ATHLETICS: Jamaica scores: Williams wins 100H, Watson wins 400 m; former Cal Bear Rogers takes hammer gold!

Happy medal winners: DeAnna Price (USA), winner Cam Rogers (CAN) and Janee' Kassanavoid (USA) from the women's hammer. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images for World Athletics)

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Temperatures in Budapest for the 19th World Athletics Championships were finally down to the mid-80s as Thursday’s evening session began, but it was Jamaica that was the hot, scoring two golds, a silver and two bronze medals on Thursday.

This was the first day of the meet in which the U.S. did not win an event – but won five medals nonetheless (0-2-3) – and is well set up for tomorrow, especially in the men’s 200 m. First, the finals:

● Men/400 m ● The Rio 2016 Olympic champ and world-record holder Wayde van Niekerk (RSA) was in lane two and London 2012 Olympic gold medalist Kirani James (GRN) was in four.

But Britain’s Matthew Hudson-Smith, who set a European Record of 44.26 in the semis, and the 2022 Worlds bronze medalist, was flying down the back straight and was the leader at 200 m, with James and van Niekerk close. American Vernon Norwood came on to be third at the 300 m mark and looked like a medal winner.

Hudson-Smith had the lead off the turn and looked good into the straight, but behind him was a wild finish, with Jamaica’s Antonio Watson coming hard from fourth and passing Hudson-Smith with 5 m to go in 44.22 to 44.31.

American Quincy Hall was seventh coming into the straight, but mounted a hysterical charge and fought his way past James, then Norwood and into third at the line in a lifetime best 44.37.

Norwood was fourth in 44.39, ahead of James (44.52), with van Niekerk eighth (45.11). James was disqualified for a lane violation, moving van Niekerk up to seventh.

Watson’s story is pure Cinderella. He entered 2023 with a lifetime best of 46.17. Now he’s run 44.13 and is the Worlds gold medalist, Jamaica’s first in this event since Bert Cameron, way back at the first Worlds in Helsinki in 1983!

● Men/Long Jump ● Greece’s Olympic champ Miltiadis Tentoglou never quite found the formula in Eugene in 2022 and took silver at a modest – for him – 8.32 m (27-3 3/4). He wasn’t going to let that happen again.

So, jumping ninth in the first round, he flew to 8.50 m (27-10 3/4; +0.6). He was immediately followed by qualifying leader – and 2022 NCAA champ – Wayne Pinnock (JAM), who reached 8.40 m (27-6 3/4; +0.5). Game on.

Then Pinnock followed by with his own 8.50 m jump in round two, taking the lead on his better back-up mark and just four centimeters short of his world-leading 8.54 m (28-0 1.4) in qualifying. Teammate Carey McLeod blasted to 8.27 m (27-1 3/4) to stand third after round two.

Then the event stalled, until round six. Jamaica’s Tajay Gayle, the 2019 World Champion, got his best jump of the day and also hit 8.27 m to tie McLeod, but moved into bronze-medal position on his second-best mark. McLeod did not improve and Gayle won his second career Worlds medal.

Down to the final two jumps, and Tentoglou got excellent speed on the runway, got nearly all of the board and hit the sand at 8.52 m (27-11 1/2), and into the lead by 2 cm, with Pinnock getting one chance to respond. He gave it a shot, but ended up a little short at 8.38 m (27-6), leaving the Olympic champ from Greece with his first World Championships gold. Tentoglou and the Jamaicans will surely go for each other again in Paris.

American Will Williams reached 7.94 m (26-0 3/4) in the first round, but did not improve and finished eighth. U.S. champ Marquis Dendy was 12th at 7.62 m (25-0).

● Women/100 m hurdles ● The start was even, but no one was looking at 2015 World Champion Danielle Williams of Jamaica in lane one. Devynne Charlton (BAH), the 2022 World Indoor 60 m hurdles runner-up, was leading in the middle of the track, but Williams was right there and as Charlton faded slightly, American Keni Harrison came on for second, with Williams now in the lead.

But over the final hurdles and especially the run-in, Olympic champ Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (PUR) pulled into contention and nearly won, with Williams leaning hard to win in a surprisingly-slow 12.43 (wind: -0.2 m/s). Camacho-Quinn was second in 12.44, Harrison third in 12.46 for her second career Worlds medal, and Charlton fourth in 12.52.

U.S. champ Nia Ali, the 2019 World Champion, was eighth in 12.78.

Since her win in 2015, Williams had been eliminated in her semi in 2017, third in 2019 and sixth last year. Now she is on top again.

● Women/400 m hurdles ● No question about the favorite and Dutch star Femke Bol delivered, taking the lead from the third hurdle on and steaming into the final straight in 51.70, the no. 8 performance of all time.

But she was within reach of U.S. champ Shamier Little at the eighth hurdle, then moved away. Little had to fight to stay in second and did so in 52.80, a seasonal best, winning a second silver after her runner-up finish from 2015.

Anna Cockrell of the U.S. was holding third on the straight, but was passed on the run-in by Jamaican Rushell Clayton (lifetime best 52.81) and Kemi Adekoya (BRN: 53.09 national record), finishing fifth in a lifetime best of 53.34.

● Women/Hammer ● California’s three-time NCAA champion Cam Rogers of Canada took the lead immediately at 77.72 m (255-0), with American Janee Kassanavoid moving into second at 76.00 m (249-4) in the second round and improving to 76.36 m (250-6) in round three.

The 2019 World Champion, DeAnna Price of the U.S. fouled on her first two throws, then got a safe third throw of 73l28 m (240-5) to qualify seventh. None improved in round four, then Price finally got hold of one and moved into third at 75.41 m (247-5) in round five.

There were no improvements in round six, with Price getting to close to the edge of the circle to cut short a promising turn, and Rogers finished with four throws that would have won the event. She moves from silver in 2022 to gold in 2023 and ends the U.S. streak in the event at two. Kassanavoid from up from bronze in 2022 to silver.

Coming into the meet, Canada had won one hammer medal in the history of the Worlds – Rogers’ silver in 2022 – and now has both champions, with Ethan Katzberg’s stunning win in the men’s event.

The history-making walks were held in the morning, with Spain continuing to sweep aside all others:

● Men/35 km Walk ● In his sixth World Championships, Spanish walker Alvaro Martin, 29, got his first Worlds medal with a win in the 20 km Walk last Saturday, becoming the third from his nation to win the event.

On Thursday, he became the only man in the history of the World Championships to win both walking events, taking the 35 km race in a national record of 2:24:30, moving him to no. 9 on the all-time list.

He won by just four seconds over Brian Pintado (ECU: 2:24:34), now no. 10 ever, and 42 seconds ahead of bronze winner Masatora Kawano (JPN: 2:25:12). Canada’s Evan Dunfee was fourth in 2:25:28.

There were 10 walking in the lead pack at 20 km, seven at 25 km, and France’s Aurielen Quinon had been holding on to the lead since the 14 km mark. He was still in the lead at 29 km, but had been repeatedly carded for violations and after falling back to fifth at 30 km, he was eventually disqualified for a fourth red card after 32 km.

Martin, who had been top four the entire race, saw Pintado take the lead , but Martin raced away in the 34th kilometer and won by four seconds. Kawano had been a steady third since 30 km, with Dunfee all alone in fourth.

● Women/35 km Walk ● In Eugene last year, Peru’s Kimberley Garcia Leon swept the walks, winning by 33 seconds in the 20 and 47 seconds in the 35, contested at the Worlds for the first time.

She was back, but so was Spain’s Maria Perez, in her fourth Worlds, but trying the 35 km for the first time. The rest of the field wishes she hadn’t, as she broke away after Poland’s 2022 silver medalist Katarzyna Zdzieblo – the leader from 3 km through 19 km – fell back and was eventually disqualified for a fourth red card after 30 km.

Perez led from 20 km to the finish, breaking the race open after 24 km and up by 1:45 by 30 km. She finished in 2:38:40, with Garcia Leon a clear second in 2:40:52, and Antigoni Ntrismpioti (GRE) third in 2:43:22.

American Maria Michta-Coffey finished 24th in 3:01:22.

Perez pulled off the same double as Garcia Leon in 2022, winning golds after a 10th (2017), eighth (2019) and a disqualification last year in her prior Worlds appearances at 20 km. At just 27, she will be back for more.

The heats of the men’s 200 m got a little crazy after an accident, but everyone eventually got to run:

● Men/200 m ● Act II of the Noah Lyles show was supposed to be in semi one, but NBC’s Lewis Johnson reported that the semi one entrants were in a golf cart that was involved in an accident with another cart, coming from the warm-up area. So semi two was advanced to run first, with 2022 Worlds silver winner Kenny Bednarek of the U.S. and Botswana’s 100 m runner-up Letsile Tebogo 1-2 off the turn and moving away from the field. They actually looked at each other down the straight, with Bednarek winning, 19.96 to 19.97 (0.0). American Courtney Lindsey, the NCAA runner-up, was third in 20.22.

Semi three went second, with American teen star Erriyon Knighton taking the lead on the turn and coasting in with 90 m to go. He had to pick it up a little to win in 19.98 (-0.4), ahead of Britain’s Zharnel Hughes, the 100 m bronzer (20.02). Canada’s Andre De Grasse, the Tokyo Olympic champ, was third in 20.10, and advanced to the final.

Lyles finally got to run in the third semi, 25 minutes after their scheduled time, zipped into the lead after the turn and strode down the straight to win in an impressive 19.76 (-0.1). Dominican Alexander Ogando was second in 20.02. Three races, three U.S. wins. Wow.

● Men/800 m ● Australia’s Joseph Deng and Algeria’s Slimane Moula led through the first lap at 50.54 and 50.55, and Moula, the 2022 African champ, stayed in front and fought off everyone on the straight to win semi one in 1:43.93. Botswana’s Tshepiso Masalela came on hard on the straight to get second in a lifetime best of 1:44.14, with Ben Pattison (GBR) third in 1:44.23.

Canada’s Worlds bronze winner from 2022, Marco Arop, led at the bell in the second semi in 49.16, and was not headed, winning easily in 1:44.02, with 2022 Worlds silver winner Djamel Sedjati (ALG) second at 1:44.49.

Semi three saw Max Burgin (GBR) taking it out in 49.53, with Bryce Hoppel of the U.S. close, and Kenya’s Emmanuel Wanyonyi taking the lead into the turn. Hoppel was second for most of the straight, but was passed in the final 10 m by Spain’s Adrian Ben for second, 1:43.92 – lifetime best – to 1:44.04.

Wanyonyi won in 1:43.83, fastest of the day. Hoppel moved on to the final on time, with Burgin fading to eighth in 1:47.60.

● Men/5,000 m ● The pack ran lightly for the first 12 laps in heat one, with two-time Olympic medalist Paul Chelimo in the lead, then U.S. champ Abdi Nur was in the lead with three laps left. There still wasn’t much urgency until about 500 m left, when the running really started.

Nur, Hagos Gebrhiwet (ETH), France’s Jimmy Gressier and Spain’s Mohamed Katir were in front, but everyone was sprinting at the bell, with Gebrhiwet, Nur and Katir in front. Gebrhiwet and Katir were 1-2 with 200 m left, but with 10 still in contention, then Katir turned on the jets and ran away to win in 13:35.90, ahead of Gebrhiwet (13:36.15). Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen, the defending champ, stormed down the straight to get third (13:36.21); Nur was fifth (13:36.37) and Chelimo had a mad dash to the line to qualify in seventh at 13:36.51.

Heat two was a re-run, with nine separating themselves to run for eight qualifying spots, with Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha, Luis Grijalva (GUA) and Berihu Aregawi (ETH) leading the group at the bell. Kejelcha almost cut Grijalva off with 200 to go, but was pushed away, and while Kejelcha led down the stretch, Grijalva motored by late to win at the line in 13:32.72 to 13:32.83. Canada’s Moh Ahmed came on late to pass Aregawai for third, 13:33.16 to 13:33..23. American Sean McGorty fell out of contention in the final 600 m and finished 15th in 13:40.28.

● Women/200 m ● World leader Gabby Thomas of the U.S. was in semi one, but saw 2019 World Champion Dina Asher-Smith (GBR) led off the turn, but Thomas had the best of it down the straight and strode away in the final 50 m to win in 21.97 (-0.1). Asher-Smith was a clear second in 22.28.

Britain’s Daryll Neita led off the turn in semi two, but NCAA champ Julien Alfred (LCA and Texas) came on in the final 25 m to get to the line first in 22.17 (-0.2). Neita got a lifetime best of 22.21 for second, and Anthonique Strachan (BAH) third in 22.30. American Kayla White was fourth in 22.34, and did not advance.

Semi three had defending champ Shericka Jackson (JAM) and 100 m winner Sha’Carri Richardson of the U.S., and Jackson stormed into the lead on the turn and had clear sailing to the finish in 22.00 (-0.2). Marie-Josee Ta Lou (CIV), fourth in the 100 m, was a clear second into the straight, but Richardson moved ahead with 30 m left and was second with 22.20, and Ta Lou third at 22.26, but a time qualifier for the final.


● Stats ● The updated medal table shows the U.S. with 19 (7-6-6), ahead of Jamaica’s big day, now with eight total medals (2-3-3).

Ethiopia (1-3-2) has six, Great Britain (2-2-1) has five and Spain (four golds in walks!) is next with four. A total of 36 countries have won medals so far.

● Stories ● Fans following the Worlds on the World Athletics Web site have been frustrated with delays and outages, and on Thursday, there was this note on the “Live Blog” section of the World Athletics site:

“The good news is that our website has hit unprecedented traffic this week.

“The downside to this traffic – so much more than we ever could have predicted – is that it has crashed our systems for the past couple of days during peak periods.

“So to help the flow of traffic and to give fans the best chance of accessing the most in-demand parts of the website, our site will show just the live results page during the busiest part of this evening. That should hopefully ensure people won’t miss out on following all of the action at the WCH Budapest 23.”

The traffic was so heavy that the main “Timetable/Results” site froze, with this message:

“We’re experiencing extremely high traffic!

“WCH Budapest 23 is full on!

“We want to make sure you can still access the essential info – check it out below. The full version of our website will be back soon, after 10:00pm CET”

Sounds like a sponsorship opportunity!

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