| Anju Bobby George moved into the final of women’s long jump at the world athletics championships in Paris on Thursday, qualifying as the sixth best from a field of 26. (Reuters)
Paris: Kelli White completed an exceptional women’s sprint double at the world championships, something not even Marion Jones has been able to do. Now she goes for a unique triple.
This weekend, White will try to add the 4x100 relay for a third gold, something Germans greats Silke Gladisch in 1987 and Katrin Krabbe in 1991 could not accomplish. Gladisch and Krabbe had also doubled in the sprints, but their relay squads failed to get gold.
White ran to victory in the 200m on Thursday to add to her 100m gold four days earlier. Her double was the first-ever for a woman from the US, the pre-eminent nation in sprints.
White certainly did, clocking 22.05 seconds, the fastest in the world this year. Anastasiya Kapachinskaya of Russia took silver in 22.38 and Torri Edwards of the US, who already won silver in the 100m, took bronze in 22.47.
Giuseppe Gibilisco also achieved a unique accomplishment, becoming the first Italian to win the pole vault gold medal in world meet or Olympics.
He cleared 5.90m to beat two men who have already gone over 6m in their careers, Okkert Brits of South Africa and Dmitri Markov of Australia, the defending champion. Gibilisco twice improved on his personal best during the competition.
Gibilisco missed the height in his first two attempts and then decided to go straight for 5.80, a gamble that paid off. He changed poles and cleared the next three heights, 5.80, 5.85 and 5.90, all in his first try. The Italian had hid his face when his rivals were making their final jumps.
Brits settled for silver at 5.85 and Patrik Kristiansson of Sweden edged Markov for the bronze medal. Both cleared 5.85, but the Swede had a better second height.
Brits failed in his first attempt at 5.90, then passed on the height, only to miss both his remaining attempts at 5.95, which Gibilisco sat out.
His coach of eight years, Vitaly Petrov, was Sergei Bubka’s mentor 20 years ago when the pole vaulting great won the first of his record six world titles.
Jana Pittman of Australia came from far back to win the gold medal in the 400m hurdles, surging ahead in the final straight to cross in 53.22 seconds. It was Australia’s first major track success after Cathy Freeman’s 400m gold at the Sydney Olympics.
US hurdler Sandra Glover took silver in 53.65, ahead of Yuliya Pechonkina of Russia, who set a world record this season and led most of the way before fading in the finish to end with the bronze in 53.71.
Yipsi Moreno retained her title in the hammer throw with a heave of 73.33m. Olga Kuzenkova of Russia took silver at 71.71 and Manuela Montebrun of France won bronze with 70.92.
Anju Bobby George moved into the women’s long jump final on Thursday night, qualifying as the sixth best from a field of 26 (as reported in Friday’s Late City edition).
Though she fouled two of her three chances and failed to attain the automatic qualifying mark of 6.65m, she still made it to Saturday’s final, making the cut as one among the best 12.