Ramil Guliyev secured Turkey their first ever gold medal and deprived South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk of a golden double in the tightest men’s 200m final for 30 years at the IAAF World Championships on Thursday (10).
The Azerbaijan-born Guliyev dipped with 400m winner van Niekerk and Jereem Richards of Trinidad and Tobago with just 0.02 seconds separating the three medallists.
Guliyev clocked 20.09 with Van Niekerk in silver and bronze medallist Richards both given 20.11 with just a thousandth of a second between them.
It was the closest finish of all 200m medallists since 1987 when the same margin separated the top three in a race won by American Calvin Smith.
Van Niekerk was hoping to become only the second man to complete a world championship 200-400 double after American Michael Johnson in 1995.
Botswana’s Isaac Makwala, cleared by the IAAF to run in the Men’s 200m after being declared medically fit to compete following an illness, finished sixth.
The seventh day of action also saw American Kori Carter put on a superb display of ‘blind’ running from the outside lane to win the Women’s 400m hurdles in 53.07s, beating Olympic champion and compatriot Dalilah Muhammad (53.50s) into second.
American Olympic champion Christian Taylor, who had talked of having another crack at breaking the 22-year-old triple jump world record of Britain’s Jonathan Edwards (18.29m), won gold but could only manage 17.68m ahead of compatriot Will Claye (17.63).
In the qualification events, German Johannes Vetter recorded the longest qualifying throw in the 34-year history of the championships in the Men’s javelin – 91.20m.
Kenyan Hellen Obiri and Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana, the 10,000m champion, were the two fastest qualifiers for Sunday's Women’s 5,000m final with Britain’s Laura Muir and Eilish McColgan also going through.
Warholm, Francis steal the limelight
Norwegian 400m hurdler Karsten Warholm and American 400m runner Phyllis Francis snatched surprise victories as a rainbow of new talent outshone the big names of athletics on a wet Wednesday (9) night at the London Stadium.
Warholm, a 25-year-old former decathlete, became Norway’s first ever male track gold medallist with a dominant performance in 48.35 seconds, pushing American Olympic champion Kerron Clement (48.52s) into third behind Turkey’s silver medallist Yasmani Copello (48.49).
In the Women’s one-lap race, Francis produced a strong late surge in the final 20 metres to take the gold away from Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas and American Allyson Felix, one of the sport’s most successful athletes.
Miller-Uibo, who seemed to pull up with an injury in her final few strides, could only finish fourth behind bronze medallist Felix as Francis clocked a personal best of 49.92s ahead of silver medallist Salwa Eid Naser of Bahrain.
Felix’s bronze medal still put her equal with Usain Bolt and Merlene Ottey as the winner of the most world medals – 14. No female athlete has won more golds than her nine titles, however.
Day six of the championships also saw Britain’s Mo Farah qualify for Saturday’s 5,000m final with second place in his heat (13:30.18s) as he chases a fifth consecutive 5,000 and 10,000m double at a global championship.
But Farah warned home fans not to take anything for granted after Olympic champions Bolt and Elaine Thompson both failed to win gold in the sprints at the London Stadium this week.
Botswana’s Isaac Makwala, cleared by the IAAF to run in the Men’s 200m after being declared medically fit to compete, qualified for Thursday’s final.
Makwala, who had missed the 200 heats, ran an extra time trial on his own earlier in the evening to qualify for the semi-finals where he finished second in 20.14s for a direct qualification place.
South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk, bidding for a 200-400 double, finished third in his heat in 20.28s but went through as one of the two fastest losers with Britain’s Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (20.19s).
But Jamaica’s Yohan Blake failed to make the final with 20.52s.
China’s Lijiao Gong threw 19.94m to win the Women’s shot final, the first time a Chinese athlete has won the event for 24 years.
Wayde van Niekerk storms to 400m gold
Olympic champion Wayde van Niekerk began his quest for an historic 200-400m double with a comfortable victory as he stamped his dominance over a field which he was a cut above on Tuesday (8).
The South African had been tipped ahead of the championships to do the unthinkable and once again threaten the sub-43-second barrier but on a chilly night in East London the conditions didn't allow for it.
Seemingly with one eye on the shorter distance, van Niekerk ran hard over the first 300 metres and opened up a four-metre lead which he held, cruising over the line in 43.98s ahead of Bahamian Steven Gardiner.
Meanwhile, Pierre-Ambroise Bosse produced the biggest surprise of the world championships so far when he clinched France their first ever global gold in the Men’s 800m.
The 25-year-old Bosse hit the front down the back straight and dominated the later stages of the race for France’s first gold of the championships, clocking 1:44.67 seconds. It was the first European victory in the event since 2001.
Within minutes of Bosse’s victory, Renaud Lavillenie took the bronze in the Men’s pole vault for France in a competition won by an extremely composed Sam Kendricks, while Poland’s Piotr Lisek claimed silver.
Kenya’s Olympic champion Conseslus Kipruto produced a home straight celebration more akin to a goal celebration at the football matches that West Ham play in the London Stadium as he won the 3000m steeplechase final in 8:14.12s.
Even with Morocco’s silver medallist Soufiane Elbakkali close behind, Kipruto put his hands up behind his ears with 30 metres to go, as if to ask the crowd for more noise to celebrate another victory for Kenya in an event they have dominated for decades.
American Evan Jager, who had led for most of the race, held on for the bronze.
Czech Barbora Spotakova, who won the Olympic title in the same London Stadium in 2012, rolled back the years with her first world title for 10 years at the age of 36. A throw of 66.76m sealed the victory over Chinese medallists Li Lingwei and Lyu Huihui.
Cooray fails to finish marathon
Sri Lanka’s Anuradha Indrajith Cooray failed to deliver the desired results as he struggled to finish the Men’s marathon event at the IAAF World Championships continued in London, England yesterday.
Cooray, competing in his third IAAF World Championships was among the 29 competitors who were not able to finish the full course out of the list of 100 runners representing a total of 54 countries.
Kenya’s veteran long distance runner Geoffrey Kipkorir won the Men’s marathon with a time of two hours 08 minutes and 27 seconds. (SP)
Bolt beaten by Gatlin in 100m final
American veteran Justin Gatlin stormed into Usain Bolt’s 100m retirement party and handed the Jamaican his first defeat at a major championship for six years on Saturday (5).
Bolt, who has not lost a global final since he false-started at the 2011 World Championships, was hoping to extend his record-breaking gold medal tally at the World Championships to 12 in his last major event.
With thousands of Jamaican fans in the London Stadium getting ready to celebrate on day two of the championships, the 30-year-old was outrun in the final 30 metres by former Olympic and world champion Gatlin, who grabbed his first world title since 2005 at the age of 35.
Bolt took bronze in 9.95 seconds behind Gatlin (9.92) and American Silver Medallist Christian Coleman, who clocked 9.94.
Before the race the crowd had booed Gatlin, a pantomime villain in athletics because of a previous ban for drugs, and were subdued for a few minutes at the end of the race before cheering Bolt on his lap of honour.
Bolt has a final chance to win a world medal for Jamaica in the 4x100m later in the championships.
Earlier in the night, Ethiopia’s Olympic champion Almaz Ayana cast aside a season of illness with a commanding piece of front running to win the Women’s 10,000m title.
After a slow, tactical start, Ayana burst away from the rest of the field, lapping most of her rivals to finish in 30 minutes, 16.32 seconds.
The winning margin of more than 46 seconds over Silver Medallist and compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba was by far the biggest in the history of the championships.
The Men’s discus throw witnessed the closest competition in championship history with Lithuania's Andrius Gudzius winning by just two centimetres with 69.21m ahead of Sweden’s Silver Medallist Daniel Stahl on 69.19m.
After taking the silver at last year’s Rio Olympics, South African Luvo Manyonga grabbed his first senior global title in the Men’s long jump, winning with 8.48m to American Silver Medallist Jarrion Lawson’s 8.44m
Tori Bowie claims 100m Gold in thrilling final
American Torie Bowie grabbed her first global title by the thickness of an athletics vest (6) when her dramatic dip and dive at the line stole the Women’s 100m titleon day three of the IAAF World Championships in England, London on Sunday (6).
Bowie, who finished second at last year’s Rio Olympics and third at the 2015 Worlds, crashed to the track after beating Marie-Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast by just one hundredth of a second.
Bowie clocked 10.85 seconds to Ta Lou’s 10.86 with Dutch sprinter Dafne Schippers third in 10.96.
Jamaica’s Olympic champion Elaine Thompson finished the race as blue as her unusual lipstick, flummoxed about how she had finished fifth in 10.98.
Belgium's Olympic heptathlon champion Nafi Thiam displayed the type of championship mettle which she is becoming fast familiar for enroute to a first World Championship gold, beating German Silver Medallist Carolin Schaefer by an 88-point margin.
Thiam amassed 6,784 points to Schaefer’s 6696.
Katarina Johnson-Thompson rallied well after a disappointing first day to finish fifth. The Briton had under-performed in arguably her strongest event, the high jump, but produced three strong displays in the long jump, javelin and 800m for a total of 6,558 points.
American Olympic champion Ryan Crouser finished back in sixth in the Men’s shot put as New Zealand’s Tom Walsh, who was third at the Rio Games last year, took the gold with a throw of 22.03m, his country’s first ever male medal at a Worlds.
Greece’s pole vaulter Ekaterini Stefanidi lived up to her preevent billing as Olympic champion. Stefanidi held off American Morris with a vault of 4.91m for a National record.
Earlier, Rose Chelimo, a Bahraini who swapped nationality from her native Kenya, powered away from her former compatriot Edna Kiplagat to win the Women’s marathon in 2:27:11 on a central London course.
In the Men’s race, Geoffrey Kirui became Kenya’s fifth marathon champion, clocking 2:08:27s after a battle with Ethiopia’s Tamirat Tola over the course which began and ended on Tower Bridge.
Farah bags World 10,000m title for third time in a row
Britain’s Mo Farah earned a special place in the history of athletics when he became the first distance runner to win 10 consecutive global titles at the London 2017 IAAF World Championships on Friday (4).
The 34-year-old Farah was roared on by a packed London Stadium on the opening night of action but the victory was far from easy with Farah battling his way through a final lap of bumps and stumbles to win in 26 minutes, 49.51 seconds.
Since winning the 5,000m at the 2011 World Championships, Farah has completed the distance double at the 2013 and 2015 Worlds and at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games.
This was one of his hardest wins, however. The Briton almost fell in the last lap after making contact with Kenyan Paul Tanui who took Bronze behind Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei.
Jamaica’s Usain Bolt also began his campaign to finish his career as the most decorated athlete of all time at a World Championships with a frustrating stumble.
But the Olympic and world champion still looked comfortable with a first-round 100m heat victory in 10.07 seconds.
Bolt already has won more world gold medals than any other athlete with 11 titles but he can overtake Merlene Ottey as the winner of most medals with two more in London.
Bolt’s compatriot Julian Forte ran the fastest heat in 9.99s with American Christian Coleman second fastest, winning his heat in 10.01s.
American Justin Galtin, silver medallist at last year’s Rio Olympics, won his heat in 10.05, the sixth fastest time.
The biggest shocks of qualifying in the field events were the failures of American world indoor record-holder Jenn Suhr to qualify for Sunday’s Women’s pole vault final and of compatriot Jeff Henderson to make the long jump final.
Suhr won a Gold Medal in the same stadium at the London 2012 Olympics but could not register a mark while Greek favourite Ekaterini Stefanidi needed just one vault to secure her place.
Olympic champion Henderson struggled throughout the qualifying and only managed 7.84m in the final round, back in 17th place.
Four Sri Lankan athletes in action at London World Athletics C’ships
By Susil Premalal
The Sixteenth IAAF World Athletics Championships conducted by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) will commence tomorrow (August 4) at the London Olympics Stadium and will conclude on August 13.
Two hundred and seven countries affiliated to the IAAF featuring over 800 top level athletes, including Sri Lanka will take part in the ten day event.
Sri Lanka will be represented by four athletes.
They are: Anuradha Indrajit Cooray (Men’s Marathon), Hiruni Wijeratne (Women’s Marathon), Nimali Liyanarachchi (Women’s 800 Metres) and Waruna Lakshan Dayaratne (Men’s Javelin). Indrajit and Hiruni will take part in the Marathon event on August 6. Nimali Liyanarachchi (800 metres) and Waruna Lakshan (javelin) will be action on August 10.
108 athletes from 54 nations will take part in the men’s marathon. In the women’s marathon 96 athletes from 46 nations are scheduled to take part.
The marathon runners - men and women - Anuradha Indrajit Cooray and Hiruni Wijeratne qualified for the IAAF World Standard while Nimali Liyanarachchi qualified as the Asian Champion at the 2017 Asian Championships held in India.
Waruna Lakshan qualified as the 32nd in Javelin at World Rankings. Anuradha Indrajit Cooray (marathon runner) is the oldest at 39 years in the Sri Lanka team. He qualified at the 2016 South Asian Games clocking 2 Hours, 15 minutes, 38 seconds. The IAAF qualifying standard is 2 Hours, 19 minutes.00 secs. His personal best is 2 Hours, 13 minutes, 47 secs, obtained at the London Marathon in 2015. This is the third time Anuradha is taking part in the World Championships. Prior to this in 2005 Helsinki, 2015 Beijing he represented the country and he is now set to take part in the London World Championships. This could be Indrajit’s final performance.
Indrajit has represented Sri Lanka at three Olympics. They are: 2004 Athens, 2012 London and 2016 Rio. He has won two SAG Gold Medals. They are 2004 in Islamabad and 2016 Guhati.
Hiruni Wijeratne is a new marathon runner. She has been residing in the United States of America since the year 2000. She is a dual citizenship holder. She qualified in May this year at the Evegin Marathon where she qualified clocking 2 Hours, 43 minutes, 31 secs. Her qualifying standard is 2 Hours, 45 minutes, 00 secs.
Nimali Liyanarachchi did not qualify from the 800 Metres. The qualifying standard was 2 mts. 01.00 secs. But at the Asian Championships held in India she clocked 2 mts. 05.00 secs and emerged as the Asian Champion. On that performance she was selected for the London event.
In the men’s javalin event Waruna Lakshan Dayaratne did not qualify. The qualifying standard is 83.00 metres. In 2017 his best performance was 82.19 mtrs. But according to IAAF men’s javelin rankings he is occupying 32nd position. Since 32 are being taken for the event Waruna got the opportunity to represent Sri Lanka at the London event.
According to World Athletics Championships history Sri Lanka has won two medals - Silver and Bronze - both have been bagged by Olympic Silver Medalist Susanthika Jayasinghe. The first was in the 1997 Athens Championships, the Silver in the 200 metres.The second medal was at the Osaka Championships in 2007 where she bagged the Bronze.
According to the history of the World Championships, USA has won 143 Gold Medals, 96 Silver and 84 Bronze. Russia is in second place with 53 Gold, 59 Silver and 58 Bronze.
Only 91 countries have won IAAF World Championships to date.
This will also be World and Olympic champion Usain Bolt’s final performance as he has decided to quit athletics after the event.
Sixty three athletes from Jamaica will take part at the London World Championships.
The Coach cum Manager of the Sri Lanka team is Sujith Abeysekera. President of the Athletics Association of Sri Lanka Maj. Gen. Palitha Fernando and Secretary Prema Pinnawela accompanied the team as World Congress delegates.