Report from the final day of action at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow which also saw GB bag a brilliant bronze in the women’s 4x100m relay
Jamaicans Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce completed a golden hat-trick apiece on Sunday as the duo anchored their respective 4x100m relay teams to glory on the final day of the IAAF World Championships in Moscow.
There was also a bronze medal for Great Britain’s 4x100m women, with the disqualification of France seeing USA boosted to silver and GB to bronze.
But it was Jamaica who were dominant in both the relay events on the final day of action. Both Bolt and Fraser-Pryce had already claimed victories over 100m and 200m, with Bolt’s World Championships gold medal tally taken to a record-equalling eight as he brought his team home in a world-leading 37.36.
USA were next over the line in the men’s race, clocking 37.66 for silver as they were followed by Great Britain, but the GB team of Adam Gemili, Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, James Ellington, Dwain Chambers was later disqualified following an appeal about their second baton change. This meant Canada, who suffered the same fate 12 months ago as the team was disqualified after crossing the line third in London, were promoted to the bronze medal position.
With Bolt being rested in the heats, a GB team featuring Richard Kilty in place of Gemili won heat one ahead of the Jamaicans. But with Bolt back in action the sprint superstar was put in a strong position by his team-mates Nesta Carter, Kemar Bailey-Cole and Nickel Ashmeade and once again saw off Justin Gatlin, who was running the anchor leg for the USA, to claim his 14th global gold medal.
The US team did make their presence felt, but a far from ideal final baton change between Rakieem Salaam and Gatlin saw the anchor appear to drift into the Jamaican lane next to him, though with Jamaica already ahead no appeal was made.
GB promoted to bronze in women’s relay
Jamaica’s women recorded the second-fastest time in history with their championship and national record 41.29 clocking to take the title. With the world record held by the USA, the reigning world and Olympic champions were the biggest threat, despite a different quartet lining up to that that broke the world record in London last summer.
But a messy second baton change between Alexandria Anderson and English Gardner meant gold was out of reach for the Americans. Jamaica were always one step ahead, with Carrie Russell handing over to Kerron Stewart before Schillonie Calvert took over to leave Fraser-Pryce, who was rested in the heats, in a good position to run her team home.
France were the next to cross the line, however their later disqualification meant that USA were awarded silver, with Octavious Freeman managing to make up some of the USA’s lost time. She ran the final leg to cross the line in 42.75 for what was then the bronze medal position, ahead of Great Britain who clocked 42.87 for fourth.
An appeal was lodged, but surprisingly the medals were awarded – gold going to Jamaica, silver to France and bronze to USA. It was only after the medal ceremony, when the teams had already left, that the disqualification was confirmed, with GB missing their chance on the podium.
Though the team just seemed pleased at the final result.
Ahead of the championships Asher-Smith had said how the women’s 4x100m team were determined to change the UK’s mentality towards the country’s relays. A GB quartet of Asher-Smith, Anyika Onuora, Lewis and Ashleigh Nelson had clocked 42.69 for victory at the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games just prior to Moscow, the team recording the fastest British time for 12 years in the Olympic Stadium.
Asher-Smith was sure the team could deliver more of the same, and 42.87 for bronze is a promising result from the quartet in Moscow which included Hayley Jones instead of Onuora, especially considering GB didn’t even qualify a team for the Olympics last summer.
Tamgho can’t be tamed as he takes triple jump title
World indoor record-holder Teddy Tamgho became only the third man in history to better the 18m mark in the triple jump as he saved the best until last to unleash a world-leading 18.04m in the final round.
In a final that saw four men crack 17 metres, Tamgho bettered the previous best of 17.68m that had seen him tied at the top with the then world No.1 Pedro Pablo Pichardo of Cuba to take the title in style.
The Frenchman had already threatened the 18m-mark, but his other three longest-looking leaps were ruled as fouls. But he didn’t let the pressure get to him and dominated on his final attempt to make sure his nation’s first medal in the event was a gold one.
Pichardo held on for silver as Will Claye kept his compatriot Christian Taylor, the Loughborough-based Olympic and defending world champion, out of the medals with his 17.52m season’s best for bronze. Taylor, who just seemed to edge Tamgho as the favourite going into the competition, was the only other athlete to clear 17m, his 17.20m some way off his best as the 23-year-old continues in his well-vocalised hunt to break Jonathan Edwards’ world record of 18.29m.
Kiprop supreme to defend 1500m title
Asbel Kiprop ran supreme to successfully defend his 1500m title, the Kenyan untroubled before being left to pull away on the home straight to clock 3:36.28.
A last lap of 53.5, which incidentally was slower than the final lap from Mo Farah in the 5000m final two days before, secured him the victory, ahead of Matt Centrowitz of the US and Johan Cronje of South Africa.
US-based Scot Chris O’Hare was the sole Brit in action, with newly crowned double world champion Farah having shown interest in contesting this shorter distance too prior to the event and following his 3:28.81 over the distance for the European record at the Monaco Diamond League, but was denied the chance due to the timetable.
As a result, Kiprop easily went into the event as the man to beat, his 3:27.72 seeing him go into the competition as the only runner in the field to have broken 3:30. Ahead of the race Kiprop’s compatriot Silas Kiplagat had looked his biggest rival, having won the Kenyan trials, but despite there being a total of four Kenyans in the field, the defending champ was the only one to claim a medal.
Centrowitz crossed the line exactly half a second behind the winner as Cronje came through as a surprise medallist, the South African clocking 3:36.83 to claim his nation’s first medal in the event at the World Championships and keep another of Kiprop’s compatriots, Nixon Chepseba, out of the medals.
O’Hare, who surpassed expectation in making it through to the final, admitted after the race he just didn’t have enough left to do any better than his 12th place finish, clocking 3:46.04.
Sum victory over 800m
Just a short while later and Eunice Jepkoech Sum added another gold to Kenya’s tally as she came through as a surprise winner in the women’s 800m final.
The Kenyan took two seconds off her personal best to clock 1:57.38 and pip reigning world and Olympic champion Mariya Savinova into silver, the Russian clocking 1:57.80 in front of a vocal home crowd. US trials winner Alysia Johnson-Montano again went out hard, her first lap of 56.06 giving her the clear lead, but one that she couldn’t hold on to.
The American was eaten up on the home straight as Sum proved perfect timing to come through and take the title, with US trials runner up Brenda Martinez pushing her compatriot out of the podium places. Her 1:57.91 personal best bagged her the bronze for USA’s first ever medal in the women’s 800m at the World Championships as Johnson-Montano threw herself over the line, finishing fourth in 1:57.95.
Obergföll grabs gold for first major title
Christina Obergföll went into the final on the hunt the major title that has eluded her so far and she secured the gold in style with a season’s best 69.05m.
With seven wins from eight competitions this season under her belt, the German looked in an ideal position to capitalise on the absence of Olympic champion and world record-holder Barbora Špotáková. That she did, her best throw coming in the second round as none of her competitors could better the 67m mark.
The 31-year-old, who already has the 2013 Diamond Race won following victories in New York, Eugene, Rome, Paris and London, has previously won silver at the World Championships twice – in 2005 and 2007 – and she was runner-up at the London 2012 Olympics which added to her Olympic bronze claimed four years earlier.
Her main competition in Moscow came in the form of reigning world champion Maria Abakumova. The German went into the competition with a 5-0 head-to-head record over the Russian but on the day Abakumova had to settle for bronze on home soil as a final round personal best throw of 66.60m saw the silver secured by Australia’s Kim Mickle.
Abakumova’s best was 65.09m in the first round to see her push Obergföll’s compatriot Linda Stahl, the London 2012 bronze medallist and the only woman to have beaten Obergföll this year, outside of the medals.
» Full results from Moscow can be found here