On day three of the championships head to head competition finally took center stage. It wasn’t about World Records, as none were in any imminent danger, but rather stirring competition that brought the focus back where it belongs – on the sports’ outstanding athletes!
After a couple of semifinal races (I’ll talk about the men’s 400 in a bit) the first final on the track was the women’s 400 meters. Yesterday’s semis left defending champion Sanya Richards Ross (USA) starting in lane one, and effectively out of contention. Race favorite Allyson Felix (USA) was in lane 3 with Amantle Montsho (BOT) in 4, Francena McCorory (USA) in 5 and Ana Kapachinskaya in 6. At the gun Felix was out quickly down the back stretch and went to the front of the pack. But coming around the second turn Montsho closed and coming off the bend it was Montsho with a slight lead. Felix with her smooth strides came up to Montsho’s shoulder with 50 meters left but could get no further as Montsho held her off. For 50 meters it was Felix trying to get that one step past Montsho and the Botswanan keeping her at bay. With one final surge at the line it appeared that Felix may have gotten the job done, but it was Montsho by a hair gaining Botswana’s first ever gold medal, with Felix taking silver in her first Major competition over 400 – and the double derailed! The rest of the field was never in contention, as Kapachinskaya and McCorory closed hard and outran the others down the final stretch, the Russian getting to the line for the bronze. Felix now heads to her pet event the deuce looking for a fourth consecutive title.
49.56 – Amantle Montsho (BOT)
49.59 – Allyson Felix (USA)
50.24 – Ana Kapachinskaya (RUS)
There wasn’t much let up in the competition however, as next was the men’s 110 hurdles. Earlier the semis had set the stage as Liu Xiang (CHN) & Dayron Robles (CUB) ran toe to toe in the first semi – Robles leading from the gun, Liu methodically coming back to edge him at the line. In the second semi, Jason Richardson (USA) continued his stellar running once again leaving David Oliver (USA) at the gun to win comfortably. As they lined up for the final, it was Richardson, Oliver, Robles, Liu in lanes 3 through 6 in the middle of the track. At the gun it was Robles out quickly to the first hurdle shadowed by Richardson. Liu hit the gas and around hurdle 4 began to move even with Robles then at hurdle 6 started to go past and it looked like Liu was headed for victory. Then coming to the final two hurdles just as it looked like a win for Liu suddenly he clipped hands with Robles over both the 9th and 10th hurdles actually freezing Liu over the final hurdle as Robles and Richardson surged past to the finish line – Liu holding on for the bronze medal. Or so it appeared. Robles was subsequently disqualified for hitting Liu for the contact as on the second contact it looked like Robles may have held the arm of Liu. In either case, Richardson moved up to gold, Liu to silver, and the bronze to Andy Turner (GBR) who had edged Oliver by thousandths. For the second consecutive World championships we have an unexpected champion!
13.16 – Jason Richardson (USA)
13.27 – Xiang Liu (CHN)
13.44 – Andy Turner (GBR)
The final event on the track was the women’s 100 with as deep a field as I’ve seen since the mid 90’s. The lane draw put Marshevet Myers (USA) & Veronica Campbell Brown (JAM) out in lanes 7 & 8. Defending champion Shelly Ann Fraser (JAM) was in lane 3 with Carmelita Jeter (USA) in 4, Kelly Ann Baptiste (TRI) in 5, and third Jamaican Kerron Stewart in 6. At the gun Fraser blazed away from the blocks, but Jeter was only a step off the pace. Fraser stormed through 50 meters then Jeter pulled even and began to power past and separate over the final 20 meters. Meanwhile to their right Kelly Ann Baptiste and Veronica Campbell Brown were moving up quickly – VCB out in lane 8. As Jeter powered across the line in first, Fraser, Baptiste and Campbell Brown all leaned for the remaining medals. Campbell Brown gaining silver a hair ahead of Baptiste who was another hair ahead of Fraser Pryce. After two bronze medals, Jeter finally upgraded to gold and suddenly she’s the one chasing a double.
10.90 – Carmelita Jeter (USA)
10.97 – Veronica Campbell Brown (JAM)
19.98 – Kelly Ann Baptiste (TRI)
The day’s excitement wasn’t confined to the track however. In the finals of the women’s shot put Jill Camarena Williams (USA) opened the competition at 19.63m/64’ 5” to set the pace and show she was a contender. In the third round things really got hot as Valerie Adams(NZL) hit 20.04m/65’ 9” to take the lead then boomed 20.72m/67’ 11.75” in the next round to take a lead she would never relinquish as she finished up with a huge 21.24m/69’ 8.25” throw in the final round to set a PR and Championship Record – finally taking down Natalya Lisovskaya’s 1987 mark! Behind her Camarena Williams threw a big 20.02m/65’ 8.25” in the third round to move into silver position, until Nadzeya Ostapshuk (BLR) edged her out with a 20.05m/65’ 9.5” toss in round five. It was a great competition.
21.24m – Valerie Adams (NZL)
20.05m – Nadzeya Ostapshuk (BLR)
20.02m – Jill Camarena Williams (USA)
The day ended, literally, with the men’s pole vault which continued after the events on the track were over – and it gave us a few surprises. I was expecting a battle to ensue between Renaud Lavillenie (FRA) and Pawel Wojciechowski (POL) as both entered the meet vaulting well. Lavillenie the man the past couple of seasons, Wojciechowski the upstart this year, but I don’t think Cuban Lazaro Borges was on anyone’s radar. That changed quickly as he cleared a new PR 5.75m/18’ 10.5” after two misses and found himself in the top seven and in medal contention! He had a first time clearance at 5.85m/19’ 2.5” along with Lavillenie & Lukas Michalski (POL) and suddenly he was a serious medal contender as Wojciechowski missed and moved to the next height. At 5.90m/19’ 4.25” Lavillenie and Michalski went out, Wojciechowski cleared on second attempt, and Borges on third and the medals were set as favored Lavillenie took bronze behind upstarts Wojciechowski and Borges.
5.90m – Pawel Wojciechowski (POL)
5.90m – Lazaro Borges (CUB)
5.85m – Renaud Lavillenie (FRA)
It finished off the best day of competition yet. But things are just heating up. Tomorrow we have finals in the men’s 400 and 800 and both are setting up to be fantastic races. Earlier today during the morning session, they ran the semis of the 400. In heat one LaShawn Merritt (USA) once again looked dominant in running yet another sub 45 – 44.77. Kevin Borlee (BEL) 45.02, tried to give him a race but Merritt was both too strong and too fast down the stretch. Heat two was a similar story with Kirani James (GRN) 45.20 taking control in the final straight and easily running away from the competition. James actually cruised in the final 25 meters or so. In the third semi Jermaine Gonzales (JAM), Jonathan Borlee (BEL) and Rondell Bartholomew (GRN) waged battle down the final straight to finish a close 1,2,3 – 44.99, 45.14, 45.17. If all holds to form watch Merritt explode off the turn tomorrow with a line of contenders behind him down the stretch.
We’ll also get to see if Abubaker Kaki (SUD) can get out ahead of WR holder David Rudisha (KEN) in the final of the 800. Kaki has been employing a hard charging strategy early on lately and we will see if his 1500 strength will be of any help against perhaps the biggest favorite of the meet. Tomorrow is promising to be as exciting as today was!
- Women’s Pole Vault
- Men’s Discus
- Men’s 800
- Women’s Steeplechase
- Men’s 400