitious and I want to keep doing the same thing I did at USA Indoors. I’m going to take it easy now and come tomorrow go out and get it.”
Quentin Iglehart-Summers - men’s 4x400m relay anchor leg
“We wanted to come through and get in first. We are going in on time so we wanted to get a good lane. We won comfortably. We have four good legs and right now we are working things out. I think if we were tested we could have run faster.”
Michael Rutt - men’s 800m
“I just wanted to race smart. This is my first international competition and the plan was to have fun. The pace was relaxed through 400m and it started to get quicker after that. I just wanted to stay in front. If I took the lead with 400m to go then two people would have to pass me. In the final I just want to come out and have fun. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself. I knew I had the potential to do this.”
Tevan Everett - men’s 800m
“On the international level guys can get frisky. They are not afraid to bump you. I thought I was in a good place at 600m and then people started making moves. I was glad for Michael (Rutt). This was a great experience and I won’t take it for granted. I’m going to be ready to race outdoors.”