★ The Sports Examiner: Chronicling the key competitive, economic and political forces shaping elite sport and the Olympic Movement.★
★ To get The Sports Examiner by e-mail: sign up here! ★
≡ WORLD ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIPS ≡
A hot and muggy morning in Budapest for the women’s marathoners at the 19th World Athletics Championships, but no problem for Ethiopia, which finished 1-2-5.
In the evening session, Canada won golds in the men’s 800 and decathlon and the U.S. crushed all comers in both the men’s and women’s 4×100 m relays – giving Noah Lyles three golds – plus a repeat Worlds gold for shot putter Chase Ealey.
First, the marathon:
● Women/Marathon ● The race started at 73 degrees (F) and 77% humidity at 7 a.m. and finished at 84 degrees and 57% humidity, so keeping hydrated was key, as well as a steady pace.
The race was run mostly over four laps of 10 km that covered areas of both Buda and Pest, including crossing a bridge over the Danube River. American Susanna Sullivan, however, took off and had a 15-second lead by 9 km, but the pack caught up by the 10 km mark.
There were 24 running in the lead pack at the half, with Keira D’Amato of the U.S. leading at a reasonable 1:14:29. By 25 km, however, the Ethiopian team had taken over, with 2023 Boston runner-up Amane Beriso Shankule, 2023 Tokyo runner-up Tsehay Gemechu, defending champ Gotytom Gebreslase and 2022 London winner Yalemzerf Yehualaw running 1-3-4-6.
Staying with them was Israel’s 2022 Worlds bronze medalist Lonah Salpeter and Kenya’s Tokyo 2023 champ, Rosemary Wanjiru. But the lead pack was down to nine by 30 km, six by 32 km, and then the Ethiopians moved.
Beriso Shankule, Yehualaw and Gebreslase increased the pace to 3:12 and broke away, and Beriso Shankule continued with kilometers of 3:12-3:12-3:12-3:13-3:11 to tear the race apart and lead by 23 seconds at the 39 km split. Gebreslase and Yehualaw were 2-3, but fading under the strain.
A 34-second gap to fourth-place Fatima Gardadi (MAR) was gone by 41 km, and she charged home third for the first Worlds women’s marathon medal for her country. Salpeter also passed Yehualaw by 42 km and finished fourth.
But Beriso Shankule and Gebreslase were unchallenged and won gold and silver in 2:24:23 and 2:24:34. Gardadi was third in 2:25:17, with Salpeter at 2:25:38, Yehualaw at 2:26:13 and Wanjiru sixth at 2:26:42. It was the first time since 2009 that a Kenyan did not medal in this event.
The top U.S. finisher was Lindsey Flanagan in ninth (2:27:47), with D’Amato in 17th (2:31:35) and Sullivan in 58th (2:44:24).
The evening session was really something:
● Men/800 m ● Kenya’s Emmanuel Wanyonyi, 19, had the lead on the backstraight and was in front at the bell in 52.68 and looked strong past the third turn. But Canadian Marco Arop, the 2022 Worlds bronze winner, went out to lane two and charged into the lead going into the final turn.
Arop was ahead of Wanyonyi into the straight, then Botswana’s Tshepiso Masalela came up to challenge. But Arop won going away in 1:44.24, with Wanyonyi steady in second (1:44.53) and Britain’s Ben Pattison – no. 13 on the world list coming in – charging on the inside for third in 1:44.93. Masalela faded to sixth in 1:45.57.
Arop was last at the bell in 53.4, but roared home in 51.9 to win Canada’s first Worlds gold in the event. American Bryce Hoppel finished eighth in 1:46.02, but after a disqualification, was moved to seventh.
● Men/4×100 m ● The U.S. ran the same first three legs as in the semifinals, with Christian Coleman, Fred Kerley and Brandon Carnes, but added Lyles to the anchor, running in lane eight.
Coleman got another great start and moved into the lead right away, passing safely to Kerley, who ran up on Japan in lane nine. The pass to Carnes was fair, but he was in the lead when he got the pass – shakily – to Lyles on the anchor.
It appeared that Lyles was in a fight with Jamaica’s Rohan Watson and Italy’s Filippo Tortu, but his top-end speed was more than enough to bring the U.S. home in a world-leading 37.38. Italy was a happy second in 37.62, followed by Jamaica (37.76) and Great Britain (37.76).
It’s the first U.S. title in the event since 2019 (with Lyles on anchor), but the ninth overall, the most ever. The time is equal-ninth ever.
● Men/Vault ● Six made it to 5.90 m (19-4 1/4), with world-record holder (and defending champ) Mondo Duplantis (SWE) passing, and Ernest John Obiena (PHI) and Chris Nilsen of the U.S. over on their first tries. France’s Thibaut Collet, who came in with a best of 5.82 m (19-1), cleared lifetime bests of 5.85 m (19-2 1/4) and then 5.90 m to take the lead.
Australia’s Kurtis Marschall missed once and passed to 5.95 m (19-6 1/4); Poland’s Piotr Lisek, a two-time Worlds bronze winner, missed twice and was out due to a miss at the prior height.
Now at 5.95 m (19-6 1/4), Duplantis, Obiena, Marschall and Nilsen cleared on their first tries, with Collet missing once and passing. At 6.00 m (19-8 1/4), Duplantis cleared right away and Obiena made it on his second try, but Marschall and Nilsen both missed all three times, but shared the bronze medal, as Collet missed both of his tries. Obiena’s clearance equaled his Asian record.
The bar moved to 6.05 m (19-10 1/4), and Duplantis cleared cleanly on his first trial, for his fifth clearance without a miss. Obiena missed and passed, and after Duplantis cleared 6.10 m (20-0 1/4) without incident, Obiena missed twice and settled for the silver medal, his second straight at the Worlds.
Duplantis asked for the bar to go to a world record 6.23 m (20-5 1/4) – remember he cleared a world-record of 6.21 m (20-4 1/2) in Eugene in 2022, and raised it to 6.22 m (20-5) indoors this year – but missed all three tries.
● Men/Decathlon ● Germany’s NCAA champ Leo Neugebauer started the day with a 4,640-4,610 lead on Canada’s Pierce LePage, but it didn’t last long.
Olympic champ Damian Warner and teammate LePage were 1-2 in the 110 m hurdles, in 13.67 and a lifetime best of 13.77 and that vaulted them to 1-2 at 5,614 and 5,596, with Neugebauer third. In the discus, Grenada’s Lindon Victor, fifth at the 2022 Worlds, was best at 54.97 m (180-4), best ever at a World Championships, with LePage at 50.98 m (167-3), and Neuegebauer and Warner at 6-7.
LePage’s lead increased to 6,505 to 6,380 after seven events over Warner, with Victor now third (6,365) and Neugebauer fourth (6,341). In the vault, American Harrison Williams cleared 5.30 m (17-4 1/2), with LePage at 5.20 m (17-0 3/4), whose lead increased to 7,477-7,282 over Neugebauer with Warner at 7,260 and Victor at 7,214. American Kyle Garland, eighth at the end of the first, did not clear a height and withdrew.
Victor for a seasonal best to finish third in the javelin (68.05 m/223-3), with Warner sixth and LePage seventh, so LePage led with 8,228, ahead of Victor (8,074), Warner (8,044) and Neugebauer (7,989).
Norway’s Sander Skotheim won the 1,500 m at 4:19.64, with Warner seventh, Victor 12th and LePage 13th and LePage won at 8,909, becoming only the sixth man in history to break the 8,900 mark. It’s the no. eight performance ever.
Warner got a second Worlds silver (also in 2015) at 8,804 and now owns four Worlds medals in all (0-2-2). Victor took Grenada’s first Worlds medal in the event and got a national record of 8,756.
Williams of the U.S. was seventh at 8,500.
● Women/5,000 m ● Defending champ Gudaf Tsegay led the field from the start, then teammate Ejgayehu Taye took over before world-record holder Faith Kipyegon (KEN) went in front with eight laps left. They were running in 83 F heat, with 55% humidity.
Kipyegon ran with teammate Beatrice Chebet, the 2022 Worlds runner-up, took turns in the lead, then the third Kenyan, Lillian Rengeruk was in front at 3,000 m (9:16.55), with most of the field in contact. There were 11 within a second at 4,000 m, and with two laps to go, Tsegay was in the lead with 14 in the lead pack.
Kipyegon had the lead with 600 m to go, but when would the real running start? At the bell, Olympic champ Sifan Hassan (NED) had moved up to challenge, right behind Kipyegon.
Finally, the speed kicked in with 300 m to go and Kipyegon, Hassan and Chebet separated from the field and dueled to the finish. They finished in that order, with Kipyegon holding a steady lead all during the last 100 m, winning in a modest 14:53.88.
Hassan was second in 14:54.11, Chebet third in 14:54.33 and Margaret Kipkemboi (KEN: 14:56.62) fourth.
It’s the slowest Worlds 5,000 winning time since 2011. Elise Cranny of the U.S. was ninth in 14:59.22, and Alicia Monson was 14th in 15:04.08.
● Women/4×100 m ● Jamaica and the U.S. had won the last nine Worlds golds coming in, and off the start, American Tamari Davis gained a little on Jamaica’s Natasha Morrison on the first leg, but the pass was less-than-efficient to TeeTee Terry for the second leg.
But Terry gave nothing away to Jamaican star Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce on second, and while the pass to Gabby Thomas was also confused, Thomas flew around the turn to run down Jamaica’s Shashalee Forbes, heading into the anchor, and the pass to 100 m champ Sha’Carri Richardson was excellent and in front of Jamaica’s 200 m champ, Shericka Jackson.
Richardson was steady to the finish and Jackson gained nothing as the U.S. won in the fourth-fastest time in history in 41.03, a World Championships record. Jamaica’s 41.21 is the no. eight performance all-time and Great Britain ran 41.97 for bronze.
It’s the ninth Worlds gold for the U.S. – same as the men – and the most of all nations, and the U.S. won both the men’s and women’s 4x100s for the first time since 2007.
The utterly incredible world record of 40.82 by the U.S. from the London 2012 Olympic Games is very much in danger next year if the passes are better.
● Women/Shot ● World leader Maggie Ewen of the U.S., in her fourth Worlds at age 28, opened at 19.51 m (64-0 1/4) and moved into second place, but teammate – and defending champ – Chase Ealey picked the right time for a seasonal best and the no. 2 throw of the season at 20.35 m (66-9 1/4) to really pressure the field. It’s the no. seven performance in U.S. history.
Canadian Sarah Mitton, fourth at the 2022 Worlds, reached 19.90 m (65-3 1/2) for a seasonal best and into second place in round three, with Ewen standing fifth.
China’s Lijiao Gong, a medal winner in seven straight Worlds, moved into second at 19.69 m (64-7 1/4) in the fourth round and was equaled by Portugal’s World Indoor champ Auriol Dongmo in the same round.
Then Mitton blew out to 20.08 m (65-10 1/2) in round five and secured the silver, while Ealey extended her lead to 20.43 m (67-0 1/2) in the fifth, the no. six throw in American history.
That’s how it ended, with Ealey winning a second straight gold, the U.S.’s only two wins in Worlds ever. Gong got the bronze for having a better back-up mark. Ewen did not improve and finished sixth.
In the qualifying, Americans Adelaide Aquilla (17.42 m/57-2) and Jalani Davis (16.93 m/55-6 1/2) finished 23rd and 26th and did not advance to the final.
The relay prelims featured yet another U.S. relay disqualification, this time in a 4×400 m!
● Men/4×400 m ● There was a near-surprise in heat one, but the U.S. prevailed.
Hurdles star Trevor Bassitt (45.29) opened and stormed down the final straight to pass first to Matthew Boling (44.39), who cut in for the lead, and was pressed by India, but handed first to Chris Bailey. Bailey (44.31) held the lead over India, but then anchor Justin Robinson lost the lead to Rajesh Ramesh with 200 m to go.
But Robinson came back and strode away on the final 120 m (44.48) to win in 2:58.48. Solid, but India was brilliant with a national record 2:59.05 – first time under 3:00 – for second. Great Britain was third – barely – in 2:59.42 with Botswana, but 8/1000ths better on the extended clock.
Heat two had Jamaica’s Jevaughn Powell in the lead on the second leg, then Zandrion Barnes (44.71) opened up a big lead on the final pass. Anchor D’Andre Anderson held the lead for Jamaica, but was challenged by Kenyan 800 m star Wyclife Kinyamal with 200 m to go.
Kinyamal appeared to get spiked, grimacing in pain, and was passed on the home straight, first by Isaya Ikkink for the Netherlands, then by France’s Teo Andant on the outside, and by Italy’s Alessandro Sibilo on the inside, including a push to keep Kinyamal out of his path.
Anderson finished with a 45.25 leg for Jamaica to win in 2:59.82, then France at 3:00.05 and Italy at 3:00.14. Kinyamal and Kenya faded to seventh (3:01.41).
The U.S. will bring at least Quincy Hall and Vernon Norwood in for the final, and possibly a third; is Rai Benjamin still in Budapest? Robinson is probably on the finals squad.
● Women/4×400 m ● Jamaica took it out on the first leg with Charokee Young (52.16) and handed off first to Nickisha Pryce (49.75), who held on to the lead over Canada, and passed with a 3 m lead to Shiann Salmon.
She held on to the lead, but it was tight when she passed to anchor Stacey Ann Williams. But Williams was steady, finishing in 50.09 to win in a world-leading 3:22.74, with Canada at 3:23.29.
The drama was for places 3-4, with Dutch star Femke Bol being challenged by Poland’s 400 m silver winner Natalia Kaczmarek. The Pole got close on the straight, but Bol steamed home in third with a 49.19 leg and a 323.75. Kaczmarek, despite a heroic 48.87 leg, got fourth in 3:24.05.
Lynna Irby-Jackson got the U.S. off strong in heat two (50.78), but Rosey Effiong (49.60) had to chase a hot start from Britain’s Amber Anning (49.70), who got the lead and then they handed off together.
Quanera Hayes (51.08) was together with Britain’s Nicole Yergin (50.77) into the straight for the final pass, with Hayes passing on the inside to Alexis Holmes. And then, disaster.
Holmes did not look the baton into her hand, stepped on the inside curb and by the time she got the stick, she had passed the exchange zone. She held off charges from Belgium and Italy, and almost passed Britain’s Yemi Mary John (52.12), but her 51.89 anchor was worthless as the U.S. was disqualified. Britain won at 3:23.33, with the U.S. just 0.02 back, but Belgium was advanced to second in 3:23.63.
It’s the first time the U.S. women have not won a medal in this event since being disqualified in 2005, winning seven out of eight Worlds finals since.
≡ PANORAMA ≡
● Stats ● The U.S. medal parade continued with medals in the relays, women’s shot and men’s vault, now totaling 27 (11-8-8) with a day to go and a couple more medal possibilities left.
Jamaica now has 11 medals (3-4-4), to eight for Ethiopia (2-4-2), seven for Great Britain (2-2-3) and six each for Canada (4-2-0) and Kenya (2-2-2). A total of 41 countries have now won medals in 2023.
World Athletics’ main results site was back up and running on Saturday, so the placing table (8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1) was available and showed the U.S. at 255 points to 121 for Jamaica, 84 for Kenya, 74 for Ethiopia and Great Britain.
● Stories ● The hot and humid weather has caused organizers to shorten the public 10 km race to accompany the men’s marathon on Sunday to 5 km.
For our updated, 787-event International Sports Calendar (no. 3) for 2023 and beyond, by date and by sport, click here!