| Brianna Rollins during the 100m hurdles final, in Moscow, on Saturday |
Moscow: Meseret Defar added yet another international 5,000m gold to her bulging collection when she won the world title with a textbook performance at the World Championships here on Saturday, aided by her Ethiopian teammates.
Defar, twice Olympic champion and now double world champion, also has a world silver and three global bronze in the event after an extraordinarily consistent run over the past nine years and she was never threatened in her latest assault.
A pedestrian first half of the race briefly suggested some of the fast-finishers might be able to make a fight of it. But soon Defar’s supremacy was well established and she won clocking 14 minutes 50.19 seconds. Kenya’s Mercy Cherono and Ayana took silver (14.51.22) and bronze (14.51.33) respectively.
Uganda’s Olympic champion Stephen Kiprotich showed he was no one-hit wonder by breaking Kenya’s stranglehold on the men’s marathon at the world championships with victory in two hours nine minutes 51 seconds on Saturday.
Kiprotich was the surprise winner at last year’s London Olympics but started as one of the favourites in Moscow and became the first non-Kenyan to win the title since 2005. Ethiopia’s Boston Marathon winner Lelisa Desisa was second in 2:10:12 and compatriot Tadese Tola came third a further 11 seconds back on a warm sunny day in the Russian capital.
Part of a large leading pack for most of the race, on a course which included three 10km loops along the Moskva river turning at the iconic Red Square, Kiprotich began pushing the pace just after the 30-km mark and the group slowly started to break up.
With just over 2kms to go, the battle for gold was between Kiprotich and Desisa and the Ugandan finally broke his rival as they ran through the Olympic Park and entered the stadium alone, waving to the crowd.
“I realised I could win after 40km. Then I just kept pushing. I decided to break off but my competitors were strong and I had to apply some tactics,” the 24-year-old told reporters. “I prepared for the race really well. It is fantastic that I actually train together with six of my competitors, said Kiprotich who is coached by Kenya’s 1992 Olympic steeplechase silver medallist Patrick Sang in Eldoret.
Russia ended the US’s domination of the women’s 4x400m relay on Saturday, with a superb display to take the host nation’s first track gold medal on the penultimate day of the championships.
The US, who had won the last three world titles, led early on but a superb second leg by Tatyana Firova had the Russians in front and the crowd roaring. Kseniya Ryzhova drove home the advantage and individual bronze medallist Antonina Krivoshapka held off a determined run by Francena McCorory to take gold in 3:20.19.
The US took silver in 3:20.41 while individual champion Christine Ohuruogu brought Britain home for bronze in 3:22.61.
New kid on the block Brianna Rollins dethroned Australia’s 100 metres hurdles queen Sally Pearson to win gold on Saturday. American Rollins, who celebrates her 22nd birthday on Sunday, was last out of the blocks but had drawn level with defending champion Pearson by the ninth barrier and edged ahead of the Australian over the last to win in 12.44 seconds.
Olympic champion Pearson, who was plagued by a hamstring injury earlier in the season, finished second in 12.50.
The home crowd was treated to a gold in the women’s high jump when Russian Svetlana Shkolina cleared 2.03m to beat US’ Brigetta Barrett (2.00m) to silver. Her compatriot Anna Chicherova won the bronze clearing 1.97m.
In men's javelin, Vitezslav Vesely of the Czech Republic cleared a distance of 87.17m to emerge champion. Tero Pitkaemaeki of Finland (87.07m) took silver, while Russian Dmitri Tarabin won bronze (86.23m).