Faith Kipyegon regains crown
Experience prevailed on Day IV of the World Championships with Kenyan runner Faith Kipyegon and Venezuelan triple jumper Yulimar Rojas among the Olympic champions standing on top of the podium on Monday.
Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali backed up his Tokyo 3,000 metres steeplechase win by ending Kenya’s dominance at the Worlds, while Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim had the high jump gold all to himself this time.
Kipyegon, winner of the last two Olympic 1,500m titles, finished with a remarkable time of three minutes, 52.96 seconds to regain her world crown. Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay took silver while Laura Muir, runner-up at the Tokyo Olympics, won bronze to collect Britain’s first medal of the championship.
“I have to say I am thankful for my second gold medal,” said Kipyegon, who won the 2017 title and picked up silver in 2019, a year after having a baby.
The best triple jumper on the planet is now a three-time world champion. And even though there was no new record to go with her victory, Rojas was grateful that at least she had fans on hand to watch her perform.
The Venezuelan star captured her third straight title on Monday, winning the final with a jump of 15.47m. That was 27cm away from her world record but still good enough to romp to a 58cm victory over Shanieka Ricketts of Jamaica. “I wanted a longer jump,” Rojas said. “But I am happy to return to this beautiful stadium, to see the crowd. I have had great feelings.”
The 26-year-old faced uncertainty in the run-up to worlds. After missing a meet last month in Madrid due to an injury to her left leg, she hadn’t been seen or heard from. She let her jumping do the talking at Hayward Stadium, a track and field hotbed where fans clapped in rhythm before all six of her jumps. “I come from a short preparation,” she said.
“I overcame time, injury, whatever stood in the way of achieving this, and I think this is a reward for perseverance, will and belief that this was possible.” The jumper born in a humble home in the small town of Pozuelos facing the Caribbean added this world title to those from worlds in 2017 and 2019.
She surpassed the two golds won by Colombian Caterine Ibargüen, her predecessor on the world throne of the triple jump. Rojas dominated the triple jump from start to finish and cruised to gold after jumping 15.47m to claim her third straight world title.
El Bakkali masterclass
In the steeplechase, El Bakkali produced a tactical masterclass to win his first world title and keep a Kenyan off top spot for the first time since 2005.
Lamecha Girma of Ethiopia, silver medallist in Tokyo, finished runner-up while 2019 world champion Conseslus Kipruto of Kenya won bronze. Qatar’s Barshim, who famously shared Olympic gold with Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi last year, won an unprecedented third straight world high jump title after clearing a world-leading 2.37m with ease.
World indoor champion Woo Sang-hyeok of South Korea took silver and Ukraine’s Andriy Protsenko collected bronze. Double Olympic champion Nafissatou Thiam of Belgium pulled out a last-gasp victory over Dutch rival Anouk Vetter to reclaim her world heptathlon title.
Vetter, who finished behind Thiam in Tokyo, had to settle for silver again while American Anna Hall won bronze.
Barshim won an unprecedented third successive world high jump gold in style as he cleared a world-leading 2.37m with ease as all his rivals struggled to get close Barshim, who famously shared Olympic gold with Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi last year, jumped beautifully all night to go well beyond his own season’s best of 2.30m.
The title was just about secure after he had cleared 2.35m but he then eased over 2.37m looking almost in slow motion. With the gold medal then in the bag he had one attempt at a championship record 2.42m but failed.
“The target for me for today (Monday) was gold medal, if even the world record is the only thing I still miss,” said Barshim, whose best of 2.43m is second only to Javier Sotomayor’s 2.45m set in 1993.
“Three worlds golds in a row is something that has never have been done before. I feel like I have a name in our sport, but I have been never felt like the greatest one in the field,” added the modest Qatari, who also has two Olympic silvers and a world silver to his name. In the morning session, Gotytom Gebreslase won the women’s marathon in a World Championship record time of two hours, 18.11 minutes and claim a second marathon title for Ethiopia after Tamirat Tola triumphed in the men’s event on Sunday.
“Tola’s win yesterday (Sunday) motivated me a lot today (Monday),” said Gebreslase, who finished ahead of Kenya’s Judith Korir while Lonah Salpeter of Israel secured bronze.
Three Japanese athletes and one coach tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday, taking the total number of cases in the delegation up to 15.
Organisers have made it mandatory for all workforce, technical and medical officials and media to wear masks in indoor spaces as a cautionary measure.