Daegu, KoreaAn explosive Jamaican blitz descended upon Daegu Stadium on the final day of the 13th edition of the IAAF World Championships as a quartet from the Caribbean sprinting powerhouse broke the World record in the men’s 4x100m Relay.
With a mind-numbing run through the final straight, Usain Bolt anchored the squad to a 37.04 mark in the Championships’ final event, eclipsing the 37.10 previous record another Jamaican crew set at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. But the superstar, who sped to 200m gold yesterday, couldn’t have done it without the brilliant precision of teammates Nesta Carter, Michael Frater and Yohan Blake, the latter the 100m winner at these championships, who pieced together what was then already an insurmountable lead.
The final event heroics by the Jamaican fearsome foursome was just one of seven events on the final day’s programme that brought to a close nine days of action not lacking in drama, suspense and surprise. Some established stars beat back the greatest of challenges to maintain their titles and supremacy. Some managed to live up to the favourite roles thrust upon them. And there was also a large crop of young talent who lived up to their precociousness to take surprise victories to now form the vanguard of sport’s new generation.
Taylor stuns with monster leap in the Triple Jump
One of those newcomers was young American Christian Taylor, who upset defending champion Phillips Idowu in the Triple Jump tonight while managing to hop, step and jump all the way to the No. 5 position all-time with a sensational 17.96m effort to beat back the Briton’s 17.77m best effort. Taylor, this year’s NCAA and national champion, showed his potential with a solid 17.68 performance to win in London in early August, but to better that on the world’s biggest stage shows the potential the 21-year-old has.
“Today was my day, but I will stay calm and keep working hard,” Taylor said. “This is a work in progress.”
His teammate Will Claye, a year his junior, produced a 17.50 leap to take surprise bronze.
Farah outkicks Lagat to take 5000m title
Mo Farah arrived in Daegu with plenty of weight on his slight shoulders, as the year’s fastest at 5000 and 10,000m, and the favourite in both. Tonight he added a second medal to his silver from the longer event, but this time it was gold.
Closing with a sub-53-second final lap, the Briton held of the fierce late race challenge of American record holder Bernard Lagat to win in 13:23.36 to take his first global title. The strained looks enveloping the pair’s faces as they battled it out down the homestraight will be one of the most indelible images of these Championships. For Lagat, it was his second successive silver after his victory in 2007.
Savinova rises to the top of the 800m heap
In the women’s 800m, Russia’s Mariya Savinova took a big step up from her Continental and World indoor triumphs to World champion with a brilliant run and victory over defending champion Caster Semenya. Savinova clocked a career best 1:55.87 to lower her own world lead, and she needed it, too, to defeat the South African, who improved her season’s best to 1:56.35 to take the well-deserved silver. Janeth Jepkosgei, the 2007 champion, was third, adding another medal to Kenya’s impressive overall haul of 17 medals.
Kirui defends in Marathon
Another gold and silver for the east African nation came in the morning’s Marathon where Abel Kirui took an overwhelming victory in 2:07:38 to become the third man to successfully defend his title in the Championships’ longest running event. His margin of victory was also the biggest ever at this event.
His teammate Vincent Kipruto was a distant second in 2:10:06, but comfortably ahead of Ethiopian Feyisa Lilesa (2:10:32). With David Barmasai and Eliud Kiptanui finishing fifth and sixth, Kenya also took a huge victory in the World Cup Marathon with a 6:29:23 combined time, more than 11 minutes ahead of runner-up Japan and third-placed Morocco.
U.S. women sizzle 41.56 to defeat Jamaica in 4x100
Just prior to the Jamaican men's heroics, a U.S. quartet of Bianca Knight, Allyson Felix, Marshavet Myers and 100m champion Carmelita Jeter joined forces to win the fiercely contested women's 4x100m, their sizzling 41.56 the eighth fastest performance in history.
It was a big victory for the U.S. women, coming as it did ahead of perennial rivals Jamaica. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Kerron Stewart, Sherone Simpson and 200m champion Veronica Campbell-Brown will nonetheless wake up pleased tomorrow morning after the thrill of setting a national record 41.70 will settle in.
Lysenko dethrones Heidler
Producing her finest and most consistent series of the season, Tatyana Lysenko collected Russia's eighth gold medal with her dominant victory in the Hammer Throw.
The 27-year-old former World record holder, who took World Championships bronze in 2005, arrived in Daegu with a 75.70m season's best, and immediately went to work on improving that mark. She opened with a 76.80m toss, one which would have held out for the win, but she wasn't done. She improved to 77.09m in the second round and 77.13m in the third. World record holder Betty Heidler of Germany, the winner in 2007, had to settle for a second successive silver, reaching 76.06m in round five. Zhang Wenxiu of China opened with a 75.03 effort, enough for bronze.
Medals spread across 41 countries
Several multiple medallist emerged from the championships, with Kenyan Vivian Cheruiyot, who took top honors in the 5000 and 10,000m, the lone double champion.
Allyson Felix notched four medal finishes, a pair of golds in the Relays and individual silver (400m) and bronze (200m). Her compatriot Carmelita Jeter collected three, gold in the 100m, the 4x100m Relay, and silver in the 200m.
The United States led the team tally with 12 gold and 25 medals in all. Russia was next with nine gold and 19 total, followed by Kenya with seven gold and 17 in all. Jamaica will take home nine medals - four of those gold - while Germany and Great Britain & Northern Ireland each won seven medals apiece.
In all, athletes from 41 countries took home medals.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF