Triple jump and discus winners are decided, while Usain Bolt returns to action and keeps his triple title defence on track
Christian Taylor successfully defended his triple jump title in Rio on Tuesday and like in London four years ago the two-time world champion led an American 1-2 with Will Claye securing a second silver.
Taylor stamped his authority in the first round, bounding out to a world-leading 17.86m for a mark that none of his rivals was able to match. Claye jumped 17.76m, a PB by 1cm, in that first round to move into second and there he stayed.
China’s Bin Dong opened with a 17.58m PB for a mark just 1cm off the Asian record and bagged the bronze despite that being his only valid jump of the competition as he passed his final three attempts after getting medical treatment following round three.
His team-mate Cao Shuo was one place behind with 17.13m for fourth, while John Murillo jumped a Colombian record 17.09m for fifth ahead of Portugal’s Nelson Évora with 17.03m.
“I wanted it so much,” said Taylor, who won his world titles in 2011 and 2015. “It came together, the stars aligned.”
When asked before the Games which he would prefer – a world record or to retain his Olympic title in Rio – he said: “I would like to break the world record AT the Olympic Games!” After his victory, he added: “I wanted the world record but it wasn’t to be. I’ll keep pushing for it. It’s been there so long.”
After securing silver, Claye proposed to hurdler Queen Harrison. She said yes.
A second successful title defence followed a short while later as Sandra Perkovic recovered after a shaky start to win discus gold, despite only recording one legal throw during the competition which took place just 12 hours after the qualifying round the night before.
Hurling the implement to 69.21m, Croatia’s 2013 world champion beat France’s Melina Robert-Michon with a 66.73m national record and Cuba’s Denia Caballero with 65.34m. Australia’s Dani Samuels was fourth with 64.90m and China’s Su Xinyue fifth with 64.37m, while Germany’s Nadine Muller also only had one valid throw and was sixth with 63.13m.
Usain Bolt kept his triple title defence on track with an easy 200m heat victory in 20.28 just two days after his record third 100m gold. Running comfortably in heat nine, the now seven-time Olympic gold medallist advanced to the semi-finals along with Jamaican team-mates Yohan Blake and Nickel Ashmeade, USA’s LaShawn Merritt, Justin Gatlin and Ameer Webb, plus the British trio of Adam Gemili, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and Danny Talbot.
Four days after her world 10,000m record, Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana was back on track for the women’s 5000m heats and she won the second race by 13 seconds in 15:04.35 ahead of team-mate Senbere Teferi, Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot and Norway’s Karoline Bjerkeli Grovdal.
Britain’s Eilish McColgan ran 15:18.20 for fifth to also safely progress but she won’t be joined in the final by team-mates Steph Twell and Laura Whittle. Twell got clipped and lost her momentum, clocking 15:25.90 for eighth in the second heat, while Whittle ran 15:31.30 for 10th in heat one, which was won by Hellen Obiri in 15:19.38 from Yasemin Can, Mercy Cherono, Shelby Houlihan and Susan Kuijken.
USA’s Abbey D’Agostino and British-born Nikki Hamblin of New Zealand showed the spirit of the Games as they helped each other back up after they took a heavy mid-race fall in heat two. Hamblin went on to clock 16:43.61, while D’Agostino hobbled to 17:10.02 and later on both athletes, plus Austria’s Jennifer Wenth, were advanced to the final.
There was also drama for Britain’s Charlie Grice in the first round of the 1500m as after being pushed he eventually crossed the finish in 3:48.51 for 11th, knee bloodied. After checking the race footage the British team submitted an appeal and Norway’s European champion Filip Ingebrigtsen was disqualified, with Grice put through to the semi-finals.
There he will be joined by team-mate Chris O’Hare, who ran 3:39.26 for fourth in a heat won by Kenya’s Asbel Kiprop in 3:38.97. Algeria’s new 800m silver medallist and defending 1500m champion Taoufik Makhloufi won the second heat in 3:46.82, while Czech world silver medallist Jakub Holusa won the third in 3:38.31.
Both Britons progressed from the 100m hurdles heats as sisters Cindy Ofili and Tiffany Porter clocked respective times of 12.75 and 12.87 to secure their spots in the semi-finals. Quickest overall was USA’s Brianna Rollins with 12.54 and she will be joined in the next round by team-mates Kristi Castlin and Nia Ali.
There was also qualification success for Britain’s Holly Bradshaw, who cleared 4.60m in the pole vault to book her place in the final, but 2011 world champion Fabiana Murer’s hopes of securing similar success to her Brazilian team-mate Thiago Braz da Silva came to an end as she failed all three attempts at her opening height of 4.55m. Despite having suffered illness in the lead-up to the competition, defending champion Jenn Suhr also did enough to make the final, along with athletes including her fellow American Sandi Morris and Cuba’s Yarisley Silva.