Well, poor Stuart Weir waited what seemed to be hours between highlights on day 5. As we know, idleness is the devil’s playground. And we do our best to keep Mr. Weir busy. Here’s the column…
A long day come alive.
The scheduling at the IAAF World Athletics leaves something to be desired. On Day 5 there was drama and excitement in plenty but there were also periods when nothing was happening. The session lasted 6 hours and 25 minutes but included only 4 finals and six preliminaries. There was a period of one hour and eight minutes where there was no action – just four medal ceremonies. If, as we are told, Diamond League programs have to be compressed into 2 hours because that is what spectators and TV want – who decided that a session of over six hours with relatively little action was what the crowd wanted? There would almost have been time to ask them.
The little action there that took place was of high quality.
The women’s 100 meters on Sunday was a great race. The women’s 200 is turning into a toast to absent friends with first Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Ma-jo Ta Lou, medalists at 100 both decided not to double-up because of niggles. Then, defending champion Dafne Schippers withdrew from the 100m final, making her – I am told – ineligible to run the 200m. Then Elaine Thompson who had looked good in prelim, pulled out of the semi. In the end, Dina Asher-Smith was fastest in 22.16 but with three Americans in the top five.
Sydney McLaughlin and Dalilah Muhammed were first and third fastest in the women’s 400m hurdles; no surprise there.
Shaunae Miller-Uibo was fastest in the 400m prelims with 51.02 the slowest qualifying time for a final with two Americans, two Jamaicans and two Poles.
After we had waited three hours and 48 minutes, we were finally ready for a final, the men’s Pole Vault. Earlier in the year Sam Kendricks told me that he and Mondo Duplantis always brought out the best in each other. Well it happened again tonight. We reached 5.80 with Kendricks, Duplantis and Lisek still without a failure. With the other two clear at 5.87, Kendricks with two failures was in trouble but he sailed over the bar at the third attempt. A first time clearance at 5.92 gave Kendricks the initiative but Duplantis clear at the third attempt. Lisek was out but the other two cleared 5.97 at the third attempt. When Duplantis failed three times at 6.02, Kendricks had won on countback.
The women’s Javelin was won by Kelsey-Lee Barber of Australia, taking the lead only with her final throw of 66.56.
Donovan Brazier won the men’s 800m with a championship record of 1:42.34. He won by over a second after a long and courageous run for home.
In the final event of the night, Noah Lyles won in 19.83 with Andre DeGrasse – bronze medallist in the 100m a few nights ago – taking silver in 19.95.Defending champion. Defending champion, Ramil Guliyev was fifth.
A great finish to the evening after a long wait.