Yeah, we can talk about indoor season this year, unfortunately, we don't consider it in Lebanon. Lebanese athletes only participate in indoor competitions abroad, this month few athletes had this opportunity.
Saria Traboulsi is investing her efforts now in the Heptathlon. After proving that she is the best middle distance runner in Lebanon by breaking last year the 800 and 1000 meters National records, she started this 2014 season with a combined events competition indoor, the pentathlon, her first ever combined event participation. She went to Bucharest - Romania for the "Campionatul National Probe Combinate Sala" (Indoor Combined Events National Championship) on 8 and 9 this February.
She began the Pentathlon with the 60m Hurdles clocking 10.37 seconds, she jumped an indoor record of 1.48m in high jump, but the mark was beaten a week later by Krystel Saneh, the record was 1.45 meters, she scored 7.54 meters in shot put, jumped 4.56 meters in Long jump and ran a 2:20.59 seconds in 800 meters 2 seconds away from Nathalia Farran record of 2:18.0 hand timing that stands for 26 years now.
Saria scored 2872 points in the heptathlon less than 100 points between her performance and the pentathlon record of 2958 points of Krystel Saneh. The competition this year in the combined events seem to be very exciting between the two girls! For the first time ever this year, we will be seeing more than one athlete competing in the heptathlon, unfortunately, they are only two, but it is one step forward into evolving this event.
Four athletes were representing Lebanon in the Asian Indoor Championship this week, and from this participation, the Lebanese Athletics Federation had to choose the best of them to participate in the World Indoor Championship that will take place in Poland 3 weeks ahead.
From Ali Hazer, Nour Eddin Hadid and Krystel Saneh, Aziza Sbeity was the best among all! She ran less than 12 hours after they landed in Hangzhou - China, with the time difference, she clocked a 7.92 seconds with a reaction time of 0.129, to finish 4th in her heat and 9th overall missing the Final for one place!
She collected 963 points to be leading of the indoor season. We should note that this was her first competition for this season, with no meetings to participate in before the championship.
Talking about meetings, unfortunately, the athletes were chosen 3 weeks before the championship, without even considering a participation in this championship, and this makes a lot of difference between our athletes and the ones who were preparing for this championship. But as I started this article saying that we don't consider Indoor seasons in Lebanon, the saying was proven.
Anyway, Ali Hazer who participated in the 60m hurdles rather than the heptathlon where he has the opportunity to do the 60m Hurdles but also do 6 other events, he clocked 8.66 seconds, not his best this year. He participated in an Indoor competition this year in Czech Republic and did 0.2s better than his performance in China, and in the Army Meeting he did 0.1 better that this time.
The time difference affected all the athletes, they could have done better of course, but at least they did their best and 3 out of 4 improved their personal best and 2 of them broke indoor records. Like Nour Eddin Hadid, for his first ever participation in an international championship, and his first indoor run, taking into consideration the difference between the 400 meters on the indoor track of 200m/lap and the outdoor track 400m/lap.
The 400m is the only sprint event where athletes can think and run with a strategy in mind, the 400 meters indoor is more strategic than the outdoor run because of the indoor curves. Nour Hadid didn't think of all these inconveniences, he just wanted to run fast and place well between the firsts, and this allowed him to broke the national indoor record.
Hadid ran a beautiful 49.63 seconds and of course he could have done even better, but now that the indoors are done, the focus is on the 400 meters outdoor and how he will prepare to go under the 48 seconds barrier!
The second day, Krystel Saneh had the Pentathlon, knowing that Saria Traboulsi is venturing into her event, she wanted to prove that she is the best. She concentrated on every event like if she's participating not in a combined events but individually in each event. She started with the 60m hurdles with an amazing start, leading until the second hurdle, when the others came back to surpass her. She scored a 9.39s improving her national record by 0.1 s.
The first 3 events were very good, she did 3 records in the 3 of them, scoring 1.51m in High jump breaking Saria's record of last week, and could have done the 1.54m at her second attempt but the her foot touched the bar and fell. In the shot put, her weakest event, she scored 8.43 meters, 2 cm better than her best. In the long jump, her favorite event, she was expected to do better than 5.30m, in the 800 meters she ran a 2:37.9 better than her last indoor of 2:40, and scored in the end 3129 points, new pentathlon record.
The team was led by Wassim Hawly from the Federation. The team was very solid, supporting each other's, we can say that they were ONE real team, and this is essential for the athletes and team Lebanon.
Now the eyes are turning to the World Championship, where only Aziza will be representing Lebanon. Lebanese Athletes should concentrate not on breaking Lebanese records and winning Lebanese championships, but concentrate on breaking the standards scores and win international competitions, with the lack of competition in Lebanon, the abroad participation can help them compete and challenge other athletes that are better than them, as we all know, that the challenge alone helps improving the athlete and also the level of the event in the country.
Gaby Issa El Khoury once told me, that when an athlete goes for example under the 11 seconds in 100m men's, everyone will follow him under this mark, it is proven in the women's long jump, when Krystel Saneh went over 5 meters few years ago, now we have 4 other athletes over the 5 meters, for the first time in Lebanese history last year in the Open Championship, the 3 athletes on the podium in Long Jump were all over the 5 meters mark. So in the end, it is our responsibility to move the marks, to higher them so other will follow, and the Lebanese level will be higher and Lebanon will finally be placed among the best countries in track and Field, the mission isn't for today, but for the near and far future, the faster we reach this level the best it will be. The whole world is moving forward and getting better, we must follow the train!
Good Luck Aziza Sbeity in Poland! Do your best!