Dalilah smashes world record to nail hurdles gold
Conseslus Kipruto unleashes late burst to win 3000M steeplechase on a thrilling night.
Digging deep into her reserves, Dalilah Muhammad produced her second world record of the season to win the women’s 400M hurdles gold at the 17thWorld Championships in Athletics on Friday.
The fans who filled the stands at the Khalifa International Stadium had their eyes only on one man but that did not bother Dalilah one bit. The American’s eyes were firmly set on one goal and she accomplished it with single-minded determination.
On a wonderful night of track and field action, Dalilah became only the third woman to hold the Olympic and world titles in 400M hurdles at the same time with her 52.16-second burst. The time erased her own record of 52.20 set in July at Des Moines, Iowa, and put to shade the effort of her compatriot Sydney McLaughlin, who claimed silver in 52.23. Rushing in behind the duo, Rushell Clayton of Jamaica set a personal best of 53.74 to claim the bronze.
The way the race panned out, Dalilah probably needed the world record to beat McLaughlin. She set the early pace and McLaughlin followed, keeping a keen eye on her senior compatriot from the inside lane. Dalilah held the advantage coming into the straight too but McLaughlin stepped up the pressure and past the tenth hurdle, she really closed in. Dalilah had to really summon all her energies to ward her off and the result was a time to cherish.
“This means so much,” said the 29-year-old, who joined Sally Gunnell of Britain and Melaine Walker of Jamaica in holding the World and Olympic titles together. “I just wanted the world title so much but to break the world record again is fantastic. I just decided to go for it from the start and felt Sydney coming at me around hurdle nine. Then I just gave it everything I’d got.”
Dalilah’s was the second world record in Doha, after the mixed 4×400 relay mark set by the United States last Sunday. For the upcoming star McLaughlin, just 20, it was a learning experience, even though she became the second-fastest ever in the discipline. “I’m still young and every day is a new experience for me. It was a big experience, this competition on the big stage. Hopefully, I will comeback better,” she said.
A few minutes after Dalilah’s record, another exciting contest kept the fans enthralled, with Kenya’s Conseslus Kipruto completing a hat-trick of victories in the 3000M steeplechase. In a grandstand finish, Kipruto and Ethiopia’s Lamecha Girma almost crossed the line together but the photo verdict went in favour of the Kenyan. The Olympic champion was one-hundredth of a second ahead – 8:01.35 to Girma’s 8:01.36 – with Soufiane El Bakkali of Morocco taking the bronze in 8:03.76.
It was a tremendous performance by Kipruto, who had been out because of an injury and came back only just in time to make the trip to Doha. Girma seemed to have nailed the gold but Kipruto’s will proved a bit too strong as he made rapid ground in the final few metres to protect a proud Kenyan record in the event. The East Africans have won it for the last seven World Championships and 13 times overall.
Bahamas’ Steven Gardiner, the silver medallist in London 2017, won the men’s 400M gold in a career-best 43.48 seconds. It was a comfortable win for the tall Gardiner, with Anthony Jose Zambrano of Colombia timing 44.15 for the silver and Fred Kerley of the United States winning bronze in 44.17.
In women’s discus, Cuba’s Yaime Perez ended the reign of Sandra Perkovic, taking the gold with a 69.17M throw. It was a Cuban one-two as Denia Caballero won silver at 68.44. Perkovic, champion in 2013 and 17, had to be satisfied with bronze at 66.72 in an injury-hit season.