EUGENE: Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey upstaged Dutch star Sifan Hassan to win the women’s 10,000m at the World Championships in Oregon on Saturday while Poland’s Pawel Fajdek claimed his fifth world title in the men’s hammer throw. All eyes in the 10,000m were on Hassan, who produced a stunning 1500m-10,000m double at the 2019 world championships in Doha before winning 5000m and 10,000m gold and 1500m bronze at last year’s Olympics in Tokyo.
But the Ethiopian-born Dutch runner left herself with too much do with 200 metres to go and world record holder Gidey held her nerve for an impressive win. Kenya’s Hellen Obiri and teammate Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi claimed silver and bronze, Hassan finishing just off the pace in fourth. The victory left Gidey dreaming of more success at Eugene’s Hayward Field. “I have the next dream now – to win the gold at 5000m… I am very confident now,” she said.
Hassan insisted she was happy with the result, saying she had taken an eight-month lay-off from running in the wake of three years of non-stop training around Doha and Tokyo. “I couldn’t get a medal, but still I’m really happy with the result,” she said In the field, it was business as usual as Fajdek claimed his fifth world title, stretching his remarkable record with a winning throw of 81.98 metres on this third effort.
That was 95cm ahead of compatriot and great rival Wojciech Nowicki, the reigning Olympic champion, while Norway’s Eivind Henriksen took bronze. “This was the competition which matters the most this year so I am glad that the major gold is in my hand for the fifth time,” said Fajdek. “Now, we have to get back to do the next hard job towards the next championships” in Budapest next year.
In a packed morning of qualifiers featuring a bevvy of stars, most negotiated their way through to further rounds. Most eyes were on Norway’s Karsten Warholm, who produced one of the greatest Olympic track performances of all time last year when he smashed the 29-year-old world record to win the 400m hurdles at the Tokyo Games in a time of 45.94sec. But the 26-year-old pulled up injured at the Diamond League meet in Rabat in early June with a “muscle fibre tear” in a hamstring, something he dubbed a “personal disaster”.
Doubts had been raised over his true fitness level, but the Norwegian vowed this week he was at 100% and looked comfortable as he coasted through his heat in his bid to bag a third consecutive world title. “I felt things were under control, had a steady race. No pain so that’s a good sign. I feel I did everything I wanted,” said Warholm. Joining him in Sunday’s semi-finals will be American Rai Benjamin and Brazil’s Alison Dos Santos, the silver and bronze medalists in Tokyo.
Venezuelan Yulimar Rojas, the Olympic champion seeking a third consecutive world title, made short work of triple jump qualification, soaring to 14.72m on her first attempt to guarantee herself an automatic place in Monday’s final. Americans Grant Holloway, the reigning world champion, and Devon Allen, who will join up with the Philadelphia Eagles as a wide receiver after the worlds, qualified for Sunday’s 100m hurdles semi-finals with ease.
US champion Daniel Roberts, however, crashed out. Also sailing through qualifying was outspoken Ukrainian high jumper Yaroslava Mahuchikh, who justified the absence of three-time defending champion Mariya Lasitskene by claiming athletics had no place for “Russian killers” in light of Moscow’s invasion of her homeland. Saturday’s evening session at Hayward Field see the semi-finals and final (0250 GMT) of the men’s 100m, as well as finals in the men’s long jump and women’s shot put. – AFP