Usain Bolt at the IAAF World Athletics Championships Moscow 2013 (© Getty Images)
Sunday evening saw the last session of competition at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, wrapping up the 2013 IAAF World Championships.
Usain Bolt capped the competition with another scorching performance, running away from the 4x100m Relay field to give Jamaica gold for the third consecutive championships and secure a relay double for Jamaica, who also won the women’s race.
Titles were also decided in the women’s 800m, men’s 1500m, and on the field, the men’s Triple Jump and the women’s Javelin Throw.
Bolt blasts anchor leg
The shorter relay was a wild affair with several teams in contention up to the last exchange. There, at the top of the homestretch, Bolt got the baton from Nickel Ashmeade more or less equal with the USA quartet. Bolt then simply left Justin Gatlin in his wake, opening a gap immediately and bringing the Jamaican squad home in 37.36 to the USA’s 37.66.
Crossing the line third was the team from Great Britain, then Canada in 37.92. However, Great Britain were disqualified for passing the baton outside the second exchange zone, and Canada wound up in bronze position.
Jamaican relay double
Bolt’s successful anchor leg, while impressive, was equalled in its dominance by the performance of the women’s team. The quartet of Carrie Russell, Kerron Stewart, Schillonie Calvert, and double sprint champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce set a championship and national record of 41.29 by handing Fraser-Pryce the baton with a sizeable lead and pointing the “Pocket Rocket” at the finish line.
Behind them was some confusion. France crossed the line next and was in silver medal position as of the medal ceremony, where they were given the medals for their 42.73 finish. The USA, which struggled through the second exchange but recovered quickly to finish in 42.75, were given bronze. However, a late protest reopened the results, and France was disqualified under rule 170.7, which pertains to exchanging the baton within the exchange zone.
As a result, the USA team was elevated to silver, and bronze went to Great Britain, who had finished in 42.87.
Sum victory in 800m
Defending champion Marya Savinova was, understandably, the crowd favourite in the women’s 800m final, and as she moved to pass early leader Alysia Johnson Montano, they roared their approval. Savinova, however, had just started on her frantic, and ultimately unsuccessful, sprint to catch Eunice Sum.
The Kenyan had moved earliest to catch the fast-starting Montano, and as a result built a lead over Savinova that the Russian was unable to close. Sum won gold in 1:57.38, with Savinova in silver (1:57.80) and a hard-charging Brenda Martinez of the USA in bronze (1:57.91). Johnson Montano tumbled to the track fourth in 1:57.95.
Asbel Kiprop dominated the men’s 1500m final in much the same way that Mo Farah dominated the longer races, controlling the pace throughout and setting up his own victory.
The defending champion (and 2008 Olympic champion), still only 24, dictated a slow pace at first, held the pack back from pursuing team-mate Nixon Chepseba, and finally launched an unbeatable drive to the finish which brought him to the line in 3:36.28.
Behind him, Daegu bronze medallist Matt Centrowitz improved to silver with a 3:36.78; the surprise of the race was Johan Cronje of South Africa in third with 3:36.83.
The men’s Triple Jump was, improbably, tied going in to the last round, with both Teddy Tamgho and Cuba’s Pedro Pechardo at 17.68m. The tie would have been decided in Tamgho’s favour due to his better second jump (17.65m) but after a series of fouls which saw him very far out in the pit, he sprung out to 18.04m in the sixth and last round.
It would be the only effort over 18 metres of the competition. Pechardo, forced to respond with only his last remaining attempt, was unable, and the Frenchman took the title. Behind Tamgho and Pechardo came USA’s Will Claye with a 17.52m mark. Defending World champion and Olympic champion Christian Taylor came fourth, only able to manage 17.20m.
Obergfoll over all
Maria Abakumova was the competitive favourite and the crowd favourite for the women’s Javelin Throw, but in the end she was one of the few Russians to under-perform expectations, managing only 65.09m, well off her best this year and exactly four metres shy of her qualifying throw.
Christina Obergfoll, on the other hand, was masterful, reaching 69.05m in the fifth round, good enough to win by more than two meters. The surprise of the night was Australia’s Kimberly Mickle, who capitalized on Abakumova’s lack of form with a 66.60m PB, good enough to earn her silver.
Like her husband Dmitri Tarabin, Abakumova had to settle for bronze.
Parker Morse for the IAAF
Attendance: Sun Aug 18
PM session only – 40,272 spectators (56,272)**
After the conclusion of Day 9 (8 evening sessions):
Total PM attendance: 268,548 + 128,000** = 396,548
** Moscow 2013 stadium configuration:
Sun Aug 18 - 60,000 capacity (44,000 spectators + 16,000 accredited guests - VIPS, media, athletes etc...).
Spectator attendance figures are based upon scan of tickets upon entry at stadium gate (multiple entry/exit via same ticket counts once).