American flies to victory over one lap as Christine Ohuruogu fails in the defence of her title
Allyson Felix affirmed her status as the most successful female athlete in the history of the World Championships as she took her ninth gold medal, easily winning the 400m.
The American, whose record gold medal collection began in the 2005 event when she won the 200m, revised her PB by 0.33 in setting the fastest time since 2012 of 49.26.
Felix, who won three consecutive 200m titles up until 2009, started quickly in lane six. Britain’s Christine Ohuruogu, who has not had the best of seasons but who was expected as usual to peak well and challenge for a medal, was quickly overtaken one lane outside but seemed to be not out of it as she tried to stay with Felix around the top bend.
However, over the last 150 metres, Felix came through to improve on her silver from 2011 when she tried to win four gold medals. Defending champion Ohuruogu, so often the strongest over the last 100 metres, faded to eighth and 50.63.
The top four set PBs as Bahamas’ Shaunae Miller collected silver with 49.67 ahead of Jamaicans Shericka Jackson (49.99) and Christine Day (50.14).
Adding to her four Olympic golds, Felix was already the most successful woman in terms of global outdoor titles. Aged only 29, she could yet go on to add more.
Allyson Felix’s World Championships golds
2007: 200m, 4x100m, 4x400m
2009: 200m, 4x400m
2011: 4x100m, 4x400m
Anita Wlodarczyk was one of the biggest favourites for gold at these championships and she duly delivered with a meeting record 80.85m. The Pole’s fourth-round effort represented the second time she exceeded 80 metres in the final. The London 2012 silver medallist, who regained her 2009 title having won silver in Moscow, set a world record of 81.05m earlier this year.
Wenxiu Zhang gave the home crowd plenty to cheer about as she picked up silver, although she was well down on the winner with 76.33m.
Britain’s Sophie Hitchon just missed out on a medal despite twice breaking her UK record. In round two she added 68cm to her mark with 73.62m to climb to fourth before adding another 21cm with her last attempt, but that left her just 16cm short of France’s Alexandra Tavernier’s first-round effort in the battle for bronze. However, it was a consistent series for Hitchon, whose weakest mark was 71.06m.
Leading the qualifiers from Thursday’s 200m semi-finals with 22.12, Dina Asher-Smith stands on the verge of breaking the 31-year-old UK record and becoming Britain’s first female world medallist in the 100m or 200m.
Asher-Smith, who had run 22.22 in round one, missed Kathy Cook’s ancient mark by just two hundredths despite not being all-out. She will be in with a great chance of a podium place in tomorrow’s final, but she will face tough opposition, in particular from the other two semi-final winners.
The Brit and Netherlands’ Dafne Schippers could become the first European to go below 22 seconds since 1995. The latter, who won 100m silver earlier in the week and is many people’s favourite for gold, won her race at a canter in 22.36. Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson looked at least as easy as Asher-Smith as she won her semi in 22.13.
Going through to the final as a fastest loser was former Olympic and world champion Veronica Campbell-Brown, who had been fortunate to be in the line-up after running out of her lane in the heats.
However, it was the end of the road for Britain’s Bianca Williams and Margaret Adeoye. Williams was sixth in her semi with 22.87 – two hundredths outside the season’s best she set in her opening round. Adeoye was eighth and last in hers with 23.34.
Britain will have one representative in the final of the women’s 800m, but it will surprisingly be Shelayna Oskan-Clarke rather than Lynsey Sharp after the Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow made a massive breakthrough to win the second semi-final.
Oskan-Clarke moved from 33rd to ninth on the UK all-time list as she broke two minutes for the first time with 1:58.86. Her PB before this year had been just 2:01.94. Sharp, despite breaking two minutes, was only eighth in her semi and she followed Jenny Meadows as a semi-final casualty.
However, the quickest was Melissa Bishop, who moved to second on the world rankings for 2015 with her Canadian record 1:57.52. World No.1 Eunice Sum of Kenya was just third in that heat but went through as a fastest qualifier with 1:57.56, also behind Marina Arzamoasova of Belarus. Morocco’s Rababe Arafi won the first semi with a PB 1:58.55.
» See the September 3 edition of AW magazine for coverage of the final five days of World Championships action, while the August 27 edition includes reports, results, news, stats and more from the first four days