There is no stronger love from a stadium full of fans for their sport than when an athlete can ask for silence, and get it. Bohan Bondarenko had all of Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow hanging on his every jump on Thursday evening on the sixth day of competition at the IAAF World Championships.
Champions were also determined in the men’s 3000m Steeplechase and 400m Hurdles, the women’s 1500m and 400m Hurdles, and the women’s Triple Jump.
Bondarenko gets the gift of silence
Bondarenko was the impresario of an inspired High Jump competition, and he didn’t even enter it until the bar reached 2.29m, the third height of the day. After clearing that on his first try, he passed 2.32m as well, and then recorded another first-try clearance at 2.35m, where he was one of only four to get over. By then, the entire stadium was watching every approach to the bar.
Bondarenko, astoundingly, passed again at 2.38m, a move commentator Dwight Stones called “the highest pass in history.” There, Mutaz Essa Barshim cleared on his first attempt, Derek Drouin on his second, and Ivan Ukhov was unable to clear at all.
With the bar at 2.41m, Bondarenko made his first bobble, but cleared on his second attempt. Barshim, with one miss, passed to the next height; Drouin, clearly fatigued but with a Canadian record at 2.38m, bowed out to take bronze. At 2.44m, Bondarenko put the screws to Barshim by passing again, and Barshim missed his remaining two attempts.
Bondarenko had the bar put at 2.46m, which would be the World record. Where Ukhov had asked the crowd to clap for him, Bondarenko asked for silence, and got it, to the point where the sound of his hands slapping his legs was clearly audible. He made two good attempts at 2.46m and one less good, then finally thanked the crowd; his 2.41m mark would be a championship and Russian all-comers record.
Same race, different results
The women’s 400m Hurdles was won in the largest margin in its history as Zuzana Hejnova came into the homestretch with fast-starting Americans Lashinda Demus and Dalilah Muhammad and simply ran away from them from the last hurdle to the finish line.
Hejnova’s winning time of 52.83 was more than a second ahead of Muhammad, second in 54.09, and Demus for bronze with 54.27. Hejnova, who ran strongly through the rounds as well, simply had more speed off the last hurdle than anyone else could match.
In the men’s 400m Hurdles, the next final on the track, the result was nearly opposite. Michael Tinsley got out fast and led into the homestretch, and, like Demus, faced a challenge there.
Unlike Hejnova, however, Jehue Gordon wasn’t head and shoulders above his competitors, and in the end the margin by which Gordon defeated Tinsley was a nail-biting .01, 47.69 to 47.70. Bronze went to Emir Bekric in a Serbian record of 48.05.
Aregawi turns back Simpson title defence
Jenny Simpson made a determined defence of her women’s 1500m title from 2011, controlling the pace from the gun and, when the real racing began at the bell and Abeba Aregawi came around to take the lead, taking position on Aregawi’s shoulder, turning back a move by Hellen Obiri, and putting herself in position to make a counter-move against Aregawi.
Aregawi left no openings, however, and though Simpson tried the Swede was never again headed. Aregawi took the victory in 4:02.67 with Simpson right behind in 4:02.99. Obiri took the bronze with a 4:03.86; Daegu silver medallist Hannah England was fourth.
Moves like Kemboi
With Kenyan victory in the 3000m Steeplechase as close to a sure thing as can be found in sport, it’s still worth noting the consistency of Ezekiel Kemboi, whose 8:06.01 victory here was his third consecutive World Championship win and his sixth medal; only Moses Kiptanui has won as many World Championships.
Behind Kemboi came Consuelus Kipruto, then France’s Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad, which meant the only change from Daegu’s podium was Kipruto at silver. The pack was large quite late in the race, with six runners in contention at the bell, and the times in fifth (Evan Jager 8:08.67) and sixth (Matthew Hughes in a Canadian record 8:11.64) were the best times for those places in championships history.
Second round the charm
The women’s Triple Jump was completely decided in the second round. It was then that Caterine Ibarguen skipped out to 14.85m, a distance only approached by Ekaterina Koneva’s 14.81m mark in the same round.
Olha Saladuha, the favourite of the large blocks of Ukrainians in the crowd, reached 14.65m in the same round, and for the next four rounds of jumping nothing changed among those leading three. The medals, in the end, went in that order.
Parker Morse for IAAF
Moscow 2013, Spectator attendance figures
Wed Aug 14
AM 4087 spectators (+ 50km Race Walk course, free entry to Luzhniki Olympic Complex)
Thu Aug 15
AM 10,176 spectators
PM 28,007 spectators (44,007)**
After the conclusion of Day 6:
Total PM attendance after 5 sessions: 156,501 + 80,000** = 236,501
** Moscow 2013 stadium configuration:
Tue Aug 13 - 50,000 capacity (34,000 spectators + 16,000 accredited guests - VIPS, media, athletes etc...).
Spectator attendance figures are based upon scan of tickets upon entry at stadium gate (multiple entry/exit via same ticket counts once).