Steven Hooker of Australia celebrates his gold medal in the Pole Vault (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News 13 March 2010 – Doha, Qatar

Doha 2010 - Day of the Defenders - Day Two Wrap

Doha, Qatar The second day of action at the Aspire Dome in Doha featured the Championships' first medals, two World record attempts (though unsuccessful ones), and enough high drama to keep a triple squad of Ethiopian distance running fans riveted... by the Long Jump.

The day started with the Pentathlon and the medals started with the Heptathlon. Jessica Ennis of Great Britain got a strong start in the 60m Hurdles, scoring 1120 points, and extended her lead through the High Jump until, with the Shot Put over, there was speculation about a World record. Ennis would need a 2:08 800m to pull it off after the Long Jump, and she made a go at it, but in the end could not hold on to that pace. She finished with gold, scoring 4937 points and setting a new championships record to beat Carolina Kluft's 4933 from 2003. The mark moved Ennis up to fourth all-time.

The day did not start so well for defending Heptathlon champion Bryan Clay, who was leading after the first day but had a rough 60m Hurdles race to start the second. With pursuit close behind, Clay held himself to the fire in the sixth event, the Pole Vault. He matched the heights of his closest pursuers, Trey Hardee and Andrei Krauchanka, and then held on through the 1000m to claim his fourth Heptathlon medal and second gold. Clay, who was second in 2004 and 2006, took the first gold medal of these championship.

Hooker – two vaults to victory

Steve Hooker used only two vaults, clearances at 5.70m and 5.80m, to maneuver Malte Mohr into a corner in the men's Pole Vault. With the rest of the field disposed of at 5.65m and Hooker now over 5.80m, Mohr took a chance in passing to 5.85m and found he had bitten off more than he could chew. After Mohr finished, Hooker cleared 6.01m to chip a centimetre off Sergey Bubka's Championships record, then made three attempts at Bubka's World Record, attempting 6.16m. None of the attempts were particularly close, but after Hooker's injury-plagued 2009 it was enough to see him attempting the record heights.

Cantwell remains the Big Shot

Speaking of records, a wild men's shot put final saw national records for Canada and Poland (Dylan Armstrong at 21.39m and Tomasz Majewski at 21.20m, respectively), neither of which were enough for a medal. Christian Cantwell instead put in his reservation for the gold medal with a 21.60m toss in the first round. He held that lead until the 5th round, when Andrei Mikhnevich tossed the ball 21.68m and pushed Cantwell back. Cantwell roared back in the sixth round with a towering 21.83m heave, a mark for which Mikhnevich had no answer. Cantwell, with previous wins in 2004 and 2008, becomes the first man ever to win three indoor Shot Put titles.

Long wait over for Jones who hurdles into the US record books

Lolo Jones marked up another championship record in the women's 60m hurdles. After two frustrating heats where she barely advanced - in the earlier semi-finals Jones was so off-balance she stepped out of her lane twice - Jones finally put together a smooth race. It paid off with a 7.72 clocking, making her the third-fastest all-time, succeeding Gail Devers as the US record holder, and putting her well ahead of Perdita Felicien and Priscilla Lopes-Schliep in tonight’s final.

Jones was followed on the track by the men's 60m, which went to last year's silver medalist Dwain Chambers. Chambers' 6.48 dash put him head and shoulders ahead of the field.

Several other Saturday evening finals turned out nearly as wild as the Shot Put final.

The men's Long Jump started out at a pedestrian pace and stayed that way until only four jumps remained, with Fabrice LaPierre using his third, fourth and fifth jumps to push himself out into the lead with a best mark of 8.17m. Then Godfrey Mokoena, the defending champion, leapt from fourth into the medals with an 8.08m jump. He bumped Michael Watt out of the medals, but Watt leapfrogged Salim Sdiri, second at the start of the round but fourth after Watt jumped 8.05m to re-take bronze. Sdiri tried, but failed, to jump back into the medals, and then the gold was assured to LaPierre. An Australian 1-3.

Record fourth straight for Defar

The women's 3000m was a crowd favorite, as again a boisterous crew of Ethiopians was distributed across three sections of the stadium. They stood and cheered from the start of the introductions to long after the medal ceremony, and their patience was rewarded when defending champion Meseret Defar finally broke from the pack and sprinted for home. Defar's sprint wasn't as dominating as it sometimes is, but it was fast enough to hold off Vivian Cheruiyot and that was enough for Defar. After crossing the line she grinned and jumped up and down with pure, undisguised joy.

Mekonnen defends at 1500m

The men's 1500m final also went to an Ethiopian favorite, Deresse Mekonnen, who managed to stay clear of the jostling and stumbling which so often goes along with a championship 1500m. Mekonnen covered every move and had the speed remaining finally to top the late-race charge of a pair of Moroccans, Amine Laalou and Abdalaati Iguider. Iguider held on for silver but Laalou faded and Haron Keitany came in for bronze at the finish line.

Brown and Dunn take 400m crowns

The men's 400m had to be called to their blocks twice after the raucous crowd proved to loud for the first attempted start. Once the start was clean, the rest of the race was rough; first the runners tangled trying to reach the rail after the break, then when Chris Brown of the Bahamas, first to the rail, began running away on the backstretch, Bershawn Jackson and David Gillick, the closest pursuers, tangled again and almost came to a stop. William Collazo took advantage of the confusion to get past and grab the silver medal behind Brown; Jamaal Torrence took bronze, and Gillick, eventually, was disqualified.

The women's 400m was, fortunately, slightly less rough, though Tatyana Firova tangled with Novlene Williams-Mills after the 200m mark and Williams-Mills stepped off the track entirely. Debbie Dunn won the race to the break and held on for the victory in 51.04.

After Osaka, Valencia and Berlin, Vlasic conquers Doha

Blanka Vlasic won another High Jump title by clearing 2.00m when Ruth Beitia and Chaunte Howard Lowe could not. Vlasic then put the bar to 2.05m, which would match the championship record, but missed that three times. The women's Triple Jump went to Olga Rypakova, who set a national record for Kazakhstan and, in fact, an Asian record at 15.14m.

Parker Morse for the IAAF