Kenyan defeats the world record-holder in Rio, while Omar McLeod wins 110m hurdles gold and Derek Drouin secures high jump success
Faith Kipyegon had gone into the Games as the world No.1 after she set a Kenyan record of 3:56.41 in May and on Tuesday she was again on top as she beat Ethiopia’s world record-holder Genzebe Dibaba to the Olympic 1500m title.
The 22-year-old world silver medallist started off with a slow 76-second first lap but picked up the pace for a blistering 58.7 final 400m that Dibaba couldn’t match, turning the tables on the Ethiopian who had beaten her to the world title 12 months before.
Celebrating on her approach to the line, the Kenyan, who claimed the world junior title in 2012 and Commonwealth gold two years later, finished over a second clear, as Dibaba, who ran her 3:50.07 world record last year, clocked 4:10.27 and USA’s 2011 world champion Jenny Simpson ran 4:10.53 for bronze.
“I’m proud to win for my country,” said Kipyegon, who became the second Kenyan medallist in this event after 2008 champion Nancy Langat.
“I knew it would be a fast race, I really had to kick on the last lap,” added the Bram Som-coached athlete. “I was well prepared for the race.”
Despite her fitness and mindset having been in question, with her coach Jama Aden embroiled in a doping scandal, Dibaba had still been considered the favourite ahead of the Games. But as Kipyegon stretched away, Dibaba couldn’t react and had to be satisfied with silver to add to her world title and three world indoor golds.
Behind her team-mate in fourth, USA’s Shannon Rowbury ran 4:11.05 ahead of world indoor champion Sifan Hassan of Netherlands.
Laura Muir had broken Kelly Holmes’ British record with 3:57.49 at last month’s Müller Anniversary Games and had been hoping to build on that in Rio. While a medal remained out of reach for now, it was a fine Olympic debut for the 23-year-old Scot, who clocked 4:12.88 for seventh. Her team-mate Laura Weightman ran 4:14.95 for 11th.
“I’m really proud of how I ran,” said Muir. “I gave it everything I could. I couldn’t have done any more on the day.”
Derek Drouin gets second global gold
World champion last year, Canada’s Derek Drouin gained a second global gold as he cleared 2.38m to take the high jump title ahead of his fellow London 2012 bronze medallist Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar and Ukraine’s 2013 world champion Bohdan Bondarenko.
After also claiming bronze four years ago, Britain’s Robbie Grabarz finished just outside the medals in an agonising joint fourth.
With a faultless series, Drouin, who also claimed the Commonwealth title in 2014 and world bronze in 2013, had first-time clearances from his opening height of 2.20m through to his winning mark before he failed his one attempt at 2.40m with victory already secured.
With a medal confirmed, Bondarenko had moved to 2.40m after two failures at 2.38m but it wasn’t to be, so he got bronze with 2.33m behind Barshim, who cleared 2.36m.
Grabarz also cleared that bronze medal-winning height but missed out on countback along with Ukraine’s Andriy Protsenko, while USA’s Erik Kynard was sixth with that same mark.
The Briton’s first time failure at 2.25m proved costly and Grabarz’s clearance of 2.33m had also been dramatic as the bar actually wobbled off but the white flag had already been raised.
“If someone said even six weeks ago that you’re going to come fourth, I’d have been really chuffed,” he said.
“It was my own mistake at 2.25m and it’s cost me a medal,” he added. “It’s a pretty upsetting and frustrating place to be but Olympic fourth is still something to be pretty damn proud of.”
Omar McLeod gets historic win for Jamaica
Jamaica gained a first ever Olympic 110m hurdles gold as Omar McLeod blasted to the title in 13.05 ahead of Spain’s Orlando Ortega with 13.17 and France’s Dimitri Bascou with 13.24.
In an unpredictable event, the 22-year-old had gone into the competition as one of the favourites as his fine form had seen him clock five sub-13.1 runs in 2016 and he had been unbeaten until his last two races ahead of the Games.
After winning his heat in 13.27 and his semi-final in 13.15 McLeod again dipped below 13.1 in the final to add the Olympic title to his world indoor 60m hurdles gold.
Pascal Martinot-Lagarde was fourth in 13.29 as he was pipped to the podium by his team-mate, while USA’s Ronnie Ash was disqualified and with Devon Allen fifth in 13.31 it was the first time in Olympic history, bar the boycotted Moscow 1980 Olympics, that an American didn’t win a medal in this event.
Britain’s Andrew Pozzi and Lawrence Clarke were among those to exit at the semi-final stage as Pozzi placed fifth in 13.67 in race one after hitting several hurdles and was later disqualified but then reinstated, while Clarke placed sixth in the second race in 13.46.
Dina Asher-Smith among Britons to advance on day five
Dina Asher-Smith was among those to qualify for the 200m final as the British record-holder clocked 22.49 for fourth and made it through as the fastest loser. Making an impressive Olympic debut, the 20-year-old had started strongly and faded towards the end of the race but did just enough as she made it through by 0.01. She will not be joined by her team-mate Jodie Williams, who ran 22.99 for eighth in her race.
World champion Dafne Schippers, who had struggled with a leg problem just ahead of the Games and finished fifth in the 100m final, went quickest overall with 21.96 ahead of Tori Bowie’s 22.13.
Eilidh Doyle made it through the 400m hurdles final as the fastest loser, the British champion having looked strong in her semi-final but then been run down in the closing stages to cross the line in 54.99 for third, with only the top two automatically gaining a final spot. That race was won by Ashley Spencer in 54.87 from Janieve Russell’s 54.92.
Dalilah Muhammad went quickest overall as she clocked 53.89 in the third semi-final, while Zuzana Hejnova won the first race in 54.55. USA’s 17-year-old Sydney McLaughlin, the youngest US Olympian since 1972, was among those to exit the competition at that stage.
Kerron Clement won the first men’s 400m hurdles semi-final in 48.26 in a race which saw Jack Green clock 49.54 for eighth to mark the end of his competition. Annsert Whyte and Javier Culson were the athletes to qualify for the final from heat two – 48.32 PB to 48.46.
Ireland’s Thomas Barr took his Irish record from 48.65 to 48.39 to win the third semi-final ahead of Kenya’s Haron Koech and USA’s Byron Robinson, both also running PBs of 48.49 and 48.65 respectively, though the American’s wasn’t enough to see him through.
Two of Britain’s three long jumpers made it through to the final as Lorraine Ugen’s 6.65m was enough to progress, while Jazmin Sawyers got the last available place with 6.53m. A best of 6.36m wasn’t enough to see British record-holder Shara Proctor join them.
Ivana Spanovic with 6.87m, Malaika Mihambo with 6.82m and USA’s defending champion Brittney Reese with 6.78m were the three athletes to achieve the automatic qualifying mark. Darya Klishina, the only Russian track and field athlete competing at the Games, jumped 6.64m in the first round and that was enough to also see her through.
Defending champion Barbora Spotakova safely advanced to the javelin final as she threw 64.65m in group ‘B’. Sara Kolak was among the four automatic qualifiers from group ‘A’ with a Croatian record 64.30m, with Tatsiana Khaladovich, Sunette Viljoen and Lu Huihui also making it through. Spotakova’s fellow London 2012 medallists Christina Obergfoll and Linda Stahl also progressed.