TSX REPORT: Jeruto wins fastest-ever women’s Steeple, but Feng shocks Allman for women’s disc win in Eugene

400 m hurdles star Sydney McLaughlin (USA)?

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Session 10 ~ Wednesday, 20 July 2022

Just two finals, but the conditions were now a challenge at the World Athletics Championships with temperatures over 90 F when the session began at Hayward Field. Both winners were outstanding, with Steeple winner Norah Jeruto winning as expected, but there was a shock in the women’s discus:

● Women/Steeple ● It was 87 F at the 7:45 p.m. start and the race started hot – on world-record pace – with Norah Jeruto (KAZ) leading at 1,000 m, ahead of Winfred Yavi (BRN) and American Emma Coburn. With three laps to go, Yavi, Jeruto and Werhuka Getachew (ETH) pushed hard and broke away from the rest of the field.

With two laps left, it was Jeruto in front, with 3 m on Yavi and Getachew, and Ethiopian Mekides Abebe trying to regain contact and get into the medal race. Abebe joined the leaders following the penultimate water jump and the four were together at the bell.

Yavi took the lead on the backstraight, but lost all momentum on the final water jump, while Jeruto blew past everyone and entered the straightaway with the lead, which she extended to the line. Her time of 8:53.02 is the no. 3 performance in history, and she celebrated with a bath in the water jump, where she took the lead for good.

Behind the winner, Getachew set a national record of 8:54.61, followed by Abebe at 8:56.08; Getachew is now the fourth-fastest in the event ever and Abebe is no. 5. It’s the first time that three women have run under 9:00 in the same race.

Yavi finished fourth in 9:01.81; the American finishers were Courtney Frerichs in sixth (9:10.59), Coburn in eighth (9:16.49) and Courtney Wayment in 12th (9:22.37).

● Women/Discus ● China’s Bin Feng, no. 4 on the year list, shook up the first round with a lifetime best of 69.12 m (226-9), moving to no. 2 for 2022 and putting enormous pressure on the rest of the field. As it turned out, no one could respond.

Two-time Olympic champ Sandra Perkovic (CRO) moved into second place with her first toss of 67.74 m (222-3) and Tokyo Olympic winner Valarie Allman of the U.S. took third at 67.62 m (221-10).

Perkovic gave chase in round two, improving to a seasonal best of 68.45 m (224-7), and Allman advanced to 68.30 m (224-1), but remained in third place in the third round. None of the top three could improve in the next two rounds, and in the sixth, none were close to their bests and Feng won a surprise gold.

For Perkovic, it was her fifth Worlds medal (2-2-1) and she beat Allman for the second time this year. Olympic champ Allman suffered only her second defeat of the year, but had the bronze medal to show for it.

American Laulauga Tausaga threw 56.47 m (185-3) and finished 12th.

● Men/400 m semis ● American Michael Norman ran easily in the first 200 m, but found himself behind Matthew Hudson-Smith (GBR) into the straight. Norman pushed and got to the line first in 44.30 to 44.38, but did not look convincing.

London 2008 Olympic champ Kirani James looked smooth and confident and won in 44.74, with Botswana’s Bayapo Ndori second in 44.94. Michael Cherry of the U.S. faded in the final 50 m to fourth in 45.28.

Two-time World Champion Wayde van Niekerk (RSA) blew away the field in the first 200 m and was leading Jonathan Jones (BAR) into the home straightaway. But van Niekerk faded slightly in the last 70 m, as Jones came up, but then American Champion Allison was pushing hard and somehow got to the line first in 44.71 to 44.75 for van Niekerk and 44.78 for Jones. Wow!

● Men/800 m heats ● Britain’s Max Burgin, the world leader at 1:43.52, did not start in heat one, and the race was slow – really slow – with Kenya’s Olympic champ Emmanuel Korir coming on over the final 100 m to win in 1:49.05. Defending World Champion Donavan Brazier (USA) headlined heat two, and was third in a bunched pack at the bell in 52.3, but Peter Bol (AUS) took over with 200 m and was never headed and won in 1:45.50, ahead of Kyle Langford (GBR: 1:45.68); Brazier – with foot surgery coming next week – faded to seventh in 1:46.72.

Heat three nearly had a mass fall and Canada’s Brandon McBride did go down, but it was NCAA champion Mouad Zahafi (MAR and Texas Tech) who had the lead with 200 m to go and won decisively in 1:46.15. France’s Gabriel Tual was second in 1:46.34 and American Bryce Hoppel was third into the straight, but faded to fifth in 1:46.98. The fourth heat saw the pack run together through 600 m, but Algeria’s Djamel Sedjati sprinted down the straight to win in 1:46.39; American Brandon Miller faded in the final 120 m and was fifth in 1:47.29.

Again, the pack was bunched in heat five, with 400 m crossed in 51.4, led by Andreas Kramer (SWE). Canadian star Marco Arop got to the lead with 150 m left and held the lead and won in a quick 1:44.56, while USATF runner-up Jonah Koech was only fourth around the turn and sprinted to second at the line in a lifetime best 1:44.62. He was later disqualified for some pushing on the final backstraight.

The final heat saw Daniel Rowden (GBR) crossed 400 m in 50.8, with Kenyan Wyclife Kinyamal second, but on the final straight, it was Slimane Moula (ALG) sprinted from fifth to first in 1:44.90, with Kinyamal second (1:45.08) and Rowden fading to fourth (1:45.53).

● Women/400 m semis ● Double Olympic champ Shaunae Miller-Uibo (BAH) ran away with semi one in 49.56, ahead of Jamaica’s Candice McLeod (50.05). American Lynna Irby faded to sixth in 51.00 and did not advance.

Dominican star Fiordaliza Cofil, who ran down everyone to win the Mixed 4×400 m, held off surprising Lieke Klaver (NED) and Jamaican Stephenie Ann McPherson to win semi two in 50.14 – a lifetime best – with a national record 50.18 for Klaver. McPherson finished in 50.56 and advanced on time.

World leader Marileidy Paulino (DOM) took the lead by the 200 m mark, and cruised home in 49.98, with Sada Williams (BAR) second in 50.12. Talitha Diggs of the U.S. was third in 50.84, but did not advance.

● Women/400 m Hurdles semis ● Defending champ Dalilah Muhammad of the U.S. was out like a shot – as she usually is – and ran away with semi one with a seasonal best of 53.28, now fourth on the 2022 world list. She said afterwards that she needs to run two seconds faster in the final; that would be a world-record 51.28!

The second semi had Dutch star Femke Bol run hard from the gun, but was challenged by Jamaica’s Rushell Clayton, even over the eighth hurdle. Bol was strongest down the straight and won in 52.84, but American Shamier Little – the 2015 Worlds silver medalist – surged hard to get second, 53.61-53.63, over Clayton. American Britton Wilson was fourth in 53.72, but made it to the final on time.

World-record holder Sydney McLaughlin got out hard in the third semi, ran down the two runners outside of her by the 200 m mark, and cruised home in 52.17, the no. 8 performance of all-time! She now owns five of the top eight times in history. Wow.

The final is Friday; McLaughlin’s 51.41 world record is definitely under siege.

● Women/5,000 m heats ● It was hot for the heats, with 92 F temps when the first race started at 4:30 p.m., so the pace was happily modest. Japan’s Ririka Hironaka led through 3,000 m in 8:59.90, with Karissa Schweizer (USA) and Konstanze Klosterhalfen (GER) leading a lead group of nine. With two laps to go, Schweizer had the lead, ahead of 1,500 m runner-up Gudaf Tsegay (ETH) and 10,000 m bronze winner Margaret Kipkemboi (KEN), and then Tsegay took the lead with 600 m to go, leading at the bell. Five qualified automatically, and five moved away, with Tsegay sprinting home ahead of teammate Dawit Seyaum in 14:52.64 to 14:53.06. Kenyans Beatrice Chebet and Kipkemboi went 3-4, with Schweizer fifth (14:53.69). Fellow American Emily Infeld was sixth in 15:00.98

The second heat had Britain’s Eilish McColgan at the front at 3,000 m in 8:58.00, ahead of Caroline Kipkirui (KAZ) and Norway’s Karoline Grovdal, leading a group of nine. McColgan still had the lead with two laps to go, then Jessica Judd (GBR) took over with 600 m to go and at the bell. Grovdal had the lead with 200 m to go, followed by Gidey and Kipkirui and then on the final straight, 10,000 m winner Letsenbet Gidey sprinted home in 14:52.27, with Kipkirui second and Olympic champ Sifan Hassan (NED) flying past Grovdal to get third. American Elise Cranny was fifth (14:53.20) and will make the final on time.

● Women/Javelin qualifying ● The automatic qualifying mark was 62.50 m (205-1) and only Lithuania’s Liveta Jasiunate surpassed it in the first group at 63.80 m (209-4). China’s Tokyo Olympic winner Shiying Liu threw 63.86 m (209-6) on her first toss in Group B to qualify, but ended up second overall as Japan’s Haruka Kitaguchi unloaded a seasonal best of 64.32 m (211-0) to lead all qualifiers.

The Americans: Kara Winger threw 61.30 m (201-1), ended up forth overall and advanced; Ariana Ince threw 57.24 m (187-9) for 18th and Maggie Malone, the world leader, managed only 54.19 m (177-9) and was 22nd.

American sprint star Fred Kerley, the World 100 m champ, strained a quad during the 200 m semifinals and is out for the 4×100 m for the U.S. The American team has lots of options, but won’t have its top sprinter.

The medal table shows the U.S. with 19 medals total (6-5-8) and continuing to lead, with Ethiopia second with eight (3-4-1) and Kenya still third (1-3-2). China’s win in the discus makes them the third country to have won at least two golds.

In the placing table, using the top eight places to measure overall strength, the U.S. now leads Ethiopia by 185-82, with Kenya at 63, Jamaica at 42 and Poland at 41.

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