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Athletes Shine in Istanbul

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Yamile Aldama is World Indoor ChampionIt was fantastic to see many of the world's best turning out in Istanbul for the World Indoor Athletics Championships and putting down some scintillating performances ahead of the London 2012 Olympics later in the year.

The multi-events both provided World Records as first Natallia Dobrynska and then Ashton Eaton smashed the previous marks. These were the undoubted highlights of the three days' action and rightly took the great majority of the plaudits.

Dobrynska was the first athlete to break the 5000-point barrier, while Eaton shattered his own WR with a series of exceptional events that included an 8.16m Long Jump effort - a distance only 7cm off the gold medal winning leap in the individual discipline!

There were predictable victories elsewhere (Sally Pearson, Renaud Lavillenie, Yelena Isinbayeva etc) and a few shocks too as Kirani James couldn't get anywhere near the medals in the 400m having been drawn in lane 1 of the final, Meseret Defar suffered a rare defeat over 3000m and Liu Xiang could only manage silver in the 60m Hurdles.

Best finish of the championships was the Women's 4x400m relay, which saw Perri Shakes-Drayton somehow hold off the fast-finishing Sanya Richards-Ross for a stunning (and well-deserved) victory.

The event will sadly be remembered for a number of starting problems that blighted the sprints as a number of athletes struggled to hear the 'right' gun as several sounds and echoes were heard due to an apparent acoustics issue within the arena. Nevertheless, the championships were a success overall - in particular for the British team, who came home with a record medal haul at the World Indoor Champs of nine.

My personal favourite performance has to be Yamile Aldama's superb victory in the Triple Jump at the age of 39, breaking her own Over 35's World Record in the process. Aldama is an inspiration for so many younger athletes across the world as she continues to defy age with truly world-class jumps every time she competes.

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