Valerie Adams and Nadzeyah Ostapchuk wrote another chapter in their long-running rivalry in Istanbul with Adams depriving the Belarusian of the one World title she held.
Since the Osaka 2007 outdoor World Championships the pair have gone head-to-head in every global championships with the exception of Berlin 2009, when Ostapchuk did not compete.
The only one of those Ostapchuk won was at the last World Indoor Championships in Doha two years ago. It was the start of a year in which she regained the momentum over the New Zealander.
Here in Istanbul, however, Adams regained the full set of global titles, throwing 20.54m in the last round to take the gold medal. It had been round her neck anyway, as her 20.48m in the second round withstood everything her rival could throw at her.
Michelle Carter of the USA, like Adams, a former World Junior champion, threw an indoor personal best 19.58m in the third round to snatch the bronze medal from her teammate Jillian Camarena-Williams (19.44m).
Nadine Kleinert of Germany, fifth with a distance of 19.29m, was the only other woman in the final to better 19 metres.
For the first four rounds, the two main rivals shadowed boxed, alternating fouls with valid throws. Adams went foul, 20.48m, foul, 20,41m; Ostapchuk had 20.20m, foul, 20.12m and foul.
It was in the fifth round that the end-game started. Ostapchuk threw out a 20.42m, close enough to make Adams nervous. Adams did not quite nail her next throw, which went out to ‘only’ 20.29m. She smiled and held her nose, perhaps in mock disgust.
Now, all the pressure was on the defending champion. Ostapchuk had one last chance to regain the lead and, perhaps, retain her title. It was a legal throw, but landed short of the 20-metre arc. She stepped out of the ring, saving the officials the task of measuring it.
Adams has won every title on offer since 2007. She is also one of just three women to have achieved a ‘grand slam’ of IAAF individual titles – World Youth, World Junior, World and World Indoor. Her companions in that feat are Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica and Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia.
US 400-metre runner Natasha Hastings is also an associate member of the club, having won the Youth and Junior individual titles, and relay gold medals in the other two.
Adams has already successfully defended her World outdoor title, winning three in a row in Osaka, Berlin and Daegu. She next faces the more formidable task of defending the Olympic title she won four years ago in Beijing.
Two things are very, very clear. First, Adams has a great chance of doing so; second, Ostapchuk will be there to have another ‘shot’ at her greatest rival.
Len Johnson for the IAAF