Wednesday, March 16, 2016

World Indoor Championships start Thursday with pole vaults in Portland...

The world’s best track and field athletes (or at least those who’ve elected not to pass on it) will converge upon the green track of the Oregon Convention Center beginning Thursday for the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland.

The meet gets underway Thursday night with the pole vault competitions, featuring US champions Sandi Morris and Sam Kendricks, going against a field that includes world and Olympic champions Shawn Barber of Canada and Renaud Lavillenie of France on the men’s side, and on the women’s side, USA teammate and reigning world record holder Jenn Suhr, and Greece’s Katerina Stefanidi, who is very familiar to Pac-12 fans, as she competed for Stanford.

Some of the other interesting events over the next four days include the men’s heptathlon featuring world record holder and defending Olympic champ Ashton Eaton; the women’s pentathlon featuring his wife and Oregon alum Brianne Theisen-Eaton of Canada; the women’s long jump with reigning Olympic champ Brittney Reese; the women’s 3000 with defending world indoor champ Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia; and the women’s 800 with American sensation Ajee’ Wilson.

Speaking of the women’s 800, Washington State University volunteer coach Liga Velvere (left/photo by Paul Merca) will run that event for her native Latvia.

Velvere has a lifetime 800m PR time of 2 minutes, 2.79 seconds, and ran a 2016-best time of 2:03.08, in February at the Portland High Performance Meet. She is the lone Latvian competitor at the World Championships.

The women’s 800m heats will be held Saturday, March 19 at 11:15 a.m., and the final is set for 1:30 p.m. Sunday, March 20.

She joins Cougar assistant coach Angela Whyte, who will run the 60 hurdles for Canada.

The women’s 60m hurdles will be contested Friday, March 18, with heats at 10:45 a.m., semifinals at 5:30 p.m., and the final at 8:30 p.m. PT.

Those of you still interested in watching the meet in person can go to for ticket information. will be in Portland to cover the meet.

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