Karsten Warholm wins the 400m hurdles at the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 (© Getty Images)
Karsten Warholm of Norway, beaten consistently last year by Qatar’s rising force of Abderrahman Samba, had the final word here as he retained his men’s 400m hurdles world title tonight on his rival’s home ground to bring a tempestuous night of six finals to a grandstand finish at the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019.
Warholm ran his trademark race, starting fast and taking a clear lead by the halfway point before hanging tough to cross the line in 47.42 ahead of the hugely talented Rai Benjamin of the United States, who clocked 47.66.
Samba, whose season has been interrupted by injury, took bronze in 48.03.
The champion had given notice of his intent earlier in the month by winning the Diamond League title in 46.92, the fastest time ever run behind the world record of 46.78 with which Kevin Young of the United States secured the 1992 Olympic title.
Benjamin also followed him home on that occasion, joining Samba as the joint third-fastest of all time as he recorded 46.98.
There was no world record – but it was a race for the ages. And once again the Norwegian was the one to do the victory lap, a Viking hat wedged, fairly securely, upon his head…
Earlier in a giddy evening there were rapturous scenes by the start of the back straight as a mass of flag-waving Ethiopians who had roared their way through the men’s 5000m final acclaimed a gold and silver medallist after Muktar Edris had successfully defended his title after outsprinting his young rival Selemon Barega.
Edris won in a season’s best of 12:58.85, with the 19-year-old clocking 12:59.70.
Behind them, the bold challenge of Norway’s European champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who had taken the lead, with frequent backward glances, in the back straight, had been run down to the point of exhaustion, and Barega’s contemporary barely managed to reach the line, diving over to secure fifth place in 13:02.93.
Bronze went to Canada’s Mohammed Ahmed in 13:01.11, with Ethiopia just missing a sweep of the medals as Telahun Bekele finished fourth in 13:02.29.
Beatrice Chepkoech of Kenya produced an inexorable solo effort to win the women’s 3000m steeplechase in a championship record of 8:57.84, having led by 50 metres at the bell.
Defending champion Emma Coburn trimmed that gap by about 20 metres over the final lap to take silver in a personal best of 9:02.35, with bronze going to double European champion Gesa Felicitas Krause in a German record of 9:03.30.
Two years ago in London Chepkoech saw her hopes of winning the world steeplechase title disappear as she finished fourth having had to double back after failing to take the water jump while leading on the first lap, and having fallen on the next lap.
She returned for another World Championships as world record-holder thanks to her effort of 8:44.32 set last year – and this time there were no mistakes.
Similar boldness earned a barnstorming gold in the women’s 800m final for unheralded Ugandan Halima Nakaayi in a national record of 1:58.04.
Nakaayi, whose robust approach to qualification in the semi-final had put her in borderline disqualification territory, tempered her approach this time round, but there no holding the desire which took the 24-year-old past long-time leader Ajee Wilson of the United States with about 40 metres to go.
Raevyn Rogers of the United States was the fastest moving object on view in the final seconds of the race, but she was just too late, settling for silver in 1:58.18 with Wilson taking bronze in 1:58.84. Cue crazy dancing from the ecstatic Nakaayi and her equally enthused compatriot Winnie Nanyondo, fourth in 1:59.18.
As expected, Mariya Lasitskene successfully defended her high jump title with a first-time clearance of 2:04m. What was not expected, however, was the prodigious challenge she had to withstand from Ukraine’s Mahuchikh, who also cleared 2.04m on her third attempt to secure silver in a world U20 record.
Vashti Cunningham of the United States took bronze with a personal best of 2.00m, with Yulia Levchenko of Ukraine taking fourth place on the same height through countback.
Daniel Stahl briefly turned sprinter after his sixth and final effort in the men’s discus, which he had already won with a third-round best of 67.59m. The 27-year-old in the yellow vest of Sweden raced out from the cage into the throwing arc like a lumbering lion as he celebrated an upgrade from his silver medal position of two years ago. Doing it in Stahl…
Jamaica’s Fedrick Dacres took silver with 66.94m, and bronze went to Lukas Weisshaidinger, whose best of 66.82m made him Austria’s first male world medallist.
In the rounds...
Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith, a silver medallist in the previous night’s 100m, was fastest of the women’s 200m qualifiers in 22.32 and advances to tomorrow’s semi-finals with strong prospects in an event where several of her main expected rivals have dropped out of contention.
The first of the women’s 200m heats told its own sad story, with Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands and the previous night’s 100m bronze medallist, Marie-Josee Ta Lou, failing to start.
Schippers had been forced to miss the previous night’s 100m final after feeling an adductor strain following her semi-final run. After giving it another go at the warm-up track, the world 200m champion of2015 and 2017 decided she was not fit enough to compete.
The absence of Ta Lou, who had run so effervescently the previous evening in clocking 10.87 in the semi-final and 10.90 in the final, was more unexpected.
Asher-Smith, the European 100m and 200m champion, won her heat with controlled ease, decelerating over the final 20 metres, and looks locked on to her task.
Three United States runners filled the next places behind her, topped by Britanny Brown, who ran a personal best of 22.33. Niger’s Aminatou Seyni qualified sixth fastest in a national record of 22.58.
In the first round of the women’s 400m, Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo won her heat in 51.30, jogging down the home straight, virtually walking across the line and still five metres clear, for all the world like a female Usain Bolt.
Miller-Uibo, who tops the world 200m lists this year with 21.74, is only running the single lap event here, but judging by this performance it is going to take a monumental race by her young Bahraini rival Salwa Eid Naser, the world silver medallist, to prevent her claiming another global title.
But, in the last heat, Naser won in not dissimilar style in 50.74 after dealing with all opposition with a smooth acceleration down the back straight.
Jamaica’s defending and Olympic champion Omar McLeod won his opening 110m hurdles heat in 13.17, snapping over the barriers. Diamond League champion Orlando Ortega of Spain also looked impressive as he won in 13.15, the fastest in qualifying for Wednesday’s semi-finals.
US champion Daniel Roberts looked an impressive winner of his heat at the three-quarters mark, and an only slightly less impressive winner as he got over an argument with his final hurdle and maintained impetus to cross first. But before long he had been disqualified, his trailing leg having earlier knocked over a barrier of the opponent to his left, Ruan De Vries, leaving the unfortunate South African, already committed, to hurdle thin air.
Roberts’s team-mate Grant Holloway, who beat him to the NCAA title earlier this year in a world-leading 12.98, won his heat without drama from lane nine in 13.22.
Noah Lyles of the United States, three times Diamond League champion over 200m, had to work to win his semi-final, clocking 19.86 as he held off the persistent challenge of the man to his left, Alex Quinonez of Ecuador, who took the second automatic qualifying place in 19.95.
Britain’s 2014 European champion Adam Gemili had beaten Turkey’s defending champion Ramil Guliyev in the opening semi-final, 20.03 to 20.16. And Canada’s Olympic silver medallist Andre De Grasse, back in the running after long-time hamstring problems, won the last semi in 20.08.
China’s Lyu Huihui, who took world silver in 2015 and bronze two years ago, headed the women’s javelin qualifying for tomorrow’s final with 67.27m, ahead of Germany’s Christin Hussong, the only other to beat the automatic qualifying distance of 63.50m, who reached 65.29m.
Also through are the Czech Republic’s defending champion and world record-holder Barbora Spotakova, Olympic champion Sara Kolak of Croatia and Tatsiana Khaladovich of Belarus, the 2016 European champion.
Mike Rowbottom for the IAAF