Day 2 of the World Indoors provided space for four gold medals to be won. But that was just for starters. Here’s what had us holding onto our hats on another gripping day in the Arena Birmingham.
Lead image: Sprinter Murielle Ahoure secures a 60m gold ahead of Ivory Coast teammate Marie-Josee Ta Lou. Ahoure had twice won silvers in the event coming to Birmingham, and dedicated her win to her father, who died last year.
“I couldn't get a medal when he was alive,” she said. “I have so much pent-up emotion now.”
The morning session saw a first for world championships athletics of any kind: a race in which all competitors were DQ’d.
First up, Abdalelah Haroun, silver medallist two years ago in Portland, was red carded for a false start in heat 3 of the men’s 400m. That was just the warm up for the technical adjudicators. Each of the remaining runners were adjudged to have made lane violations and all received post-race disqualifications, including Grenada’s medal hope Bralon Taplin.
There were more DQ calls made throughout the day, causing hot debate among keyboard warriors across the Twittersphere. Though such decisions are never nice to see, the officials apply the rules as best they can. Without them, we’d be nowhere.
It doesn’t matter if they’re black and white
Yesterday, Italy’s Alessia Trost donned odd socks on her way to high jump bronze – one black, one white.
Heptathlete Kevin Mayer (above) and long jumper Luvo Manyonga must have been taking notes, as both competed today wearing odd shoes, both also replicating the monochrome aesthetic displayed by Trost on the opening night.
The trick worked: while Mayer leads the heptathlon standings overnight, Manyonga secured silver in the long jump courtesy of a South African indoor record 8.44m.
Go faster fluff
Lower-leg garments weren’t the only eye-catching desaturated sartorial choices on show in the Brum Arena today.
Earring of the day award goes to Christina Manning, who donned a pair of gothic bulbuls as she cruised through to the 60m hurdle semis.
Apparel does not proclaim a multi
At least Manning got to choose her outfit. Spare a thought for Ukranian pentathlete Alina Shukh, who was holed up in Amsterdam airport until late last night because of weather-related delays.
While the 19-year-old made it to Brum at the eleventh hour, her luggage didn’t, meaning she had to borrow a singlet, shorts and spikes to compete in today’s five-event epic. It didn’t bother the youngest competitor in the field, though, as she finished seventh overall to prove old Polonius wrong.
Bringing home the gold
That pentathlon was won by Katarina Johnson-Thompson, much to the delight of the British crowd, who have a senior world champion to cheer for the first time since Sopot 2014. It is also KJT’s first global gold in a multi-event since 2009, when she won the outdoor world youth title in 2009 in Brixen.
Now with a senior global title under her belt, it remains to be seen what the 25-year-old – who fouled out of the running from a medal position in the long jump at Beijing 2015 – can go on to achieve with her confidence restored.
Close, and a cigar
Event of the day was the men’s long jump, with just 4cm separating the top three in a contest that had the arena enthralled.
Cuban Juan Miguel Echevarria took the honours with 8.46m, in what was just his fourth ever indoor competition. Marginally missing out on the top prize was Luvo Manyonga (8.44m), who was competing in only his third indoor contest.
Bronze went to the 2016 winner Marquis Dendy (8.42m), who summed up the contest perfectly: “That was a great competition – 8.46, 8.44, 8.42. The crowd were just amazing. They know their track and field.” Just like those lads know how to put on a show.
Words: Thomas Byrne