New Zealand’s Tom Walsh became the first athlete to set a Championship Record at the 2018 IAAF World Indoor Championships, a feat he accomplished during the morning session of Day 3 of the competition being staged in Birmingham.

The reigning World outdoor champion and defending indoor champion wasn’t really the favourite coming to Birmingham, considering that rival Tomas Stanek had the World Lead (WL) of 22.17m set in February.

Despite having only three valid throws, Walsh’s dominance began from his very throw, recording a distance of 22.13m on his first and third attempts, before extending his lead to 22.31m, smashing the Championship Record (CR) in the process.

Germany’s David Storl snatched Silver with a Season’s Best (SB) of 21.44m gotten on his fourth attempt. Stanek was visibly frustrated by the fact that none of this throws reached the 22m mark, and had to settle for Bronze, also with a throw of 21.44m, while Brazil’s Darlan Romani was consoled with an Area Indoor Record of 21.37m in 4th place.

Nigeria’s Chukwuebuka Enekwechi who competed in the men’s Shot put, finished 14th after recording a throw of 18.62m on his first attempt, and 19.78m on his second. He had a no-throw on his 3rd attempt. Enekwechi threw an Indoor Personal Best of 20.89m in January.

A thrilling contest was witnessed in the women’s Triple Jump where reigning world outdoor champion Yulimar Rojas braved all odds to successfully defend her indoor title from Portland with a WL of 14.63m, despite not having competed for about six months.

The Venezuelan leaped to an SB 14.24m in her first jump to temporarily top the standings. However, she was overtaken by 7-time Jamaican Champion Kimberly Williams whose first round effort landed at 14.37m. American Record holder Keturah Orji who held the WL of 14.53m coming into the competition, was in contention for a medal in the fourth round when she landed at 14.33m.

However the moment was short-lived as Spanish jumper Ana Peleteiro leapt to a Personal Best (PB) of 14.40m, also in the fourth round, to win Bronze while the Jamaican won Silver with her PB of 14.48m set in the third round.

Meanwhile the heats of the women’s 800m, men’s 1500m and men and women’s 4x400m also took place this morning.

Defending Champion Francine Niyonsaba clocked the overal fastest time in the women’s 800m heats, winning Heat 3 with an SB of 2:00.99. Kenya’s Margaret Wambui who finished 2nd in the race was disqualified.

London 2017 Bronze medallist Ajee Wilson had an excellent run to win Heat 1 of the women’s 800m with 2:01.90, while Ethiopia’s Habitam Alemu was the next automatic qualifier with her time of 2:02.18.

In Heat 2, Great Britain’s Shelayne Oskan-Clarke came from behind to snatch the win, clocking a time of 2:01.76. Selina Buchel and Raevyn Rogers followed in 2:01.84 and 2:02.17 respectively, while Kenya’s Winny Chebet finished a distant 5th and didn’t advance to the final.

Belgium’s quartet of the Borlee brothers (Dylan, Jonathan and Kevin) and Jonathan Sacoor brought the baton home with an SB of 3:05.22 to win Heat 1 of the men’s 4x400m ahead of Poland (3:05.24, SB), Trinidad and Tobago (3:05.96, SB) and the Czech Republic (3:06.40) who all made it to the final.

Defending Champions USA clocked the overall fastest time in the men’s 4x400m heats. Fred Kerley, Marqueze Washington, Paul Dedewo and Vernon Norwood posted 3:04.00 to finish ahead of Great Britain (3:05.29, SB), Spain (3:07.52, SB) and Dominican Republic (3:10.45, SB).

Team Nigeria was drawn in Heat 1 of the women’s 4x400m but Did Not Start. Defending Champions USA took the day, comfortably dominating the race with a time of 3:30.54, with Great Britain (3:32.57, SB) and Italy (3:32.62, SB) coming through.

Jamaica won Heat 2, racing to an SB of 3:32.01, just pipping Ukraine (3:32.06, SB) on the finishing line, having survived a poor baton exchange scare. Poland followed in 3rd position (3:32.07, SB).

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Yemi Olus is a Senior Sports Writer and Editor at Making of Champions. She has a bias for Athletics and was previously a Sports Reporter at the National Mirror, where she hosted a weekly column ‘On the Track with Yemi Olus’ for over two years. A self-acclaimed ‘athletics junkie’, she has covered national and international events live, such as the African Athletics Championships, African Games and IAAF World Championships. She has also freelanced for the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and currently hosts a weekly Track and Field column in the Vanguard Newspaper.

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