The 16th IAAF World Indoor Championships at Portland ended on Sunday with USA taking the last gold in men’s 4×400 relay. With 13 golds in their kitty, USA won half the titles that were on offer including the prestigious women and men’s 60m sprints. In women’s 60m, Barbara Pierre edged out Dutch favorite Dafne Schippers while un-fancied Trayvon Bromell shocked Asafa Powell in the men’s event. Just seven days ago, Bromell had faced World Indoor disqualification during US indoor championships at the same venue.
The 60m men’s sprint field brimmed with talent but no one expected USA’s Trayvon Bromell to win the race. In last weekend’s US Indoor Championships, Bromell had finished fourth in his semifinal and just managed to qualify for World Indoors. However, when it mattered most, Bromell shot out of the blocks ahead of everyone else and prevailed over Jamaican Asafa Powell, Barbadian Ramon Gittens and Saint Kitts veteran Kim Collins. With the personal best time of 6.47 seconds, Bromell became the first US athlete to win men’s 60m at World Indoors in 6 years. Powell was second in 6.50 and Gittens finished third in 6.51.
In women’s 60m, the fight finally came down to three athletes; Dutchwoman Dafne Schippers, USA’s Barbara Pierre and Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson. Schippers’ poor start allowed Pierre to go ahead. However, Schippers ran the last meters at a sizzling pace and had a neck-to-neck final finish with Pierre. Officials had to take close reviews before Pierre was declared winner in 7.02 seconds to Schippers’ 7.04. Thompson finished third in 7.06. Sopot’s 2014 defending champion Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce skipped Portland ostensibly to focus on Rio preparations.
Hometown hero Matt Centrowitz won men’s 1500m in 3:44.22 ahead of Czech Republic’s Jakub Holusa (3:44.30) and New Zealand’s Nicholas Willis (3:44.37). USA also took the gold in 800m, where Boris Berian led from start to finish to win in 1:45.83 ahead of Burundi’s Antoine Gakeme (1:46.65) and USA’s Erik Sowinski (1:47.22). In men’s 400m, Czech Republic’s Pavel Maslak led the field to win in 45.44 seconds, ahead of Qatar’s Abdalelah Haroun (45.59) and Trinidad & Tobago’s Deon Lendore (46.17). Women’s 1500m gold was taken by Dutchwoman Sifan Hasan while silver and bronze went to Ethiopians Dawit Seyaum(4:05.30) and Gudaf Tsegay (4:05.71). In Women’s 800m, Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba caused an upset by beating USA’s Ajee Wilson. Niyonsaba clocked 2:00.01 ahead of Wilson’s time of 2:00.27. Kenya’s Margaret Wambui was third in 2:00.44. Women’s 400m gold went to Brunei’s Oluwakemi Adekoya while USA’s Ashley Spencer and Quanera Hayes took the silver and bronze respectively.
In women’s 3000m, Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba was a runaway winner in 8:47.43. Her teammate Meseret Defar was second in 8:54.26, while USA’s Shannon Rowbury finished third in 8:55.55. In men’s 3000m, another Ethiopian, Yomif Kejelcha produced a blistering pace in the last lap and won the race in 7:57.21. USA’s Ryan Hill was second in 7:57.39 while Kenya’s Augustine Choge took bronze in 7:57.43.
In men’s 60m hurdles, Jamaican Omar McLeod won the gold with a national record of 7.41. Silver and bronze went to two Frenchmen Pascal Martinot-Lagarde (7.46) and Dimitri Bascou (7.48). In women’s 60m hurdles, USA’s Nia Ali (7.81) edged out teammate Brianna Rollins (7.82) while GBR’s Tiffany Porter took the bronze.
Women’s high jump was won by USA’s 18-year old Vashti Cunningham, who had created a world-lead with 1.99m at US Indoor Games last week. In Sunday’s final, Cunningham out-jumped seasoned Spaniard Ruth Beitia. Both jumpers cleared 1.96 but Cunningham’s first time clearance gave her the gold. Poland’s Kamila Licwinko took the bronze. In men’s high jump, Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi won the gold by clearing 2.36m, GBR’s Robert Grabarz took silver while USA’s Erik Kynard won the bronze. In women’s long jump, USA’s Brittney Reese leapt through 7.22m to win the gold, Serbia’s Ivana Spanovic took silver with 7.07m while GBR’s Lorraine Ugen finished third with 6.93m. In men’s long jump, USA’s Marquis Dendy jumped 8.26m to win the gold in a strong field, where first six jumpers were separated by just 12cm. Australia’s Fabrice Lapierre won the silver and China’s Changzhou Huang took the bronze.
Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas won women’s triple jump with 14.41, Germany’s Kristin Gierisch took silver in 14.30 while bronze went to Paraskevi Papahristou of Greece in 14.15. Men’s triple-jump gold was won China’s Bin Dong with a leap of 17.33m. Germany’s Max Hess took silver with 17.14 while Frenchman Benjamin Compaore won the bronze in 17.09. USA’s Jennifer Suhr won women’s pole-vault gold by clearing 4.90m. Suhr’s compatriot Sandi Morris was second in 4.85 while bronze went to the Greek Ekaterini Stefanidi in 4.80m. In men’s pole-vault; world champion Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie was supreme in clearing 6.02m. Silver was bagged by USA’s Sam Kendricks in 5.80 while Poland’s Piotr Lisek finished third with 5.75. USA’s Michelle Carter won the women’s shot put gold with a world-lead hurl of 20.21m. Hungary’s Anita Marton was second with 19.33 while veteran New Zealander Valerie Adams was third with 19.25. Men’s shot put gold was won by New Zealand’s Tomas Walsh with a hurl of 21.78m; Romania’s Andrei Gag won silver with 20.89 while Croatia’s Filip Mihaljevic took the bronze in 20.87.
As curtain came down on 2016 World Indoors, the most talked about athletes were the Eatons husband and wife. While USA’s Ashton Eaton became the first man to win three world indoor heptathlon titles with the latest coming in his home-town, Eaton’s Canadian wife Brianne Theisen-Eaton won the pentathlon gold. For the locals, the redeeming of USA’s 4×400 relay teams made the Portland event memorable. While the women’s quartet of Natasha Hastings, Quanera Hayes, Courtney Okolo and Ashley Spencer scored an emphatic victory in 3:26.38 from second-placed Polish team, men’s team of Kyle Clemons, Calvin Smith, Christopher Giesting and Vernon Norwood stole the show from the Bahamas team.