Two memorable doubles at the longest and shortest track distances highlighted Friday evening’s action at Luzhniki Stadium during the IAAF World Championships here in Moscow.
Mo Farah completed the 5000m and 10,000m double, only the second to win that double after Kenenisa Bekele in 2009. And then Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce took the women’s 200m to go with her title at 100m from Monday.
On the theme of doubles, there were three other back-to-back winners as German shot putter David Storl and Russian hammer thrower Tatyana Lysenko both successfully defended their World titles, while USA won yet another gold in the men’s 4x400m Relay.
Farah outguns the field
Mo Farah took his second distance title of the week when he won the 5000m over Hagos Gebrhiwet and Isiah Koech. Just as in the 10,000m, Farah was never really threatened until the closing lap, when the shorter distance left his competitors somewhat closer to his finishing speed. Farah, nonetheless, still found the race tactics well within his comfort zone, and was able to hold a lead of a stride or two all the way down the homestretch.
While Farah’s closest competition had come from Koech on the last lap, the Kenyan faded in the closing strides and was caught at the line by Gebrhiwet. In the end the finish was decided in Gebrhiwet’s favor, with both awarded the same time of 13:27.26. The difference between the two in the official timing turned out to be 0.001 – one thousandth of a second after twelve-and-a-half laps of running.
Fraser-Pryce close to perfection
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce delivered a 200m gold to match her 100m title in perfect style, leading almost out of the blocks, pulling clear coming out of the bend and untouchable down the homestretch. Fraser-Pryce’s winning time of 22.17 was a .15 lead over the silver and bronze medallists.
Just like in the 5000m, however, those medallists were given the same finishing time. This time the gap between Murielle Ahoure and Blessing Okagbare was six thousandths, a wider gap than in the 5000m. Ahoure, like Fraser-Pryce, duplicated her finish from the 100m.
A less happy result from the 200m was the injury of former multi-time champion Allyson Felix, who went down with a torn hamstring on the bend.
USA reclaims relay title
The closing event on the track was the men’s 4x400m Relay, where the US quartet reclaimed bragging rights they’d lost to the Bahamas last summer in London. It took two-and-a-half legs to really shake off the pursuit, but by the time the baton was passed to anchor LaShawn Merritt, the race was essentially over. With a 2:58.71 winning time, the gap was more than a second back to silver.
The battle for silver and bronze was hard-fought as Russia, buoyed by the roars of the crowd, pushed hard to defeat the quartets from Jamaica, Belgium, and Great Britain, all of whom took turns in medal positions.
The Russians, whose competitive pattern was to commit early to a fierce pace, were in second after the last exchange but were finally walked down by the Jamaican anchor on the homestretch. Silver was won by Jamaica in 2:59.88, to 2:59.90 for the Russians.
Hammer heroics from Lysenko
The heavily favoured Tatyana Lysenko took charge of the women’s Hammer Throw in the first round with a 77.58m and improved to a championship record of 78.80m in the fourth round.
That improvement was needed as Anita Wlodarczyk, who started more slowly than Lysenko, reached 78.46m in that same round, the second-best mark of the day but not enough to best Lysenko. Wlodarczyk settled for silver, with Zhang Wenxiu taking bronze with her 75.58m in that same round.
Most striking about the Hammer competition was the attention it was paid, however; each attempt by Lysenko or Wlodarczyk came with a roar of approval from the crowd watching for a Russian gold.
More Russian gold for Menkov
Aleksandr Menkov drew that same roar several times in the Long Jump final. The first time was in the third round, when he bounced out to 8.52m and took the lead for the first time. Menkov followed that mark with an 8.43m leap and finally a crowning 8.56m winning mark and national record in the fifth round, all three better than the 8.29m jump which took silver for Ignisious Gaisah in the fourth round.
In bronze was Luis Rivera at 8.27m, a mark he set in the fifth round of a wild competition which saw rankings and the medal picture changing with nearly every jump. Rivera’s bronze is Mexico’s first medal in a field event.
It’s an astounding day in the field when the men’s Shot Put final ranks under the women’s Hammer and the men’s Long Jump, but that competition began as the Hammer Throw was wrapping up and never managed to claim the full attention of the crowd enjoyed by the women.
Defending champion David Storl took command in the fourth round with a 21.73m heave which was initially flagged as a foul but, upon examination, allowed to stand. The leader to that point, USA’s Ryan Whiting couldn’t improve on his 21.57m toss from the first round, and took silver while Dylan Armstrong won Canada’s fourth medal with his 21.34m mark in the fifth round.
Parker Morse for the IAAF
Fri Aug 16
AM 10,289 spectators
PM 28,608 spectators (44,608)**
After the conclusion of Day 7 (6 evening sessions):
Total PM attendance: 185,109 + 96,000** = 281,109
** Moscow 2013 stadium configuration:
Fri Aug 16 - 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).