As arguably still the biggest draw of any major event, American Christian Coleman destroyed the field to win 100m Gold in the sixth-fastest time of all-time clocking 9.76, ahead of dethroned champion Justin Gatlin and Canada’s Andre de Grasse, on Day 2 of the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar.
With the American the fastest man in the world coming into the championships, Coleman stated his intentions earlier in the semi-finals, clocking a stunning 9.88 as the only man to go sub ten seconds in the same three semis’, that saw Mike Rodgers, Jimmy Vicaut and Britain’s Adam Gemili in failing to reach the Blue-Riband event.
Then as the lights dropped for the showpiece spectacle, Coleman then proved a class above to romp to victory. Gatlin takes huge credit – like him or loathe him – claiming another world medal, with De Grasse, who won his earlier semi-final, taking rewards for a solid return from injury this season.
Britain’s Zharnel Hughes finished outside of the medals in sixth, clociking 10.03. The likes of Yohan Blake, Akani Simbine and Aaron Brown also came in well down the field.
Hassan storms to 10,000m Gold
Before the main event of the evening was decided, Sifan Hassan lived up to her billing as the best distance runner on the globe, pulling away from Letesenbet Gidey over the final 400m, winning 10,000m Gold.
In what could be a golden double for the Dutch athlete, Hassan timed her race to perfection to beat a seven-woman group that peeled away from the field, as Kenya’s Helen Obiri took on the pace from an early stage, with as African counterparts including Gidey, Agnes Tirop and Senbere Teferi pulling away from the field to decide the medals.
Gidey went to her legs in an attempt to take Hassan out of contention with four laps to go, but Hassan overhauled her foe and raced away from her rival and former nation birth, to take the second gold of the Doha 2019.
Hassan must now decide whether to go for the double in the 5000m, or look to the 1500m instead, in which she broke the Mile world record earlier this year. Should Hassan accomplish the latter, she will complete a rarely-seen feat as champion at both middle and long distances in a single world meet.
In the women’s 100 heats, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce placed a firm reminder to the heavyweight field assembled in Doha, that she is the one to beat for the title, running a scintillating 10.80 time in the opening heat – the fastest in a major world championships.
The Jamaican, who has at times looked at her very best this season following her return from maternity – emblazoned with yellow hair to represent her nation’s colours – laid down an emphatic marker and blasted out of the blocks to race away from the field in typically dominant style.
Rivals to the throne Marie-Josee Ta Lou also ran 10.85 on a visibly fast track, with Dina Asher-Smith qualifying third fastest with 10.97 – again running under 11 seconds.
Fellow Britons Daryl Neita and Imani Lansiquot progressed into the semi-final also – the latter squeaking through in a fastest loser’s place – but like defending champion from London Torii Bowie, has her work cut out to make the next step in Doha.
Asha Philip however, ran a disappointing race and finished fifth in her heat, with Blessing Okagbare dealing another blow Nigeria’s sprint team, pulling out of her race before it began.
Olympic champion Elaine Thompson also booked her spot but will have to improve markedly on her 11.15 time, as will London 200m champion Dafne Schippers, who whilst using the event as preparation to defend her crown, will still expect to make the final.
Hurdles showdown set
After weeks of build-up to the men’s 400m hurdles battle in Doha, all the pieces are in place for Monday’s final, with the exception of Kyron McMaster who was disqualified, after initially finishing third.
Following his stumble on a barrier, the British Virgin Islands’ athlete was deemed to have not landed a foot correctly after stumbling on an early hurdle, in what was an all-round scrappy semi.
There were no such issues for Karsten Warholm who ran 48.29 far within himself, as seemingly did Rai Benjamin and Abderrahman Samba, who enjoyed an an early face-off in the final semi, with the American coming out on top on this occasion.
Qatar’s best chance of a home gold in these championships will be roared on in 48 hours time in Doha, and what in could be a memorable race, the pieces are set, with the already simmering pot ready to boil over on Monday night.
Wilson set for 800m battle
As the women’s 800m reached the semi-finals, American Ajee Wilson was given food for thought for the final in two day’s time, with Uganda’s Halimah Nakaayi running a season’s best time of under two minutes, to finish fastest into Monday’s final.
Whilst the four-time Diamond League winner this season ran a controlled race to qualify, Halimah’s compatriot Winnie Nanyondo also looked in ominous from together with Wilson’s teammate Raeyvn Rogers, as favourite Wilson now has much to ponder.
Having seen Lynsey Sharp fail to qualify from the heats, both Shelayna Oskan-Clark and Alex Bell also fell by the wayside for Team GB, as a visibly exhausted Oskan-Clarke stumbled multiples times and again on the home straight.
The men began their qualification progress and with the news of the withdrawal of Nijel Amos due to ongoing problems with his achilles, American Donovan Brazier is now regarded by many as the man to beat.
Ferguson Rotich and Emmanuel Korir will have other ideas in the destination of the world title, as will the British trio of Elliot Giles, Jamie Webb and Kyle Langford who all made it through their heats, with Giles impressing, running the fourth fastest qualifying time.
Day 3 of the 2019 World Athletics Championships continue on Sunday, beginning with the heats of the men’s 200m at 6:05 pm UK time.
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