Ronald Kipchumba Rutto of Kenya winning the 2000m steeplechase (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News Sherbrooke, Canada

7 Championships Records and a World Best close the Championships in a blaze of glory

Keeping up the record rhythm, Czech Republics Zuzana Hejnova opened the afternoon session with a dazzling run in the women’s 400m Hurdles Final, setting a new Championships Record of 57.54 seconds, wiping out the 57.87 mark set by Australian rising star Jana Pitman at the first edition of the Championships. Hejnova finished well clear of silver medallist Ekaterina Kostetskaya from Russia, with 58.37 seconds and bronze medallist Mackenzie Hill of USA  in 59.15.

Speaking after the competition, Hejnova sai: “I wasn’t really expecting to win, but I was hoping a lot. I worked a lot harder than in the semi-finals. The race was more fluid and in the end I succeeded.”

Usain Bolt set the second Competition Record of the afternoon session as the 16-year-old from Jamaica ran away from Michael Grant of the USA and, despite the rainy conditions, crossed the line in 20.40, wiping out the previous mark of 20.72, set by Great Britain’s Timothy Benjamin at Bydgoszcz in 1999.

A fouled first jump and a magnificent bound in her second round gave Cristine Spataru from Romania her second gold of the Championships and a new Championships Record of 6.41 metres. Denisa Scerbova of Czech Republic attempted to respond with her final attempt, but fell just 1 centimetre short of Spataru’s performance.

The Romanian was delighted. “It feels wonderful to win my second gold,” she celebrated. “I can’t believe that I was able to win two golds here – and by just 1 centimetre! – I am just so happy that I’m the best in the world”.

The weather was a little kinder when Russia’s Maria Chapaeva continued the record demolishment process in the final of the 800 metres. The Russian passed Olga Cristea of Moldova in the last 60 metres and sprinted for the finish, which she crossed in a new Championships Record of 2:03.40.

“It feels like I haven’t even run,” an elated Chapaeva declared afterwards. “You nalways feel a bit threatened when there’s competition and you always have to fight against somebody. Yes there’s always a bit of pressure, In fact a lot of pressure. I just wanted to do my race like when I train.

“My start was very good and I didn’t feel tired. After 400 metres I felt a little fatigue in my legs, it was a bit difficult and even heavy. I kept pushing just as hard and the toughest part was in the last 150 metres,” she commented. “Now that I’ve run I feel all my strength coming back. I set a new personal best, a Championships record and a Russian national record.”

The star performer of the day was, however, Ronald Kipchumba Rutto. The Kenyan not only set a new Championships Record, he wiped out the 20 year old World Best for the event set in August 1983 by Mykola Matyushenko (URS) of 5:31.54 with his time of
5:30.27. Just incidentally, second placed Justus Kiprono also bettered that record with his time of 5:31.24, also a new personal best. The stadium crowd was most delighted, however, with the performance of Canada’s Chris Winter who produced a personal best from his final sprint to edge Stefan Patru of Romania for the bronze in a time of 5:44.23.

Rutto was complacent after his victory: “It’s my first race here band I tried to run like I have in the past in Kenya. I had a good start and I was challenging my fellow Kenyan runner because it was a game.

“Our strategy was to come in 1 and 2, which we did.”

Australia’s Ronnie Buckley topped off a superb series of throws to land the 1.5kg discus out at 64.34 metres to claim the World Youth title and a Championships record in a see-saw competition.

Marisa de Aniceto from France stormed through the final event of the women’s Heptathlon, with her third place in her race giving her enough points to take the gold medal ahead of Germany’s Sarah Kern with a total of 5458 points to Kern’s 5445. Marina Goncherova of Russia was third with 5338 points after the untimely competitive demise in the Javelin Throw of Britain’s Jessica Ennis, who had led for the first 5 events.

The competition closed with the medley relays with victory to the USA in both women’s and men’s relays and both in world leading times.

With 15 Finals contested during this remarkable final day of competition, no fewer than 7 Championships Records fell during the day; a remarkable testimony to the progress of athletics around the World. A total of 36 countries entered the medal tables, with 21 different countries mounting to the highest step of the podium.