ATHLETICS: U.S. finishes with 29 medals as men’s 4×400 wins gold; impressive wins for Ingebrigtsen, Mahuchikh and Bol as Worlds close

Dutch star Femke Bol celebrates another Worlds gold medal! (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images for World Athletics)

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The final day of the 19th World Athletics Championships in Budapest started with a very warm men’s marathon and finished with a brilliant evening, with a 12th gold for the U.S. in the men’s 4×400 m relay and stunning performances in the men’s 5,000 m, women’s high jump and a sensational final leg by Dutch star Femke Bol in the women’s 4×400 m.

● Men/Marathon ● It was 72 degrees F at 7:00 a.m. for the start, with 77% humidity, with the temps rising to 82 F, with 61% humidity at the finish. Of the 84 starters, 60 finished (71%), with times understandably quite modest by today’s standards.

By 10 km, 16 were in close contact, with Kenya’s Rotterdam Marathon runner-up Timothy Kiplangat in the lead. He was in the lead again at 20 km, with a big pack still in contact. At the half, Rwanda’s John Hazikimana was the leader in 1:05:02, with 30 more in the lead group.

There 20 running together at 29 km, with Kiplangat nominally in the lead, but then the Ugandan pair of Victor Kiplangat and Stephen Kissa increased the pace with a 2:58 kilometer and moving to the front. The lead group was 13 at 31 km, and six by 32 km, with 2022 Commonwealth Games champ Kiplangat and Ethiopia’s defending champ Tamirat Tola and 2022 London runner-up Leul Gebresilase together at the front.

Those three were clear by 33 km, with Tola dropping back after that; he eventually dropped out after the 39 km mark. Kiplangat and Gebresilase were together through 38 km, then Kiplangat edged ahead at the 39 km mark, and with Tola out, Ethiopian-born Israeli, Maru Teferi – now 31, who moved with his family at age 14 – moved into third.

At 40 km, Kiplangat was sailing, with a 13-second lead and run to the finish unchallenged to win in 2:08:53. Teferi was 31 seconds behind Gebresilase, , but within 19 seconds at 41 km and four seconds at 42 km, finally taking the silver medal in 2:09:12, with Gebresilase third in 2:09:19. Fourth was Tebello Ramakongoana of Lesotho, in 2:09:57, a lifetime best.

Kissa was fifth (2:10:22), Hazikimana was ninth (2:10:50) and Kiplangat finished 14th, in 2:11:25. The top U.S. finisher was Zach Panning, in 13th at 2:11:21; Nico Montanez was 55th (2:24:58), and Elkanah Kibet did not finish.

It was Uganda’s second win in the event, with Stephen Kiprotich winning in 2013 and the first medal for Israel in the Worlds men’s race. Gebresilase’s bronze extends an Ethiopian medals streak in this race to eight straight Worlds.

Statistically, this race was harder on the runners than the midnight marathon at the 2019 World Championships in Doha (QAT), where 55 finished out of 73 who started: 75%. This time, only 71% made it to the finish.

The mass-participation “Budapest 10K Mass Race” was shortened to 5.75 km, starting at 11 a.m., and finishing in Heroes’ Square, with a second, 2.023 km run following at 1 p.m.

The winner of the 5.75 km race was David McCarthy of Ireland in 17:03; Carvalho Vanessa of Portugal took the women’s division in 19:09. There were 3,984 finishers, plus 1,511 finishers in the 2.023 km race.

The final evening session was also great, with the National Athletics Centre full once again. The Hungarian organizers said more than 400,000 tickets were sold, about 95% of capacity for the nine days and 14 sessions.

● Men/5,000 m ● What would Jakob Ingebrigtsen do? As in 2022, he had to settle for silver in the 1,500 m, but last year came back to win the 5,000 m. Ingebrigtsen said he has not been feeling well – some type of virus, he wouldn’t specify – but he started in the 85 F heat and 49% humidity at 8:10 p.m.

The first action came with a surge by Kenya’s Ishmael Kipkirui, 18 (13:05.47 this year), after 700 m, and had a 30 m lead with nine laps to go. The pack caught up with 2,500 to go, with world-leader Berihu Aregawi (ETH) taking over with six laps left.

Ethiopia’s Hagos Gebrhiwet – the 2013 Worlds runner-up – and Aregawi were 1-2 at 3,200 m, then Aregawi, Abdi Nur of the U.S. and Luis Grijalva (GUA) moving up with three laps to go. Everybody was still in it, with Aregawi and Grijalva staying at the front

Aregawi, Jimmy Gressier of France and Grivalja were leading with 800 m left, then Gebrhiwet sprinted at the bell and took the lead, but Spain’s Mohamed Katir – the 2022 European silver winner – took over on the back straight and led into the turn, with Ingebrigtsen chasing and the two clear of the field.

The duel was on and the Norwegian was getting closer, then found another gear in the final 50 m and passed Katir in the final 15 m to win – and repeat as champion – in 13:11.30, with a 52.45 last lap.

Katir got second (13:11.44), and Kenyan Jacob Krop came up for third in 13:12.28, with Grijalva fourth (13:12.50). Gebrhiwet faded to sixth (13:12.65) and Aregawi was eight in 13:12.99. Nur was 12th in 13:23.90 and Paul Chelimo of the U.S. was 15th 13:30.88.

● Men/4×400 m ● The U.S. came in with two wins in a row and eight of the last nine in the Worlds, and started with Worlds bronze winner Quincy Hall.

And Hall ran 44.54 to get clear of the field and passed to Vernon Norwood, who stormed into the lead on the back straight. He gave back a little of his big lead coming into the home straight, but pulled away to finish at 44.01 with the Americans way in front.

Third leg Justin Robinson was smooth, maintaining the lead with a 44.74 leg and handed to Rai Benjamin with a 10 m lead. No problem for Benjamin, who finished in 44.02 and the U.S. had a world-leading 2:57.31 victory to close out its Worlds.

It was Robinson’s second gold of the Worlds, after the Mixed Relay win on the opening night.

The fight for second was furious, with France’s David Sombe and Teo Andant running strongly over the final two legs to get the silver in 2:58.45, a national record, with Britain third in 2:58.71.

● Men/Javelin ● Olympic champ Neeraj Chopra made a statement with a sensational 88.17 m (289-3) in the second round, leaving the field to chase him.

Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem got close in round three, reaching 87.82m (288-1), with German Julian Weber – the 2022 European champ – third (85.79 m/281-5) off his round two effort.

Olympic silver winner Jakub Vadlejch (CZE) – the world leader – got up to third at 86.67 m (284-4) in the fifth round, with Chopra and Nadeem both over 87 m, but without an improvement in the later rounds. Chopra emerged as the winner, leading an Indian 1-5-6 finish with Kishore Jena (84.77 m/278-1) and D.P. Manu (84.14 m/276-0)!

Chopra added to his Olympic win with India getting its first Worlds gold. For Nadeem, his silver is Pakistan’s first-ever medal at the World Championships. Important, from a part of the world where track & field has had little impact … until now.

● Women/800 m ● Was American Athing Mu, in only her third meet of the season, ready to defend her title? After getting hit in the semis, she took the lead and came to the bell in 56.01, with Kenyan Mary Moraa – last year’s 2022 bronze winner – in 56.07.

Mu continued in the lead on the back straight, opening a small lead on Moraa, leading by 2/10ths with 200 to go, but with a half-dozen still in contention. Britain’s Jemma Reekie and Worlds silver winner Keely Hodgkinson came up to challenge, but Mu was still in front with 100 m to go, but being pressed.

On the straight, Moraa sprinted hard and passed Mu with 60 m to go, winning in a lifetime best of 1:56.03, as she jumped over the finish line in celebration. And Hodgkinson moved hard on the inside and was able to get through and passed Mu with 20 m left and got second, 1:56.34 to 1:56.61 for Mu.

Raevyn Rogers of the U.S. finished fourth in 1:57.45, a seasonal best, and Nia Akins was sixth in a lifetime best of 1:57.73. It’s the third Worlds gold for Kenya in this event, and first since 2013. For Mu, at 21, she has two golds and a bronze in the last three years: Tokyo, Eugene and Budapest.

● Women/Steeple ● Kenyans Beatrice Chepkoech – the world-record holder and 2019 World Champion – and Faith Cherotich led early, with world no. 4 Winfred Yavi (BRN) third.

With four laps left, it was Chepkoech, Cherotich, Yavi and Tokyo Olympic champ Peruth Chemutai (UGA) separated from the field, and Chepkoech, Yavi and Cherotich moving away from Chemutai at a hot, sub-9:00 pace. With two laps to go, Chepkoech and Yavi were moving away from Cherotich. 

At the bell, they two were together and Yavi took the lead on the turn and got a 2 m gap that was 3 m with 200 m to go and 7 m into the straight. Yavi won in a world-leading 8:54.29 – now the no. 4 performer, with no. 5 performance all-time – to 8:58.98. Cherotich, the 2022 World Junior Champion, managed to get third in 9:00.69, a lifetime best.

For Yavi, it was supreme satisfaction, after fourth-place finishes in the 2019 and 2022 Worlds.

American Courtney Wayment finished 15th at 9:25.90.

● Women/4×400 m ● Candice McLeod led off for Jamaica (50.23) and passed first to Janieve Russell, who had a big lead into the straight, but Britain and the Dutch pulled even and passed ahead to their third runners.

Jamaica’s Nickisha Pryce took the lead back, with Britain’s Ama Pipi right in behind, and Pryce passed first to Stacey Ann Williams on anchor. Williams was strong on the back straight, leading Britain’s Nicole Yeargin, with Dutch star Bol trying to get back into contention.

Williams looked good coming into the straight, but Bol was coming hard, despite being 15 m down with 100 m to go. No problem: she charged past Yeargin with 25 m left and then caught and passed the tiring Williams – who ran 49.97 on her leg – with 5 m to go and won in a world-leading 3:20.74, now the 10th-fastest nation ever.

Jamaica was just 0.14 behind at 3:20.88, then Britain at 3:21.04 and Canada at 3:22.42.

● Women/High Jump ● Eight were still in it through 1.94 m (6-4 1/4), then to 1.97 m (6-5 1/2), with Ukraine’s 2022 World Indoor champ Yaroslava Mahuchikh took the lead with a first-time clearance. Then Olympic runner-up Nicola Olyslagers (AUS) equaled, but everyone else missed their first attempts.

Only defending champ Eleanor Patterson (AUS) and Britain’s Morgan Lake managed 1.97 m – on their third attempts – and at 1.99 m (6-6 1/4), Patterson upped the ante with a first-time make.

Mahuchikh matched on her first try, and Olyslagers made on her second. Lake missed twice, passed and then missed on her first try at 2.01 m (6-7) to finish fourth.

The three medalists all missed first trials at 2.01 m (6-7), but Mahuchikh sailed over on her second try, with Patterson and Olyslagers missing all three, to finish 2-3. It’s Mahuchikh’s first Worlds outdoor gold, after silvers in 2019 and 2022, and an inspiration with her country fending off the Russian invasion.

Mahuchikh had the bar moved up to 2.07 m (6-9 1/2), but could not clear and won her country’s first Worlds high jump gold since 1999.

American Vashti Cunningham cleared 1.90 m (6-2 3/4), but could go no higher and finished 11th.


● Errata ● Thanks to eagle-eyed reader David Greifinger for noticing a typo in Saturday’s post on the decathlon 110 m hurdles, won by Canada’s Damian Warner in 13.67, not 10.67!

● Stats ● The final medal count saw the U.S. pile up 29 total medals, with 12 golds, eight silver and nine bronzes, down only slightly from their home-field Worlds in 2022, with 33 medals overall (13-9-11). An impressive performance, and a great lead-in to Paris for 2024.

Jamaica won 12 medals (3-5-4), followed by Kenya (3-3-4) and Great Britain (2-3-5), both with 10. Ethiopia had nine (2-4-3) and Canada (4-2-0) and Australia (1-2-3) were next with six. China had a disappointing Worlds with two bronzes, down from six medals (2-1-3) in Eugene.

The World Athletics’ main results site was down again, so the placing table will be available later.

● Stories ● The International Fair Play Committee (CIFP) and World Athletics is inviting fans to nominate their “fair play” moment of the season.

Nominations can be submitted now; fair-play awards have usually concentrated on a single event like the World Athletics Championships, but has been expanded for 2023 to the entire season:

“Following the final [World Athletics Series] event of the year, the World Road Running Championships in Riga, Latvia, in October, a jury will be empanelled to review the nominations and judge on a shortlist of five fair play moments in athletics from 2023.

“Fans will then be asked to cast their votes through the World Athletics social media channels for the shortlisted moment that they feel best exemplifies fair play. These votes will be combined with the votes from the jury to determine three finalists for the Fair Play Award. The winner will be revealed at the World Athletics Awards in Monaco in December.”

World Athletics announced the new members of its Athletes Commission, elected in Budapest and including:

● Valerie Adams (NZL) ~ two-time Olympic shot gold medalist
● Adam Gemili (GBR) ~ 2014 European 200 m Champion
● Renaud Lavillenie (FRA) ~ London 2012 vault gold medalist
● Aisha Praught Leer (JAM) ~ 2018 Commonwealth Games Steeple winner
● Diego Garcia (ESP) ~ Two-time European 20 km Walk medalist
● Jasmine Todd (USA) ~ 2015 Worlds 4×100 m silver medalist

This group will serve from 2023-27; Lavellenie, the current Chair, and Adams, the current Vice Chair, and Praught Leer, were re-elected. The outgoing members include American Bernard Lagat and China’s Bingtian Su.

Congratulations to retired American distance star Shannon Rowbury, the 2009 Worlds women’s 1,500 m bronze medalist and three-time Olympian, for being one of three English-language announcers for the Worlds, along with veterans Geoff Wightman and Kris Temple (both GBR).

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