The ongoing 2015 IAAF World Championships continued with several events including the heats of the men’s 400m and women’s 400m Hurdles, and the semis of the men’s 400m Hurdles, men’s 800m and women’s 1500m. The final of the Hepthatlon, men’s Hammer throw and Shot-put were also concluded today with Olympic champion, Jessica Ennis-Hill reclaiming her world title, while Poland’s Pawel Fadjek and USA’s Joe Kovacs struck GOLD to bring Day 2 of competition to a fitting end.
Ennis-Hill amassed a total of 6669 points to dominate the event, setting the pace to reclaim her Olympic title at the Rio Olympics next year. Ennis-Hill emerged champion for the first time in Berlin 2009, but then won Silver in Daegu two years later. She didn’t compete in Moscow, after taking time off to get married and have a baby. She certainly bounced back in style in Beijing, finishing ahead of favourite and World Leader, Brianne Theisen-Eaton of Canada (6554 points) and Laura Ikauniece-Admidina (6516 points) which is an NR for the Latvian.
Nigeria’s Uhunoma Osazuwa put up a commendable performance, finishing 18th overall with a total of 5951 points at her debut outing at the Championships. The Nigerian Record holder who has a PB of 6106 points, will be hoping for a better outing at the Rio Olympics next year, which will be her second outing at the Games.
Men’s Hammer Throw Final
Fadjek came to Beijing favoured to retain the crown he won in Moscow two years ago. The thrower has been dominant this year, having nine of the Top 10 distances in the men’s Hammer throw this year. His Season’s Best (SB) of 83.93m would have been adequate to shatter the Championship Record (CR) of 83.63m. Nevertheless, his winning throw of 80.88m, made on his fourth attempt, gave him the GOLD, inspiring countryman, Wojciech Nowicki to win the Bronze with 78.55m, while Tajikistan’s Dilshod Nazarov claimed Silver with the same distance.
Men’s Shot put Final
Kovacs has been in impressive form this year, throwing a massive Personal Best (PB) of 22.56 m to win the Herculis meet in Monaco last month. He therefore arrived Beijing as the world leader and American champion. That notwithstanding, there were insinuations that his relative inexperience at major global outings would count against him, but it was not to be.
Not only did the 26-year old win GOLD in his debut World Championships outing; he also dethroned defending champion, David Storl in the process with a throw of 21.93m. Storl, who is one of only nine athletes to have won the world title at Youth, Junior and Senior levels, settled for Silver with 21.74m. It was a good outing for Jamaican and Pan American champion, O’Dayne Richards who won Bronze with a National Record (NR) of 21.69m, while New Zealand’s Tom Walsh placed 4th with an Area record (AR) of 21.58m.
Men’s 20km Race Walk Final
Spain recorded its first GOLD medal at the ongoing World Championships by virtue of Miguel Ángel Lopez’s efforts in the men’s 20km Race Walk, which he won with a PB of 1:19:14. He was followed by China’s Zhen Wang who had the backing of the home crowd, clocking 1:19:29 to take Silver while Canada’s Benjamin Thorne won Bronze with an NR of 1:19:57.
Men’s 400m Hurdles semis
The African representatives in the men’s 400m Hurdles continued to do the continent proud, with two Kenyans participating in the final. Boniface Mucheru Tumuti set a PB of 48.29s to win Semifinal 1 ahead of two-time World Champion, Kerron Clement (48.50s). Tumuti’s time was the second fastest overall. Algeria’s Abdelmalik Lahoulou placed 6th in the same heat but will be consoled by an NR/PB of 48.87s, which wasn’t fast enough to get him into the final.
Russia’s Denis Kudryavtsev also set a PB to lead Heat 2, clocking 48.23s as Jeffery Gibson of the Bahamas followed in 2nd with an NR of 48.37s. Poland’s Patryk Dobek (48.40s, PB) and Yasmani Copello of Turkey (48.46s, NR) also made it to the final. It was the end of the road for USA’s Johnny Dutch who placed 5th with 48.74s, as South Africa’s L.J. Van Zyl finished 6th with 48.89s. Michael Tinsely (48.47s) and Kenyan champion Nicholas Bett (48.54s) complete the list of qualifiers.
Men’s 400m Heat
The men’s 400m final is expected to be a keenly competed event, and fans at the Bird’s Nest Stadium were today given a glimpse of what to expect. USA champion, David Veburg started on a good note, taking victory in Heat 1 in 44.43s ahead of Trinidad and Tobago’s Machel Cedenio (44.54s) and Belgian champion, Jonathan Borlee who finished 3rd with an SB of 44.67s.
Saudi Arabia’s Yousef Ahmed Masrahi will be the man to watch out for as the Asian clocked the fastest time overall in the heats, dominating Heat 2 with an impressive AR of 43.93. Jamaica’s Rusheen McDonald (43.93s, NR) and African Record Holder, Isaac Makwala (44.19s), finished 2nd and 3rd respectively to make it through to the semis, along with Great Britain’s Martyn Rooney who set a PB of 44.45s.
Defending champion LaShawn Merritt won his heat, returning a time of 44.51s. The American however knows that it’s going to take a lot of work to successfully defend his title, and is not even considered as the favourite in Beijing. He was followed by Jamaica’s Javon Francis (44.83s) and Jonathan’s twin brother, Kévin Borlee (45.01s). Olympic champion Kirani James expectedly led the rest of the pack in Heat 4 in 44.56s, with Dominican Republic’s Luguelín Santos following with 44.62s.
Great Britain’s Rabah Yousif, Steven Gardiner and Vernon Norwood of the USA all qualified from Heat 5. Unfortunately, Nigerian born Bahraini athlete, Abbas Abubakar Abbas was unable to make it past the heats after finishing 5th in 45.64s. South African record holder Wayde van Niekerk won the final heat with a time of 44.42s, and competed in the same race as Chris Brown who barely made it through to the next round after finishing 4th with 44.68s.
Men’s 800m semis
Fans who were anticipating a David Rudisha versus Nijel Amos clash in the men’s 800m have been left astounded after the Commonwealth champion, Amos failed to qualify for the final. The 21-year old competed in Heat 2 of the semis alongside Rudisha, and waited until the final lap before making a move. His usual tactic of using the World Record Holder did not work this time around as the Kenyan and Qatar’s Musaeb Balla proved too fast, with both finishing ahead of him.
Heat 1, which had defending champion Mohammed Aman, and Heat 3 where the likes of Ferguson Rotich and Amel Tuka competed, were faster races, and had three qualifiers from each. Even the first heat was not without some drama as Aman was eventually disqualified after pushing the Netherland’s Thijmen Kupers while trying to overtake from the inside. The Dutch athlete stumbled and eventually lost balance. Kupers picked up eventually but it was too late for him to be in contention for a slot in the finals.
Heat 3 was a two-horse race between Tuka and Kenyan champion Rotich, but it was the Bosnian athlete who took the day in 1:44.84s, posting the fastest time in the semis overall. Rudisha won with a time of 1:47.70s and will have to watch out for Tuka who has been in impressive form and is the World Leader in the event.
Women’s 1500m semis
World Record holder in the women’s 1500m, Genzebe Dibaba (4:06.74s) continued her unbeaten run in the event, fighting off the threat posed by Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon (4:06.88s) to emerge victorious in Heat 2 of the semis. Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands accomplished the same feat in Heat 1, qualifying for the final in 4:15.38s. Other athletes who have secured a place in the final are Dawit Seyaum (4:15.46), Abeba Aregawi (4:15.90) and Shannon Rowbury of the USA (4:16.64).
Others are Great Britain’s Laura Muir (4:07.95), Rabebe Arafi (4:08.19), former champion Jenny Simpson (4:08.20), CR holder Tatyana Tomashova (4:08.72), Angelika Cichocka (4:09.19) and Malika Akkaoui of Morocco (4:16.61). It is not yet certain if Dibaba would be aiming for her WR in the 1500m, but she certainly looks in good shape to secure her first world outdoor title.
Women’s 400m Hurdles Heats
It was a delight having Commonwealth champion in the women’s 400m Hurdles, Kaliese Spencer back on the track. Spencer has been missing from the Diamond League action for some time now, but she showed no signs of rustiness as she won Heat 1 with a time of 55.03s. Bahrain’s Kemi Adekoya was also in the same heat but was eventually disqualified. It will be a big blow for the Nigerian-born athlete who had nursed hopes of making it to the podium in Beijing.
Defending champion Zuzana Hejnova demonstrated that she had no plans of relinquishing her title just yet, dominating Heat 2 with 54.55s ahead of Great Britain’s Eilidh Child (54.74s). USA’s Cassandra Tate went even faster, setting the fastest times in the heats, clocking a scorching 54.27s ahead of African Champion, Wenda Theron Nel (54.54s). Nigerian champion, Amaka Ogoegbunam competed in Heat 5 where she finished 7th in 58.16s. The race was won by Jamaica’s Janieve Russel who returned a time of 55.06s.