WC / Day Four: Drama On The Road, The Track, And The Field
July 18th, 2022
Day Four began shortly after sunrise with the women’s marathon conducted on a 3-lap 14-kilometer loop between Eugene and Springfield and traversing the Willamette River. After the start, favorites Ruth Chepngetich, Judith Korir, and Gotytom Gebreslase took the early lead at the front of the pack. After the first loop, Chengetich stepped off the road with what was purported to be a digestive issue. Her day was done, and the pack moved one. The lead was soon taken over by Korir, with the pack passing halfway in 1:08.49, with the American trio of Sara Hall, Emma Bates, and Keira D’Amato about 90 seconds back in 9th/10th/11th positions. At 28K, Korir and Gebreslase slowly yet effectively were separating themselves from the field and eventually built a margin of 43 seconds away from the pack with 10K to go. Meanwhile, the American trio had moved up to 6th/7th/8th with less than 4 miles to go. With less than 2k’s remaining, Gebreslase, who had been shadowing Korir on the final loop, saw her opportunity, and she took it, making a strong move that Kenyan could not cover. The Ethiopian sailed on to victory, crossing at the finish line at 2:18.11; Korir finished 2nd, 9 seconds back, while Israel’s Lonah Salpeter finished in 2:20.11 to capture the bronze. All three of these medalists bettered Paula Radcliffe’s world championship marathon record of 2:20:57. The three Americans finished well with Hall 5th (2:22:10), Bates 7th (2:23:18 PB), and D’Amato 8th (2:23:34) finishing strong. It was the first time that 3 American women finished in the top ten in a World Championship marathon.
The men’s high jump final proved to be a riveting affair. The 13 finalists began with an opening height of 2.19m/7’2¼”, which eventually tapered down to 5 remaining athletes as the bar sequentially went up to 2.33m/7’7¾”. Although USA’s Shelby McEwen went out at that height. 2-time defending champion Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim and Ukrainian Andriy Protsenko made 1st attempt clearances at that height, while Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi and Korea’s Sanghyeok Woo also advanced. Barshim, with a pristine card, and Woo both cleared 2.35/7’8½” while Tamberi, a master at playing the jubilant crowd, was 3-and-out at that height. The medals were there for Barshim, Woo, and Protsenko, but what would be their final order? At 2.37m7’9¼”. Protsenko’s sole remaining jump was unsuccessful, giving him the bronze. Barshim made his 6th consecutive first-attempt clearance at 2.37m/7’9¼”, further strengthening his gold medal position, while Woo failed on his first attempt and then passed. After Barshim elected to pass at 2.39m7’10”, the Korean – with the crowd chanting “Woo, Woo, Woo” – failed on his last two jumps giving him the silver and clinching for Barshim his 3rd consecutive world championship gold medal. In the afterglow of his victory, Barshim spoke with the media. “The target for me for today was the gold medal if even the world record is the only one thing I still miss, explained the victor. “Three world golds in a row is something that has never been done before. I came here to secure that.”
Barshim made a game attempt at 2.42meters, but when he failed, his seventh attempt of the night, the now 3-time WC and one-time Olympic gold medalist called it a night and took home the gold, defending his title from Doha.
The women’s triple jump final showcased the enormous skills of Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas, the reigning Olympic gold medalist, the 2022 world leader, and the world record holder in the triple jump. For all practical purposes, the quest for the gold medal was over in the 2nd round when Rojas stretched out a mammoth hop, skip, and jump of 15.47m/50’9¼ – an effort that set a new 2022 world leader and is #3 on the all-time world list. Rojas would go on to register two more leaps over 15 meters – 15.24m/50’0” and 15.39m/50’6” – to add two more jumps to the world’s all-time list. Jamaica’s Shanieka Ricketts spanned 14.89m/48’10¼” for the silver medal, while USA’s Tori Franklin jumped 14.72m/48’3½” for the bronze. USA’s other finalist Keturah Orji finished 6th with a best mark of 14.49m/47’6½”.
With one event remaining in the 2-day heptathlon, the top three performers were: American Anna Hall with 5741 points; Belgium’s former Olympic heptathlon gold medalist Nafissatou Thiam with 6026 points; and the Netherland’s Anouk Vetter with 6045 points. The heptathlon’s 800m promised to be a stirring race as the 19-point gap between Thiam and Vetter presented only a 1-second margin in this closing event. Hall, with excellent 800m speed, took off with the gun and led wire-to-wire, crossing first in 2:06.67 and pushing her final point count to 6755, which secured her the bronze. Thiam outraced Vetter finishing the final event at 2:13.00, lifting her point total to 6947, and capturing the gold medal. Vetter clocked 2:20.09, giving her a final point count of 6867 for the silver.
The 15 competitors in the men’s 3000-meter steeplechase final, led in the early goings by American Hillary Bor and multiple-time Olympic and World steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto, began the race on a very cautious pace, crossing the opening kilometer in a pedestrian 2:58. The tempo picked up slightly with 5 laps remaining with the favorite Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali dawdling in the middle of the bunched pack. With two laps to go, the field was still crowded with American Evan Jager well positioned in 5th but with Bakkali still trapped near the back. With 600m left, El Bakkali awakened from his trance and started to move up, working his way to 5th at the bell and 3rd with 300 meters remaining. Now in full flight with less than 200m left, the reigning Olympic champion, who is excellent over the water jump, was first out of the water and was quickly extending his new-found lead. Unthreatened on the homestretch, El Bakkali, with a smile on his face, crossed the line first in 8:25.13. Ethiopia’s Lamecha Girma crossed next in 8:26.01 while Kipruto finished 3rd in 8:27.92 to snare the bronze. The two Americans finished mid-pack, with Jager clocking 8:29.08 for 6th while Bor finished in 8:29.77 for 8th. Afterward, El Bakkali spoke with the media. “I am very happy to win my first world title after the Olympic gold.” offered the Moroccan, who has the #1 steeplechase clocking on this year’s world list. “I positioned well in the last lap. I am very strong in the 400m, and it worked out for me.”
The final event of the day – the women’s 1500 meters – was, in essence, two races. With the crack of the starter’s pistol, one of the races just took off, with Gudaf Tsegay up front with Laura Muir, Faith Kipyegon, and Hirut Meshesha tucked in behind and making sure that the Ethiopian would not get away. Passing 400m in 58.82, the leaders likely knew they were now committed to continuing the breakneck pace. So they carried on, hitting 800m in 2:03.8. Prior to the bell, one passenger on this race vehicle, Ethiopia’s Hirut Meshesha, slid out the back. She would ultimately finish 12th. The clock read 2:51 when the bell was rung. At the top of the final backstretch, Kipyegon took the wheel and began the drive to the finish, with a move that gave her a slight lead with 200m remaining. Kipyegon – the reigning Olympic 1500m champion – was not to be denied, driving down the homestretch and hitting the line in 3:52.96, with Tsegay 2nd in 3:54.52 with Muir crossing 3rd in 3:55.28.
Oh, and what about the other race? The startled disbelievers who were caught off guard had a cracking good race of their own with the 5 athletes finishing 4th through 8th all bunched in a span from 4:01.28 to 4:01:98 – only 0.7 seconds!
The new world champion shared some of her thoughts in the mixed zone. “I knew everything was possible. This was my dream to be a world champion, and now I really want to get a new PB,” said Kipyegon, #4 on the all-time 1500m world list. “The race was not easy. The Ethiopians controlled the race, and I knew they were planning something special. But for me, I was well prepared.”
Trackside Tidbitsm200m / Prelim
m200m / Prelim: The four Americans looked very good in the opening round of the furlong, with defending champion Noah Lyles posting the best clocking at 19.98, even while giving a little wave to the fans in the west grandstand 20 meters from the finish line. Other notable sprinters were Liberia’s Joe Fahnbullen (20.12); USA athlete and world leader Erriyon Knighton (20.01); South Africa’s Luxolo Adams (20.10); USA athlete and Olympic silver medalist Kenny Bednarek (20.35) and USA’s Fred Kerley (20.17). Andre De Grasse, reigning Olympic champion in this event, was a DNS. The semi-final round will be held Tuesday, with the final on Thursday.
wDT / Prelim: Early in this qualifying round, there were some tense moments. When USA Olympic champion Valarie Allman walked into the ring for her first throw, her discus banged against the discus cage. On her second attempt, the 2022 world leader fouled, leaving her with only one remaining throw in her quest to advance to the final. Fortunately for her, her third and final throw was not only a legal one, but her majestic throw also stood as the farthest throw of the session: 68.36m/224’3”. 7 other athletes earned automatic qualifiers for the final with throws over 64.00 meters, including the Netherlands’s Jorinde Van Klinken (65.66m/215’5”); Cuba’s Jaime Perez (65.32m/214’4”); 2-time Olympic and World champion Sandra Perkovic (64.23/210’8”); Allman’s USA teammate Laulauga Tausaga (62.85/206’2”). A total of 12 finalists will battle for the 3 medals on Wednesday.
w200m / Prelim The USA women looked sharp in the opening round of the women’s 200-meter dash: Tamara Clark (winning her heat in 22.27); Abby Steiner (winning her heat in 22.27); and Jenna Prandini (22.38). Other top performers in this opening round included Nigeria’s Aminatou Seyni, who set a national record and posted the fastest time in the field in 21.98; Jamaica’s terrific sprint trio of Shericka Jackson (22.33), Elaine Thompson-Herah (22.41), and Shelley-Ann Fraser-Pryce (22.26).\; Brit sprinter Dina Asher-Smith (22.56) and Swiss athlete Mujinga Kambundji (22.34). The semi-final will be held Tuesday, with the final on Thursday.