Track is my field: Mark Cullen's international track and field website featuring storytelling, commentary, and predictions and event analyses for the Olympics and World Championships. I'll be writing from the 2018 European Championships in Berlin in August. I'm active on Facebook and Twitter: @trackerati.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Beijing Buzz - Saturday Evening, 8/22

Kenya vs Portland – and Portland wins!

With nine laps to go in the men’s 10,000m race, it was Kenya vs the Independent Republic of Portland. Mo Farah and Galen Rupp led the charge for their respective countries, Great Britain and the United States, as well as their Portland based Nike Oregon Project. With one lap to go and Rupp in 3rd, it looked like Farah and Rupp would go 1-3, possibly even 1-2. But while Farah used his trademark kick to hold off Kenya’s new star, Geoffrey Kamworor, Rupp faded badly at the top of the backstretch and slowed to a jog to the finish line when he knew his 5th place was assured.

Kenya employed terrific team tactics in an effort to end Farah’s World, Olympic, and Prefontaine Classic reign as 10,000m king. Silver medalist Geoffrey Kamworor said, “We worked as a team trying to beat Mo Farah, but he is a tough guy to beat. I learned a lot from this race, it was very tactical, very slow from the beginning but getting faster and faster.”

Paul Tanui said of his bronze medal performance, “It was a hard race, a very tactical race. But the Kenyan team worked together very well from the first lap until the very end. I will celebrate this medal with my family.”

Mo Farah’s gold hung in the balance when he stumbled and almost fell on the last lap. “I nearly went down, but I managed to stay on my feet, thank God, and win the race.” Farah noted that he is here without his family. “I do it for my family and the people behind me, for my wife and my kids. My wife is expecting, soon, another baby is on the way.”

A few additional Day #1 Evening notes:

Women’s shot put: the form charts held true as the standings after the morning qualifying rounds held up in the evening. Christina Schwanitz won by a narrow margin over China’s Lijiao Gong, 20.37m – 20.30m (66’ 10” vs 66’ 7 ¼”). Michelle Carter (US) won bronze.

Men’s 400m hurdles: Bershawn Jackson was today’s stunner in any event. The US champion and co-favorite began to lose his form down the homestretch and stutter-stepped badly over the last hurdle. He finished a startling non-qualifying 7th in his heat. He was hoping to celebrate his 2005 Helsinki win when he was 20 years old with a repeat performance here.

Men’s 100m
Here’s my summary of this evening’s men’s 100m qualifying:

Usain Bolt (Jam) cruised to a win in his heat and qualified for the semi-finals in 9.96.
Asafa Powell (Jam) cruised to a win in his heat and qualified for the semi-finals in 9.95.
Jimmy Vicault (Fra) cruised to a win in his heat and qualified for the semi-finals in 9.92.
Trayvon Bromell (US) cruised to a win in his heat and qualified for the semi-finals in 9.91.
Justin Gatlin (US) cruised to a win in his heat and qualified for the semi-finals in 9.83.

In other words, we didn’t learn a lot we didn’t already know.
Semis and finals tomorrow.
Bolt vs Gatlin.

We ought to learn a lot more.


  1. Mark, we could see on TV that Rupp was pretty badly spiked in that last lap; I suppose that could've made a

  2. Many thanks for letting me know... spiking wasn't evident in the stadium so this helps give his last lap the context it needs. Appreciate your taking the time to write.