IT HAS been a week since Manny Pacquiao won another fight. Did I see it? Nope.
I don’t generally go gaga over boxing. I have sparingly watched boxing matches in the past. Mostly, the fights I have seen were fights that had some catch to it. Had it been Pacquiao against Mayweather which would have been a very significant fight, then I would have watched the fight.
What grabbed my attention that weekend was in Doha, watching a different sport altogether.
The World Indoor Track and Field Championship had excitement and surprises. The once invincible defending champion in women’s pole vault from Russia, Yelena Isinbayeva, continued her downward spiral from last year. She did not perform well. You could see that she was not at her peak physically. Her vaults did not reflect her awesome technique in vaulting past her opponents. You could see her face bewildered on her failure to clear heights effortlessly. Her beautiful face agonized over the question of why she would fail at heights she routinely cleared with enough room to spare. As an admirer, yes I also agonized and ask what was the matter.
An exciting battle between favored Russia and perennial runner up the USA in the women’s 1,600 meter relay was also a sight to see. The winner after three baton exchanges?
Surprisingly, it was the USA. The pace was fast and furious.
How about the come from behind wins of former Kenyan and current US citizen Bernard Lagat in the 3,000 meters, as well as the totally delightful win of Ethiopian Kalkidan Gezahegne of Ethiopia, beating her much celebrated “all smiles” compatriot Gelete Burka in the same distance on the distaff side? Both races were wonderful to watch with Lagat just lurking behind the lead runner before exploding for a fast last kick. Burka just faded at the end of the race and ended third behind the amazing 18 year old Gezahegne, and the not so surprising Natalia Rodriguez of Spain.
A 1-2 finish for the US in heptathlon? Not too much of a surprise if you know that the Gold medal went to Olympic Champion Brian Clay. But he wasn’t so dominant. The possibility of countryman and first time indoor championship participant Trey Hardee winning it or Russian Aleksey Drozdov taking first place were very much entertained.
How delightful, too, to finally see Kazakhstan’s Olga Rypakova win a major international triple jump crown after being merely fourth two years ago in the Beijing Olympics. Her winning jump of 15.11 meters, in an exciting duel against Yargeris Savigne of Cuba, the defending champion aiming to replicate the feats of world record holder Tatyana Lebedeva of Russia and Brit Ashia Hansen, happens to be the third longest jump in indoor triple jump behind the marks of Lebedeva and Hansen. It makes one whoop and cheer that Olga is Asian. Oh so wonderful.
The men’s high jump final also was exciting to watch. Though the result was not unexpected with Russians Ivan Ukhov and Yaroslav Rybakov taking the top two spots, it was the jumping duel between the Russians, the Americans, and a lone Cypriot that made it all too riveting. Six jumpers cleared the height at 2.24 meters. Cypriot Kyriakos Ioannou and Dusty Jonas of the USA, as well as Rybakov all cleared the next height of 2.28 meters, with eventual champion Ukhov failing on his first attempt. Ukhov surprisingly decided to reserve his next two jumps on the next height of 2.31 meters. Just when you would think that perhaps Ukhov would be out of contention for a risky decision, he clears the height to join Rybakov and Jonas. At 2.33 meters, Ukhov finally snatched Gold as Rybakov and
Jonas both failed at that height.
The world indoor championship in track and field was so wonderful to watch, that losing some shut eye in the evening was worth it. I dream of our next Lydia de Vega and Elma Muros. I expectantly wonder who would be our next Del Prado and Hector Begeo.