Among many things, the Doha IAAF World Championships will be best remembered for breaking barriers and giving the Arab world one of its biggest sporting extravaganzas.
Qatar will of course host the showpiece football event – the FIFA World Cup in just over three years’ time, but before that the country has showed its efficiency by hosting a spectacular global sports event.
Last night, as the curtains came down at the Khalifa International Stadium after ten days of action packed with drama, extraordinary performances, world records and the emergence of new sporting heroes, Qatar’s reputation as a great sporting destination has been enhanced further.
IAAF President Sebastian Coe later described the Doha Worlds as the best in history in terms of the quality and depth of performances produced by the athletes of more than 200 nations and lauded Qatar’s efforts in creating best of the conditions.
“The world’s athletes have put on the best show in the history of the IAAF World Athletics Championships, according to the competition performance rankings which are used as an objective measure of the quality of international competition. These performances are incredible but credit must also go to the facilities and conditions provided by the host country. Doha has created conditions on the field of play and in the warm up that are unsurpassed," Coe said.
(From L to R) USA's Michael Cherry, Wilbert London, Rai Benjamin and Fred Kerley pose with their national flags after winning the Men's 4x400m Relay final at the 2019 IAAF Athletics World Championships at the Khalifa International stadium in Doha on Sunday.
On an action-packed all-finals show last night, the United States sealed their dominance in the track by clinching three more gold medals, taking their tally to 14. In total, the US athletes went home with 29 medals, of which 11 was in silver and four in bronze for their best result at a World Championships in 12 years. Kenya, thanks to their middle distance runners, finished second with 11 medals in total and Jamaica was third with 12.
The championships ended with 4x400 men’s and women’s relays, where US were comfortable winners. The American women comprising 400m champion Dalilah Muhammad and silver medallist Sydney McLaughlin, Phyllis Francis and Wadeline Jonathas set a world leading time to crusie to an easy win.
Francis, starting off the blocks, gave US a comfortable lead, as McLaughlin, Dalilah and Jonathas closed out the race in 3:18:92 seconds. Poland set a national record to take silver, while Jamaica took bronze.
The men’s relay played out in a similar pattern as the US team — Fred Kerley, Michael Cherry, Wilbert London and Rai Benjamin — finished more than a second clear of Jamaica in 2:56.69secs, with Belgium coming third.
The third gold on the night for US came in the women’s 100m hurdles with Nia Ali recording a personal best time of 12.34secs to edge past compatriot Kendra Harrison. The 2015 world champion Danielle Williams took bronze for Jamaica.
Ali, who earned 2016 Rio Olympic silver a year after having son, Titus, earned her first world title a year after having daughter, Yuri. She took a victory lap with both kids with four-year-old Titus running in his own lane.
Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, USA’s Allyson Felix and Chinese race walker Liu Hong had all won gold medals within a year or two of giving birth and now Ali has joined the ‘super mom’ list.
“It's super special. I have never won an outdoor world title. I am ecstatic. Shelly-Ann, Allyson, all the ladies who have come back from child birth are an inspiration for me and I am so excited to be able to pull of the world title,” Ali said.
Williams and Harrison went into the final as top contenders for the gold, but the 30-year-old Ali surprised the field by taking the lead at the half way stage. She then held on even as Harrison and Williams threatened to pass her. Jamaica’s Tobi Amusan was fourth in 12.49. It was just the second time in history, after the 1987 Worlds final, in which four women have bettered 12.50.
The men’s 5000m final was lopsided as it can get as Timothy Cheruiyot of Kenya stormed into a comfortable win in 3:29.27 secs. Cheruiyot led from gun to tape and finished more than two seconds clear of Algeria’s London Olympics 2012 champion Taoufik Makhloufi. Bronze went to European indoor champion Marcin Lewandowski in a Polish record of 3:31.46.
Nia Ali of the US celebrates winning gold with her child in the Women's 100 Metres Hurdles Final at the Khalifa International Stadium
Cheruiyot ended a run of silver medals as he had come second at the 2017 world championships and the last two African championships. Last night, the Kenyan knew he was miles better than the rest and ran a race that was beyond all of his rivals.
Cheruiyot said he took the initiative to avoid being jostled. "You see that there is a lot of pushing so we were trying to avoid the challenges," he said. "I felt the support of Kenyans in the crowd and it was amazing. The Olympic season is coming so I need to work harder."
Meanwhile, Germany's Malaika Mihambo added the long jump world title to her 2018 European gold. The world leader put on a dominating performance, with her winning jump of 7.30m coming in her third attempt. Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk of Ukraine was runner-up with a 6.92m jump, just a centimeter ahead of Nigerian Ese Brume.
"That was so amazing," said Mihambo, who added 14 centimetres to her career best. "It was a difficult competition but I'm really glad I came through. In training I don’t remember having managed a jump like that. Today I showed I am capable of such a great jump. I am over the moon. There was a really tight moment for me, that third attempt. The third attempt, it had to work. I told myself, ‘You have to make this one valid no matter what. And it worked,” the 25-year-old added.
Uganda's Joshua Cheptegei holds the national flag after winning the Men's 10,000m final at the 2019 IAAF Athletics World Championships at the Khalifa International stadium in Doha
In the men’s 10,000m, Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei won his first world title as Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha ran out of steam in the final sprint. Rhonex Kipruto added a bronze to Kenya's tally.
Cheptegei, who took silver behind Farah at 2017 Worlds, clocked 26:48.36, the world’s fastest time in five years.
In a surprise result, the men’s javelin throw gold went to Grenada's Anderson Peters. Magnus Kirt of Estonia settled for sliver after he injured his shoulder and was unable to take his final throw. Johannes Vetter won bronze for Germany.
The 21-year-old, who became Grenada’s second world champion after one-lap star Kirani James, took the lead in his very first throw of 86.89, which was not unsurpassed on the night.
World leader and Diamond League Trophy winner Magnus Kirt’s best throw was 86.21, while defending champion Johannes Vetter of Germany’s could only muster 85.37.
Peters, who was shocked at his gold medal winning distance, said: “I didn’t think 86m would be enough to win gold. I was up against 90m men throwing high 88s all season. I just believed in my coach and the work we did all season. I want to tell my fellow Grenadians that everybody can do it, if I can do it. It’s possible for everybody to become a world champion. You just have to want it as badly as I do.”
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