American dedicates victory to her grandfather as she triumphs in close contest, while Britain’s Lorraine Ugen finishes a fine fifth
Brittney Reese soared to success in London to win her fourth long jump title at the IAAF World Championships.
Jumping 7.02m in a close competition, the American gained her eighth global gold to add to a haul that includes a London 2012 Olympic title, three world indoor victories and her three outdoor world titles won in 2009, 2011 and 2013.
Just five centimetres separated the medallists, with Russia’s two-time European indoor gold medallist Darya Klishina leaping seven metres exactly for silver and Olympic champion Tianna Bartoletta bounding out to bronze with 6.97m.
Serbia’s Olympic and two-time world bronze medallist Ivana Spanovic missed out on another podium place by a single centimetre, while GB’s Lorraine Ugen jumped 6.72m for a fine fifth to match her finish from two years ago in Beijing.
“I am feeling great right now and as far as I am concerned, I’ll be continuing on to Tokyo 2020. I’m not done yet, I can assure you,” said Reese, who took her bib off after the competition to reveal a tribute to her grandfather written on the back.
“It has been an emotional few weeks for me after my grandfather passed away, but I was doing this for him and I know he would have been cheering for me.
“I’m a stronger person than I probably think I am. It has shown me mentally at my best.”
Klishina and Reese had been the top two at the end of the first round, leaping 6.78m and 6.75m respectively on their first attempts. After a foul in the first round, Spanovic responded with a jump of 6.96m on her second attempt.
Having started with two fouls, Ugen kept her competition alive with 6.72m in the third round, moving her up to fourth.
The first seven metre-plus jump of the competition came that same round as Reese leapt into the lead with 7.02m in round three.
Bartoletta improved to 6.88m in the fifth round to push Ugen down a place. Another foul for Ugen followed but Klishina had a more successful round, her jump of exactly seven metres moving her up into silver medal position. Spanovic fouled to remain in bronze.
Bartoletta saved her best until last and with 6.97m she moved into bronze medal position ahead of Spanovic and Ugen.
An appeal by the Serbian team, which claimed that Spanovic’s final jump was longer than the measured 6.91m, was rejected. It later appeared that the bib on her back had detached and left a mark in the sand behind where she landed.
“My brain refused to process the idea of ‘What if I do not make the podium?’ said Bartoletta. “I did not execute well today.
“There was an appeal by the Serbian delegation, I only saw stills. I have not seen Ivana or talked to her.”
Competing as a neutral athlete following the suspension of the Russian Athletics Federation as an IAAF Member, Klishina was pleased with her return to top form.
“I’m really happy,” said the 26-year-old. “This is my first medal from a world championships, and, for me, it’s my most important result. I didn’t jump seven metres for six years and I just missed those longer jumps.”
Having claimed world and European medals indoors over the past couple of years, Ugen had hoped to add to her haul with outdoor success.
“I am actually kind of disappointed,” said the 25-year-old, who had four fouls in her series. “I know that two years ago, coming fifth in the world, I would’ve been happy with it but this year it wasn’t as satisfying.”
Ugen’s PB matches the bronze medal-winning distance and she added: “I know that I wanted to come out here and get a medal. Throwing away so many jumps by fouling and not getting everything together is disappointing.”
Over on the track, Ugen’s fellow Brit Lynsey Sharp was among those to progress to the 800m final, but only after a tense wait to see a controversial disqualification reversed.
Caster Semenya will start favourite to win the final on Sunday after heading the semi-final qualifiers with 1:58.90.
Ajee’ Wilson dominated the first semi-final. The American was always in control and clocked 1:59.21 ahead of Melissa Bishop of Canada and Noélie Yarigo of Benin as Britain’s Adelle Tracey was sixth in 2:00.26.
Semenya won the second semi-final comfortably but behind there was a scramble for the second automatic qualifying spot as Angelika Cichocka of Poland produced a storming finish on the inside lane to snatch second ahead of Charlene Lipsey of the United States and Sharp, who clocked 1:59.47.
Sharp was soon disqualified for apparently pushing Lipsey but it seemed a harsh decision when the American had drifted diagonally in front of Sharp in the final metres. Two hours later Sharp’s reinstatement was announced in the stadium and 56,000 people erupted with noise to applaud the decision.
The final heat was the slowest and saw Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi beat Margaret Wambui of Kenya as Brenda Martinez of the United States was run out of it in third and Shelayna Oskan-Clarke of Great Britain ran 2:02.26 in sixth.
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