On Thursday night, the finals were the 200 meters for men, the women's 400m hurdles, the women's hammer throw and the men's long jump. Here are stories on the 200 meters, 400m hurdles and men's long jump. I will do another update tommorow morning....
Women's 400 meter hurdle finals
Jana Rawlinson of Australia ran the perfect race. Her hurdling was supreme and her final fifty meters took her from medal contention to gold medal with her fine 53.31 seasonal best. In silver, Yuliyva Pechenkina of Russia ran 53.50 to take second place. In third Anna Jesien of Poland moved up the last two hurdles and took third and the bronze medal in 53.92.
The U.S.'s Tiffany Williams, relegated to lane nine, was in contention with two hurdles to go, but began to fall back, from possible even with the leaders to third, to fourth and finally seventh in 54.63.
In the end if was Rawlinson's night. After such a long battle with injuries, the Aussie gave her country something to savor, a strong win and gold medal from an athlete that won the old fashioned way--she fought every inch of the race for it!
Men's Long Jump
Helsinki and Athens Champ Dwight Phillips had a rough night. He lead round one with his jump of 8.30 meters, then fouled in round two and three.
In round two, Irving Saldino of Panama jumped 8.30 meters to tie for the lead. In round three, Saldino took the lead with a jump of 8.46 meters.
Andrew Howe of Italy put himself in bronze medal contention, with his 8.13 meters in round two.
In round three, Godfrey Khotso Mokoena of Kenya jumped 8.19 meters, pushing Howe out of bronze medal position.
Double medalist in long jump, James Beckford, hit 8.17 in the fourth round, moved into fourth, moving Howe to fifth.
In round five, Andrew Howe of Italy jumped in round five, moving into third again with his 8.20 meter jump.
Round six got interesting. Russia's Olexiy Lukashevych jumped 8.25 meters into third place.
Then Andrew Howe of Italy, in round six popped a personal best of 8.47 meters! Howe took over the lead! Saldino was second, Phillips was third.
Irving Saldino delivered, and popped a HUGE 8.57 meters monster, taking over the gold position.
In the end, Saldino took gold in 8.57 m, Howe took silver in 8.47 m and Dwight Phillips took bronze in 8.30 meters. This was first gold medal in long jump for Panama in track and field!
Men's 200 meters
This has been a tough place for attempted doubles. That was until Tyson ran the 200 meters final. After a false start, Tyson Gay got out strong, with Usain Bolt taking the lead off the turn. Tyson, Usain duked it out from the top of the turn until 180 meters, when Gay took his lead and went on to set a Championship record of 19.76 meters. In second, Usain Bolt of Jamaica ran a brilliant race, running 19.91 for the silver. In third, Wallace Spearmon, the training partner of Tyson Gay, moved through the field and took the bronze,running 20.05. Also noted, Rodney Martin took fourth in 20.06, a personal best.
The signifigance of Tyson Gay's double, the best times in a world championship setting, should not be underestimated. Gay had a good start, and was behind World Junior champion and record holder Usain Bolt. Bolt ran well, but Gay's superior speed and closing strength did the trick!
Bolt, who races in the U.S. frequently, did break up an apparent sweep by the U.S! Wallace Spearmon, who seemed to either stumble or just get out slower than normal, recovered and took the bronze in a strong performance. Congratulations to Rodney Martin, running a personal best in a world championship setting! Nice job!
In the end, one of the most amazing points of this world championships is the class that all of the athletes have shown this time around. Competition is one thing, respecting your competition is another and this has played well with the media, fans and the sport!
No suprises in the men's 5,000 meter heats!
The heats in the mens' 5,000 meter did not show any suprises. All three Americans,
Lagat, Tegenkamp and Goucher moved to the final. Eliud Kipchoge, the 2003 champion looks dangerous, as does Craig Mottram.
My take on the final is that Mottram has the tools and his two to beat are Bernard Lagat and Eliud Kipchoge.
Kipchoge will not let the pace daly and so expect a thirteen minute pace. This plays into Mottram's strengths as well.
However, if the field dawdles, watch for Mottram to drop a 3:56 or so last 1,600 meters, which he will need to do to take this one. That type of race plays into Tegenkamp too, who can blister a last 1,000 meters.
Lagat and Mottram have the tools to either run fast, or finish fast. A last 800 meters in the 1:52 range is part of the equation as well.
In fact, the men's 5,000 meters, in my estimation, may be the most competitive event on the planet.
There will be surprises, a fall, desperate last 200 meters, know that one or more of the medals will come down to who can keep his cool the longest, even when kicking, the need to save something for the last 50 to 70 meters is de rigeur in this event.
Picks for the 5,000 meters, men: Bernard Lagat, USA, Craig Mottram, Australia,
Eliud Kipchoge, Kenya, spoiler-Matt Tegenkamp, Adam Goucher.
For complete results from August 30, 2007: http://osaka2007.iaaf.org/results/bydate.html#racedate=08-30-2007
For complete coverage from American Track & Field: http://www.american-trackandfield.com/features/worldchamps07list.html
For the interactive digital version of American Track & Field resource guide: