Monday, August 24, 2015

Beijing Buzz - Monday Evening, 8/24 - Day 3

5 Finals, 5 Scintillating Competitions

Tonight’s women’s triple jump final featured longtime rivals Caterine Ibarguen (COL) and Olga Rypakova (KZ). Ibarguen won her second consecutive World title with a season’s best 14.90/48’10 ¾”, while Rypakova was edged by a centimeter for silver by Israel’s Hanna Knyazyeva-Minenko, who became that country’s first woman to medal at Worlds. Giants of the event Olga Saladukha (UKR) and Ekaterina Koneva (RUS) were surprise 6th and 7th place finishers.

The men’s steeple was a disappointment for American Evan Jager, who faded to 6th in his much heralded quest for a medal. Kenya swept the top four positions and surprising Dan Huling (US) sprinted by Jager to claim 5th.  

Ezekiel Kemboi won his 4th consecutive World steeple title. In one of the greatest distance running careers of all-time, Kemboi, who won the Olympics in 2004 and 2012, made up for his 2008 Beijing 7th in fine style tonight. In addition to his 6 major meet golds, he also won World silvers in 2003, 2005, and 2007.

Canadian and University of Akron student Shawn Barber won the bronze medal at the World Junior Championships 3 years ago. Today he turned dragon slayer as he fended off some of the world’s greatest track and field stars and won the pole vault in 5.90/19’4 ¼”.

Raphael Holzdeppe (GER) prolonged the suspense by clearing 5.90 on his final try, but the 2013 champion could not improve on that height and gold was Barber’s. Bronze medalist Renaud Lavillenie, the IAAF and Track and Field News 2014 world athlete of the year, failed in his second consecutive bid to win a World outdoor title.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won the women’s 100m in 10.76 to join Usain Bolt as Jamaican World 100m champ. Dafne Schippers (NED) set a Dutch national record of 10.81 in winning silver.

Visibly moved by her achievement, Schippers, who rose to prominence only a year ago with her 100/200 double in the European Championships, sealed her position in the top ranks of sprinters with her first major meet medal. Fetchingly, she used the Dutch flag as a handkerchief to wipe away tears. Torie Bowie (US) finished 3rd in 10.86; her bronze is her first major meet medal as well.

The women’s 10,000m was unlike any run at this level for some time. That is, there was a pack of 7 with one lap to go. No Tirunesh Dibaba running a victory lap before the race was over - and three Americans were in the mix. The sprint was on and was won by Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot in 31:41.31. Ethiopia’s Geleta Burka took silver, and what happened next was painful to watch.

Molly Huddle (US) appeared ready to cap her magnificent career with bronze, but she seemed unaware of teammate Emily Infeld, who was in 4th and closing fast. Huddle drifted to the outside, and she failed to protect lane one and force Infeld to go around her. Huddle raised her arms in triumph a step short of the finish line – and Infeld rushed by on the inside to grab bronze by .09 of a second.

Remember, ya always gotta protect the infield.

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