The first day of the World Athletics Championship was highlighted by an unknown marathon runner Ghirmay Ghebreselassie, who left behind a strong field of marathoners from East Africa. The Eritrean teenager not only became the youngest man to win the World Championship marathon but he brought the first gold for his nation in the World’s. Great Britain’s Mo Farah won his second consecutive World Championship Gold Medal in 10000m to equal the records of two past greats; Haile Gebrselassie and Kenenisa Bekele. It was also the sixth gold medal won by Farah in the World Championships. In other events on first day, 16 pole-vaulters cleared the automatic qualifying height of 5.70m in a competition that is likely to see intense rivalry between Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie and defending champion Germany’s Raphael Holzdeppe. Germany’s Christina Schwanitz won the women’s shot put Gold in the absence of defending champion Valerie Adams of New Zealand. Jamaican super-sprinter Usain Bolt eased into the 100m semifinals and will look forward to winning the gold in Sunday evening’s final. In the World Championship’s most open event, the 800m, all favorite runners made the cut for Sunday’s semifinal with impressive timings in their heats.
The script on the first day of 5th IAAF World Athletics Championships in Beijing, belonged to Eritrean teenager Ghirmay Ghebreselassie. The 19-year old Ghebreselassie bagged the honor of becoming the youngest ever marathon world champion, when he stunned a strong field of East African marathoners to win the first gold medal at Beijing on Saturday. The Eritrean broke away from the pack with 6 kilometers left in the 42.195 Km race and crossed the line in 2 hours, 12 minutes and 27 seconds to claim the first World Championship gold medal for Eritrea.. Ethiopia’s Yemane Tsegay, who had briefly led the race before Ghebreselassie’s final surge, was placed second 40 seconds behind Ghebreselassie while the bronze was taken by Uganda’s Solomon Mutai, who clocked 2.13.29. Olympic champion Stephen Kiprotich finished sixth.
Great Britain’s unstoppable Mo Farah won 10,000m and successfully defended his World Championships title that he won at Moscow in 2013. Trying to derail Farah on Saturday were; world cross-country champion Geoffrey Kamworor, runner-up Bedan Karoki and Paul Tanui. However, their best efforts were not enough as Farah edged past with 500 meters remaining and won the race in 27:01.13. The Kenyans did not disappoint entirely, as they attempted the last-lap stumble throwing Farah momentarily off balance. But the champion recovered quickly like an alarmed cat and beat Kamworor, who clocked 27:01.76 to finish second. Tanui was third in 27:02.83 and Karoki fourth in 27:04.77. In the end, the small gap that Farah left between himself and his followers looked totally unbridgeable. Mo Farah is not done yet at Beijing as the 7th World Championship gold beckons him, when the heats for 5000m are conducted on Wednesday morning.
The women’s shot put gold was won by Germany’s Christina Schwanitz, who disappointed the home crowd by out-throwing China’s Gong Lijiao. The German’s throw landed at 20.37 meters while Gong finished second with 20.30m. USA’s Michelle Carter was placed third at 19.76m. The event didn’t have New Zealand’s Valerie Adams, who had won the gold in the last four World Championships. Adams is undergoing shoulder and elbow surgeries to become 100% fit before her Olympic title defense at 2016 Rio Games.
In the prestigious 100m sprint, American Justin Gatlin and Jamaica’s Usain Bolt looked like heading for the an intriguing showdown in Sunday’s final. Gatlin won his heat in 9.83 seconds while Bolt took 9.96. The 100m final will also see Jamaica’s Asafa Powell, USA’s Tyson Gay and Frenchman Jimmy Vicault.
In men’s pole-vault, world record-holder Renaud Lavillenie of France and defending world champion Germany’s Raphael Holzdeppe cleared the mandatory qualification jump of 5.70m on Saturday. Lavillenie’s was a flawless effort with plenty of space over the bar. In contrast, Holzdeppe needed three attempts to ensure his participation in the final. Others in fray in the final are; Poland’s 2011 world champion Pawel Wojcechowski and his compatriots Robert Sobera and Piotr Lisek. In all 16 athletes managed to clear the qualifying jump but there was disappointment for Brazil’s Thiago Braz and Greek world indoor champion Konstantinos Filippidis.
The star-studded 800m field for men looks like an event, which anybody can win after six heats on Saturday. Most of the likely winners eased into the semifinals with Kenya’s Ferguson Rotich clocking the fastest time of 1:45.83 and Morocco’s Amine El Manaoui was closest at 1:45.86. Diamond League world leader Amel Tuka of Bosnia took 1:46.12; Poland’s Adam Kszczot looked comfortable in clocking 1:46.68; Botswana’s Nijel Amos clocked 1:47.23 and Ethiopia’s defending champion Mohammed Aman ran the heat in 1:47.89. Not to be left behind, Kenya’s world record holder David Rudisha went into the semifinals with a time of 1:48.31.