In this column on day 7 of the 2022 World Athletics Championships, Dave Hunter gives us the inside word on all things World Champs!
WC / Day Seven: Furlong Fury
Jamaican Women & USA Men Put On A Show
July 21st, 2022
The start list for Day Seven may seem lean, but the finals of the women’s 200 meters and men’s 200 meters should more than makeup for it. In the women’s furlong, could the Jamaica women – specifically the trio of Jackson, Fraser-Pryce, and Thompson Herah – pull off yet another sprint sweep? The same Jamaican threesome swept the medals in the women’s 100-meter final, the first such sweep in world championship history. They’re sprinting quite well and just might do it again at 200m. As for the men, this final will feature a long-awaited USA showdown between defending world championship Noah Lyles and 18year-old wunderkind Erriyon Knighton who has the 2022 world-leading mark of 19.49. There are even whispers of a possible USA furlong sweep if Kenny Bednarak – 19.84 in the semis – can deliver.
As the shadows lengthened inside Hayward Field, it was finally time for the women’s 200-meter final. The relentless Jamaican fans, clad in green and yellow, momentarily suspended the blaring of their truck-like horns as the women finalists nestled into their blocks. The furlong final featured 7 of the top ten 2022 world-leading performers, every one of whom had run under 22 seconds this year. As the gun sounded, 5-time world championship gold medalist Shelley-Ann Fraser-Pryce got her usual quick start and ran a wicked curve to lead the field. But shortly after the race entered the homestretch, her teammate Shericka Jackson had caught SAFP as the duo was separating themselves from the rest of the field. Jackson raced hard to the line, crossing in a winning time of 21.45, a clocking that lowered her world-leading performance and set a new championship record. Her new personal best time also set a new Jamaican national record, now ranks #2 on the 200-meter all-time world list, and, of course, clinched for her the coveted gold medal. With her pink hair flowing, Fraser-Pryce crossed next in a season’s best 21.81 to grab silver. But could the Jamaicans secure the sweep? No. Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith finished next in 22.02 to dash those Jamaican dreams as she edged Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson Herah (22.39) to clinch the bronze medal.
“I am feeling great once I came out and put on the show. The fastest woman alive, the national and championships record, I cannot complain,” said the new champion. ”I know I am strong and fast on coming home so I knew when I eventually caught up with her, I could take it. Actually, this is my first individual gold at the World Championships, so I am just grateful.”
Next was the concluding event of the evening – the men’s 200-meter final. Leading up to this much-anticipated race, there had been incessant talk among the finalists. But now it was time to deliver. And USA’s Noah Lyles clearly did just that. Rocketing out of the blocks and tearing around the curve, the reigning world champion led wire-to-wire, never challenged. His winning, world-leading time of 19.31 set a new American record, taking down Michael Johnson’s nearly 26-year-old record of 19.32. But wait. There’s more. After Lyles crossed the line, he looked back to see his USA teammates Kenny Bednarek (2nd in a season’s best of 19.77 for the silver) and 18-year-old Erriyon Knighton (3rd in 19.80 for the bronze). And now the sweep was complete.
In the mixed zone, the USA trio shared their feelings. 18-year-old Knighton said it all: “It feels good to be so young and be on the podium.” Bednarek was grateful to overcome injury: “It is a very special moment. I had a setback earlier this year; I broke my toe, and just to be able to make it to the finals, now I have a silver medal again.” And the gold medalist offered a joyful explanation: “The race was basically set up for me. It’s an immaculate feeling to be on the podium with two fellow Americans. We are a dominant force in America now.” / Dave Hunter /
Javelin / Prelim: To qualify to advance to Sunday’s final in the javelin, a throw of 80.03m/262’6” was required. The top three advancers were: Granada’s Anderson Peters (89.91294’11” – almost the length of a football field…); India’s Neeraj Chopra (88.39/290’0”), and Germany’s Julian Weber (87.28/286’4”). USA’s Curtis Thompson (81.73/268’1”) was the sole American athlete to advance to the final.
w800m / Prelim: The preliminary rounds of the women’s 800 meters spanned the range from “leisurely” for the top performers to “desperate” for homestretch drives by those on the edge of elimination. Among the comfortable were Great Britain’s Jemma Reekie (1:59.09) and Keely Hodgkinson (2:00.88); USA’s Olympic champion Athing Mu (2:01.30); USA’s Olympic bronze medalist Raevyn Rogers (2:01.36); and Jamaica’s Natoya Goule (2:00,06). Ajée Wilson (2:01.02) looked shaky in her heat but nonetheless was an automatic qualifier. There were no shocking non-qualifiers as 24 of 45 women’s 800-meter runners will advance to Friday’s semi-final round.
m5000m / Prelim: The 41 athletes competing in the preliminary round of the 5000 meters all harbored the same goal: to race fast enough to qualify for Sunday’s final. As it turned out, it took a clocking of 13:24.56 or better to move on. Notable big Q qualifiers included Kenya’s Jacob Krop (13:13.30 – the fastest of the day); Noway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen (13:13.92 – coming back after his 1500 meter silver medal performance), Guatemalan Luis Grijalva (13:14.04); indoor mile world record holder Ethiopian Yomif Kejelcha (13:14.87); and Canada’s Mo Ahmed (13:15.17). USA’s Grant Fisher advanced with a big Q performance of 13:24.44 while his teammate William Kincaid missed advancing by 0.46 seconds.
mTJ / Prelim: It took a hop, skip, and a jump measuring 16.68m/54’8¾” to advance to Saturday’s final. Top performers were closely linked and included Portugal’s reigning Olympic champion Pedro Pichardo (17.16/56’3¾”), Burundi’s Huges Zango (17.15m/56’3¼”) and Italy’s Emanuel Ihemeje (17.13/56’2½”). Advancing for the USA were the 2022 world championship indoor bronze medalist Donald Scott (16.84m/55’3”) and the 6-time world championship medalist Will Claye (16.70m/54’9½).
m800m / Semi-Final: While there might not be a definitive favorite in the men’s 800 meters, Algeria’s Simane (1:44.89) and Canada’s Marco Arop (1:45.12) both looked sharp in the semi-final round as two of the 8 qualifiers for the final. It took and time of 1:45.67 to advance. The unspectacular clockings in both the prelim and the semi suggest that this early-round sandbagging will disappear in Saturday’s race for the medals.