It took very little effort for Raphael Holzdeppe to show why he is World junior record-holder and an honour to Germany’s great pole-vaulting tradition.
The 18-year-old needed just two attempts made deep into the competition on Saturday to take his first international championships title.
With the exception of home favourite Pawel Wojciechowski, the rest of the field were out of the title hunt by the time Holzdeppe picked up his pole.
A first-time clearance at 5.40m was no problem for the athlete who earlier this year equalled Maksim Tarasov’s World junior record of 5.80m. Wojciechowski was also clear at that height, but failures at 5.50m and 5.55m meant the German’s success at 5.50m was ultimately enough to end chances of what would have been a popular victory.
“I had to wait well over an hour for my first attempt and that was hard,” said Holzdeppe.
“Once I got over 5.40m, things got easier. My clearance at 5.50m was very easy.”
He then had three failed failures at a would-be Championship best of 5.72m, but his thoughts now turn to the Olympics.
“I don’t have any particular targets, but we’ll see what happens there,” he said.
American one-two in the hammer
Walter Henning led an American one-two in the hammer with 76.92m as Eastern Europe was unusually outshone in the discipline.
Henning, a former gymnast, set a North American record in the final round to take himself into the gold medal position ahead of his compatriot Conor McCullough.
McCullough had thrown a PB 75.88m in the third round, while Aleh Dubitski of Belarus was third with 75.42m.
Russia’s Denis Lukyanov, who leads the world rankings with 78.43m was only 10th.
The United States, which has gained just one Olympic medal in this event since they won in it 1956, will be looking for to Henning to provide a reversal in fortunes.
Henning said he hoped the US medals would have an impact back home. “Our event doesn’t get a lot of attention in the US and I hope that changes in the coming years with young throwers coming up,” he said.
Schafer is multi-event queen
After yesterday’s drama in the decathlon, the heptathlon also went down to the wire. Long-time leader Germany’s Carolin Schafer went into the final event, the 800m, with a lead of only 28 points over Estonia’s Grit Sadeiko.
Sadeiko would have needed to beat the German by three seconds, but 16-year-old Schafer, who was only seventh in last year’s World Youth Championships, crossed the line first to score a PB 5833.
With a 2:17.98 800m, Yana Maksimova leapfrogged Sadeiko into the silver medal position with 5766, with just a point between them.
Finally gold for Spanovic
Having finished second in the World Youth Championships last year, Ivana Spanovic finally took gold with a best leap of 6.61m.
The third-round effort of the Beijing-bound Serbian left Nastassia Mironchyk (6.46m) with silver. Cuba’s Dailenys Alcantara, the winner of the triple jump earlier in the week, missed out on doing the double, but took bronze with a career best of 6.41m.
United States back on top in relays
After suffering a surprise defeat at the hands of Jamaica in these championships two years ago, the United States exacted revenge in the 4x100m.
The American semi-final outfit of Dante Sales, Antonio Sales, Marquise Goodwin and Terrell Wilks were reunited and ran 38.98 to finish 0.27 seconds ahead of Jamaica.
Rodgers hurdles to victory
In the 100m hurdles, after an even start, American Teona Rodgers pulled away from the rest of the field over the last six hurdles to win in 13.40.
Along with Alina Talai of Belarus, she held just a marginal lead over the first half. Jamaica’s Shermaine Wiliams and Cuba’s Belkis Milanes took silver and bronze respectively as Talai faded to fourth.
Cherono is champion again
Kenya’s Mercy Cherono added an under-20 3000m World title to the one she at youth level last year. She moved clear of Ethiopia’s Bizunesh Urgesa over the last 300 metres to win in 8:58.07.
Americans favourite for one-lap relays
The United States quartet of Lanie Whittaker, Jessica Beard, Erica Alexander and Porsche Byrd set a world lead of 3:29.54 in the qualification of the women’s 4x400m.
The other heat was much slower, though did not lack drama. Ukraine came through strongly on the inside in the home straight to win with 3:37.12. Jamaica, in second off the curve, ended up fifth and missed out on a place in the final by 0.16 seconds.
Their male counterparts were not quite so emphatic, but they were the quickest so far this year with 3:05.25, led off by individual 400m winner Marcus Boyd. Britain and Jamaica won the other two heats.
In the men’s 110m hurdles semi-finals, Russian Konstantin Shabanov, the world No.1 this year, led the qualifiers on 13.41. Warren Weir of Jamaica, the equal fifth quickest in the semi-final line-up, finished last after hitting the fifth hurdle and failing to regain his momentum.
Paul Halford for the IAAF