Day eight at the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23 ended in joyful fashion for the United States as Noah Lyles and then Sha’Carri Richardson anchored victories in the respective men’s and women’s 4x100m finals after earlier trademark wins for Faith Kipyegon in the 5000m and Mondo Duplantis in the pole vault.
Chase Ealey also became a multiple world title winner in the shot put, while Marco Arop claimed a maiden global gold in the 800m and Pierce LePage added another win for Canada in the decathlon.
Lyles came to Budapest for three gold medals and tonight it was a case of mission accomplished as the man with the plan crossed the line in 37.38, the fastest run this year, promptly holding up three fingers just in case anyone had forgotten his earlier individual 100m and 200m victories.
Italy, the Olympic champions, took silver in 37.62, and bronze went to Jamaica, who clocked 37.76 to finish 0.04 clear of Great Britain.
In the women’s final, individual 100m champion Richardson was handed a metre lead over Jamaica’s 200m champion Shericka Jackson and held on to it tenaciously to set a championship record of 41.03 before being almost bowled over by a reception party consisting of four male teammates bearing Stars and Stripes flags.
Jamaica took silver in 41.21, with bronze going to Britain in 41.97.
Kipyegon completes historic women’s 1500m/5000m double
Kipyegon, who had already won a third world 1500m title here, duly added gold in the other championship event in which she has set a world record this year, thus becoming the first woman to win 1500m and 5000m titles at the same World Championships.
Kipeygon led a richly talented and closely packed field to the bell, at which point Olympic champion Sifan Hassan shuffled up to her side for the inevitable sprint-off. The running was steady until the start of the back straight, when the world record-holder took off, pursued by the Dutch runner and her teammate Beatrice Chebet, world silver medallist last year.
The Kenyan powered to the line, peerless, remorseless, giving the mercurial Hassan no glimmer of hope that she could improve upon silver.
Having won a third world 1500m title, Kipyegon now had a world gold in a distance she ran earlier this season for only the second time since 2015 and in which she lowered the world record to 14:05.20.
Her time here was 14:53.88, with Hassan second in 14:54.11 and Chebet in bronze medal position in 14:54.33.
Duplantis delivers gold again and – almost – another world record
Duplantis delivered another peerless exhibition of cool pole vaulting to retain the world title he won last year, but unlike that occasion he was unable – just – to deliver an additional improvement to his world record as, after winning gold with a 6.05m clearance, he had three unsuccessful attempts at 6.23m.
The Olympic champion was Mr Cool during the announcements, not feeling the need to put on a vivacious show of signing, and stayed in that persona as the competition began in muggy conditions that would surely reminded him of happy days in Tokyo.
After clearing an opening mark of 5.55m, he skipped at 5.75m before taking orbit over the bar set at 5.85m. Only two others went over that height first time – France’s Thibaut Collet, for whom it was a personal best, and Kurtis Marschall, Australia’s double Commonwealth champion.
Collet was also playing things cool, and a fourth consecutive first-time clearance, at a personal best height of 5.90m, established him in the lead on countback over Obiena and Nilsen, with Duplantis having passed again until 5.95m.
Sadly for the Frenchman – and even more sadly for a French team with the Paris 2024 Olympics on the horizon and not a sniff of a medal here – he was unable to clear 5.95m or, after passing, 6.00m, finishing an excruciating fourth.
The defending and Olympic champion duly returned for another first-time clearance, and added another at 6.00m, with consummate ease.
But this was not to be an evening of plain sailing for the Swede, as Nilsen, Marschall – equalling his personal best – and Obiena, world bronze medallist in 2022, cleared 5.95m first time.
That was it for the Australian and US vaulters, who shared bronze with identical records. But the man from Philippines pushed on to clear 6.00m at his second attempt, equalling his own Asian record in so doing.
After Obiena had failed once at 6.05m, Duplantis cleared it with his customary insouciance. Title effectively retained.
But for the avoidance of doubt, the 23-year-old phenomenon produced a fifth perfect effort to fly over 6.05m and 6.10m. Obiena, meanwhile, didn’t get over either of those, confirming Duplantis as a double world champion.
The bar went up to 6.23m, one centimetre above the mark of 6.22m he set indoors earlier this year in Clermont-Ferrand, as he sought to follow up a world title with a world record as he did in Oregon last year.
No go with the first. The second, so close that the bar had a good think about it before deciding to join him on the landing mat. He was cool with that. Unbelievably, third time round, with even more of a delay, the same thing happened. Just the athletics gods having their little joke…
LePage turns golden with dominant decathlon display
Pierce LePage, who took silver behind France’s world record-holder Kevin Mayer at last year’s World Championships in Oregon, went one better here after a hugely consistent performance.
The 27-year-old Canadian took over the lead after the opening event of the day, the 110m hurdles, and kept it to the end as he covered 1500m in 4:39.88 to total 8909 points, with his 33-year-old teammate Damian Warner, the Olympic champion, second on 8804.
Bronze went to Lindon Victor of Grenada on 8756, with Estonia’s Karel Tilga finishing fourth on 8681 ahead of the German who led overnight, Leo Neugebauer, who totalled 8645.
Neugebauer had begun the concluding day on 4640 points, ahead of LePage and Warner.
The latter lived up to expectations in the opening event of the day, the 110m hurdles, clocking the fastest time of 13.67 to move into second place. But a personal best of 13.77 from LePage was enough to install him in the overall lead as Neugebauer slipped to third.
Victor then forced his way up into the medal places after winning the discus with a championship best of 54.97m. Warner’s 45.82m was enough to keep him in silver-medal position, with LePage throwing 50.98m to consolidate his lead.
Neugebauer’s best of 47.63m saw him drop out of the medal positions, but the German returned to silver medal position after a 5.10m pole vault. A 5.20m vault left LePage feeling even more secure, having extended his lead.
Seventh place in the evening’s javelin with 60.90m kept LePage in golden position going into the concluding 1500m. A 68.05m throw lifted Victor into second place with Warner also holding on to medal contention with a throw of 63.09m.
It was all to play for as far as LePage was concerned – and he turned it on.
Arop shocks Wanyonyi to claim men’s 800m title
The men’s 800m title went to Canada’s Marco Arop, whose sudden emergence outside the early leader, Kenya’s 19-year-old world U20 champion Emmanuel Wanyonyi, shortly after the bell threw the race off its expected course.
Wanyonyi responded, but could not regain the lead, taking silver in 1:44.53 as the Canadian, who earned world bronze in Oregon last year, earned a place on the top of the podium as he finished strongly in 1:44.24.
Britain’s Ben Pattison earned bronze after yet another beautifully judged race here as he held off his fast-finishing almost namesake Adrian Ben to take bronze in 1:44.83, with the Spaniard clocking 1:44.91.
Ealey’s early flourish suffices for women’s shot put gold
Women’s shot put champion Chase Ealey became Chase Early as her first-round effort, a season’s best of 20.34m, proved enough for her to make a successful defence.
Canada’s Sarah Mitton got closest to her with a fifth-round effort of 20.08m with Gong Lijiao of China, last year’s world silver medallist, third on countback after a best of 19.69m that was matched by Portugal’s world indoor champion Auriol Dongmo.
India’s 4x400m relay team excel as Bol and Holmes exchange fortunes
India’s men’s 4x400m relay team, who narrowly missed the Olympic final in Tokyo but recently claimed silver at the Asian Championships, were jubilant after qualifying for tomorrow’s final after giving the United States – who have won this event on eight of the past nine occasions – a run for their money, clocking an Asian record of 2:59.05, with the favourites running 2:58.47.
Britain also qualified along with second heat winners Jamaica, France and Italy.
Banishing any lingering memories of her headlong fall in the opening day’s mixed 4x400m, Femke Bol safely anchored the Dutch women’s 4x400m team into tomorrow’s final in third place behind Jamaica – who ran a world-leading 3:22.74 – and Canada.
Britain won the second heat in style, by a stride from the United States – but the latter were disqualified for a botched final handover between Quanera Hayes and Alexis Holmes.
The latter, as fate would have it, was the runner whose outstanding final leg in the mixed 4x400m put Bol under the pressure which contributed to her hitting the deck – and who then crossed the line for gold. The athletics gods having another spot of fun tonight.
Credit: World Athletics