World Athletics Championships 2007- Review of Results thus far

29 08 2007

So, we have completed 4 days of competition at The Nagai Stadium in Osaka and have seen some fantastic athletics. For those of you who’ve missed out on the action, I’ll try and bring you up to speed on the results we’ve seen thus far.

Day 1

Luke Kibet wins the Men’s MarathonCompetition kicked off with the Men’s Marathon. As so often is the case in championships, the time was slow, but given the conditions (30 degrees and 60% humidity I believe) this is not surprising. Marginally more than half the athletes finished the race, won by Kenyan Luke Kibet in 2:15.59, the first Kenyan to win the World Championship marathon since Douglas Wakihuri in 1987. Qatari Mubarak Hassan Shami (formerly Richard Yatich of Kenya) took silver just ahead of Victor Rothlin of Switzerland. Japan won the team event after it’s athletes took 5th, 6th, 7th and 13th, ahead of Korea and Kenya 3rd.

In the womens 10000, Tirunesh Dibaba overcame some drama to win the title again. At one stage she was well adrift of the leaders clutching her stomach, but somehow fought back into the race and eventually win in 31:55.41, with Turkey’s Elvan Abeylegesse 2nd in 31:59.40 and Kara Goucher (USA) holding out Joanne Pavey from the Uk for 3rd in 32:02.05. At just 22 Dibaba is sweeping womens distance running off it’s feet in much the same way male compatriots Haile Gebresselaise and Kenenisa Bekele have done for the past 14 years.

The Men’s shot put went pretty much according to schedule. Reese Hoffa was too good for fellow American Adam Nelson, winning with a throw of 22.04 to 21.61. Belarussian Andrei Mihknevich took bronze with 21.27.

Day 2

The mens 20k race walk didn’t suffer nearly as badly as the men’s marathon in terms of drop outs. Only 3 failed to finish, and another 7 DQ’d, in an entertaining race. Ecuadorian Jefferson Perez, who I completely forgot when writing my preview of the event and should be punished for doing so, took his third title in 1:22.20 from Francesco Javier Fernandez of Spain (1:22.40) and Tunisian Hatem Ghoula (1:22.41). It was believed Fernandez would be stripped of second for what appeared blatant running in the final 200m but this was not the case and he was cleared to receive his medal.

The womens shot put went right down the wire, with the winning throw coming in the final round from Kiwi Valerie Vili. Nadezya Ostapchuk (Belarus) thought she’d won it with a final round throw of 20.48 only to see Vili snatch the gold back with the final thro of the comp, a World Leading 20.54. German Nadine Kleinart took bronze with 19.77.

The mens 100m was always going to be a race between 3 men. The only thing we didn’t know was the order they would finish. American Tyson Gay was too good and held his form over the final 30m to win in 9.85 from Bahamian monster Derrick Atkins (9.91, National Record and Personal Best) and a disappointing Asafa Powell was 3rd in 9.96. Powell later admitted he gave up at around the 70m mark when he knew that he couldn’t catch Gay, which has left many wondering if he has what it takes to win at Championship level.

The womens heptathlon could go down as one of the greatest competitions of all time. Of the 32 that finished, 15 set either national records, pb’s or sb’s, including all who finished in the top 9. Karolina Kluft held off a spirited challenge from Ukrainian Lyudmila Blonska to win in a new NR and European record 7032 to Blonskas NR of 6832. Briton Kelly Sotherton pipped countrywoman Jessica Ennis for the bronze with 6510. At the end, all of the competitors did a lap of honour together in a wonderful display of sports(wo)manship.

Day 3

The mens Hammer throw was a classic. One of the all-time great competitions. Belarussian double-defending champ Ivan Tsikhan stole the gold with his last throw of the comp, hurling the hammer 83.63 to win from Slovenian Primoz Kozmus (82.29) and Slovakian Libor Charfreitag (81.60). 7 of the 12 finalists managed throws over 80m in a pulsating competition.

Women’s SteeplechaseThe womens 3000m Steeplechase was a powerhouse performane from the Russian duo of Yekaterina Volkova and Tatyana Petrova. Volkova was just too good and ran away to win in 9:06.57 from Petrova 9:09.19. Kenyan Eunice Jepkorir was the best of the rest in 9:20.09.

The mens triple jump was another fascinating competition, with 5 men jumping over 17.30. Portugese Nelson Evora was far too good, leaping 17.74 to win from giant Brazillian Jadel Gregorio (17.59). American Walter Davis held on for 3rd (17.33) by 1cm from Cuban Osneil Tosca.

Mens 10,000m. If you were lucky enough to watch this race from start to finish then you know you saw something special. There were so many gutsy performances in this race, and at one stage Kenenisa Bekele looked in some danger, but to watch him destroy his opposition in that last lap, you suddenly realise how good he is. He sprinted away from a spirited challenge from countryman Sileshi Sihine to win in 27:05.90. Sihine managed 27:09.03 and Kenyan Martin Irungu Mathathi was 3rd in 27:12.17. Special mention should go to Eritrean Zersenay Tadesse, who led for most of the first 9000m only to watch those 3 go past him. A truly brave run.

Veronica Campbell wins the 100mThe womens 100m saw one of the closest finishes of all time. 5 women were seperated by .04 of a second. After nearly 10 minutes of checking videos and photos, Jamaican Veronica Campbell was awarded the title in 11.01 from Americans Lauryn Williams (11.01), Carmelita Jeter (11.02) and Torrie Edwards (11.05), with Belgian Kym Gaevart 4th in 11.05 and Frenchwoman Christine Arron 6th in 11.08.

Day 4

The Women’s Polevault title was never in doubt, only who would win silver and bronze. Yelena Isinbaeva did as expected and won easily at 4.80m, from Czech Katerina Badurova and fellow Russian Svetlana Feofanova. Isinbaeva later made an attempt at a new WR only to fail her 3 attempts. She is seriously a class above her rivals at the moment.. and not bad on the eye either..

The Men’s Discus failed to delivery the fairytale for Virgilijus Alekna, he was only able to manage 4th place with 65.24 after Estonian Gerd Kanter destroyed his opposition with a huge throw in the 3rd round of 68.94. Robert Harting of Germany took silver with 66.68 and Dutchman Rutger Smith took Bronze with 66.42.

The womens long jump went as expected as well with Russian ladies taking all 3 medals. Pre-comp favourite Tatyana Lebedeva leaping 7.03m to win from Lyudmila Kolchanova (6.92m) and Tatyana Kotova 6.90. To prove her jump was no fluke, Lebedeva jumped exactly the same distance in rounds 2 and 3 and was a deserving winner.

The mens 3000 Steeple also saw a clean sweep of the medals, with Kenyans sprinting away to win. Brimin Kiprop Kipruto took the gold (8:13.82) from Ezekiel Kemboi (8:16.94) and Richard Kipkemboi Mateelong 3rd in 8:17.59. Mustafa Mohamed led the race for most of the first 2600m only to watch as the kenyans swamped him and sprinted away on the last lap.

The womens 800m saw another old champion dethroned. Maria Mutola failed to finish as kenyan Janeth Jepkosgei held out Moroccan Hasna Banhassi to win brilliantly in 1:56.01 to 1:56.99. Spainiard Mayte Martinez set a pb to finish 3rd in 1:57.62 from the Russian blonde amazon woman Olga Kotlyarova..

Felix SanchezFinally, the mens 400m sticks. (Hurdles for those who aren’t down with the lingo.). The yanks were widely tipped to attempt a clean sweep here, but they hadn’t counted on a resurgent Felix Sanchez and improving Marek Plawgo. Kerron Clement was too good out in front, winning in 47.61 but Dominican dynamo Sanchez continued his sparkling form running his 3rd consecutive SB of the championships to take 2nd in 48.01 from Pole Plawgo who ran a NR of 48.12 to take the bronze from American James Carter.

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