MonteCarloFinland’s Tero Pitkämäki provided the highlight of day two of the 3rd IAAF World Athletics Final (WAF) when he produced one of the longest throws ever seen to win the men’s Javelin Throw competition. Otherwise it was a day of American dominance on the track, some close finishes in the field and another meeting without a World record for Yelena Isinbayeva.
Already the sixth furthest thrower of all-time, thanks to his 91.53m in June this year, Pitkämäki cemented his growing reputation with the third 90m-plus throw of his young career. The 22-year-old unleashed his spear out to a 91.33 in the second round and that was easily enough to win the competition.
Pitkämäki knew it at the moment of release and was rewarded with a WAF record and some recompense for missing out on a medal in Helsinki. The Finn duly backed up his win with 85.14 and 87.88m throws.
“I made up for Helsinki,” he said. “I did not expect to throw the javelin so far although the weather was good and I knew I was still in good shape. I will come back next year ready to win the gold at the European Championships.”
That won’t be easy, however, as Olympic gold medallist Andreas Thorkildsen was also on great form. The Norwegian broke his own national record in the third round with 89.60, a huge improvement on his previous best of 87.75.
Russia’s Sergey Makarov, the 2003 World champion, finished third with 86.69, while the great Czech Jan Zelezny was fourth with his best performance of the season, 83.90.
More success for Isinbayeva but no record this time
It was no surprise that Yelena Isinbayeva completed her near-perfect season at the World Athletics Final in Monaco this afternoon by adding another dollop of dosh to her year’s earnings. The only shock was that it was only $30,000 for the win as she couldn’t add the now expected world record for an extra $100,000.
It was an easy victory for the World and Olympic champion but she was unable to follow it with her tenth World record of 2005.
Isinbayeva took just three jumps to win the competition. Having cleared 4.62 she needed two attempts at 4.74 where Poland’s Monika Pyrek failed. She then had three goes at the new world figures of 5.02, but none of them were close.
Pyrek was second with 4.62 and Russia’s Tatyana Polnova was third with a vault of 4.50.
Millionaire is defeated in the Triple Jump
Unlike Isinbayeva, million dollar triple jumper Tatyana Lebedeva couldn’t maintain her year’s unbeaten record. The Russian who has won all eight of the competitions she’s contested this year – including all six of the lucrative TDK Golden League meetings – had to be satisfied with second behind Olympic silver medallist Chrisopiyi Devetzi.
The Greek produced a season’s best of 14.89 to win, three centimetres further than Lebedeva. Cuba’s world silver medallist Yargelis Savigne was third with 14.81, relegating World champion Trecia Smith of Jamaica to fourth.
Double for Defar
Ethiopia’s Meserat Defar completed a memorable distance double when she added the WAF 3000m title to the 5000m she won last night. The Olympic 5000m champion again showed wonderful finishing speed over the last lap to beat her rivals, clocking 8:47.26.
Another Ethiopian, Gelete Burika Baiti, was second in 8:48.65 with Tanzania’s Zakia Mrisho Mohamed third in 8:49.63.
Sihine in Bekele’s absence
Sileshi Sihine underlined Ethiopia’s dominance of the distance events winning a slow 5000m in 13:39.40. In the absence of World record holder Kenenisa Bekele, no one could live with Sihine’s finishing speed, although Uganda’s Boniface Kiprop hung on for second in 13:40.03 and Kenya’s Isaac Songok took third in 13:40.24.
Catalayud sets record
In the women’s 800m, Zulia Catalayud demonstrated the superb form that brought her a World gold medal in Helsinki. The Cuban again judged her race perfectly, gliding onto the leaders’ shoulders with 200m to go and striding away down the home straight for a classic win.
She was rewarded with a WAF record of 1:59.07. Morocco’s Hasna Benhassi was second in 1:59.86 and Spain’s Mayte Martinez third.
Heshko takes a repeat win
The men’s middle distance races went to Ukraine’s Ivan Heshko and Kenya’s Wilfred Bungei. Heshko repeated his 1500m win from last year in a WAF record of 3:33.50 ahead of Bernard Lagat, winner of the 3000m last night. And Bungei won a ponderous 800m in 1:47.05.
Elsewhere on the track it was largely a case of US triumph.
World champion Bershawn Jackson won the 400m Hurdles in 48.05, just four hundredths ahead of Jamaica’s Kemel Thompson, while both the sprint Hurdles also went to US athletes.
Johnson remains motivated
Former World and Olympic champion Allen Johnson found some compensation for his Helsinki bronze in the men’s race. The 34-year-old out-dipped the in-form Dominique Arnold in a WAF record 13.09.
“It was a very tough year for the hurdles with so many strong competitors,” said Johnson. “Every competition is like a World Championships final. I am happy that I came out healthy and am still motivated to continue until Beijing 2008.”
Arnold was a hundredth behind his compatriot, while Terrence Trammell completed an American 1, 2, 3 in 13.17. World champion and crowd-favourite Ladji Doucouré had a disappointing race, finishing in sixth in 13.27.
Perry once more
The women’s race went to Michelle Perry who confirmed her standing as the best sprint hurdler of the year. The World champion dipped ahead of the World silver medallist Brigitte Foster-Hylton in 12.54. Foster-Hylton was marginally ahead at the final hurdle but lost out on the line by one hundredth of a second, while fellow Jamaican Delloreen Ennis-London was third in 12.57 – both of them running their quickest races of the year.
Felix times run to perfection
Allyson Felix reproduced her magnificent Helsinki form to win the women’s 200m in a WAF record, 22.27. Felix timed her surge to perfection, just as she had in the world championships final, striding past France’s Christine Arron and Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell in the home straight in her now familiar graceful style.
Arron had the edge with 50 metres to go but again faltered in the closing stages, tying up as Felix and Campbell came past her. Campbell clocked 22.37 for second – only two hundredths outside her best of the year – while Arron slipped to third in 22.43.
“It has been a long season, but this year I learned a lot from competing consistently on the European circuit,” said Felix. “Next year I aim to run under 22 seconds.”
Richards pips Williams-Darling
USA’s second-day successes continued when Sanya Richards won a thrilling women’s 400m by just two hundredths of a second from world champion Tonique Williams-Darling in 49.52.
The whole season has been a battle between these two athletes and while the Bahaman came out on top in Helsinki it’s the 20 year-old American whose had the most victories. She owed this one to a well-timed attack and the fact that Williams-Darling ran out of a steam after a blistering first 200m.
“This win against Tonique means a lot to me,” said Richards. “It was a hard and very close race but it’s been a great year for me. I jumped from number six in the world to being one of the two best athletes.”
“I missed the victory on the line,” said the rueful Williams-Darling. “I’m tired but it was a good race. The back straight was great and I have second place.”
Behind them, USA’s DeeDee Trotter won the fight for minor places as she finished third in 50.64.
Phillips and Nelson take charge
There were US victories in the field too as Dwight Phillips stamped his authority on the Long Jump in the first round and Adam Nelson took charge in the Shot Put.
Phillips leapt to a WAF record of 8.46 which proved good enough to beat fellow American Miguel Pate (8.30) and Jamaica’s James Beckford (8.28), while Nelson followed suit by also producing a WAF record in the first round.
Nelson’s opening effort of 21.92 was his best of the year, a mark only John Godina has beaten in 2005.
“I have no sponsorship so I rely on prize money to continue my career,” said the American had made no secret of his motivation to win the $30,000 prize. “It was special to win today in the last meeting of the year.”
Denmark’s Joachim Olsen came within a metre of Nelson, hitting 21.03 in the third round, good enough for second place, while USA’s Reese Hoffa was third with 20.87.
Sadova beats Dietzsch
Russia’s Natalya Sadova won a low-key women’s Discus with 63.40, relegating German World champion Franka Dietzsch to second. Sadova led from round one and produced her wining throw in the second. Dietzsch’s best was 61.91 while USA’s Aretha Thurmond was third with 60.68. These were the only three athletes to throw over 60 metres.
The men’s High Jump was a higher quality affair. The victory went to Cuba’s Victor Moya who jumped two personal bests to beat Russia’s 1999 World champion Vyacheslav Voronin. Moya was in fourth after clearing a pb 2.32 with his third attempt but went on to clear 2.35, four centimetres above his previous best before today.
Photo decides dash
The meeting ended with a photo-finish in the men’s 100m. Trinidad’s Marc Burns was given the verdict in 10.00, just one hundredth ahead of Ghana’s Aziz Zakari and Jamiaca’s Dwight Thomas. Zakari was given second while Thomas, who had celebrated victory as he crossed the line, had to be satisfied with third.
Matthew Brown for the IAAF