Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia demolished the women’s 1500m indoor world record by more than two seconds on an astonishing night that will fuel yet more talk about how new track spike technology has become a gamechanger for the sport.
The 24-year-old’s time of 3min 53.09sec at the World Indoor Tour meeting in Liévin, France not only broke the previous best set by Genzebe Dibaba in 2014 but – understandably – the resolve of Britain’s Laura Muir.
Muir is one of the world’s finest middle-distance runners, but she was unable to keep up with Tsegay as the pacemaker led the field through the first 400m in a lightning quick 58.97.
The gap only grew and Muir could do little as she finished more than six seconds back in 3:59.58. Her time was still good enough to break the British record.
Two world records that have stood for a generation almost fell during an incredible two hours. The 20-year-old Ethiopian Getnet Wale – who is better known as a steeplechaser – produced an astonishing final kilometre to come within 0.31sec of the indoor 3,000m record that has been held by Daniel Komen since 1998.
Wale’s time of 7:24:98 was also the fourth-fastest 3,000m, indoors or outdoors, with only Komen and Hicham El Guerrouj having gone faster.
Shortly afterwards Grant Holloway won the men’s 60m hurdles in 7.32 sec, 0.02 shy of the world indoor record held by Colin Jackson since 1994.
Such performances come off the back of a string of track world records being set in the autumn, including the men’s and women’s one-hour best and the men’s 10,000m and the women’s 5,000m, which have raised concerns about the new wave of spike technology.
However, in December, the World Athletics president, Seb Coe, indicated he was comfortable with the changes. “I don’t think we’ve reached that point where world records are being handed out like confetti,” he said.
The 22-year-old Scot Jemma Reekie won her first race of the season in the women’s 800m. Reekie, who last year recorded the fastest indoor time in the world since 2006, held off the early pace before coming through to win in 2:00.64.
The 18-year-old Keely Hodgkinson, who burst on to the international scene last week by running an astonishing 1:59.03 to break the world under-20 record in Vienna, finished fourth in 2:01.71.
There was another British women’s victory in the pole vault as Holly Bradshaw won with a clearance of 4.73m, beating the Rio Olympic champion, Katerina Stefanidi, into second. A third British winner came in the form of Elliot Giles, who continued his strong start to 2021 by winning the men’s 800m in 1:45.49.