Just over a week ago the 3rd IAAF World Athletics Final took place in Monaco, and was surely the best ever, especially in terms of the numbers, providing a fitting farewell to the principality as this World Athletics Series event moves to Stuttgart, Germany, which will host the next edition in September 2005.
Qualification for the Final was based on the IAAF World Rankings, with the top seven athletes (top 11 in distance running events) automatically invited, and the 8th (12th for distance running events) position filled by invitation.
After all, the intent to gather the ‘best of the best’ turned out to be successful and - as a sign of prestige - out of the 34 newly crowned World Champions who were invited to Monaco, 30 of them turned up to compete, a very impressive 88%. Furthermore, 86% of all medallists from Helsinki were on show in the Principality, not to mention 20 reigning Olympic champions, providing many outstanding performances over the two days of competition.
There were a number of events, such as the men’s 110m Hurdles and Discus Throw, women’s Pole Vault, 800m, 100m and 200m where the field virtually matched that from Helsinki. The World Athletics Final presented an opportunity to take revenge for thosewho had not won in Helsinki and for the newly crowned champions a chance to reiterate that they were the best.
On the men’s side, Cuban Victor Moya (High Jump) and Ethiopian Sileshi Sihine (5000m) and USA’s Brad Walker (Pole Vault), and in the women’s events, USA’s Sanya Richards (400m) and Lashinda Demus(400m Hurdles), Jamaican Veronica Campbell (100m), Meseret Defar of Ethiopia over 5000m and Russian Tatyana Kotova in the Long Jump, all finished one better in Monaco than at the World Championships, and at the same time improving their Rankings positions.
If you look at it from a different angle, 17 Event Rankings leaders won their disciplines in Monaco, while 6 new Event Rankings leaders arose from the competition as result of their good performances. Although the season had been long, no less than 28 athletes posted a season’s best mark, with 6 of them reaching personal bests.
Overall the 3rd World Athletics Final in Monaco presented the best athletes in the world, who turned in some of the best performances of the year, ending season long rivalries on a high note.
Andras Szabo for the IAAF