DQs abound at this edition of the IAAF World Indoors. On a night when nothing was assured, here are a few things that we can at least be certain definitely happened.
Lead image: Sandi Morris clears a championship record 4.95m at the third attempt to win pole vault gold. The American, who also needed three attempts at 4.90m, has had to settle for silvers at the last three major global champs.
“It was the hardest I have had to work for a medal,” she said. “It was the competition of my life.”
Making the most of the weekend
Raevyn Rogers isn’t the sort to lie in bed all Saturday watching old westerns and re-runs of Murder She Wrote.
The American was up and out early to compete in the women’s 800m heats, squeaking through to the final with a small q time qualifier. Ninety short minutes later she was back on the track, anchoring the US team as they cruised through the 4x400m heats. And you didn’t even put that shelf up, did you?
There ain’t no party like a shot put party
There really isn’t, as was proved by the men’s final this morning.
Tomas Walsh threw it down with his opener: an indoor area record 22.13m. No one else in the field could get close to that, but gosh darn it didn’t we enjoy watching them try.
Behind Walsh, a total of ten men went over 20m – a first for an indoor shot put competition. Seven of them went over 21m – also a first for indoor competition. All those monster throws had the crowd enthralled, particularly late in the session when there was a break in track events.
Walsh, now a two-time indoor champ as well as the reigning outdoor king, appropriately brought the house down with his final put. Displaying majestic speed in the circle, he launched the shot out to a gob-smacking 22.31m, a stunning championship record that makes the Kiwi the fourth best indoor performer of all time, and the man to beat when it comes to major championships.
Triple jump for breakfast
Morning finals divide opinion. If you want ours, there’s nothing wrong with them, especially if they produce the sort of drama we witnessed in the women’s triple jump.
The contest came alive in the second half, as Keturah Orji and Elena Panțuroiu made marks that were worthy of brief forays with the medal positions.
Yet it was the reigning champion who delivered the hammer blow. Yulimar Rojas – competing for the first time since August, owing to injury – went out to a world leading 14.63m with her fifth attempt to wrestle the lead from Commonwealth champ Kimberly Williams, who had led since round one. Also moving late was Rojas’ training partner Ana Peleteiro, who snared bronze with a 14.40m indoor personal best in the fourth round.
Cue our favourite celebratory photo of the championships so far.
Dibaba gets her double
Genzebe Dibaba has attempted doubles in the past, but never before has she been successful. Outdoors, at the Beijing 2015 world champs, she won 1500m gold but could only get bronze in the 5k; similar plans were aborted in London last year after finishing last in the metric mile.
In Birmingham, her time came. The Ethiopian became the first this century to achieve a 1500/3k indoor double, taking control of the 3000m at half way to wrap up her second gold of the week. That replicates the achievement of the great Haile Gebrselassie way back in 1999 (when, incidentally, Romania’s Gabriela Szabo did the same on the women’s side). They’ll be dancing on the streets of Addis Ababa tonight.
Five little points
That was the gap between gold and silver after two days and seven events of grueling competition in a heptathlon that saw Kevin Mayer pick up a debut indoor title ahead of Candian Damian Warner. The above image shows just how much those exertions hurt.
That gap ties for the closest finish to a world indoor heptathlon since 2006, when it was also five points. It equates less than 3cm in the long jump, or half a centimeter in the high jump. I’ve had bigger toenail clippings.
Respect your elders
When sprinter Kim Collins last competed in an indoor championships in Birmingham, he won a silver medal. That was 15 years ago, when he was 28 – positively veteran in athletic terms.
The St Kitts & Nevisian was back in Brum today, not as a television commentator or a coach or an ambassador, but as an athlete. 41-years-young, the always-smiling Collins (pictured above running with eventual champion Christian Coleman) proved his quality once again, making it through the heats of the 60m in the morning session. Injury meant that he didn’t emerge for the semis, but that won’t diminish his legacy as one of the sport’s most consistent performers and all-round top blokes.
“I have to stop,” he said post heat. “I want to [continue] – a lot of persons were upset when they heard that – but it’s time.”
Collins has always been incredibly generous with his time: I’ve seen him mentoring younger athletes in meet hotels, airports, shuttle busses – everywhere the athletics circuit gets, Collins was on hand to dispense advice. A true gentleman. Thank you, Kim.
Words: Thomas Byrne