Lost in the fanfare surrounding Usain Bolt’s win were wins by Jessica Ennis-Hill and Joe Kovacs. So, with all due respect to Usain Bolt, here is a picture of Joe Kovacs, staying cool as he can in the qualifying on Sunday. The shot put lead changed five times, and was a fantastic event!
Here is Alex Mills’ notes on the second session of Day two. In his first journalist role at a World Champs, Alex is doing a fine job updating us on the highlights of each session so yours truly can edit, chat and watch a World Champs. Thanks, Alex!
The king sure ain’t dead! Long live the king!
Seven years after his sensational breakthrough at the Beijing Olympics, Usain Bolt returned to the Bird’s Nest Stadium to defeat Justin Gatlin and claim world 100m gold to cap off an incredible evening of athletics on day two of the IAAF World Championships.
With the pre-race talk dominated by questions about whether Bolt “the Hero” could defeat the far more in form, vilified Gatlin, many journalists foolishly wrote off his chances going into the final. Particularly after the Jamaican only just recovered from a stumble to take victory in his semi-final.
Yet with the world watching the Jamaican didn’t disappoint, as he showed just why he now holds 6 world titles by producing a stunning final 50 metres to win in a season’s best 9.79 seconds, clawing back Gatlin in the final stages to defeat him by just .01 of a second. With US college sensations Trayvon Bromell of the USA and Canadian Andre DeGrasse tied for bronze in 9.92 seconds, after officials were unable to separate the pair despite a photo finish.
The style of his victory may not have been vintage, but it was Bolt’s customary slow start that made one of the most fascinating battles in sporting history the race it was.
Despite getting the better reaction time, Bolt, running in lane 5, was forced to play catch up in the early stages, as Gatlin, two lanes to his right, got out far better, leading up to the 75m mark. Yet just when it looked as though he might hold on to victory, the Jamaican began to claw himself back into contention with 15 metres to go, driving himself past his rival as they reached the final stages, dipping for the line to just do enough to win. Ensuring his title had been regained and arguably his biggest battle yet, overcome.
“This means a lot because I’ve been struggling all season, it’s taken me a while to work things out,” Bolt told BBC Sport.
“It’s been up and down but it’s OK now.”
Elsewhere Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill ensured that it was a doubly incredible evening for two of athletics’ greatest 21st century stars as she claimed her second world heptathlon title in style, winning the final event, the 800m in 2:10.13, by more than a second from silver medallist Brianne Theisen-Eaton of Canada.
Having remained consistent throughout the process while her rivals continued to falter, the 29 year-old ensured that she made the perfect return major championship competition just 13 months after giving birth to her first child Reggie. With a winning total of 6669 she beat Theisen-Eaton by 115 points with Latvia’s Laura Ikauniece-Admidina a further 38 points behind, after producing a national record 6516 for bronze.
On a night filled with spectacular races on the track it was in the field where the most exciting competition unfolded, as America’s Joe Kovacs took victory in one of the strongest shot put finals in world championship history.
Despite easily being the events’ most consistent performer, Kovacs twice looked set to loose out on gold with the balance of the contest constantly tipping. After taking an early lead with a throw of 21.23 Kovacs was pegged back by his main rival David Storl of Germany after his second round attempt of 21.46 and then slipped back even further as Jamaica’s O’Dayne Richards produced a national record 21.69 in the third. Although he would improve to 21.67 in the fourth round, it wasn’t until the final round that Kovacs made his decisive mark as he launched the shot out to 21.93m, a distance that none of his rivals could ultimately match.
With his own 5th round improvement to 21.71m it was Storl who took silver with Richards back in third. With New Zealand’s Tom Walsh finishing in fourth despite throwing an oceania record 21.58m.
Elsewhere in the men’s hammer throw there was gold and bronze for Poland as Pavel Fajdek reigned supreme once more to regain his world title winning with a throw of 80.88m as Tajikistan’s Dilshod Nazrov took silver ahead of Fadjek’s compatriot Wojciech Nowicki
History was made in the first track event of the evening as two Kenyans qualified for the final of the 400mh hurdles for the first time ever. Both Boniface Tumuti and Nicholas Bett were just one years old when Kenya last had an athlete in the final of the event and they were both also made it through in impressive fashion, with Tumuti winning his heat in 48.29s and Bett running 48.54s to finish second in his.
The big casualty of the round was America’s world number two, Johnny Dutch who failed to make the final after only finishing 5th in his heat.
In the 800m both world champion Mohammed Aman and heavy favourite Nijel Amos bombed out at the semi-finals stage, as Aman was disqualified for pushing in the home strait and Amos could only finished 3rd behind David Rudisha and Musaeb Balla in the slowest heat of the round.
Bosnia’s Amel Tuka cam through as the fastest qualifier winning the third semi-final in 1:44.84.