World Championships 2015 overview






29 AUG 2015 REPORT BEIJING, CHINA

WHAT WE LEARNED ON DAY EIGHT – IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, BEIJING 2015

With seven finals and a decathlon, it was a busy Saturday, and that makes it all the more important to review and consider what we've learned today.

ASHTON IS AMAZING

Ashton Eaton is the reigning world and Olympic champion and world record holder, so perhaps his amazingness is self-evident.

But Eaton seems determined to find every last way to be amazing. It was clear after the first day that Eaton's own record was in his reach, but world records are hard to come by in the best of circumstances and Eaton had many potential disasters to avoid. 

After nine events the record was still only just in reach, requiring Eaton to beat 4:18.25 in the 1500m. He came through with a 4:17.52 to improve his own world record by six points. The new mark: 9045.

After two days of scratching for every point in every event, the record came down to less than a second, and Eaton had enough to make it happen.

STUDYING YOUR FUNDAMENTALS PAYS OFF

Yes, the top line on the relay is yet another gold for Jamaica, yet another runaway down the home straight for Usain Bolt. But underneath that is the tale of two silver medals. One of them was a silver that slipped out of reach: the USA quartet, second to the line, was disqualified for an exchange zone violation. And the other was the silver won by the Chinese team from lane nine, with three flawless baton exchanges.

Look for China to keep picking up relay medals in the future.

The same lesson was apparent in the women's relay, where the overwhelming speed of the Jamaicans was out of reach for 200m champion Dafne Schippers' as the Netherlands quartet (disqualified for an exchange zone violation), and 400m champion Allyson Felix's USA squad (second).

The surprising third place was a national record 42.03 for the women of Trinidad and Tobago, who have been working on their exchanges with 2001 relay medallist Ato Boldon.

SOMETIMES IT'S WORTH STOPPING

In the middle of the 50km race walk final, Matej Toth, who had been leading almost from the gun, walked off the course and into a bathroom. He wasn't there long, but when he came out he not only made up the time he'd lost but extended his lead.

Toth won in 3:40:32 with 1:45 over the experienced Jared Tallent, so who's to question his decision to invest some time in a short break, especially when it helps brings your country’s first ever world championships gold medal?

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE HOME STRAIGHT

Two consecutive finals on the track came down to homestretch drives.

First, it was the men's 5000m final, in which Mo Farah wound up with his third consecutive world title.

Kenya's Caleb Ndiku came closer than anyone has in recent years at championships to finding a winning strategy over Farah, challenging the Briton until less than 100 metres to go.

Farah had another gear, though, and put daylight between himself and Ndiku in the last one per cent of the race.

A short while before, in the women's 800m final, Marina Arzamasova of Belarus stole a march on Kenay’s defending champion Eunice Sum down the backstretch, then found the speed necessary to hold off the fast-closing Sum on the homestretch.

Perhaps with more speed than either of them, Canada's Melissa Bishop snuck home ahead of Sum for the silver medal. From Arzamasova at 1:58.03 to Sum at 1:58.18 was just 0.15 seconds. 

POLAND KNOWS THROWS

With Piotr Malachowski's 67.40m gold medal effort in the men's discus, Poland has three gold medals here in Beijing, and all three came in the throws. The other two were from Pawel Fajdek and Anita Wlodarczyk in the hammer throws.

Not only did Malachowski take the gold, but his training partner Robert Urbanek stepped up to take bronze, another throw with multiple medals for Poland after the men’[s hammer.

EVERY ATTEMPT COUNTS

Seven years ago, Croatia’s Blanka Vlasic took the 2008 Olympic Games silver in the high jump here in the Bird’s Nest stadium, losing gold on countback to Tia Hellebaut when the Belgian beat Vlasic over one height and then pressed her advantage to the end.

Tonight, Vlasic took a world championships silver on the same jumps apron, losing gold on countback to Russia’s Maria Kuchina whose record was perfect through 2.01m.

Vlasic had one miss, and took the silver over Kuchina’s compatriot Anna Chicherova, also at 2.01m, because her miss came earlier than Chicherova's.

Without those two misses, a jump off would have ensued, and both Vlasic and Chicherova would have had further chances to regain the world title.







Ashton Eaton in the decathlon at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (AFP / Getty Images)






29 AUG 2015 REPORT BEIJING, CHINA

REPORT: MEN’S DECATHLON 1500M – IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, BEIJING 2015

It was never going to be easy – world records never are – but Ashton Eaton had decided that three years and two months was long enough for his mark of 9039 to stand.

A 5.20m clearance in the pole vault meant that the world record was going to be difficult, but a 63.63m throw in the javelin made his task slightly easier.

A clocking of 4:18.25 in the final event, the 1500m, was needed for the record, but that was a time he had only once before achieved.

The 27-year-old was outside the required pace for the first 400m, but he moved closer to the front after seeing the first-lap split of 1:09.34 from Germany’s Michael Schrader.

Algeria’s Larbi Bourrada then took up the lead and passed 800m in 2:21.56 with Eaton close behind. But there was still ground to make up.

As he approached the final lap, Eaton appeared to have already given it all he had. He needed a 63-second last lap to achieve his target, so – from somewhere – he found an extra gear.

With Bourrada away and clear, Eaton charged down the home straight and crossed the line in 4:17.52, some 0.73 quicker than the time he needed. The world record* now stands at 9045, six points more than his previous mark, and thanks to the support of IAAF partner TDK, earned him a world record bonus of US $100,000.

The US all-rounder won his second successive world title in the decathlon and has now win six consecutive global titles, indoors and outdoors, since 2012.

Eaton also became the first athlete since Jurgen Hingsen in the 1980s to set two successive world records in the decathlon. And he is the first decathlete to set a world record at the IAAF World Championships.

Canada’s Damian Warner just missed the 8700-point barrier, but ended his series with a 4:31.51 clocking in the 1500m to bring his score to 8695, improving the Canadian record for the second time in just five weeks. It was also his second successive World Championships medal for the 25-year-old, who finished third in Moscow in 2013.

As anticipated, Germany’s Rico Freimuth’s advantage over the other medal contenders was too much and the 27-year-old held on to bronze, taking his first major medal with a 8561 PB after running 4:37.05 in the 1500m.

Russia’s Ilya Shkurenev ran an inspired 1500m in 4:24.98, but the gap to Freimuth was too big and he placed fourth with a PB of 8538.

Bourrada, the 1500m winner in 4:16.61, was fifth with an African record of 8461 in his first decathlon of the season.

Germany’s Kai Kazmirek, the Gotzis winner earlier this season, was sixth with 8448 and teammate Michael Schrader, the 2013 silver medallist, was seventh with 8418.

Grenada’s Kurt Felix set a national record of 8302 in eighth place. For the first time in World Championships history, seven men scored in excess of 8400 points.


Mo Farah celebrates his 5000m victory at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)


29 AUG 2015 REPORT BEIJING, CHINA

REPORT: MEN'S 5000M FINAL – IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, BEIJING 2015

Once again the question has to be posed, just how do you beat Mo Farah?

The Briton notched up the distance double over 5000m and 10,000m for his fourth successive major championship, winning over the shorter distance at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 in 13:50:58.

The slow early pace played to Farah’s strength of having an almost unmatchable speed over the final kilometre and although Kenya’s 2014 Diamond Race winner Caleb Ndiku tried to blunt Farah’s powers of acceleration with a long surge and attack with just over two laps to go, in the end, when Farah moved around the Kenyan with flaming red hair on the last bend, he doused Ndiku’s fire once-and-for-all.

It was Farah’s compatriot Tom Farrell who towed the field through a pedestrian first kilometre as the 15 men settled into ambling around in single file with Farah right at the back.

Farrel continued at the front and the pace just increased marginally over the next kilometre as 2000m was reached in 5:58.69 as Farah continued to stay out of trouble at the rear.

With six laps to go, just after the halfway point, Ethiopia’s Imane Merga moved to the front and injected a modicum of pace to pass 3000m in 8:47.28 as Farah steadily moved his way up the field to sit on Merga’s shoulder.

The Briton then started to control the pace from the front for much of the next kilometre, passing 4000m in 11.51.18 as Bahrain’s Albert Rop and Ethiopian teenage prodigy Yomif Kejelcha decided to tuck themselves in behind Farah; although all 15 men were still in contention with one kilometre to go with less than one second covering the field at this point.

The decisive moment of the race came with just over two laps to go as Ndiku darted to the front and started a long run for home. Farah covered the move but looked as though he didn’t have enough in reserve to beat the Kenyan.

At the bell the effect of the change in pace showed on most of the runners faced, whose grimaces taut and twisted with the effort.

Down the back straight for the last time it looked as though Farah was beaten but he dug deep and hauled himself past Ndiku with 140 metres to go and managed to hold him off through to the line before collapsing to the track after winning his 10th major championship gold medal since 2011.

Ndiku got his first major championship medal as a senior, crossing the line in 13:51.75.

Ethiopia's 2013 silver medallist Hagos Gebrhiwet was passed by Kejelcha on the bend but then re-passed his compatriot with 50 metres to go to take the bronze in 13:51.86.

“I didn't feel great, my hammy (hamstring) was playing up a bit, but the medical team helped me through it and tonight to come out here and make a double means so much to me,” Farah told the British broadcaster BBC.

“I was kind of getting nervous for the first time in a little while, but thanks to all the medical team. It was amazing to do it."

Farah's pregnant wife Tania and young family were not in Beijing, but back at his home in the US city of Portland, where he trains for much of the year.

He added: “I am so looking forward to spending time with my family. I just want to go home and celebrate with them.”

Farah has not divulged his post-Beijing race plans but, basking in the glory of his Beijing double, it would be no surprise if we have seen him for the last time in 2015.












28 AUG 2015 REPORT BEIJING, CHINA

DAY 7 IN NUMBERS – IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, BEIJING 2015

It was a day full of emotion, surprises, and tension. It was also a day of numbers, and we've got them.

Decathlon

0.68
Seconds trimmed from the previous best ever decathlon 400m time by Ashton Eaton when he ran 45.00 in the fifth event today.

25
Points by which Eaton trails his first-day total from his world record decathlon in 2012.

173
Points by which Ashton Eaton leads the decathlon at the end of the first day.

Ashton Eaton wins the decathlon 400m at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

1968
The year the previous best mark in the decathlon 400m (45.68) was run, by Bill Toomey at the Mexico City Olympics.

1968
The first year the Olympic 400m title was won faster than 45.00.

2005
The last time 45.00 would have qualified to the individual 400m final.

Women's 200m final

1
Number of previous races with three women under 22 seconds.

2
Women who have ever run faster than Dafne Schippers' 21.63 for 200m.

Dafne Schippers after winning the 200m at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

2
National records set (Schippers for the Netherlands, Dina Asher-Smith 22.07 for Great Britain).

19
Number of global medals won by Veronica Campbell-Brown (third in 21.97).

Women's 100m hurdles final

2
Sisters in the final; winner Danielle Williams and her older sister Shermaine Williams, who placed seventh in 12.95.

Danielle Williams wins the 100m hurdles at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

2
Hundredths separating third place (Alina Talay in a Belarusian record of 12.66) and fifth place (Tiffany Porter in 12.68).

10
Hundredths separating first place (Danielle Williams in 12.57) and fourth, out of the medals (Brianna Rollins in 12.67)

Men's 110m hurdles final

0
Hurdles over which Russia's Sergey Shubenkov led before outsprinting the field to the finish line in 12.98.

0
Previous medals for Jamaica in the 110m hurdles, before Hansle Parchment's silver in 13.03.

110m hurdles winner Sergey Shubenkov at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

1
Previous medals for Russia (Bronze for Shubenkov in 2013).

4
Days until bronze medallist Aries Merritt goes in for kidney surgery.

4
Steps after which defending champion David Oliver considered himself "doomed".

Women's long jump final

2
National records set which didn't win (Shara Proctor's 7.07m for Great Britain, and Ivana Spanovic's 7.01m for Serbia).

4
Number of times a jump beyond seven metres would still not win the women's long jump at the World Championships.

6
Round in which Tianna Bartoletta took the long jump lead with her 7.14m leap.

10
Years since Bartoletta's previous world long jump title (competing as Tianna Madison).

Women's 20km race walk

1
Number of gold medals won by China in the championships, after the 20km race walk.

4
Number of silver medals won by China, after the 20km race walk.

Liu Hong, Lu Xiuzhi and Lyudmyla Olyanovska on the podium for the women's 20km race walk at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

26
Gap between first (Liu Hong) and second (Lu Xiuzhi) in the 20km race walk, in hundredths of a second. Both were listed with times of 1:27:45 in the results.

53
Seconds Liu and Lu's second 10km of race walking was faster than their first.





27 AUG 2015 REPORT BEIJING, CHINA

WHAT WE LEARNED ON DAY SIX – IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, BEIJING 2015

There are obvious lessons to be drawn from any day by an observant person, such as "some people can throw things farther than others" and "be careful when driving a Segway and operating a steady-cam at the same time".

Some lessons require a bit more explanation. Here are a few things we learned on Thursday at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015:

THE MEN'S TRIPLE JUMP WORLD RECORD'S DAYS ARE NUMBERED

Christian Taylor came through with a sixth-round leap of 18.21m in the men's triple jump final, just eight centimetres shy of Jonathan Edwards' 20-year-old world record. (Edwards, on Twitter: "You gave me a scare!") Taylor may have left a few of those centimetres on the take-off board. It's hard to predict when a championship athlete like Taylor will put together another series like tonight, but as long as Taylor maintains a rivalry with Pedro Pablo Pichardo – second tonight with 17.73m – every time the pair meets could be a potential record scenario.

Christian Taylor in the triple jump at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

Pichardo's mark would have won many World Championships, but for Pichardo it might even have been an under-performance; the young Cuban is the fourth-longest triple jumper ever.

Taylor's victory made the triple jump a relatively bright spot in an otherwise disappointing championships for the USA; had Nelson Evora not come through with a 17.52m leap in the sixth round, Omar Craddock might have taken bronze with his 17.37m mark.

IT'S POSSIBLE TO SET A CHAMPIONSHIP RECORD AND BE DISAPPOINTED

Anita Wlodarczyk has the women's hammer world record of 81.08m from earlier this month, and as her first four throws got progressively longer – she surpassed 80 metres, territory only she has ever reached, on her third throw, and got to 80.85m on her fourth – it was clear she was hoping to get beyond that tonight.

Anita Wlodarczyk with her hammer-winning figures at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

After a 79.31m mark in the fifth round and another lesser throw in the sixth which she then deliberately fouled, Wlodarczyk seemed less than elated with her dominant victory. (Second-place Zhang Wenxiu threw 76.33m.)

Or perhaps Wlodarczyk really was happy but was just remembering her first global title, in Berlin, where she badly injured her ankle when celebrating.

USAIN BOLT IS REALLY A 200M RUNNER

Bolt looked hard pressed winning the 100m by .01 on Sunday. But since before the championships started, Bolt has been clear that the 200m is his favourite event, the one that matters to him, and the one he finds easiest.

Sure enough, after making the 100m look hard, he made the 200m look easy, sailing away from Justin Gatlin to take the victory 19.55 to 19.74. Bolt's streak in the 200m is now six global titles starting in 2008.

Usain Bolt wins the 200m at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

Most interesting was the bronze medal, a South African record of 19.87 from Anaso Jobodwana. He was just .002 ahead of Panama's Alonso Edward, but his steady improvement suggests more interesting things to come for the young South African. Plus, we enjoy typing "Jobodwana".

DON'T TRY TO MATCH ALLYSON FELIX'S OPENING PACE

Allyson Felix tore out of the starting blocks for the women's 400m as though she only had one bend to run. Old habits die hard after all.

Christine Ohuruogu, who had looked impressive throughout the rounds, tried to match that speed and – unusually for her – found herself struggling in the second half. Felix arrived on the final straight with daylight between her and the field and only expanded her lead to the line.

Allyson Felix pulls away to win the 400m at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

Like Farah in the distance races, it's hard to see a way Felix could have been beaten tonight. The gap between Felix and Shaunae Miller in second place – 49.26 to 49.67 – was the biggest gap between two runners in the final.

Parker Morse for the IAAF


26 AUG 2015 REPORT BEIJING, CHINA

FIVE BIG MOMENTS FROM DAY FIVE – IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, BEIJING 2015

Wednesday evening's competition at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 featured a few more Kenyan medals, expected or not, two superlative field event competitions, some victorious favourites, and some new champions. Here are our five moments of the evening.

YEGO'S BIG THROW

It was easy to want a good competition for Julius Yego after his heart-breaking fourth place in Moscow two years ago, but nobody truly expected what did happen. After a foul and a credible 82.42m throw, framed by an 88.99m mark from Ihab Abdelrahman in the second round, Yego's third attempt sailed more than three metres beyond Abdelrahman's mark into territory only two other javelin throwers have seen before.

The spear was well beyond the 90-metre line, and when the mark came up as 92.72m, the stands went wild. Yego's throw made him the third-longest thrower ever with the current implement, and was the world’s best throw in 14 years.

Julius Yego after winning the javelin at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

With Kenya's lengthy list of successes so far this championships, by far the most impressive ones have been, like Yego's, in events which haven't previously been Kenya's domain.

VAN NIEKERK'S STRETCH RUN

It was LaShawn Merritt who tore out of the blocks fast in the 400m, but it was Wayde van Niekerk who overhauled Merritt on the second bend and then ran away from him down the homestretch. When Van Niekerk crossed the line in 43.48, it was a PB by nearly half a second, made him the second-fastest single-lapper in World Championships history, and the fourth-fastest all time.

Wayde van Niekerk wins the 400m at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

Merritt ran a PB of 43.65. Olympic champion Kirani James, third in 43.78, made it the first 400m with three athletes running sub-44. And in fourth, Luguelin Santos ran a Dominican record of 44.11. In short, it was one of the fastest mass finishes in 400m history.

MURER SILVER, SILVA GOLD

When the women's pole vault bar reached 4.90m and the field had been thinned to three active vaulters, two attempts went by for all three without a clearance, and one of them, Nikoleta Kyriakopoulou, was eliminated due to having passed to that height with a miss already on her record.

World pole vault champion Yarisley Silva at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

Then Yarisley Silva of Cuba cleared on her third attempt, and the pressure went on 2011 champion Fabiana Murer. Murer couldn't respond, and Silva, who hadn't had a share of the lead since taking three attempts to clear 4.70m, abruptly had the gold.

STEEPLE COMES DOWN TO HOMESTRETCH

The women's 3000m steeplechase has generally been an event won in a rout, with the winner apparent long before the final kilometre. But tonight it was a mad scramble for the finish on the straight, far more like the men's race and even tighter.

Won by a Kenyan, of course – in this case Hyvin Jepkemoi in 9:19.11 – three more athletes were across the line within a second, including Tunisia's Habiba Ghribi in 9:19.24, Germany's Gesa Felicitas Krause in 9:19.25, and then Ethiopia's Sofia Assefa in 9:20.01.

Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkemoi wins the 3000m steeplechase at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

It wasn't the fastest steeplechase final ever but it may have been one of the most competitive, and like many events in this championships, it was marked by several athletes from a variety of countries competitive in the last stages.

HEJNOVA DEFENDS, LITTLE COMES BACK

Given the strong performances from defending champion Zuzana Hejnova through the women's 400m hurdles rounds, it was no surprise to see her powering away from the final on the homestretch to win in a world-leading 53.50.

Zuzana Hejnova on her way to winning the 400m hurdles at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

Given the qualifying performances of world junior champion Shamier Little, who squeaked through both rounds on time, it was something of a surprise to see the US champion showing her early-season confidence again to pick up silver in 53.94.

Parker Morse for the IAAF





25 AUG 2015 REPORT BEIJING, CHINA

DAY 4 IN NUMBERS – IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, BEIJING 2015

After the fourth day of competition at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015, we’ve got the significant numbers of the day:

0

Number of gold medals won by Kenya in events shorter than 800m, before Nicholas Bett ran 47.79 to win the men's 400m hurdles final.

0

Number of jumps by any other long jumper longer than any of Greg Rutherford's.

1.89

Distance in metres between Denia Caballero's first-round discus throw of 69.28m, which led throughout the competition, and Sandra Perkovic's last-round throw of 67.39m, which moved her into second.

1.93

Seconds David Rudisha's winning time in the men's 800m was slower than that of his previous title in 2011.

2

Number of legal jumps Rutherford had in the men's long jump final; also, the round in which his 8.29m mark took the lead and put the competition away. (Rutherford improved to 8.41m in the fourth round.)

Greg Rutherford wins the long jump at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

2.5

Seconds the second half of Rudisha's 800m final was faster than his first. Rudisha passed 400m in 54.17 and then turned on the speed on the second lap, by the homestretch simply running away from the field.

3

Place of Amel Tuka in the 800m final, winning the first ever World Championships medal for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

4

Number of athletes disqualified for lane violations across the seven heats of the men's 200m, including Chinese athlete Xie Zhenye, who was celebrating a national record until he learned of his disqualification.

8

Years since the last 800m final with more than one non-African medalist; tonight's second being Adam Kszczot of Poland

9

Bett's lane number. Of the eight runners who advanced to the final, he had the slowest semi-final at 48.54.

Nicholas Bett wins the 400m hurdles at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

13

Usain Bolt's position among all 200m qualifiers in tonight's first round. Bolt ran 20.28 to win the third of seven heats.

16

Age of world youth champion Abdul Hakim Sani Brown of Japan, who advanced to the 200m semi-finals with a 20.35 in the fourth heat.

18

Age of long jump bronze medalist Wang Jianan. He turns 19 on Thursday, making him the youngest-ever medallist in the event.

57.22

Seconds for Genzebe Dibaba to go from 800m to 1200m in the women's 1500m final, more than eleven seconds faster than the pace at which she went from 400m to 800m and almost twenty seconds faster than her pace from the start to 400m.

Genzebe Dibaba wins the 1500m at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

1:57.2

Approximate time in which Dibaba covered the last 800m of the race, a split only one woman (Eunice Sum) has beaten in an open 800m this year.

600

Approximate distance in metres 2011 world champion Jenny Simpson ran with no left shoe in the 1500m final.

Parker Morse for the IAAF




24 AUG 2015 REPORT BEIJING, CHINA

WHAT WE LEARNED ON DAY 3 – IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, BEIJING 2015

At the end of any event, it's time to look back and see what was learned and what can improve next time. This is what we learned on Monday, day three of the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015:

HEPTATHLON TRAINING AS 100M PREPARATION

When Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won the women's 100m in dominant fashion as usual, the surprise of the moment wasn't Jamaica's "Pocket Rocket" but the silver medallist, the Netherlands' Dafne Schippers, who was and probably still is a heptathlete (she was world junior champion in 2010).

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce wins the 100m at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

Schippers ran a Dutch record of 10.81 and may inspire an entire generation of sprinters to consider high jumping.

KEMBOI REALLY WANTS TO DANCE

The 1-2-3-4 sweep of the 3000m steeplechase by Kenyans Ezekiel Kemboi (8:11.28), Conseslus Kipruto (8:12.38), Brimin Kipruto (8:12.54), and Jairus Birech (8:12.62) put a rest to speculation that Evan Jager might disrupt the Kenyan dominance of the event.

Ezekiel Kemboi celebrates after winning the 3000m steeplechase at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

The Kiprutos did most of the leading, but it was Kemboi who had the monster move with 200m to go which sorted out some of the medals and put him in a position to celebrate after the finish. While Jager was in the mix until the final lap, it was his team-mate Daniel Huling who followed the Kenyan romp in fifth (8:14.39) while Jager wobbled in sixth (8:15.47).

Kemboi, as is now traditional, danced during his lap of honour. Kemboi has been fully as dominant as Bolt and Fraser-Pryce in his specialist event over the past eight years.

CANADA'S YOUNGER GENERATION IS NOT TO BE SNEEZED AT

Renaud Lavillenie vaulted five times in Beijing. Once in qualifying, when he cleared the required height on his first attempt. Once more at 5.80m in the final, which he cleared on his first attempt. And then three failed attempts at 5.90m, a height which Canada's Shawn Barber bested on his first attempt.

Shawn Barber after winning the pole vault at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

Only defending champion Raphael Holzdeppe was able to join Barber at the next height, clearing 5.90m on his second attempt, but by then the gold was Barber's to lose.

Like men's 100m bronze medallist Andre De Grasse, Barber was a champion in the US collegiate system this spring. Both turn 21 this year and, like 20km race walk bronze medallist Ben Thorne, are likely to continue developing. Look for Canada to pick up big points at the 2021 World Championships.

ALWAYS RUN THROUGH THE LINE

We also learned that three-time world champion Vivian Cheruiyot is back, certainly, with a commanding closing 200m that disposed of Gelete Burka – herself a ferocious competitor in the 1500m – but the 3, 4, 6 finish of US team-mates Emily Infeld, Molly Huddle, and Shalane Flanagan had its order set when Huddle, raising her arms to claim bronze, was nosed out by the fast-closing Infeld.

Emily Infeld after taking 10,000m bronze at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

CATERINE IBARGUEN IS AS RELIABLE AS THE TIDE

The last triple jump competition Caterine Ibarguen lost was the London 2012 Olympics, meaning she has now won 29 competitions in a row.

Caterine Ibarguen celebrates her triple jump victory at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

If there was anything at all unexpected about the women's final, it was silver medallist Hanna Knyazyeva-Minenko, whose national record of 14.78m secures Israel’s first World Championships medal in a women’s event.

Parker Morse for the IAAF


23 AUG 2015 REPORT BEIJING, CHINA

SEVEN MEMORABLE MOMENTS FROM DAY 2 – IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, BEIJING 2015

Let's get that one moment out of the way: the moment Usain Bolt crossed the line. The roar was deafening, the released tension was immense, and the entire stadium, it seemed, was ready to celebrate a dominant world record-holder winning from the unfamiliar position of underdog. The Jamaican section sang, Bolt hugged his parents, and Trayvon Bromell and Andre De Grasse tried to figure out which of them, if not both, was the bronze medallist. (The answer: both.)

But the competition sprawled over 13 hours and the men's 100m final was not the only memorable moment of day two. Here are six other bright moments that stick out from Sunday in the Bird's Nest.

A WALK IN THE PARK

It wasn't strictly in the stadium, but the men's 20km race walk took place over a one-kilometre loop just outside. With Chinese race walkers poised to pick up medals, the drama was high, particularly as European champion Miguel Angel Lopez of Spain moved up on Zhen Wang's shoulder in the closing kilometre.

Miguel Angel Lopez wins the 20km race walk at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

In the end Lopez, the bronze medallist from Moscow, improved to gold. Wang Zhen didn't get his gold, but did get the host country's second silver. And Benjamin Thorne walked a Canadian record to pick up an unexpected bronze. As race walks go, it was high theatre.

HEPTATHLETES ALL DAY

There were three final events in the heptathlon, but two notable moments. There was the tense moments when Katerina Johnson-Thompson and a crowd of officials looked at the long jump board to decide if her third jump would be a foul like her first two.

Jessica Ennis wins the heptathlon at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

And then there was the moment when Jessica Ennis-Hill stormed to the front of the 800m to cross the line first and then let all the emotion of the past two days wash over her.

SWINGING HAMMERS

The lead in the hammer final appeared to change with nearly every throw, and even the volunteer retrieving implements with a remote-controlled car was so enthralled he accidentally ploughed the car into the feet of the measuring official and knocked him over.

Poland's Pawel Fajdek competes in the men's hammer final during day two of the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 at Beijing National Stadium on August 23, 2015  (Getty Images)

When Pawel Fajdek finally took charge with an 80.88m throw in the third round, the gold drama was over, but the lesser medals remained in play through the sixth round, when Wojciech Nowicki threw 78.55m, putting himself ahead of everyone but Fajdek and silver medallist Dilshod Nazarov.

ONE LOVE, ONE SHOT

It was a great night for Jamaica in an entirely different event as well. O'Dayne Richards led the shot put from the third round to the fifth, his toss of 21.69m standing until first David Storl and then Joe Kovacs eventually surpassed him. The Kovacs-Storl rivalry went to Kovacs with 21.93m, but Richards' medal was an unexpected one for Jamaica.

THE CONTINUING SAGA OF THE KENYAN HURDLERS

The potential Kenyan sweep in the 400m hurdles was slightly derailed when only two of the trio advanced to the final. But the big surprise in that event remains that a country previously best-known for middle and long distance runners is now a serious medal threat in the long hurdles.

THE TRACK IS FAST

The men's 400m qualifying justifiably provoked a few double-takes when Yousef Ahmed Masrahi of Saudi Arabia ran 43.93, an Asian record, in the second heat.

Yousef Ahmed Masrahi wins his 400m heat at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

Behind him, Rusheen McDonald of Jamaica set a national record with the same clocking. None of the other heats were quite as brisk, but the ripple was already spreading.

Parker Morse for the IAAF



22 AUG 2015 REPORT BEIJING, CHINA

DAY 1 IN NUMBERS – IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, BEIJING 2015

After the first day of competition at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015, we’ve got the significant numbers of the day:

1

Number of gold medals won by Eritrea in World Championships history, now the relatively unknown marathoner Ghirmay Ghebreselassie took the first gold of the championships in a heat-slowed 2:12:28.

0

Number of previous marathon champions younger than Ghebreselassie.

Ghirmay Ghebreslassie wins the marathon at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

6

The finishing position of defending marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda.

22

The position of Mark Korir, the only one of the Kenyan team to finish.

2

The worst position Jessica Ennis-Hill ever held in the heptathlon throughout the first day. Ennis-Hill had the second-fastest 100m hurdles time, took the lead from Nadine Visser after the high jump, and hasn’t been overtaken yet.

Brianne Theisen-Eaton, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Nadine Visser in the heptathlon 200m at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

80

Points separating Ennis-Hill from her British team-mate, second-placed Katarina Johnson-Thompson.

60

Points separating Johnson-Thompson from fourth-placed Brianne Theisen-Eaton of Canada.

6

Points separating Theisen-Eaton and third-place Nadine Visser of the Netherlands.

3

Events left on Sunday to sort out those gaps.

3

Attempts needed for Christina Schwanitz of Germany to put the shot 20.37m and surpass China’s Gong Lijiao’s 20.30m first-round effort.

Christina Schwanitz in the shot at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

0

Number of marks by all other competitors in the women’s shot better than any mark recorded for Gong or Schwanitz.

6

World Championship gold medals held by Mo Farah after tonight’s 10,000m final.

3

Number of men with two consecutive 10,000m titles: Haile Gebrselassie, Kenenisa Bekele, and Farah.

500

Metres of the 10,000m race which Farah led before his 27:01.13 finish.

Mo Farah celebrates his 10,000m victory at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

3

The hundredths of seconds by which Farah broke Kenenisa Bekele’s stadium record, set at the 2008 Olympics

1

Number of 800m semi-final qualifiers with PBs faster than IAAF President-Elect Sebastian Coe. (That would be world record-holder David Rudisha of Kenya.)

2

Heats, of five, of the men’s 400m hurdles won by Kenyans (Nicholas Bett and Boniface Tumuti).

1

Number of jumps it took Renaud Lavillenie of France to clear the 5.70m automatic qualifying height in the pole vault, after passing all heights up to that one.

3

Number of jumps it took defending pole vault champion Raphael Holzdeppe of Germany to do the same thing.

16

Number of vaulters advancing to the final after clearing 5.70m.

6

Lane occupied by Usain Bolt as he advanced comfortably to the 100m semi-finals.

25

Hours between Bolt’s heat and the 100m final Sunday evening.

Usain Bolt in the 100m heats at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

Parker Morse for the IAAF


Usain Bolt crushed Justin Gatlin, 19.55 to 19.74, to win the 200 and cement his status as the king of track and field at the 2015 World Track and Field Championships in Beijing, China.

Bolt met his match on the victory lap as he was run over from behind by a cameraman on a Segway (video below). It could have been really bad, but Bolt got up and after an initial limp continued on his victory lap.

After the race, Bolt said it was no big deal and that he’d be fine (video of the post-race press conference with Bolt as well as a more intimate interview with Bolt appear at the bottom of this article).

Up next for Bolt is the 4×100, where Team USA will be favored if it makes the final as the Americans had four men in the 100m final to Jamaica’s two.



BEIJING – Here we briefly recap all the action from the evening session on Wednesday (day five) of the 2015 IAAF World Championships which was highlighted with arguably the greatest 400m race ever run, a crazy finish in the women’s steeple, and a big throw in the javelin. In future days if you’d like to watch races without knowing the results, click here.

Men’s 400: The Greatest 400-Meter Race Ever?

The highlight on night five at the Bird’s Nest was undoubtedly the men’s 400, won by South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk in a blazing 43.48. How good was it? LaShawn Merritt, a two-time world champ and 2008 Olympic champ, ran a PR and still only finished second. Behind van Niekerk, Merritt (43.65) and 2011 world/2012 Olympic champ Kirani James of Grenada (43.78) also broke 44.00, making it the first time in history that three men eclipsed that barrier in the same race.

Merritt took the race out hard, but he was no match for van Niekerk in the final straight as the 23-year-old powered to victory before collapsing after crossing the finish line. Van Niekerk would later have to be stretchered off the track due to exhaustion, go to the hospital and be released.














REPORT: WOMEN’S HEPTATHLON 800M – IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, BEIJING 2015

The last time Jessica Ennis-Hill competed at the World Championships, back in Daegu in 2011, she finished in second place after a disappointing result in the javelin throw. Four years later, and having given birth to her son just 13 months ago, the 29-year-old won her second world heptathlon title.

The Briton knew that she needed to improve on her 6520 score from Gotzis in May. Her significant improvements in the 200m and long jump since then proved crucial in her securing the gold medal.

Ennis-Hill herself predicted that the long jump would be, in her own words, “the turning point” of the competition, and so it was with team-mate Katarina Johnson-Thompson falling down the rankings after three fouls and Ennis-Hill jumping a season’s best of 6.43m, just eight centimetres shy of her personal best.

In the 800m, world leader Brianne Theisen-Eaton gave it a good try, going through 200m in 30.11 and 400m in 62.83 in an attempt to put as much distance – and points – between her and Ennis-Hill. But it her plan proved too ambitious and the Briton eventually passed her rival on the home straight to win in 2:10.13.

It brought Ennis-Hill’s score to a season’s best of 6669, moving her to second place on the world list behind Theisen-Eaton’s 6808 world lead from Gotzis. The Canadian clocked 2:11.52 to finish second with a total of 6554, taking her second consecutive silver at the World Championships. In between those, she also finished second in the pentathlon at the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot.

Just like in Moscow two years ago, the battle for bronze was fierce. Knowing that she was only 0.95 seconds from the bronze medal, Latvia’s Laura Ikauniece-Adminina started her push for the final sprint with 250 metres to go. First it seemed that Nadine Broersen could stand the change in pace, but when the front straight opened before the runners, it was clear that the Dutchwoman could not hang on to the medal.

The 23-year-old Latvian emerged as surprise bronze medallist with a national record of 6516 after clocking 2:13.79 in the 800m. It was her third heptathlon of the season and her third national record.

Broersen ran 2:16.58 to finish fourth overall with 6491, improving on her 10th-place finish from Moscow when she significantly stumbled in the hurdles.

Germany’s Claudia Rath was the fastest 800m runner, winning the third heat in 2:09.66 for 6441 points and fifth place, one position lower than in Moscow two years ago.

Hungarian Gyorgyi Zsivoczky-Farkas was the second-biggest surprise in this competition behind Ikauniece-Adminina. The 30-year-old had not completed a heptathlon this season and her previous personal best of 6269 was set in 2013, but here she crushed her PB with 6389 for sixth place having run a season’s best of 2:14.71 in the 800m.

In seventh place, Ukraine’s Anastasiya Mokhnyuk added 28 points to her PB with 6359 and Nadine Visser was eighth with 6344. Xenia Krizsan in ninth (6322) and Jennifer Oeser in 10th (6308) were the other athletes over 6300 points.

Experts predicted before the competition that all the medallists would have a double-barrelled name, believing that Ennis-Hill, Theisen-Eaton and Johnson-Thompson would be the medallists. Although the Briton fell out of medal contention after the long jump, Latvia’s Ikauniece-Adminina stepped up and made the prediction true.








He Is the Greatest: The Incomparable Usain Bolt Wins 5th Global 100 Title As Justin Gatlin Can’t Keep It Together in Final Meters

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2015 IAAF World Track and Field Championships Beijing

August 22, 2015 to August 30, 2015
Bird's Nest - Beijing, China

By Jonathan Gault
August 23, 2015

BEIJING — To hear some people tell it, the fate of the track and field world was decided in the span of 9.79 seconds tonight at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in the Bird’s Nest. That’s all it took for Usain Bolt to win his third world title in the men’s 100 meters, holding off rival Justin Gatlin by just one-hundredth of a second.

“The sport for all sorts of reasons needs Usain to come through in Beijing,” new IAAF president Sebastian Coe told the BBC last month.

Bolt did come through, as he always does, but the problems staring track and field in the face will still be there when the action at the Bird’s Nest resumes on Monday morning. Specifically, the doping questions that permeate every crevice of the sport right now, spurred by a recent Sunday Times/ARD investigation into leaked IAAF blood values, will still be there. So whether you were rooting for Bolt, Gatlin or someone else in Monday night’s 100-meter final, it was first and foremost a race, not some divine arbiter of good and evil.

And what a race it was. For two years, Gatlin and Bolt had coexisted in separate spheres of the same world. In the 56 times the two men had stepped on a track to race since the start of 2014, not once had they faced each other head-to-head (Gatlin and Bolt did race in the 4×100 at this year’s World Relays, but they did not run the same leg). Tonight, they ended that separation by delivering a race that will long be remembered.

bol100Despite Bolt’s superior reaction time (.159 to .165), Gatlin stormed out to an early lead and as he hit 60 meters, the 2004 Olympic champion was peeling away from everyone — except for Bolt. After an uneven semifinal during which Bolt stumbled early in the race, nearly fell and came within .03 of missing the final entirely, Bolt was actually gaining on Gatlin, his enormous 6’5″ frame gobbling up the red track in front of him. By 80 meters, he had almost drawn level. Twenty meters remained to determine a champion.

Seven years ago on this track, Bolt’s lead was so gigantic that he could afford to showboat across the finish line and still break the world record. He had no such luxury tonight. Bolt labored with every stride but, crucially, he never broke form and timed his lean well at the line. Gatlin, three lanes to his right, could not do the same. With 10 meters to go, Gatlin’s arms began to flail and he started to lean forward five meters before the line. It was a small flaw that would not have harmed him in any of his other races over the past two years, but none of those races contained Bolt. And to beat the best of all-time — in this sport and perhaps, when Bolt’s career is over, in any sport — Gatlin could not afford even a small flaw.

“At the end of the day, I guess I would say I gave the race away the last five meters – the momentum,” Gatlin said (Audio link here). Later, he added, “I really couldn’t see [Bolt] for the fact that Tyson Gay was between us. I was trying to just keep momentum going forward and I leaned too far forward, especially coming to the finish line. Caught myself off balance. By the time I looked over, that was it. It was dead.”

Bolt was his usual joyous self in the aftermath, soaking in every moment of his victory lap as Bob Marley’s “One Love,” blared over the Bird’s Nest speakers, two Jamaican legends — one celebrating, one singing — performing their specialties one more time. And though Bolt’s confidence never wavered, he admitted that this race had tested him like no other.

“I definitely think this was my hardest race,” Bolt said, adding that he needed coach Glen Mills to put him in the right frame of mind to beat Gatlin in the final.

“I went to see my coach after the semi-final and he told me: ‘You are thinking about it too much,'” Bolt said. “And he is right because I know exactly what to do.”

It was easy to overlook in the moment, but there were actually seven other men in the 100-meter final and the battle for third was in fact closer than the .01 that separated Bolt and Gatlin. Like the two men in front of them, America’s Trayvon Bromell and Canada’s Andre De Grasse have been inextricably linked in 2015, and it was only appropriate that the 20-year-old collegians wound up sharing the bronze medal, each running 9.92 seconds. All year, the wunderkinds battled for the upper hand in a rivalry that will come to define the sport once Gatlin and Bolt eventually cede the stage. At NCAA indoors in March, Bromell’s 20.19 (competing for Baylor) was enough to win the 200 title over De Grasse (20.26), running for USC. Three months later in Eugene, De Grasse earned revenge, pulling off a ridiculous 9.75/19.58 (wind-aided) same day double to sweep the 100 and 200 at NCAA outdoors.

Unlike Bolt and Gatlin, nothing was definitively settled in the first major battle of the sport’s next great rivalry, if you could call it that.

“It’s not even a rivalry,” Bromell said. “Me and him are real cool friends. A lot of people really didn’t know that. Me and him, we talk about this all the time. We just want to show people how great we are.”

But back to the big boys. Gatlin and Bolt are far from done with facing each other here in Beijing, and considering the two hadn’t faced each other straight-up for two years prior to tonight, that’s a good thing for the sport. The 200 starts on Tuesday, and they’ll also oppose one another in the 4×100 final on Saturday (assuming the USA and Jamaica can get the stick around in the prelims and no one gets injured in the 200). And next year’s Olympics in Rio looms.

That’s all in the future, though. In a sport where uncertainty reigns at the moment, Usain Bolt offered a fleeting moment of familiar clarity. He is, once again, the greatest 100-meter runner in the world.

Race video, results and quick take analysis appear below.




4 August 2015 17:10

Schippers is a silver star

Schippers is a silver starEuropean Athletics

Dafne Schippers broke the Dutch national 100m record on her way to silver with 10.81 just behind sprinting legend Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce who won in 10.76.

Dafne Schippers won 100m silver at the IAAF World Championships on a sensational day for the Dutch athlete and her nation.

Schippers, the heptathlete turned sprinter supreme, twice broke the national record with stunning performances at Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Stadium on Monday.

The power of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was just too much for gold as the Jamaican won in 10.76 but Schippers was immense as she closed in on her.

She was second in 10.81, having first lowered the national record with her 10.83 in the semi-finals, as American Tori Bowie (10.86) took bronze.

“I am so happy,” said Schippers. “It is a national record, I am second in the world and it is just crazy.

“I was a little bit nervous in the semi-finals but after that I thought to myself ‘I am in the final, anything is possible’. My start was good. Wow.”



Twelve months ago Schippers took both sprint titles at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich but a year before that she was on the podium at the world championships in Moscow having won heptathlon bronze.

She has now moved to another level after her emergence in 2014 as a world-class sprinter, as shown by this final where, among others, leading names such Jamaican Veronica Campbell-Brown (10.91) was fourth and Trinidad and Tobago’s Kelly-Ann Baptiste (11.01) was sixth.

Schippers had a better reaction time than Fraser-Pryce – 0.129 to 0.161 – before the Jamaican began to move ahead.

She has been working on her starts and what an occasion to deliver one of her best.

Even when Fraser-Pryce was soaring away, Schippers was edging nearer and already the prospect of them meeting at next year’s Olympic Games in Rio is a mouthwatering one.

Holzdeppe takes silver as Lavillenie shares bronze

Her glory in 2014 saw Schippers named European Athletics’ Female Athlete of the Year but the winner of the male award, Renaud Lavillenie, had to settle for pole vault bronze this time in a brilliant final for Europe.

Germany’s defending champion Raphael Holzdeppe is the silver medallist after a best of 5.90m, losing out on gold on countback to Canada’s Shawnacy Barber.

Holzdeppe gave it his all as he attempted the height of 6.00m but it was not to be.

Lavillenie, the Olympic and triple European champion, was determined to win the one gold missing from his career but after entering the competition at 5.80m, he then had three fouls at 5.90m.

But he was not alone in winning bronze as third place was shared on what became a great event for Poland as both Pawel Wojciechowski and Pior Lisek joined him in third.

Knyazyeva-Minenko lands a national record

It was an evening to remember, too, for Israel’s Hanna Knyazyeva-Minenko and Kazakhstan’s Olga Rypakova as they won silver and bronze respectively in the triple jump.

It was some competition for Knyazyeva-Minenko who began with a foul before launching herself to 14.78m, a national record, in the second round but Columbia’s defending champion Caterine Ibarguen led with 14.80m which she then increased to 14.90m in the fourth round.

Knyazyeva-Minenko had only more legal effort, her 14.53m in the third round, but she was left holding her breath no doubt as Rypakova’s last jump was her best, with the distance measured at 14.77m, a centimetre short.

Germany’s Andreas Hofmann (86.14m) threw a personal best to qualify first from the javelin with the Czech Republic’s defending champion Vitezslav Vesely (83.63m) and Finland’s European champion Antti Ruuskanen (82.20m) among those progressing.

And Czech Zuzana Hejnova (54.24) is looking superb in the defence of her 400m hurdles crown as she was fastest in semi-finals with European champion Eilidh Child (54.80) making it as a quickest loser from the first heat, while her British teammate Rabah Yousif (44.54) ran a personal best to make the 400m final.








Ezekiel Kemboi Cements Status As Greatest of All-Time; Evan Jager’s Medal Hopes Come Up Short

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2015 IAAF World Track and Field Championships Beijing

August 22, 2015 to August 30, 2015
Bird's Nest - Beijing, China

by Robert Johnson
August 24, 2015

BEIJING – Kenya’s charismatic 33-year-old steeplechaser Ezekiel Kemboimay be best known globally for his post-race dances but that needs to change. He needs to be remembered as the greatest steeplechase in history after winning his sixth global steeple title tonight (2 Olympics, 4 Worlds) and fifth straight. Once again, Kemboi came into the a global championship with people doubting his prospects for gold and once again Kemboi used his superior finishing speed to blast everyone over the final 250 to emerge as the champion with plenty of time to move out wide and celebrate before the line.

After a 56.6 last lap, Kemboi was your winner 8:11.28. 20-year-old Conseslus Kipruto had to settle for silver for the second straight Worlds in 8:12.38 as 2008 Olympic and 2007 World champ Brimin Kipruto edged Jairus Birech, the winner of the Kenyan Trials and the 2015 World #1, for bronze, 8:12.54 to 8:12.62. Yes, that’s right. Kenya, which has historically owned the men’s steeplechase, completed a historic 1-2-3-4 sweep – the first time in history they’ve gone 1-4 in an event. Four times before tonight, Kenya has swept the medals in the men’s steeple, twice at the Olympics (1992 and 2004) and twice at Worlds (1997 and 2007) but Kenya had failed to win even three medals in the three times they’ve had four entrants at Worlds (2009, 2011 and 2013) before tonight.

And of course, in classic Kemboi style, the celebration continued after the line as well. After taking a break to get a Kenyan flag, he did a dance, a little subdued by Kemboi’s standards but wild by almost anyone else’s.

With Kenya going 1-4, that of course means it was a disappointing night for US distance fans, who were hoping that Evan Jager would end America’s 0 for 20 drought at Worlds/Olympics in the men’s steeplechase. Not since Brian Diemer’s bronze in 1984 had the US medalled in this event, and many thought that would change tonight as the American record holder Jager came in as the second fastest man in the world. On this night, the results show that Jager had to settle for just being the second-fastest American in the race, heck the second-fastest member of Bowerman Track Club in the race, as the fifth-place finisher and first non-Kenyan in the race was Jager’s teammate Dan Huling in 8:14.39, with Jager sixth in 8:15.47.

But the results don’t tell the whole story as Jager had American fans dreaming of much more than a medal for most of the night as he had the co-lead heading into the bell as he was right next to Conseslus Kipruto. Those two would lead until they came off the turn, but when the real racing started on the back stretch, the Kenyans soon pulled away. First Jairus Birech went to the lead and then Kemboi struck with huge force some 250 meters out. When the fourth of the Kenyans, eventual bronze medallist Brimin Kipruto, came by Jager with some 250 meters to go, it was clear that Jager wasn’t medalling barring a fall. From there, Jager went backwards and was caught in the final 50 by Huling, who had started the last lap in eighth and celebrated his fifth-place finish with a much-deserved fist-pump at the line.

American Donn Cabral, who was 8th in the Olympics in 2012 and came in with the 6th-best seasonal best of all the runners in the field, had an off night and finished a disappointing 10th in 8:24.94. Cabral’s college rival, Matt Hughes of Canada, bested Cabral again tonight as Hughes, who was 6th in 2013 and 8th in 2011 in his two previoius Worlds appearances, ended up 8th in a seasonal best of 8:18.63.

The Race

The race started at a very modest pace as the first kilometer was run in just 2:49.50 (8:28.50 pace). The pace didn’t accelerate too much over the next kilometer (2:47.27),  save for one brief big move that took place on the first 300 of the fourth-to-last lap. As the runners were coming down the homestretch about to hit the four laps remaining mark, Birech, the only man in the world under 8:00 this year, decided the pace needed an injection. He shot to the lead but only ended up running hard for about 300-350 meters as that lap was covered in a quick 64.70 (the other laps were in the 66-67 range). Birech would regret not keeping the pace honest as the world leader and betting favorite for the race would end up out of the medals.

The third-to-last lap was a more modest 66.50. Things picked up a little bit on the next to last lap (63 and change) but this was going to come down to the last lap. At the bell, six guys were still in contention for gold – the four Kenyans, Jager and 30-year-old Moroccan Brahim Taleb. Taleb, who was 11th at the 2012 Olympics and has a 8:07.02 pb, ended up seventh in 8:17.72.

Kemboi’s huge surge from 4th to first some 7:35 into the race at first seemed to be a knockout punch. But his lead was only 5 meters and that narrowed to 3-4 meters after the water jump as Conseslus Kipruto just jumped it and Kemboi used the more traditional step-off clearance. Heading into the final barrier, Kipruto inched even closer and was just two meters back. Had Mr. Kick himself, Kemboi, gone too soon? Was he about to be gunned down at the line? No. Kipruto stuttered badly before the last barrier and Kemboi had time to run out wide into lane four in celebration before he even hit the finish line.

After the race, LetsRun.com found out why Conseslus struggled so much with the last barrier and lost his bid for gold. We asked him if the beginning of Kemboi’s move outside to finish in lane 4 thad caused him to stutter his steps. Conseslus said that wasn’t the case. He said when he hurdled the last water jump without using the barrier, he caught the top of his right shoe on the barrier. As he raced down the homestretch, his shoe came loose and nearly came off and he had to slow to make sure he got to the finish line.

See for yourself.

IMG_0076r

Results and quick takes appear below.

Results
1 Ezekiel KEMBOI KEN 08:11.28
2 Conseslus KIPRUTO KEN 08:12.38
3 Brimin Kiprop KIPRUTO KEN 08:12.54
4 Jairus Kipchoge BIRECH KEN 08:12.62
5 Daniel HULING USA 08:14.39
6 Evan JAGER USA 08:15.47
7 Brahim TALEB MAR 08:17.73
8 Matthew HUGHES CAN 08:18.63 SB
9 Krystian ZALEWSKI POL 08:21.22 SB
10 Donald CABRAL USA 08:24.94
11 Hamid EZZINE MAR 08:25.72
12 Hailemariyam AMARE ETH 08:26.19
13 Bilal TABTI ALG 08:29.04
14 Hicham BOUCHICHA ALG 08:33.79
15 Tolosa NURGI ETH 08:44.81
SPLIT TIMES 1k – 2:49.50 (Conseslus Kipruto)
2k – 5:36.77 (Conseslus Kipruto)

Quick Thougth #1: Kemboi is the GOAT in the men’s steeple.

2003 World Silver Medallist: Ezekiel Kemboi
2004 Olympic Champion: Ezekiel Kembpoi
2005 World Silver Medallist: Ezekiel Kemboi
2007 World Silver Medallist: Ezekiel Kemboi
2009 World Champion: Ezekiel Kemboi
2011 World Champion: Ezekiel Kemboi
2012 Olympic Champion: Ezekiel Kemboi
2013 World Champion: Ezekiel Kemboi
2015 World Champion: Ezekiel Kemboi

That’s an incredible championship record. Kemboi has been first or second at every single global championship in the men’s steeple since 2003, except for the 2008 Olympics when he was 7th (in a year that he won the Kenyan Trials). We guess the one knock on the guy is that he’s not the world record holder. But Kemboi is the sixth-fastest man in history in the steeple at 7:55.76 – a time which is just 2.13 off the world record – and he’s broken 8:00 three times.

Yes, Kemboi has caught some breaks over the years. At the 2012 Olympics, his biggest rival Brimin Kipruto was taken out from behind and a non-factor in the final. Tonight, Conseslus Kipruto nearly lost a shoe. But a big part of success in the steeple is avoiding trouble and Kemboi has always done that on the biggest stage, and he’s almost always brought an A+ race to the biggest race of the season.








Genzebe Dibaba Earns Gold With Ridiculous 1:56.9 Final 800 – Americans Stars Jenny Simpson and Shannon Rowbury Left Way Behind

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2015 IAAF World Track and Field Championships Beijing

August 22, 2015 to August 30, 2015
Bird's Nest - Beijing, China

by LetsRun.com
August 25, 2015

BEIJING — To this point, Genzebe Dibaba’s career has been defined by times, not medals. 8:16.60. 14:15.41. 3:50.07. And though she finally earned her first outdoor World Championship gold medal tonight, winning the women’s 1500 at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in 4:08.08, it is another time — 1:56.9, her final 800 split — that will define this performance, even more than her finishing position.

Genzebe Dibaba celebratest her first outdoor title

Genzebe Dibaba celebratest her first outdoor title

How fast is 1:56.9? The 2014 world leader was 1:57.67. Yes, Dibaba had a running start. But she also had to run 700 extra meters beforehand. Perhaps translating it to a male equivalent will make things clearer. The 2014 men’s world leader at 800 was 1:42.45. So one might say what Dibaba did tonight was (roughly) the equivalent ofAsbel Kiprop closing a 1500 in 1:41.xx (though 1:42.45 is a lot higher than 1:57.67 on the respective all-time lists).

Truly remarkable and practically an unfathomable thought at the beginning of the year. Dibaba started the year training for the 5,000, entered the 1500 at Worlds practically on a whim (yes she ran 3:55 for 1500 indoors last year but always said she planned on running the 5000 outdoors) and right now she might be the best 800 runner in the world. Her 2015 accomplishments read like the biography of some video game character with every attribute maxed out to 99. If you told us she could fly, we wouldn’t rule it out at this point.

Considering Dibaba is now resembling a video game character, silver and bronze medalist Faith Kipyegon(4:08.96) and Sifan Hassan (4:09.34) did remarkably well to stay even somewhat close to her (though the margin would have been greater had Dibaba not slowed to celebrate before the line). Both closed in 1:57.6 — world-class 800 times on their own — but there was no catching Dibaba on this night, even though they were able to leave the rest of the field in the dust.

The Americans struggled in this one, though neither Shannon Rowbury nor Jenny Simpson has anything to be ashamed for. Both have carried the torch proudly for U.S. middle distance running this year, and the fact that Rowbury (7th, 4:12.39) and Simpson (11th, 4:16.28 after losing her shoe with 650 to go) couldn’t medal when it would have taken a sub-1:58 final 800 to do so is more a reflection of the top three’s brilliance than any major flaws on the Americans’ part. That being said, the first 700 was way too slow to be beneficial to Rowbury or Simpson.

The Race (video of race here, if you’d like to watch worlds races without knowing the results click here

Despite the incredible PBs of the women in this field (in addition to world record holder Dibaba, six other women had broken 3:58 in their careers), the race went out remarkably slowly as Rowbury led through 400 in 77.06 with Simpson right on her shoulder. The pace continued to dawdle for most of the next lap until Dibaba moved to the front with two laps to go.

How she got there wound up having a major effect on Jenny Simpson. Just before they reached the finish line, Simpson was leading on the outside of lane one with Rowbury slightly behind on her inside. Dibaba passed Simpson about five meters from the line and cut in front of her very quickly, causing Simpson to slow down and stick her hand out in case she needed to steady herself. As she did that, Sweden’s Abeba Aregawi, running behind Simpson, clipped her shoe, dislodging it.

In an instant, the 12-woman field went from jogging to sprinting as Dibaba strung out the field single-file. Simpson followed along with Aregawi behind her as Rowbury began to drop back. Hassan, 11th with 800 to go, passed four runners to move up to seventh with 600 to go just as Simpson began to fade. For almost half a lap, Simpson had dug her toes in in an effort to keep her shoe on, but ultimately realized it was futile, kicking it away with 630 to go. As soon as she did so, a flood of runners moved past her. By 400 to go, she was in eighth and out of it.

Dibaba, on the other hand, was very much in it, and though her dramatic move — she covered 800 to 1200 to 57.24 — had strung out the field, the race was far from won.

At that point, Dibaba, Kipyegon, 2014 world junior champ Dawit Seyaum and Hassan were all still close, though the speed at which they were running meant there was a stride’s gap between each of them. Hassan, fourth with 300 to go, had eight meters on Aregawi in fifth, who in turn had five more on Rowbury and Brit Laura Muir.

With 175 to go, Dibaba had increased her lead by a couple of strides as Hassan gave chase, moving past Kipyegon into second.

Midway down the homestretch, Dibaba had a six- or seven-meter lead. She was not going to be caught. The only battle remaining was for the silver (Seyaum had fallen off by this point), as Kipyegon and Hassan ran neck-and-neck for much of the home straight. With 25 to go, Kipyegon pulled ahead and Hassan resigned herself to bronze. Seyaum took fourth while Muir outkicked Aregawi and Rowbury for fifth.




Kovacs Has Come a Long Way to Strike Gold in Beijing

Published by IAAF on August 23, 2015

When Joe Kovacs entered the Bird’s Nest Stadium last night, shortly before winning his first world title in the men’s shot put, his mind couldn’t help but wander to the past.

It had been a long journey to get to the IAAF World Championships, Bejing 2015 and before he entered the arena for the biggest night of his life, he took stock of the path he’d travelled. 

Alhough Kovacs is as American as the proverbial apple pie, his family’s roots are Hungarian, and those closest to him were foremost in his mind last night.

“I thought back on everything,” he said. “My dad passing away when I was seven, growing up with my mom, getting started in shot putting in high school, and I kept it rolling from there. It’s always nice to look back.”

Back home in Pennsylvania, his mother Joanna – who had decided against travelling to Beijing to avoid being a distraction – was also on his mind.



Read more: RunnerSpace.com/Pro - News - Kovacs Has Come a Long Way to Strike Gold in Beijing - IAAF 



Cheruiyot, Kemboi Back On Top At IAAF World Championships - RRW

Published by 
RunnerSpace.com/Pro  Yesterday, 9:27am

CHERUIYOT, KEMBOI BACK ON TOP AT IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2015 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved - Used with permission.

BEIJING (24-Aug) -- Order was restored in the distance running world here tonight, when Kenya's Vivian Cheruiyot and Ezekiel Kemboi again won world titles at the 10,000m and 3000m steeplechase, respectively.  Cheruiyot regained the title she won in 2011 before taking maternity leave, and Kemboi won his fourth straight world crown, leading a Kenyan sweep of the medals with an explosive sprint finish.

For the 31 year-old Cheruiyot, the 25-lap race played out perfectly.  In the early laps, Japan's Rei Ohara and Yuka Takashima took turns at the front, leading the field through the first 5000m in a gentle 16:11.99.  There were several half-hearted moves in the next few laps, but nobody wanted to take the pace.

"There were a lot of mind games," observed Sally Kipyego, the 2012 London Olympic 10,000m silver medalist, who would finish fifth.

The pace hovered in the 76 to 78-second per lap range through 8400 meters, when finally things got serious.  American champion Molly Huddle dropped a 74-second lap to string out the field.  She was followed by Ethiopia's Alemitu Heroye and Gelete Burka, Kipyego, and Cheruiyot.  Huddle was frustrated by the early slow pace, but she didn't want to go too early.

"It was really slow and tactical and I thought it would be more of a two-mile, mile race down to the last lap," Huddle told the media after the race.  "I just thought, everyone is in it, everyone." 

Huddle stayed on the front for two more laps, squeezing down the pace to under 71 seconds for the penultimate circuit.  She appeared to be in great position to medal.

"I knew I couldn't blow it in the first 200 (of the last lap) like I had done before," Huddle said.  "I was waiting for people to come on my shoulder, and the two passed me I thought, just defend your position."

The two were Cheruiyot and Burka, who scooted away from Huddle with about 200m to go, then battled for the win down the homestretch at National Stadium.  Despite her sub-3:59 1500m credentials, Burka could not match Cheruiyot's final sprint, and had to settle for second.

"You know, the lady from Ethiopia, Gelete Burka, is a little bit stronger with her kick because she used to be a 1500-meter runner," Cheruiyot told Race Results Weekly.  She continued: "Everybody came here to win a medal.  I just used all my strength to the finishing line.  I used all my strength. I said I want to die in the finishing line."

At the line, Cheruiyot had about a half a second on Burka, winning her fifth overall world title (all surfaces and distances) in 31:41.31 to Burka's 31:41.77.

"I feel so great," Cheruiyot said.  "I have to say I'm happy. Nothing else I can add because to come here and become the world champion again is not something easy.  I want to thank God for everything."

Huddle was in bronze medal position as she sprinted behind the two Africans, but she was not aware that her USA teammate, Emily Infeld, was closing fast.  Her elbows swinging vigorously, Infeld was using everything she had to catch Huddle.

"I was just trying to run through the line, give it everything I had," Infeld told reporters, wearing one red and one black shoe.

Just before the line, Huddle raised her hands to celebrate, slowing just slightly.  But Infeld was still coming.

"I feel like I could medal, and I just ran through the line and I feel a little guilty because I feel like Molly let up a little," Infeld explained, showing genuine empathy for her teammate.  "I don't think she realized how close I was."

By just 9/100ths of a second, Infeld pipped Huddle for the bronze.  When she saw Infeld pass, Huddle's face fell with horror.

"That last half-step I just let up too much," Huddle said, speaking bravely to the media.  "Emily was right there the whole time, with just more momentum and she got that bronze.  This will take a long time to get over."

Infeld's medal was the first for Team USA in this discipline at the World Championships since Kara Goucher won bronze in 2007.  Shalane Flanagan, who trains with Infeld under the Nike-sponsored Bowerman Track Club in Portland, Ore., won a bronze medal in the same stadium in 2008 at the Olympic Games. Finishing sixth, she was overjoyed for her teammate's success.  

"I'm taking partial credit," Flanagan said, her left arm around the shoulder of the now-weeping Infeld.  "We've been working on her running through the line.  I beat her at nationals by just the same margin as Emily and Molly tonight.  I was like, Emily, you have to work on closing."

In the steeplechase, Kemboi was content to go with the slow early pace --just 2:49.50 for the first kilometer-- then didn't overreact when his teammate, the #1-ranked Jairus Birech, put in a big surge with four laps to go.  The race calmed down again, and when the bell sounded it was the American, Evan Jager who was in the lead.  

"I definitely had a plan for the race," Jager would later explain.  He continued: "Those guys?  They're just so freaking tough over the last lap, running extremely fast over those barriers."

The four Kenyans --Birech, Kemboi, Conseslus Kipruto, and Brimin Kipruto-- whooshed over the final water jump like a freight train, ensuring a Kenyan medal sweep.  Kemboi, who isn't a big factor in the paced races of the IAAF Diamond League, showed his superiority as a championships racer, blasting over the final barrier to beat Conseslus Kipruto by over a second, 8:11.28 to 8:12.38.  Brimin Kipruto got third, leaving Birech as the odd man out. 

"I'm so happy about my fourth consecutive world title," Kemboi told IAAF flash interviewers.  "It was a strong race.  We maintained the pace, but I never went in front, only on the last 400 meters.  I would like to thank the fans here in Beijing; they have been cheering for us all night."

Jager would end up sixth, eclipsed by his own training partner, Dan Huling, who got fifth.

"I wanted to run for sixth or seventh," Huling told reporters.  "That gave me an opportunity to pick up some guys."

Since Kemboi first won in Osaka in 2007, men from Kenya have won 12 of the 15 steeplechase medals given at IAAF World Championships.  In reality, their domination stretches back even farther.

"There's a reason that these guys, the Kenyans, have won every single world championships they have competed in," Jager said, including the victories by the Kenyan-born Qatari Saif Saaeed Shaheen in 2003 and 2005.  "It's really tough."



Read more: RunnerSpace.com/Pro - News - Cheruiyot, Kemboi Back On Top At IAAF World Championships - RRW 


Back On Top, Rudisha Claims Beijing Gold Medal - RRW

Published by 
RunnerSpace.com/Pro  Today, 9:35am

BACK ON TOP, RUDISHA CLAIMS BEIJING GOLD MEDAL
By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2015 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved - Used with permission.

BEIJING (25-Aug) -- When David Rudisha took to the starting line for the 800m final here at National Stadium tonight at the 15th IAAF World Championships in Athletics, his mind was surely racing.  

Was he thinking about his gold medal performance from the 2012 London Olympics when he also set the world record?  Was he anxious about the injuries which made him miss the 2013 World Championships and which hampered his training nearly all of last year?  Was he thinking about his wife, Lizzy, who was expecting a baby today?

No.

Blocking out all distractions, Rudisha was focused on just one thing: controlling the field, and putting himself in the best position to win his third world title.

"I'm going to control my race," he told his manager James Templeton before the race.  "I'm going to run my race."

Rudisha, 26, who has built his career as a half-miler by charging hard from the gun, did just the opposite tonight.  Taking the field through 400 meters in a dawdling 54.17, he used the knowledge that his rivals would be afraid to attack him early, even if the pace was slow.  No one would dare pass the tall Masai tribesman.

"Why other runners are so passive?" asked Poland's Adam Kszczot, last year's European champion who had medal hopes of his own.  "I can't understand why they (thought), OK David, run. We're going to follow you.  Why they do that, I don't know."

But follow they did, lured into a trap which Rudisha sprung in the last 150 meters, holding off all of his rivals with a great stretch run to clinch the win. His time was a modest 1:45.84.

"I'm really happy to be back after a very difficult two years with injuries," a smiling Rudisha said after putting Kenya on the top of the medal table with their fourth gold medal.  "To be back here to Beijing, 2015, and win this title means a lot to me."

Rudisha had a knee surgery in October, 2014, a very serious bone bruise before that, and pulled up lame at the Golden Spike meeting in Ostrava last May (nothing serious.  So, he maintained a conservative approach to his training under longtime coach Brother Colm O'Connell, building his speed slowly and protecting his body.  He only took second at the Kenyan Trials earlier this month, beaten by teammate Ferguson Rotich.  But he wasn't worried.  He was on the rise.

"Last month, I've been working on my speed, which had been lacking," Rudisha explained.  "It's because of the problem I had before.  The injury wasn't allowing me to do good high speeds.  It was just a matter of refreshing my muscle memory."

Uncharacteristically, Rudisha ran his last 400 meters much faster than the first, gunning the last lap in 51.67.  With the slight lead he had through 600 meters, combined with good position close to the rail, it was impossible for Kszczot --or anyone else-- to pass him, even if he had the speed.

"I stepped to the metal line between the infield and the track," said Kszczot referring to the track's inside rail.  "At that point, you know, I think David figure it out that someone's coming."

Kszczot closed nearly as quickly (51.74) to claim the silver medal in 1:46.08, giving him his first global medal in an outdoor championships.  Behind him, breakout star Amel Tuka of Bosnia and Herzegovina, closed even faster, coming from the back of the field to win the bronze medal in 1:46.30, the first medal ever at this championships for his country.

"I really feel amazing," said Tuka.  He continued: "This is something special for me, also for my country."

Also dominating tonight was Ethiopia's Genzebe Dibaba who, like Rudisha, saved her best running for the end for the women's 1500m final.  

The American duo of Shannon Rowbury and Jenny Simpson found themselves at the front of the pack after the gun, and decided to take it slowly.  Very slowly.  They ran the first 400 meters in 77 seconds, not even the pace of a good high school race.  

"It just kind of happened that way," said Rowbury, who would finish seventh.

The pace picked up after 400 meters, but it wasn't there were two laps to go that things got really interesting.  Dibaba shot ahead,running a 57.3-second circuit from 800m to 1200m, taking Kenya's Faith Kipyegon, Netherlands' Sifan Hassan, and Ethiopia's Dawit Seyaum with her.

But Simpson, the 2011 world champion, could not join the battle.  She had her left shoe stepped on, pulling it off.  She was forced to run the last 700 meters of the race with one shoe.

"I was jogging along with everyone else, then I kind of paid a price for it," said Simpson, who finished second to last, ripping the skin off part of the bottom of her right foot.  "Dibaba made a big move and I got shoved into traffic.  My shoe even ripped.  I got spiked bad enough that it totally ripped when it came off."  She added: "I was just unlucky."

But not Dibaba.  She did not let up, running an eye-popping 1:57 for the final 800m to finish in the slowest winning time ever at these championships: 4:08.09.  Kipyegon got second (4:08.96) and Hassan third (4:09.34).

"As you know, my preparation was very good," Dibaba said through a translator.  "I think that I did the right thing, that my expectations were right."

Dibaba is not finished competing here.  On Thursday morning, she'll line up for the preliminary round of the 5000m, where she is also a favorite to win gold.  

"The history is two golds from my sister," she said, referring to big sister Tirunesh Dibaba who, in this same stadium, won gold medals at both 5000m and 10,000m at the 2008 Olympics.  "Then my mind is made up.  I have to do both."


Negative Split, No Problem: The King Is Far From Dead – David Rudisha Wins Third Global Title With 24.36 Final 200

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2015 IAAF World Track and Field Championships Beijing

August 22, 2015 to August 30, 2015
Bird's Nest - Beijing, China

Amel Tuka Wins Historic First Medal For Bosnia and Herzegovina

By LetsRun.com
August 25, 2015

BEIJING – King David is back.

In his first global championship since setting the world record at the 2012 London Olympics, Kenya’s David Rudisha returned to the winner’s podium and silenced the critics by winning the men’s 800 tonight in 1:45.84 at the Bird’s Nest at the 2015 IAAF World Championships. Poland’s Adam Ksczot got the silver in 1:46.08 and 2015 world leader Amel Tuka got the bronze in 1:46.30 – a historic first-ever medal for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

David Rudisha nearing the finish line

David Rudisha nearing the finish line

Just as in London, Rudisha led wire-to-wire, but this was a far different race than the world record 1:40.91 he ran three years ago. He controlled the race by slowing things down in the front, running a big negative split and outkicking the kickers as he came through 400 in a glacial 54.17 — almost five seconds slower than his 49.28 in London — before closing it out in style, with a 51.67 final 400, covering the final 200 in a super fast 24.36 seonds.

Coming into these championships, Rudisha was seen by many pundits as vulnerable. He had just the 8th-fastest seasonal best time of the year, 1:43.58, which had been set in his first Diamond League race of the year in New York way back on June 13, and had lost three straight races, in Lausanne, London and Nairobi (Kenyan Trials). But track and field is a sport mainly about one thing – rising to the occasion in a single race in mid- to late-August and Rudisha did that again tonight in Beijing. Sure, it didn’t hurt that two of Rudisha’s biggest rivals, 2013 world champion Mo Aman of Ethiopia and 2012 Olympic silver medallist Nijel Amos of Botswana, had failed to make the final. But making the final is a massive part of succeeding in the 800.

The Race
Rudisha didn’t blast out of the gate, but he was quick enough over the first 200 (25.07) — and the field was deferential enough (more on that later) – for him to have the lead a quarter of the way through the race. Tuka, as is his custom, went straight to the back and hit 200 in 25.67. Rudisha’s countryman Ferguson Rotich, who beat Rudisha at the Kenyan Trials, battled him for the lead around the second turn of the first lap, but could not wrest it from him. Rudisha led at 400 in 54.17, meaning his 2nd 200 was an incredibly slow 29.10, with Rotich behind him; the rest of the field was tightly packed behind the two Kenyans, with Tuka bringing up the rear in 54.72.

Screenshot (290)

Ksczot tries to go on the inside

On the backstretch, the pace increased and Tuka began to move forward on the outside as the pace picked up. Poland’s Ksczot was in third boxed in behind Rudisha and getting antsy and tried to move by Rudisha on the inside, and Rudisha hit the gas. He passed 600 in 1:21.50 (26.78 from 600 to 800) with Rotich and Kszczot behind him and Tuka gaining a head of steam on their outside in fourth.

Coming off the turn, gold was up for grabs but Rudisha continued to blaze and soon gained a few meters of separation. Kszczot moved into second as Rotich, who led Kszczot in the final turn, did not protect lane one and Kszczot finally was able to fine the daylight he’d sought against Rudisha and passed on the inside. Tuka drifted out to lane 3 to get a clear lane for sprinting. Rudisha wasn’t breaking down though, holding his form all the way to the finish line for the victory, closing out a great final 200 in 24.36 to get the win. Kszczot was able to steal perhaps a meter back on Rudisha, which was enough to secure a clear silver medal to go with the one he won on home turf at World Indoors last year. Tuka went by Rotich with around 30 meters to go and held on for bronze despite a brave lean by Rotich (the two were separated by just .05).

Results

Pl.Athlete / TeamCnt.BirthResultScore
1.David RUDISHAKEN881:45.841148
2.Adam KSZCZOTPOL891:46.081141
3.Amel TUKABIH911:46.301134
4.Ferguson Rotich CHERUIYOTKEN891:46.351133
5.Pierre-Ambroise BOSSEFRA921:46.631124
6.Musaeb Abdulrahman BALLAQAT891:47.011113
7.Nader BELHANBELMAR941:47.091111
8.Alfred KIPKETERKEN961:47.661094

Quick Take #1: The brilliance of David Rudisha

When we look back at Rudisha’s career, his 2012 Olympic gold will be the first race we remember, but this race was almost as beautiful. Whereas London was utter domination, one man imposing his will on seven, what Rudisha did tonight was impressive in a totally different way.

Since coming back from his injury in May 2014, Rudisha had tried to emulate his pre-injury tactic of pushing hard from the gun to mixed results. In Beijing, he changed things up. In the first two rounds, Rudisha went to the front early but kept the pace slow as none of his competitors had the audacity to go by him on the first lap. Then, with 200 to go, Rudisha opened up his long stride, using his stride and positioning advantage to power to the win. He did the exact same thing in the final tonight, and no one could match his superior speed in the final 200.

One way to measure a champion is by gold medals; Rudisha now has three. Another is to measure how they adjust and still find a way to win even as they age. Rudisha’s old approach wasn’t working and the biggest question was whether he could still win gold with a different tactic. The 2015 version of Rudisha may not have the ability to run 1:40 from the front, but he’s still got the best top-end speed of any 800 runner in the world. How to take advantage of that? Stay on the inside and turn it into a 200-meter race. That’s exactly what Rudisha did, and no one could touch him tonight.

After the race, we had a seven and a half minute chat with Rudisha’s agent James Templeton as we waited for Rudisha to come through the mixed zone. You can listen to it below if you have time but let us share a few highlights.

Templeton said that “the last month has gone beautifully. It’s one of those situations where everything comes together very nicely.” He said after losing in London that Rudisha was upbeat and had said, “It’s coming up. I can feel it.”

At the Kenyan Trials, Templeton thought Rudisha had “looked magnificent”; Rudisha didn’t win there but Templeton implied that was only because it wasn’t important for Rudisha to win the race. And then after the Trials, Rudisha really turned it on and had some great sessions that included running 300s in 33 – sessions that he hadn’t been “strong enough and fit enough to do” earlier in the year.

“[Most] importantly the 33s felt like 35s a month or so ago. You get huge confidence from that,” said Templeton. “He knew, but we didn’t talk about it, that he’s in 44-second 400 meter shape. Now he wasn’t in 44-second shape in Lausanne or London. So he was very supremely confident in his speed.”

“[Years ago] he used to laugh, ‘Oh people don’t think I can kick. I can win these races with a kick.'”

Rudisha has apparently always beeen confident in his kick and he showed why tonight. The interesting thing about tonight’s win is it possibly might make Rudisha more dangerous for Rio 2016. As Templeton said, “Now going into Rio, in the final next year, you’ll be standing on the line [thinking], ‘Is Rudisha going to run 49 or 54?’ He controls it. He gets to the front and he won’t let them pass. When you try to pass them, he’ll get there [first]. He’ll accelerate wherever he needs to.”

As for Rudisha, he answered questions for six and a half minutes himself in the mixed zone (audio embedded below as well). He said he was extremely confident in his plan to turn it on over the last 150 as he had great faith in his speed.

It was tight coming off the final turn but Rudisha was best over the final 100

It was tight coming off the final turn but Rudisha was best over the final 100

“I knew the guys didn’t have my speed and there was nothing much to worry about [at the end] because I’ve been building on my speed for the last month,” said Rudisha. “In the beginning of the season, I was working on my endurance and in a couple of races this year, I was struggling in the last 100 so when I went back [to Kenya] I concentrated solely on my speed and my speed came back when I needed it. And it was so important for me to come back here and win after two years of disappointment with injury.”

Rudisha said that earlier in the year “there was a little bit of doubt” as whenever he tried to work on his speed, he’d feel pain coming on in his knee and be forced to back off, but it came together “in the last month” and that his workouts had given him a lot of confidence.

“I just wanted to win it comfortably without any stresses,” said Rudisha, who shocked the media by saying he only decided to slow the race down just before the start.

“[When I came to Beijing], I was thinking about how I was going to run. I had a lot of thinking going on in my mind, but I just had to decide just before the race whether I was going to push it or take it easy and then sprint in the last 100, but I was very much confident because of my speed. That is the thing that was worrying me before. But when I [got] my speed [back] I think that was everything to me,” said Rudisha who dismissed the suggestion that he ran tactically because he’d lost early season rabbited races. “Not really. Not really. In the [early] season, what I was lacking was just the finishing speed. I was coming all the way to the last 100 meters and I just lacked my sprint, but now that I’ve got my speed [back], I think I [could] handle even a fast race and then sprint in the last 150, 100 meters.”






Despite Hardships, Opportunities Lie Ahead

By Scott Bush

It was a tough fourth day of competition for Team USA at the IAAF World Outdoor Championships Tuesday morning (Tuesday evening in Beijing). It seemed as though everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.

It started earlier in the competition, where Bershawn Jackson and Johnny Dutch, who own the fastest two times in the world this season, failed to qualify for the 400m hurdle final, while Marquis Dendy, who ranks top three in the world in the long jump, failed to qualify for the final.

Fast forward to Tuesday, both Jeff Henderson and Michael Hartfield failed to qualify for the top eight in the long jump, missing out on three more chances to jump on the medal podium. In the 400m hurdles, Michael Tinsley faded after a fast start, as both he and Kerron Clement missed the podium.

As if that weren't enough, Jenny Simpson's left shoe flipped off during the women's 1,500m, as both she and Shannon Rowbury missed out on a top three finish, while Justin Gatlin was the only American to move forward in the men's 200m prelims. 

Needless to say, it was a very disappointing and depressing morning for American track and field fans. 

But with so much bad news comes a silver lining, as Team USA has plenty of opportunities ahead to redeem itself. Here's a few events and athletes to look forward to as we move forward in Beijing:

  • Allyson Felix. She's the easy pre-race favorite in the women's 400m. She cruised through her rounds and is ready to jump across the podium once again. With no Sanya Richards-Ross and Francena McCorory in the event, Felix shoulders the burden of American medal hopes, but the longtime veteran is obviously up for the challenge.
  • Bolt v Gatlin - Round 2. While Bolt narrowly edged Gatlin in the 100m event earlier in these World Championships, the two are set to battle again in the 200 meter final. While most may think Bolt is the favorite in the half-lap event, do note that Gatlin's seasonal best is over a half second faster than Bolt's. Clearly Bolt is in a different place regarding his fitness compared to earlier in the season, so this final should be as exciting as the 100m final. 
  • Shamier Little. The Texas A&M standout seemed to struggle through the rounds, but she's in the final, has the fastest seasonal best and no longer has the pressure of advancing weighing on her. It'll be interesting to see where her confidence lies, as she certainly didn't coast in her previous two races, but she's a future star of American track and field and Beijing could very well be where she makes a statement that she's arrived internationally. 
  • Team USA looks extremely strong in the short hurdles, where David Oliver has to be considered among the top 1-2 favorites in the 110m hurdle event, while the U.S. quartet of Dawn Harper-Nelson, Sharika Nelvis, Keni Harrison and Brianna Rollins could very well sweep their event. 
  • Ashton Eaton. Is there really anything else to say? The decathlon world record holder is looking strong and should defend his championship title. 
  • The relays. Team USA is so deep and so strong across the board and has to be considered the favorite to win gold in at least both 4x400m relay races and the men's 4x100m relay. Of course, hanging onto the baton is always the challenge, but there is plenty for U.S. fans to root for here. 

Stay positive Team USA fans. The United States has the world's strongest and deepest track and field team and the country's talent should shine in the days ahead. 





Athletics

Champion hammer thrower 'gives away gold medal to pay for taxi ride after night out'

Pawel FajdekWinner: Pawel Fajdek retained his title in Beijing at the weekend Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

A champion hammer thrower who retained his title at the World Athletics Championships at the weekend reportedly used his gold medal to pay for a taxi ride home after celebrating his win.

Polish hammer thrower Pawel Fajdek comfortably took gold in the final on Saturday with a best of 80.88m and, according to Chinese media outlet Tencent, decided to toast his victory by having a few drinks.

However, things took a turn for the worse after Fajdek is claimed to have woken up the next morning in Beijing without his gold medal before he subsequently contacted local police to help him retrieve it.

Officers successfully managed to find the taxi driver who had taken the 26-year-old home the previous night, but then heard how Fajdek had apparently given his gold medal away to pay for the journey.

BUT ALL ENDED WELL FOR THE HAMMER THROWER AFTER HE WAS REUNITED WITH HIS MEDAL WHEN THE TAXI DRIVER AGREED TO GIVE IT BACK IN RETURN FOR PAYMENT OF THE ORIGINAL FARE.


Mo Farah wins the 10,000m at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)



22 AUG 2015 REPORT BEIJING, CHINA

REPORT: MEN’S 10,000M – IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, BEIJING 2015

How to stop Mo Farah, we wondered in our preview of the 10,000m at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015.

The answer, for an incredible sixth time in a row at a global championship, was – you don’t.

World cross-country champion Geoffrey Kamworor, runner-up Bedan Karoki and Paul Tanui talked up a concerted Kenyan attack. And they delivered. Despite throwing everything they had at Farah – and a little more dredged up from their innermost reserves – Farah ran away from them at the end to successfully defend the title he won in Moscow two years ago in 27:01.13.

It was close. A last-lap stumble as the leaders rounded up some lapped runners momentarily put Farah off balance. Quick as a cat, he recovered his poise and held the lead all around the final circuit.

Kamworor was second in 27:01.76, Tanui third in 27:02.83 and Karoki fourth in 27:04.77. It was a matter of metres only, but as so often with Farah, he made such a tiny gap appear absolutely unbridgeable.

Let’s consider some numbers: it is the sixth consecutive global track distance title for Farah – an unprecedented achievement among those who had run the distance double. The string started with his 5000m triumph in Daegu in 2011 (after narrowly losing the 10,000m to Ibarhim Jeilan), continued with distance doubles at the 2012 Olympics and 2013 World Championships, and now is extended with this win.

No other runner has more than four consecutive wins at both championship distances.

Farah’s was the third-fastest World Championships win in history. Kenenisa Bekele’s championship record of 26:46.31 stands from Berlin in 2009 and he ran 26:49.57 to win in Paris in 2003.

If Farah did not get Bekele’s number there, he did break his stadium record. The Ethiopian ran an Olympic record of 27:01.17 in winning in the Bird’s Nest in 2008; Farah edged that by 0.04 on Saturday night. Conditions were pretty much on a par.

One statistic that is a measure of Farah’s extraordinary progress to the peak of track distance running is that at those same Games he was run out in the heats of the 5000m in 13:50.95. On Saturday night, he ran faster than that for two consecutive 5000m splits – 13:40 and 13:21 in round figures.

Farah’s training partner Galen Rupp – fifth in 27:08.91 – aside, no one else in the field of 27 was able to keep close to the top four. Ethiopia’s Imane Merga was there for more than half the distance but dropped back, and then out.

The race started in expected manner, the Kenyan trio straight to the front, Farah dropping almost to the absolute back of the pack. The pace quickened in the second 1000m, which was covered in 2:39.90, with Rupp and Farah both moving up into contention as soon as it slowed again in the third kilometre.

The US runner and the Briton moved past Merga coming up to 6000m and the race was on from that point. Somehow Kamworor and his mates had to find a way of drawing Farah’s finishing kick – a difficult task as the heat and humidity took their toll.

Once or twice Farah teased his rivals by moving to the front. Each time Kamworor immediately shut down the move, but it was a timely psychological reminder: “I’m still here; I’ve still got plenty of zip in my legs.”

Farah again led briefly with three laps to go. This time Kamworor responded with the fastest lap of the race up to that point – 61.79 seconds – but Farah remained resolute at his heels. Another sub-62 lap took them to the bell.

Was it enough? Nearly, but not quite. Farah again edged into the lead at the bell. Despite the stumble, despite the desperate efforts of Kamworor and Tanui to get on terms, he raced on into championship history. His last lap flashed by in 54.14 seconds, mishap and all.

Six in a row and a seventh beckons in the 5000m, for which the heats will be conducted on Wednesday morning. Maybe the early start might faze Farah. Unlikely, but it appears just as unlikely anything else will either.