Russian record sees off challenge from Hansle Parchment and Aries Merritt at IAAF World Championships in Beijing
Sergey Shubenkov grew up in the isolated Russian region of Siberia with its infamously harsh climate and modest facilities. But he has overcome these obstacles and matured into a man for the big occasion when it comes to sprint hurdles and on Friday in Beijing he captured the world title in a Russian record of 12.98.
After finishing a close second to Britain’s Lawrence Clarke at the 2009 European Junior Championships, Shubenkov went on to win the European under-23 title in 2011, European senior gold in 2012, the European indoor title in 2013 and then European outdoor gold again in 2014.
At the World Championships in Moscow two years ago he was third behind winner David Oliver. But now aged 24 he turned the tables on Oliver as the American finished seventh.
Shubenkov’s closest rivals proved to be Hansle Parchment of Jamaica, who took silver, and Aries Merritt, who won bronze before returning to the United States for his much-publicised kidney transplant.
Shubenkov was the only man to break 13 seconds, though, and he was delighted to win the global medal that eluded his mother.
Natalya Shubenkova won silver in the heptathlon at the 1986 European Championships and later finished fourth in the same event at the Seoul Olympics in 1988.
In the men’s 1500m semi-finals, Asbel Kiprop won a slow first race with GB’s Chris O’Hare fading from second to seventh in the home straight to exit the championships. There was better news for O’Hare’s team-mate Charlie Grice, though, as he cruised to fourth place in a much faster second semi behind Elijah Manangoi of Kenya, Olympic champion Taoufik Makhloufi of Algeria and Abdelaati Iguider of Morocco.
Ashton Eaton finished day one of the decathlon in pole position and only narrowly behind schedule to break his own world record.
The American smashed his 400m PB with 45.00 in the final event of the opening day’s combined events programme and he wound up with an overall score of 4703 with Damian Warner of Canada second with 4530 and Rico Freimuth and Kai Kazmirek of Germany on 4406 and 44.01 respectively.
» Much more in the next issue of Athletics Weekly, out on Sept 3