Cantwell Leads Visa Indoor Championships

Posted in: News & Notes
By Tom Serber
Feb 20, 2010 - 8:45:27 AM

INDIANAPOLIS - Reigning World Outdoor men's shot put champion Christian Cantwell and 2009 World Outdoor Championships women's 1,500m bronze medalist Shannon Rowbury sit atop the 2010 USATF Indoor Visa Championship Series standings with one event remaining.

The men's and women's Visa Champions will be crowned at the 2010 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships, February 27-28 at the Albuquerque Convention Center in Albuquerque, N.M. The USA Indoor Championships is the world's oldest indoor track championship, with the first meet being held in 1888 in New York. Approximately 700 athletes will be competing for a total prize purse of $117,000 and U.S. athletes will have the opportunity to qualify for Team USA events, including the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Doha.The USA Indoor Championships will be televised live on Sunday, February 28, from 7-9 p.m., Eastern Time on ESPN2.

The Visa Championship Series is a prestigious series of nationally televised USA Track & Field (USATF) competitions featuring the very best track & field athletes from Team USA, the World's #1 Track Team. It brings the speed, strength, excitement and fun of track & field directly to fans around the country, allowing them to experience firsthand the world's most popular sport. Perhaps most important, it gives American athletes the opportunity to compete against the world's best, on home soil and in front of U.S. fans.

In recent years U.S. athletes posting the best performances during the indoor Visa Championship Series received a $25,000 bonus from Visa, in addition to the title of Visa Champion. Beginning in 2010, a total of $100,000 will be awarded to the top three finishers in the race for the title of Visa Champion. The male and female Visa Champions will receive bonuses of $30,000, with the first runner-up receiving a bonus of $15,000 and the second runner-up earning $5,000.

The top American male finisher and top American female finisher in each event of the Visa Championship Series will have their performances assigned a point total based on the IAAF Scoring Tables of Athletics. The athlete whose performance has the highest point total at the end of the Visa Championship Series will be named the Visa Champion.

Cantwell grabbed the lead in the men's competition with his astounding performance in the Visa men's shot put at the January 29 Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Cantwell won the competition by more than a meter in a field that featured four athletes with 15 World and Olympic medals. With four throws over 21.36 meters/70 feet 1 inch, Cantwell had a best effort of 21.95m/72-0.25, which catapulted him into the men's Visa Championship Series lead with 1,238 points. Cantwell's winning toss in New York is the best in the world this year and he currently owns four of the top six throws thus far in 2010. 2007 World Outdoor champion Reese Hoffa, who Cantwell will face again in Albuquerque, took second at Millrose with a best throw of 20.59m/67-6.75. As it stands now, the top three men in the Visa Championship Series standings are:

1. Christian Cantwell - 1,238 points

2. Bernard Lagat - 1,2193.

Terrence Trammell - 1,214 (2009 Visa Champion)