The United States had never won a medal in the women's hammer throw, or a title in any women's throws event at a World Championships. World leader DeAnna Price staked her claim on both early on and never relented to be crowned the first field event champion at the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019.
Price set the tone with her first throw, just the second of the competition, an effort that landed at 76.87m, setting in motion the chase scenario that defined the rest of the competition. She was never caught.
But Pole Joanna Fiodorow, who arrived with ambitions to succeed injured compatriot and world record holder Anita Wlodarczyk as world champion, landed in Doha well-armed. Throwing immediately after Price, the two-time European bronze medallist applied the pressure early on, adding more than a metre to her career best with a 76.35m blast.
Price responded with a foul in the second round, but unleashed a 77.54m toss in the third, the fourth farthest throw of her career to further bolster her lead. It proved to be more than enough for the 26-year-old.
The competition wore on, but without any significant changes at the top end and little pressure from the back. Clearly spent from her big opening round throw, Fiodorow followed up with 74.77m, 72.78m and 74.69 efforts in the second, third and fourth rounds that left little wind in her sails in the waning stages. With Wlodarczyk watching from her in-stadium Polish television commentary position, fouled on her fifth and sixth round throws.
With the title secured, Price entered the ring, stone-faced, for her final throw, an effort that landed at 75.68m. As soon as the hammer fell to earth, Price dropped to her knees, swept up in the emotion she could no longer control. Those tears of joy were soon followed by celebratory screams that reverberated throughout Khalifa Stadium.
“It feels absolutely amazing,” said Price, who took the IAAF Continental Cup title last year in Ostrava, Czech Republic. “It is stressful to go in as the world leader.” Price, who is coached by her husband James Lambert, reached the 2016 Olympic and 2017 World Championships finals.
“This was the best timing to improve the personal record,” Fiodorow said. “I managed to improve, got silver, my first world medal - I cannot ask for more. I was trying to beat DeAnna until the very end but I knew she had better personal best and that she was very strong.”
Behind them China's Wang Zheng, the bronze medallist in 2013 and runner-up in London two years ago, reached 74.76m in round five to wrestle her second bronze away from Moldovan Zalina Petrivskaya, whose 74.33m, best effort came in round three.
Iryna Klymets of Ukraine, this year's World University Games champion, threw a 73.56m lifetime best in the second round to finish fifth.
Price's teammate Gwen Berry, the Pan-American Games champion and third on the world lists, had an off night, leaving the competition early after three successive fouls.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF