Day Two Celebrates Finals Galore in Glasgow: Deep thoughts on a stupendous day two of World Indoor Track & Field (PHOTOS Photos by Dan Vernon for World Athletics)

The second day of the 2024 World Indoor Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, had spills and chills from the beginning to the very end of sessions 1 and 2.

The crowd of 5,000 Scottish fans, in both sessions, were treated to some of the finest running, jumping and vaulting today.

1. One centimeter is difference between gold, silver and bronze!

Miltiadis Tentoglou opened the long jump with a leap of 8.22 meters. In the very next attempt, Italy’s wunderkid, Mattia Furlani leaped 8.22 meters. Neither improved. So, the final decision on the medals came down to second best jumps. Tentoglou had an 8.15m second best and Furlani had a 8.10m second best. Carey McLeod of Jamaica pushed the rest of the field out of bronze medal contention, with his jump in 8.21m.

The Greek star was an unhappy camper, and he noted that in his flash quote: “This result does not mean anything to me. I did not like the competition today, it was really bad for me. I jumped terrible. The morning final is like a ‘dog shit’. I do not care much but I was lucky to win. I am just a lucky guy. It was very close. I hope everyone had some fun today. At least, it was exciting at the end. This track is one of my favourites so it was good, similar to Budapest. I did not feel that much excitement about winning this title and I do not think it will help me prepare for the summer. It was just another competition for me. I consider long jump to be one of the hardest events because of the board and the accuracy you need. You need to run like a sprinter, to hit the board perfectly – this is the difficult part of the long jump. The jump itself is easy. The hard part is the run-up. So if they want to remove this, the long jump would be the easiest event. If that happens, I will not do long jump anymore. I will be a triple jumper.”

2. Burkina Faso gets a gold medal from its favorite triple jumper

Hughes Fabrice Zango does a lot of firsts for his country, Burkina Faso.

Yasser Mohameed Triki, Algeria opened the jumping at 17.35m, as the rest of the field gook a while to get over seventeen meters. Triki fouled in attempt 2, attempt 3 and then passed the rest of the competition.

Hughes Fabrice Zango worked hard, going from 16.99mm to his fifth place 17.53m jump, when he finally took the lead and gave Burkina Faso its first gold medal in world indoor.

A very pleased Monsieur Zango said: “It’s never easy to win a championship. When I came here I thought I might be able to do something but my season wasn’t what I wanted. Tonight I tried and tried and on my fifth jump it finally happened – doing 17.53 is really crazy. I’m really happy for Burkina Faso, for Africa because in the final we have two Africans on the podium.”

Tiago Pereira, Portugal, won the bronze with a hop, skip and jump of 17.08 meters. Tiago, getting his first medal told the media: “I feel amazing, my first medal in a majors, in the worlds, with a PB finally my work is starting to pay off. In 2017 when I had been doing the high jump for 12 years and I decided to switch to the triple jump, people said I was crazy. But to jump 17 metres and finally win a medal here is great. I have changed coach and things have been different. I was the best high jumper in Portugal but I would rather be the third best triple jumper in the world than the best high jumper in Portugal but not winning a championship medal. You have to fight until the last jump, it was a difficult event for me, I started with a fall, one safe jump and then a fall. In my last jump I think to myself I will give my everything, and my everything gets me a medal.”

3. Big Upset in Women’s 3,000 meters!

Everyone was watching Gudaf Tsegay. Many in Scotland were hoping for Laura Muir, Scotland’s super star. Steeplechase world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech lead the race through 1k, in 2:48.83. Behind Chepkoeach was Tsegay, Hull, St. Pierre with Muir back in tenth. Laura Muir had to push hard to get back into the first group, as the pace continued tough, as Gudaf Tsegay leads, with Hull, Chepkoech, St. Pierre on Tsegay. 2000m hit in 5:35.78. Tsegay had been a bit annoyed as Hull was close to her heels. St. Pierre just kept her head down and Muir tried to get closer, but would not get closer than fifth.

The six fastest women in 2024 are all in this final! Tsegay is trying to push the pace, but does not seem going well. Tsegay puts her arm out, as Hull seems to be too close to Tsegay, at least for the Ethiopian’s preferences.

Elle St. Pierre’s story is remarkable. Just a year ago today, she was expecting her son, Ivan, who was born a few days later. In four races back, Elle Pierre had run an 8:20 3k, 4:16 mile, then an 8:54 for 3000m at altitude.

But, who was going to challenge Gudaf Tsegay?

With just two laps to go, Jessica Hull dropped to fourth, Elle St. Pierre went to lane two and moved into a better position with one lap to go. Using a 29.67 last 200 meters, Elle St. Pierre willed herself in front of Gudaf Tsegay, who was more shocked than anything, as the American made history, taking gold for the US for the first time in this 3,000 meters, in 8:20.87, with Tsegay in silver in 8:21.13 and Beatrice Chepkoech, in 8:22.68 NR for bronze. Jessica Hull, Australia took 4th with her 4th NR of the season.

Elle Purrier told Lewis Johnson of NBC that she was so happy to win the 3,000m and have her family here as well. Elle St. Pierre has had an amazing season, moving up from silver to gold in the Women’s 3,000 meters, and making history!

The superlatives for Elle St. Purrier continue. Her Champs record broke a 35 year old record for the 3,000m! Her time of 8:20.87 is the third fastest EVER. And of course, Elle St. Purrier set an American record, Championships record and a superb personal best!

Congrats to Elle, her family and her coach, Mark Coogan, who has a wonderful working style with his athletes.

4. Josh Kerr Delivers to Scotland!

Josh Kerr is the Olympic bronze medalist at 1,500 meters from 2021. Last summer, in hot and humid Budapest, Josh Kerr achieved the plans of he and his coach, Danny Mackey, by challenging Jakob Ingebrigtsen five times in the last 300 meters, giving us the most exciting finish in a 1,500m since Pekka Vassala’s win in Munich 1972!

Kerr’s win was not a fluke. And it irritated the Norwegian, who after Josh Kerr’s 2 mile indoor World record of 8:00.53 in Millrose, noted “ I could have beat him blindfolded.”

Well, no one could beat Josh Kerr in any method in Glasgow.

The pace was total roller derby on the fast new MONDO track. Kerr had Selemon Barega, World Champion over 10,000m and World Indoor Champion over 3,000m, who had run faster than Josh Kerr this season. He had Yared Nuguse, AR holder at Mile, Indoor and out, and one dangerous kicker. Getnet Wale, Ethiopia’s steeplechase star, also had a faster 3,000m than Kerr.

But, here’s the deal, Josh Kerr wanted this badly. I recall the quote from 1968 Olympic gold medalist at the decathlon, Bill Toomey. Toomey told me tha the winner of most global medals is “the one who covets the medal the most.”

Josh Kerr was knocked around during the final. The term is jostled, but the Scot kept his cool. In the last kilometer, Olin Hacker, an NCAA 5,000m champion (like his father, Tim), charged to the front and shook it up. That increase in pace pushed the race into medal chasing and Josh Kerr went to the outside and made his move.

Josh Kerr’s last 400m is, well deadly. He ran 52.65 to distance himself from Selemon Barega. Barega did not notice that Yared Nuguse, coming from way back, passed Wale and then, Barega, taking the silver. Getnet Wale took the bronze, with Olin Hacker in fifth!

This was a huge emotional moment for Josh Kerr. Post race, in his inimitable style, Josh told the assembled media:

“I just didn’t want to short change anyone tonight because I knew I had the support of all Scotland and the UK tonight. But I think I used more energy celebrating than I did in the race. This was so important to me because I’ve come to championships before not ready to take a real swing at it and I feel like I’ve let the UK audience down a bit the way I’ve performed in front of them, so to come here fit and ready to go and to do it here means everything. I had to really keep a patient head and let it come together out there. I’m so glad I could do that. It wasn’t the cleanest race but I got it done and have another world title feels amazing. This packed Scottish stadium sounded like the loudest I’ve ever heard. I knew I needed not to let them down. It was emotional out there.”

Yared Nuguse, the silver medalist, achieved his first global medal, and was ecstatic! Here’s what Yared told the media in the mixed zone:

“I feel like: Finally I have achieved it. The atmosphere was electric and the crowd really hyped in in the last two laps. It was going to be pressure with anything but I liked it a lot. The 3000m is nice because it helps to built my strenght and it is not super sharp like 1500m, but I am going to double up. It just felt like it was a really nice competition to run against all these guys and I really happy to do it. I saw the ending of the women’ s 3k, I saw Elle when she won. I am so proud of her, she killed it. We will be like: Wow, good job. This is my first major medal and it means a lot to me. I have been expecting it for some time, In have been on this level, I was number two last year and did not get it so I was just going through these races and now, I am really excited. My parents will tell me that I should have gone faster in the end and get the gold.”

5. Femke Bol takes gold and a new WR!

Femke Bol has trained for both the 400 meters and 400 meter hurdles.

Femke Bol set a WR at 400m just weeks ago in 49.23. I was reading about her workouts and she trains like an 800 meter runner who goes over hurdles!

Femke Bol dominated her final, with Lieke Klaver, her team mate, chasing hear, and Alexis Holmes of the USA, pushing to gain a medal.

Femke Bol hit the finish in 49.17, a new world record! Lieke Klaver finished in silver in 50.16. Alexis Holmes, USA was bronze in 50.24 PB. Laviai Nielson, GBR, finished 5th in PB of 50.89 with Talitha Diggs, USA, 51.23 =SB. Susanne Gogl-Walli, Austria took sixth in 51.37 NR.

Femke Bol told the media: “It was amazing. It was such a strong race, I knew I had to go out fast. My coach said to me ‘ you can run faster’ but to be honest I just wanted to win. This is great because I’ve not done hurdles for four weeks and it gives me confidence. And to get this with Lieke, it’s so good for our sport and our team. I am missing the hurdles. I mean, I like the 400 and I must say I like the indoors a bit more than the outdoors. It is just great to race. I enjoy racing and this competition and the atmosphere has been amazing.”

A very happy Lieke Klaver spoke of her silver: “It means a lot to get this medal. I had planned it in my head but you still have to deliver. I’ve just finished my studies and now to win this silver is great. I love indoors. You can step out of the intensity of winter training for a bit. Now we go back to training after the championships. But we are so excited in the Dutch team about the relays here. The girls brought me coffee this morning. We do this in our team and we can’t wait to get out and run the (4x400m) relay.”

6. Oh what a 400 meter final for the Men. Doom breaks Warholm’s 10 year winning streak at the indoor two lapper!

Karsten Warholm started out as a decathlete, and then, he got into the 400 meter hurdles. The Crazy Viking loves the 400 meter and just want some racing.

So, when he figured out that he had a 400m qualifier, Karsten came into Glasgow and ran well in the heat and semi yesterday.

Karsten Warholm gets out fast in the indoor 400m. Remember at the European Indoors last year, Warholm was almost beat in the 400 meters.

In one of the most exciting 400 meters that I have ever seen, Alexander Doom moved into lane two, and slowly moved onto the side of Warholm, then, passed the Norwegian, running 45.25 NR for Belgium. Karsten Warholm took the silver in 45.34 with Rusheed McDonald, JAM, 45.65 PB.

Alexander Doom told the media: “It’s amazing. I never expected this because we didn’t really have this is our sights. Usually I am just focused on the 4×4. But I loved running individually. The heats and the semis went really well yesterday and to beat Karsten Warholm today is really amazing. He’s an Olympic champion and has won almost everything there is. Not many people have beaten him. At the finish line I felt so, so, so gorgeous. Now the focus is back on the 4×4 and qualifying for the Olympics from the World Relays. And then it’s the summer. The European championships is a big goal for me.”

The crazy Viking was circumspect. He told the media:

“I didn’t have time to do all the winter work I usually do so I was feeling it a bit with the rounds. All in all it’s an acceptable time, so it’s OK. It was a last minute decision to come here. I get a little bit of feeling out of it and get to test the body. As long as I didn’t get any injuries it was all OK. Of course, I wish I had won today but it was so nice coming out here and performing in front of all that noise. You guys know how to do athletics. I think this was a great race for the 350 meters. Then it was a bit heavy in the end, I got lactic so.. as you know, I have not started my indoor season until yesterday so I should have been prepared a bit better. But I am happy to walk away injury free and congrats to the gold medal winner. I always want the gold but today it was the tough one.”

7. Grant Holloway defends his gold with a new CR!

Grant Holloway has not been defeated at the indoor hurdles since March 18, 2014.

In Glasgow, Grant opened with 7.44 in the heats, and 7.32 in the semi-final.

In the final, Grant Holloway went out hard, and was in the lead by the first hurdle and no one was near him for hurdle 2, hurdle 3, hurdle 4, hurdle 5 and hurdle 6, then, sprint to the finish. Grant goes 7.29, equaling the Championship record! Lorenzo Simonelli, ITA, takes silver in 7.43 NR and Just Kwaou-Mathey, FRA, one of the amazing French sprint hurdlers, takes the bronze in 7.47!

Grant Holloway, after his win noted: “This morning was little bit of a shake up but to come out of here and go sub-7.3 is a good time. I’m happy to defend my title and let’s see how the rest of the year plays out – I’m looking forward to it. I had good fun out here and achieved what I wanted to. It wasn’t a record but that’s OK. I know I’m in good shape for the summer. It was my fifth world title so I’m happy to keep racking them up. I’m in great shape so I’ll be ready to hit it again.”

The American hurdler had told me early in the season, in Boston that he needed to 

get a clean start, and he would be able to run 7.32-7.33. He must now focus on the US Olympic Trials and some unfinished business in Paris in August 2024.

8. Saint Lucia gets its first World Champs medal

Julien Alfred, LCA and Ewa Swoboda, POL were the focus of this race.

Aleia Hobbs hurt herself in the semi-final, and during the warm-up, she could not stand. After trying to stand up, Aleia Hobbs, had to be taken off the track in a wheelchair.

Ewa Swoboda has a lighting start. How would Julien Alfred combat the Polish star’s absolute speed!

In the final, Ewa Swoboda got out fast, and Julien Alfred came out along side of her.

For ten meters, twenty meters, thirty meters, forty meters, fifty meters, Alfred and Swoboda battled, with no clear leader.

It was in the final five meters that Julien Alfred, St. Lucia took the lead that would give her the gold, in a world leading equal run on 6.98m. Ewa Swoboda, POL, took the silver in 7.00 and Italy’s Zaynab Dosso, ITA, ran 7.05. In 4th was Kiwki Zoe Hobbs, first Kiwi under 11 seconds, set her second NR at 60m with a fab 7.06 AR! Mikiah Brisco, training partner of Aleia Hobbs, ran 7.08 in fifth. In Sixth was Rai Rosius, BEL, 7.14.

Julien Alfred noted to the media, and her gold medal :
“I think losing last season at the world championships and coming that close to a medal in both the 100m and the 200m, gave me a boost. I was very hungry coming to the next season. I feel like I was disappointed last season. My coach came all the way from Austin to be with me, so I wanted to make him proud. I’m just going to keep hungry and train hard and keep chasing what I want. I’ll trust in my coach and myself.”

Ewa Swoboda, who took silver, was mixed about her finish, and she noted that to the media: “I know that every medal counts but my feelings are mixed – I feel half and half – half happy and half upset. After that semifinal, I was a bit tired already and I told myself: God, I wish this day was going to an end finally. So when it comes to this, I think this result is still quite good. It would be ideal to have only two runs today. Honestly, to run three times under 7.10, you cannot get it just like that. It already hurts. The whole body hurts. Before the start, they were checking already if we are OK. All is fine. If everything goes well before the summer, if I stay healthy, it may be a good summer. The silver medal, national record, that makes me feel very satisfied.”

9. Molly Caudery gives Team GB a second gold medal for the night!

The women’s pole vault is one of the most popular events in our sport.

The level of competition in the Women’s pole vault is incredibly high. Olympic champion, Katie Moon, European champion, Wilma Murto, Olympic, European and World Champion, Katerina Stefanidi, two time World Indoor Champ, Sandi Morris, and Olympic bronze medalist Eliza McCartney.

We forget sometimes that these events are challenging to both mental and physical limits of normal humans.

There was a break around 4.65 meters, when French champion, Margot Chevrier fell into the vault box and broke her ankle. There was a long break as Margot was taken off the track. We wish her a quick recovery.

Molly Caudery had an incredible season, as the British vaulter cleared 4.80m, 4.83m, 4.85m, and 4.86m this season. Two seasons ago, she injured her finger, required surgery and took nine months away from the pole vault.

Sandi Morris was the first out, missing three times at 4.75m, finishing fifth.

Angelica Moser, SUI, former European champion, cleared 4.40m on first attempt, 4.55m on second attempt, 4.65 on first attempt, needed 3 attempts at 4.75m , and then misssed at 4.80m three times, finishing 4th.

Olympic champion Katie Moon, two time World Champion, cleared 4.55m on first, passed at 4.65m, took two attempts to clear 4.75m, and then, missed her three attempts to the next height of 4.80m, taking the bronze. One wonders outloud if her achilles were troubling in this competition.

The battle for the gold came down to Eliza McCartney, who cleared 4.55m on first, needed two times on 4.65m, cleared 4.75m on first, Eliza took 3 attempts at 4.80m.

Molly Caudery, World leader, cleared 4.55m, 4.65m, on first attemtps and 4.75m on second attempt, and second attempt needed at 4.80 meters.

The difference between Eliza McCartney and Molly Caudery? That third attempt by Eliza at 4.80 meters!

Molly Caudery made three attempts at 4.85m, and missed on all three.

Eliza McCartney misses on first attempt at 4.85m, passed and moved to 4.90m, missing on her last two attempts.

The gold would go go Molly Caudery, GB, 4.80m. Silver would go to Eliza McCartney, NZ, 4.80m, Bronze to Katie Moon, USA, 4.75m.

Molly Caudery, happy in front of an arena with her cheering countrypeople, noted to the media: “After two surgeries last year, I felt like I was losing belief in myself, and that motivation at times. But that’s part of being an athlete – you have to turn up each day, get it done and trust that you’re on the right flight path. I honestly can’t believe I’m a world champion in an Olympic year. To go from injury to world level was hard enough. To be a world indoor champion is astonishing to me. It’s not sunk in. I just don’t have the words for what just happened. It was so so special. My dreams are coming true. I’m loving absolutely every single moment of this journey. After last year I had a bit more fire in me.”

Katie Moon, bronze medalist, noted to the media what many had suspected:
“I hate to see anyone dealing with injuries but we have a lot of them. I’m just grateful to be walking away with a medal and not to be in any more pain than I came in with. The Achilles is still bothersome and I really haven’t been able to run or vault on it these past two weeks so it’s not what you want coming to a championships. I hate coming in feeling under-prepared but I still wanted to try and give it a go, and I’m glad I did. It was sub-par but I’m proud to get a medal. It instils a lot of coinfidence to know that when I get it take care of I can push back up into the outdoor season. If I can earn a medal feleling like this I am pretty excited.”

The second day of the World Indoor Champs has lived up and even surpassed the hype.

I can not wait until tomorrow, the final day, which begins on Peacok at 3.45 AM Central US time tomorrow and 1 PM Central time for the final session.

Do not miss a minute!