Before Jamaica’s Usain Bolt brought the Birds Nest stadium alive with his super-show, four other events had been concluded and gold medalists decided in Beijing’s world athletic championships. Spain’s European champion Miguel Angel Lopez won the gold medal in 20-km walk; GBR’s Jessica Ennis-Hill expectedly won the heptathlon gold; Poland’s Pawel Fajdek took top spot in men’s hammer throw and USA’s Joe Kovacs emerged triumphant in shot put. Several events had qualification rounds and preliminary heats and successful athletes looked forward to another day.
In the morning session, the first event was the 20km walk in which a group of about 20 athletes were bunched together during the early stages. Japan’s Yusuke Suzuki, who broke the world record earlier this year; was his country’s top hope. At the 5km mark, Germany’s Hagen Pohle made the first break in 20:10 minutes. Pohle’s lead didn’t last long and China’s Olympic champion Chen Ding took over from him. At the halfway park Chen was still leading a pack of three Chinese with Chen crossing 10km in 40:20. After 45 minutes, Suzuki dropped out. But Chen and his Chinese compatriots; Olympic bronze medalist Wang Zhen and Cai Zelin were ahead of the pack with Spain’s European champion Miguel Angel Lopez close behind. Then one kilometer further, Wang broke away and led the field and he reached the 15th kilometer in 59:53. A little while later, Lopez chased Wang with Ecuador’s Andres Chocho close behind. At 17km Lopez drew level with Wang but the Chinese enhanced his pace and took the lead once again. Towards the end, Lopez made another strike and as the clock showed 1:14:00, the Spaniard went past Wang and there was no looking back. Lopez maintained his lead to the finish, winning in 1:19:14 and became Spain’s first 20km race walk world champion since 1993. Wang finished second in 1:19:29, while Canada’s Benjamin Thorne took bronze in f 1:19:57.
Britain’s Jessica Ennis-Hill made a remarkable return to track-and-field after giving birth to a son. For two days, she competed in 7 events with immense focus and mental toughness, which brought her the heptathlon gold at the world championships. After building an assailable lead over the first six events, Jessica ran the 800m heat in 2:10.13 minutes to amass 6,669 points. The second placed Brianne Theisen-Eaton of Canada’s trailed Jessica by 115 points. Latvia’s Laura Ikauniece-Admidina took the bronze.
In men’s hammer throw final, the lead kept swinging from one competitor to another. Finland’s David Soderberg with 76.92m was the early leader with Tajikistan’s Dilshod Nazarov at second place and Poland’s Pawel Fajdek sitting at third. In the second round, Russia’s Sergey Litvinov surpassed Soderberg with a throw of 77.09m but he was immediately overtaken by Nazarov, who threw 77.61m. But Fajdek’s third round throw made all the difference. The bespectacled Pole hurled his implement to 80.64m and took control. He exceeded this mark later with 80.88 and won the gold. Dilshod Nazarov of Tajikistan was second with 78.55m and another Pole Wojciech Nowicki won the bronze.
In men’s shot pot, Jamaica’s O’Dayne Richards led the shot put from the third round to the fifth with a throw of 21.69m. But Richards was surpassed by Germany’s David Storl. Afterwards the Kovacs-Storl rivalry continued in rounds that followed. As expected, the fight for first two places was confined to the two-time defending champion Storl and Kovacs. The American first imposed his authority with an effort of 21.23m but Storl made a foul. However in the next round, Kovacs’ modest 20.46m was surpassed by the German with a hurl of 21.46m. In the third round both Kovacs and Storl fouled while Richards unleashed a huge throw of 21.49m and went ahead of the favorites. More drama was in store in the fourth round, when New Zealand’s Tom Walsh took the second place behind Richards with a throw of 21.58m. In the next round, Kovacs hurled his implement to 21.67m to regain the second place. The fifth round was crucial in determining the final results. Storl reached 21.74m while Richards could only reach 20.54m.In the last round. Neither Storl nor Richards could reach Kovacs’ 21.66m and the American finished with the gold medal. Storl got the silver and Richards had to be content with the bronze.