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≡ WORLD ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIPS ≡
Session 14 ~ Saturday, 23 July 2022
(Coverage of Saturday morning’s events, with the men’s decathlon and women’s hurdles and long jump qualifying is here.)
There were exciting finals in six events on Day 9 of the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, but it was really about the 4×100 m relays. And they were great.
The difference was passing and running at full speed with the stick in two memorable races:
● Women/4×100 m ● The U.S., with Melissa Jefferson, Abby Steiner, Jenna Prandini and TeeTee Terry, drew lane three, with favored Jamaica – Kemba Nelson, Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson – in five.
Off the gun, both Jefferson and Terry were excellent and the pass to Steiner had her and Thompson-Herah close at the second exchange. Then came the crucial moment in the race, as Prandini got a near-perfect pass and stormed the turn to take the lead from Fraser-Pryce going into the final leg. This was decisive.
Prandini made a solid pass to a full-speed Terry and although Jackson was motoring, closing with every stride, Terry was strong enough and held on to take the upset win with the no. 5 time in history (and no. 3 U.S.), 41.14 to 41.18.
Britain was in contention until Dina Asher-Smith pulled at the end of the third leg and barely made the pass to anchor Daryll Neita. Germany took advantage and won the bronze in 42.03.
● Men/4×100 m ● The U.S. team of Christian Coleman, Noah Lyles, Elijah Hall and Marvin Bracy – same as in the heats – was in lane three, one ahead of Jamaica and one behind Canada.
Coleman was hot from the start and handed off to Lyles in good shape, and Lyles stormed to the lead on the backstraight. His pass to Hall was good, but Canada was flying with Brendon Rodney and handed first to Olympic 200 m champ Andre De Grasse.
The U.S. pass from Hall to Bracy was poor and barely within the zone and De Grasse was flying. Bracy closed, but De Grasse crossed first in a world-leading 37.48, a national record. The U.S. was timed in 37.55 and Britain got the bronze in 37.83, over Jamaica (38.06).
Upset? Yes, but well deserved, especially with the legs by Rodney and De Grasse.
● Men/800 m ● The pace was slow to start, so Canada’s Marco Arop decided to lead, passing 400 m in 52.03 with France’s Gabriel Tual and Algerian Slimane Moola close behind. On the backstraight, Arop stayed in front, but Kenya’s Wyclife Kinyamal moved up to challenge with Tual. But Olympic champ Emmanuel Korir unleashed a fierce kick with 150 m to go, moving quickly to second and then passing Arop on the home straight to win going away in 1:43.71.
Behind Arop was Algeria’s Djamel Sedjati, who close with a rush to win silver in 1:44.14 to 1:44.28 for Arop. Kenyan Emmanuel Wanyonyi sprinted home for fourth in 1:44.54.
● Men/Triple Jump ● Portugal’s Pedro Pablo Pichardo, the Olympic champion, exploded in the first round, landing at a world-leading 17.95 m (58-10 3/4) and taking the air of the event after two jumps. Olympic bronze winner Hugues Zango (BUR) tried to match, getting out to 17.55 m (57-7) and then Italian Andrea Dallavalle reached 17.25 m (56-7 1/4) to stand third after round one.
But that didn’t hold, as Olympic silver winner Yaming Zhu blasted out to 17.31 m (56-9 1/2) to grab third, in round two, while Pichardo backed up his leading effort with another bomb: 17.92 m (58-9 1/2). And that’s how it ended, with the same medalists as in Tokyo, but with Zango second and Zhu third this time.
U.S. champ Donald Scott was in the mix at 17.14 m (56-2 3/4) on his first try, standing fifth after the first three rounds, but did not improve and finished sixth. Fellow American Will Claye managed 16.54 m (54-3 1/4) and finished 11th.
● Men/Javelin ● Grenada’s Anderson Peters, the 2019 World Champion, has been the best thrower this season and he stamped his name on the gold medal in round one at 90.21 m (295-11), a distance only he and one other man have reached in 2022.
Czech Jakub Vadlejch, the other 90m-plus thrower this season, moved into second right away at 87.23 m (286-2) in the second round, with German Julian Weber third (86.86 m/285-0).
Then Peters extended to 90.46 m (296-9) in round two and Vadlejch answered in round three, but was still short at 88.09 m (289-0). Olympic champ Neeraj Chopra finally got untracked in round four, moving from fourth to second at 88.13 m (289-1). But no one could handle Peters, who defended his title in style, with three throws that would have won the competition, tacking on a final 90.54 m (297-0) – best of the day – to end the event.
American Curtis Thompson threw 78.39 m (257-2) and finished 11th.
● Women/5,000 m ● The race started slowly, with Ethiopia’s 1,500 m runner-up Gudaf Tsegay picking up the pace on the third lap and then 10,000 m winner Letsenbet Gidey took the lead after 2,000 m. By the 3,000 m mark, there were 11 in the lead pack, with Gidey leading at 9:02.80.
Gidey and Tsegay ran together at the front, alternating the lead, but not fast enough to shake Hassan. With two laps left, Gidey and Tsegay were in front of Beatrice Chebet (KEN) and Dawit Seyaum (ETH). The pack shrunk to nine by the bell, with Hassan coming up to challenge Tsegay and Hassan had the lead on the final backstraight, but in a tight group of a half-dozen potential winners.
But on the turn into the home straight, it was Tsegay and Chebet racing past Hassan and running to the line 1-2 in 14:46.29 and 14:46.75. Ethiopian Seyaum and Margaret Kipkemboi (KEN) raced for the bronze and ended 3-4 in 14:47.36 and 14:47.71. Gidey finished fifth and Hassan sixth.
Tsegay was known as a 1,500 m star, winning the 2022 World Indoor title, but now she is the World 5,000 m gold medalist, in her third Worlds after a 1,500 m bronze in Doha and silver in Eugene.
Elise Cranny was the top American in ninth (14:59.99), with Emily Infeld 14th in 15:29.03; Karissa Schweizer didn’t finish.
● Women/4×400 m heats ● The U.S. fielded a team of Talitha Diggs, Allyson Felix, Kaylin Whitney and Jaide Stepter Baynes in heat one and Diggs – the NCAA champion for Florida – got off to a solid lead (51.01) and made the pass first to Felix. The veteran star took off hard and forged a 7 m lead over Great Britain (Laviai Nielsen) heading into the third leg (50.61). Whitney (51.01) and Britain’s Victoria Ohuruogu separated from the rest of the field and Stepter Baynes (50.75) held off Nicole Yeargin on the home straight for a 3:23.38-3:23.92 win. The Dutch dropped the stick on the second hand-off, but anchor Femke Bol – as with the Mixed 4×400 m – brought her team home in third (49.38) in 3:28.58, but was disqualified for the illegal pass.
Felix says she was back in Los Angeles and got a call to help with the relay prelims, and zipped back to Eugene to run on Saturday.
Jamaica’s Junelle Bromfield broke open the second heat with a brilliant first 200 m and giving third leg Tiffany James a 10 m lead that was opened to 20 m lead for Charokee Young, winning in 3:24.23. Belgium’s Camille Laus stormed past Canada for second in 3:28.02.
● Men/4×400 m heats ● The U.S. team of Elija Godwin, Vernon Norwood, Bryce Deadmon and Trevor Bassitt drew lane six in heat one, and Godwin (44.46) destroyed the field, handing Norwood a solid lead that was quickly extended. Norwood held the lead (44.73) and had a 6 m lead with the exchange to Deadmon, who ran a 44.48 leg to extend the lead. Bassitt was not challenged and won easily in 2:58.96 (leg 45.29).
Behind him, there was a furious race between Japan, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago, with Yuki Nakajima passing Jamaica’s Anthony Cox in the final straight for second, 3:01.53-3:01.59.
In heat two, Botswana and Belgium were coming in together for the final exchange, with the Belgians leading and Botswana dropping the baton and falling out of contention. Veteran Kevin Borlee maintained the lead and brought Belgium home in 3:01.96, with the Czech Republic second in 3:02.42.
● Men/Decathlon ● The afternoon program began with the high jump, and Norway’s Sander Skothein scored a lifetime best of 2.17 m (7-1 1/2) to lead the field, ahead of American Kyle Garland’s 2.14 m (7-0 1/4). American Zach Ziemek was fourth overall at 2.08 m (6-9 3/4) and stood second to Olympic champ Damian Warner (CAN) in the overall score, 3,696 to 3,634, with Garland third (3,582).
In the 400 m, Warner grabbed his left leg after 100 m and crashed to the track, ending his competition suddenly and tragically. On the track, Ayden Owens-Delerme (PUR) raced brilliantly, setting a lifetime best with a world-class time of 45.07! LePage was second at 46.84 and with Warner out, the event is suddenly wide open. After five events: Owens-Delerme leads with 4,606, followed by LePage (4,485), Ziemek (4,469) and Garland (4,413).
The U.S. medal count is up to 28 (10-8-10), with the all-time record of 31 possibly in sight on Sunday. Ethiopia is the second to get to double digits, at 10 (4-4-2), with Kenya third with eight (2-4-2).
On the placing table, the U.S. leads the eight-place scoring, 274-100 over Ethiopia, ahead of Kenya (89), Jamaica (82) and China (59).
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