Olympic champs Centrowitz, Stefanidi win in Boston

914703New York: Reigning Olympic 1,500-metre champion Matthew Centrowitz of the United States and Rio women’s pole vault gold medalist Ekaterini Stefanidi of Greece were among Saturday’s winners at the Boston Indoor Grand Prix athletics meet.
British sprinter Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, Australian long jumper Fabrice Lapierre and Rio 5,000m runners-up Hellen Obiri of Kenya and Paul Chelimo of the United States were also winners at the first event in the five-city IAAF World Indoor Tour.
Centrowitz, also reigning world indoor champion, won the mile in 3:55.78, edging Kenya’s Vincent Kibet by .31 of a second.
“Definitely enjoyed my off-season a little bit more after the Olympics but happy to get back out there racing,” Centrowitz said. “I was pretty happy. Could have gone a little bit quicker. I was feeling it out until I made my move.” Stefanidi cleared 4.63m to win but an expected battle with 2012 Olympic champion Jenn Suhr never materialised after the American took one failed attempt at 4.53m and withdrew with muscle tightness.
Aikines-Aryeetey, third at 100m in the 2014 European Championships, edged China’s Xie Zhenye at the tape to win the men’s 60 metres, his time of 6.654 seconds taking the victory by .003 of a second.
“I just kept pushing to the line,” said Aikines-Aryeetey. “I’m a strong guy, lot of muscles. I just thought, ‘I’ve got to keep going to the finish.’”
Lapierre, a 33-year-old Mauritian-born former Commonwealth Games and world indoor champion, was level with Swede Michel Torneus at 7.80m but Lapierre’s second-best effort of 7.75 broke the deadlock in his favor. Obiri, the 2012 world indoor 3,000m crown, won the women’s 3,000 in 8:39.08 with Dutch reigning world 1,500m indoor champion Sifan Hassan second, 1.91 seconds back.
Chelimo won the men’s 3,000 in 7:42.39, edging Britain’s Andrew Butchart, sixth in the Rio 5,000 final, by .58 of a second.
“Training has been great. Now it’s all about confidence,” Chelimo said. “I’ve got the confidence. I’m ready now. I’m learning every day. It’s great.”
Gardner stumbles but wins
English Gardner, on the US gold medal 4×100 relay at Rio, won the 60 in 7.17 seconds, edging compatriot Dezerea Bryant by .02 in her lone planned indoor start of the season.— AFP