From its very start, the world athletic championship at Beijing has been dominated by the rivalry between Jamaica’s Usain Bolt and USA’s Justin Gatlin. Both of them have been on the field on every day and the spotlight has remained fixated on them. On the fourth day, however, two other athletes seized the attention away from Bolt and Gatlin by their superb performances. David Rudisha ran a great 800m race and took the gold in emphatic fashion. The same thing happened in case of Great Britain’s Greg Rutherford, who expectedly took the long jump gold medal in a rich field. Tuesday at the IAAF Athletics World Championships was also remarkable for Kenya’s Nicholas Bett, who won the men’s 400-metre hurdles. In women’s events, Denia Caballero of Cuba won the discus from Croatia’s world champion Sandra Perkovic while Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba was too strong in the 1500 meters.
Bolt and Gatlin were seen for the 200m heats and hogged the crowd’s attention. They will be seen over the next two days as well, when the 200m semifinals and final take place. But Kenya’s David Rudisha took the center-stage, when men’s 800m final took place. The previews before the start of the race indicated that Bosnia’s Amel Tuka was the favorite but as they started off, Rudisha controlled a slow and tactical race and kept his opponents under check. Critics said that the Kenyan was helped by the absence of Botswana’s Nijel Amos and the Ethiopian defending world champion Mohamed Aman, both of whom failed to make the final at Beijing. But Rudisha had won the World Championship gold medal in South Korean city of Daegu in 2011 and also in 2012 London Olympics. He failed to defend the Daegu title at 2013 Moscow but despite the absence of Amos and Aman, Rudisha still faced threats from Bosnia’s Amel Tuka, Poland’s Adam Kszczot and his own compatriot Ferguson Rotich, who beat Rudisha in Kenyan trials. Rudisha completed the first 400m in 54.17s and until then Rotich was running shoulder to shoulder. With 300 meters remaining, Rudisha changed gears and glided away. In the final 120 meters, Rudisha could not be caught as he coasted the final lap in 51.67s and won the gold. Meanwhile, Rotich was overtaken by Kszczot and Tuka, who took the silver and bronze respectively.
In men’s long jump, Great Britain’s Greg Rutherford added the world championship title to his 2012 London Olympic win. The winner of European and Commonwealth golds showed his true class at Beijing on Tuesday. He leapt through 8.29 meters on his second jump and created a safety net for himself. He pushed hard in following jumps and extended his lead with an effort of 8.41m. No one could match that distance and Rutherford was the runaway winner. The silver was taken by Australian Fabrice Lapierre and bronze went to China’s Jianan Wang.
Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba was too strong in women’s 1500m and moved ahead of everyone with two laps remaining. The 24-year-old world record holder and the indoor world champion in 2012; outpaced the field in a solitary splendor to win the World Championship gold in 4:08.09 minutes. Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon won the silver in 4:08.96 and Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan took bronze in 4:09.34.
In men’s 400m hurdles, Kenya’s Nicholas Bett shocked his rivals by a stunning victory. USA’s Michael Tinsley was the favorite but he lost speed on a couple of hurdles on the way in the final bend. Bett seized his chance by surging through on the outside before winning the race in 47.79 seconds. Russia’s Denis Kudryavtsev took the silver and the bronze went to Bahrain’s Jeffery Gibson.
Croatia’s Sandra Perkovic suffered disappointment in women’s discus. Cuba’s Denia Caballero hurled her implement through 69.28 meters and was a comfortable victor over Perkovic. It was a bad day for the Croat woman as she could only manage 67.39 meters to win silver while the bronze was won by Germany’s Nadine Muller, who hurled the put to 65.53 meters. In men’s 200m heats, Bolt and Gatlin reached the semifinals with unassailable leads in their respective heats. They have now come to a point of another showdown on Thursday, when men’s 200m will be contested. Gatlin was faster than Bolt but that doesn’t matter since Bolt won the 100m, when Gatlin was faster in semifinals of 100m two days ago.
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