Unique double for Sifan Hassan, Kovacs tops shot put
On another exciting night at the Khalifa, Hassan wins 1500M to add to her 10000M gold.
Sifan Hassan’s leap of delight at the finish marked a remarkable night for track and field at the 17thWorld Championships. Never in history had any athlete won a 10,000M-1500M double at the championships but on Saturday, the Dutch runner rewrote the books in her typically efficient manner for her second gold medal in Doha.
The pressure on her was enormous, thanks to the ban on her coach Alberto Salazar for breaching anti-doping rules. Questions lingered over her performances also. But on the track, Hassan, who had won the 10000M exactly a week ago, towered over the controversy to win the 1500M gold in a championship record of 3:51.95.
The penultimate night of the championship witnessed another big crowd at the Khalifa Stadium and they were served a terrific mix of entertainment, with Hassan’s emphatic win just one of several amazing performances.
Joe Kovacs winning the closest-ever shot put contest and Yulimar Rojas asserting her might in women’s triple jump preceded some quicksilver action in the relays, with American Noah Lyles and Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce capturing their second gold medals with wins in the 4x100M. And in the middle of it all, Qatar’s hero Mutaz Essa Barshim was presented his gold medal in high jump, delighting the fans.
Hassan won as she pleased. The Dutch athlete dictated the pace from the start and never once wavered. Defending champion Faith Kipyegon of Kenya and Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia followed Hassan from the start but they soon realised that the Dutchwoman was at a different level and settled for the silver and bronze positions. Olympic champion Kipyegon clocked 3:54.22 and Tsegay 3:54.38, both career-best performances in a fast race.
“This is amazing. I’m showing what you can do with hard work. I was just so angry with what people where saying. I’ve worked so hard to be on top over the years,” said Hassan, referring to the doping rumours but those questions, certainly, won’t go away easily.
At the shot put circle, New Zealander Tom Walsh threw down the gauntlet with a personal best of 22.90 in the first round. But he was in for a shock later, as Kovacs overhauled it by just a centimetre in the final round. Walsh then was pushed to the bronze position with Olympic champion Ryan Crouser also delivering a 22.90M toss.
On a countback, the American claimed the silver, leaving Walsh clutching bronze. Brazilian Darlan Romani was fourth with 22.53 metres. It was the first time four shot putters had crossed the 22M mark.
“This is definitely the final that made history,” said Kovacs.
“It was unbelievable,” exclaimed Crouser.
“I still a little bit disbelieve it. These two guys, such big personal bests, cannot believe it,” said Walsh.
Yulimar Rojas proved Catherine Ibarguen era was well and truly over with a convincing win in the women’s triple jump. The Venezuelan defending champion, who had a season’s best of 15.41M, leapt to 15.37M, leaving Jamaica’s Shanieka Ricketts (14.92) way behind. Ibarguen, once the unstoppable force in this event, willed herself to the bronze medal with a 14.73M effort.
“I came out to break the world record. I tried in the first three rounds, then my legs felt tired and didn’t respond the way I wanted,” said Rojas, who is coached by former long jump world champion Ivan Pedroso.
Helen Obiri easily defended her title in the women’s 5000M to fetch Kenya their fourth gold medal. Obiri, who timed a championship record of 14:26.72, was followed home by compatriot Margaret Kipkemboi (14:27.49) and Konstanze Klosterhalfen (14:28.43) of Germany.
The relays brought exciting conclusion to the day’s action. The United States, featuring 100M champion Christian Coleman, Justin Gatlin, Mick Rodgers and Lyles, timed 37.10, the second quickest ever, for the men’s gold. Great Britain (37.36) won silver and Japan set an Asian record of 37.43 for the bronze.
Jamaica were too good in the women’s relay, surging home in a world leading 41.44 for the gold. Great Britain, featuring Dina Asher-Smith, clinched silver in 41.85, followed by the United States (42.10).
In the 100M hurdles, Brianna McNeal, the Olympic champion, was disqualified for a false start. In the first round Another Olympic champion, Thomas Rohler of Germany, bowed out in the qualifiers of the men’s javelin while four-time world champion Brittney Reese of the United States also could not progress to the final of the women’s long jump. Sad day for some champions, but brilliantly successful for some others.