Saturday, March 3, 2018

Drew Windle gets second, DQ'd, and reinstated in 800m at world indoor championships...

BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom—With heavy pre-meet favorite Emmanuel Korir of Kenya out of the meet due to visa issues, Drew Windle (far left/photo by Kirby Lee, Image of Sport) of the Seattle based Brooks Beasts went from last place at the bell to claim a silver medal in the men’s 800 meter final at the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships at Arena Birmingham Saturday night.

In contrast to his past strategy of staying towards the back of the pack, Windle, an Ohio native and graduate of Division II Ashland University, stayed in the middle of the pack, going through the first lap in 26.5, with noted kicker and pre-race favorite Adam Kszczot of Poland sitting a stride behind Windle.

As they finished lap 2 in 55.77, things got interesting, as Windle appeared to have his right arm grabbed by Great Britain and Birmingham native Elliot Giles as the Brit tried to squeeze into a space between Windle and Kszczot.

Windle then extended his arm towards Kszczot’s  back to protect himself, as Giles’ attempt to squeeze past the two runners failed, as he dropped to fifth.

The jostling woke up Kszczot, as he charged to the front on the third lap, just staying a stride behind Spain’s Saul Ordonez.  
At the start of the final lap, Windle suddenly found himself in last place, but moved to fifth as they exited the turn and headed up the backstretch.

Windle found an opening with about 80 meters to go, squeezing past Morocco’s Mostafa Smaili, and swung outside. 

With Kszczot gone, he set his sights on Ordonez with Giles charging as well for a podium spot, just outleaning Ordonez to take second in 1:47.99 to the Spaniard’s 1:48.01, as Kszczot took the win in 1:47.47.

Thoughts of an apparent medal went out the window when Windle was disqualified for the push of Kszczot (IAAF Rule 163-2—obstruction), but after an hour of appeals, he was reinstated.

Afterwards, Brooks Beasts coach Danny Mackey said, “going in to this indoor season we talked about medaling at Worlds.  I'm sure most people would laugh at us in November and assume he got lucky (in 2017 at USA Outdoors to make the world championship team).  But we have a world class support team with the Beasts and world class teammates, when that environment is around a person like Drew, this can be the result.”

“This success is a testament to Drew's humility and open-mindedness.  I am just so so happy for him.  And I'd be remiss to forget Katie, (as) the Beasts had 2 athletes in the finals and in the top 8 in the world.  They are a special group; I am fortunate to get the opportunity to work with them.”

In a mixed zone interview with media partner Flotrack afterwards, Windle said he was initially frustrated with his finish, but was happy to get a medal in a world championship race.

As they were waiting backstage for the medal presentation, Windle was told by Giles that the race was under review and that a protest was filed.

""There was a lot of nervous waiting. I couldn't get any of the USATF representatives up to the medal ceremony area to fill me in as to what was going on."

“I was just trying to protect my space. It was that shirt grab of Adam…it wasn’t anything intentional on my part,”, noting that he thought that he grabbed a piece of Sczczot’s bib, and not his singlet.

“I felt that I was protecting my space the entire time”, he said. He also said that he felt that he continually had an elbow in his rib for parts of the race.

"I think they made the right decision. I found out on Twitter that I had been re-instated. Now I'm trying to get back to that emotional high and it will take away from the feeling for a little while."

In other events involving athletes with Washington ties, Pullman resident Katie Nageotte finished fifth in the women’s pole vault, as she cleared 15-5 (4.70m).

Nageotte, who also attended Ashland University with Windle, opened with a second attempt clearance at 14-9 (4.50m), then was one of six athletes who cleared 15-1 (4.60m) on their first attempt.

After clearing 15-5 (4.70m) on her second attempt, she missed once at 15-7 (4.75m), then passed to 15-9 (4.80m), where she was eventually eliminated after two misses at that height.

Arkansas alum Sandi Morris set a championship record 16-2.75 (4.95m), clearing on her third attempt, took three good attempts at a world and American record 16-6.5 (5.04m).

Former Washington State graduate assistant coach Liga Velvere of Latvia finished fourth in her heat of the women’s 800 meters, running 2:02.98, and did not advance to Sunday’s final.

With Velvere's elimination from the 800, no athletes with Washington ties will compete Sunday.

NOTE:  The IAAF contributed to this report.

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