Report from a very shocking evening session on day two of the IAAF World Championships in Daegu
In much the same way that ‘Magic Monday’ became a legacy of the Sydney Olympics, this day could go down in athletics history as ‘Surprise Sunday’ after Usain Bolt was disqualified from the men’s 100m final and Mo Farah was out-kicked in the 10,000m at the World Championships in Daegu.
It was the ultimate frustration for Bolt, whose form all year had been under question, but after dominant runs in the heats and semi-finals, he genuinely looked ready to regain his air of invincibility in the final.
But then the unthinkable happened. He reacted too soon – a mistake he knew he had made straight away. There was no denying that Bolt was the culprit. Shaking his head in anger, Bolt reluctantly walked off the track and the race got away at the second time of asking.
Instead it was his training partner, Yohan Blake, who ran away with gold. Running into a -1.4m/s headwind, Blake was the only athlete to break 10 seconds as he clocked 9.92 – worth 9.74 with a perfect tailwind.
Walter Dix came through for silver in 10.08, while 2003 champion Kim Collins took bronze in 10.09, becoming the oldest ever World 100m finalist and medallist. Christophe Lemaitre was a metre behind in fourth (10.19).
But regardless of Blake’s achievement – and unfortunately for him – the night will always be remembered more for the non-participation of Bolt. And Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell for that matter, who are both out with injury.
Bolt was not the only athlete to be disqualified for false starting, and the British misfortune continued in the 100m semi-finals held earlier this evening. World indoor champion Dwain Chambers was shown the red card after jumping the gun in his race.
It was then down to Marlon Devonish and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey to carry British hopes, but Devonish finished seventh in his semi (10.25) and Aikines-Aryeetey was third in his (10.23). The other big casualties of the semi finals were 9.85 man Richard Thompson and 9.88 runner Michael Frater.
At the opposite end of the distance spectrum, the men’s 10,000m threw up another surprise. Mo Farah had beaten all of the world’s best on the circuit this year and he rightly headed into the 25-lap race as favourite.
The race also featured the return of defending champion Kenenisa Bekele, who has been out with injury for the best part of two years. But the great Ethiopian dropped out halfway when the pace started to heat up.
The rest of the race went according to plan as far as Farah was concerned, and he employed his favoured tactic of sitting at the back of the lead pack before waiting to make his move. With two laps to go he began his long drive for home and kicked hard. But there was only one problem – everyone had forgetten about Ibrahim Jeylan.
The Ethiopian is a former world junior champion in the 10,000m and on the cross-country, but this year he has flown under the radar. He has only raced four times, all in Japan, and in his first 10,000m of the season he finished fifth.
But in Daegu he was in supreme form, and he tracked Farah on the last lap with a finish timed to perfection. The Brit led all the way until 20 metres before the finish, when Jeylan passed him and crossed the line to win gold in 27:13.81.
Farah – who clocked 27:14.07, the second-fastest ever time by a Briton – held on for silver, to become the first male British runner to win a World medal in the 10,000m. But despite his forced smile, his disappointment was clear.
But Bolt and Farah were not the only favourites to falter – in two of the other three finals of this evening session, the expected winners did not come through. Ashton Eaten was beaten by team-mate Trey Hardee in the decathlon, while Li Yanfeng of China defeated Nadine Muller in the discus.
Indeed, Brittney Reese was the only favourite to live up to expectation and the American successfully defended her world long jump title. The standard was poor as 6.82m was enough to win and 6.39m was the top-eight cut-off mark at half way. But it was competitive and just six centimetres separated Reese from the other medallists, Olga Kucherenko (6.77m) and Ineta Radevica (6.76m), winning Latvia’s first ever world medal.
In the decathlon, Hardee came back from a disappointing pole vault to throw a PB of 68.99m in the javelin – an event where Leonel Suarez was expected to do well in, but the Cuban was some eight metres down on his best. Eaton held his own in that event to give himself a fighting chance in the 1500m.
And fight he did, going out hard and crossing the line first with a PB of 4:18.94 to finish more than five seconds ahead of Suarez. In decathlon terms, just four points separated them at the end, 8505 to 8501.
But neither scored high enough to close the gap on Hardee, who retained his title with a score of 8607, the lowest winning mark in World Championships history.
Yanfeng led from the outset in the women’s discus, throwing 65.28m in round one before improving to 66.52m in round two – a mark that remained the best of the day. Also in that round, Muller threw 65.97m to take silver. Cuba’s Yarelis Barrios sent the disc out to 65.73m in the third round to take bronze.
A round up of the rounds…
» Abubaker Kaki may review his tactics for the 800m final. In today’s semis he went off like a train, clocking 50.19 at half way. Acting as a pacemaker for the rest of the field, he was inevitably caught as 17-year-old Ethiopian Mohammed Aman won with a national senior record of 1:44.57. Marcin Lewandowski came through in second (1:44.60), but Kaki’s time of 1:44.62 was enough to progress as a fastest loser. World record-holder David Rudisha made it safely through and showed he can win a more tactical race, holding off a challenge from Adam Kszczot to record the fastest ever semi-final in World history, 1:44.20. USA’s Nick Symmonds won the other semi from Yuriy Borzakovskiy.
» All the big four made it through to the women’s 400m, but a new contender emerged. Allyson Felix won the first semi (50.36) and Amantle Montsho won the third (50.13) from world leader Anastaysiya Kapachinskaya (50.41). But the most surprising result was Francena McCorory winning the second semi in 50.24. Defending champion Sanya Richards-Ross was relegated to third (50.66), but squeaked through to the final as the slowest of the fastest losers.
» The only surprise non-finalist from the women’s 400m semi-finals was Jamaica’s Rosemarie Whyte, who had run sub-50 this year. But tonight her 50.90 was not enough for the final.
» Khadevis Robinson, who has this year won on the Diamond League circuit, missed out on making the 800m final, finishing fifth in the first and fastest semi.
» Andrew Osagie ran well in his 800m semi final, but was ultimately outclassed by three more experienced rivals. He ran 1:46.12 to finish a very respectable fourth.
» British duo Nicola Sanders finished sixth in her 400m semi (52.47) and Lee McConnell finished seventh in hers (51.97), both some way off the required time to progress to the final.