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PIX: Fajdek makes history with 5th World hammer title

Last updated on: July 17, 2022 10:53 IST
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Poland's Pawel Fajdek in action during the men's hammer throw final at the World Athletics Championships, in Hayward Field, Eugene, Oregon, US, on Saturday.

IMAGE: Poland's Pawel Fajdek in action during the men's hammer throw final at the World Athletics Championships, in Hayward Field, Eugene, Oregon, US, on Saturday. Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

Poland's Pawel Fajdek produced the best throw of the year to secure an astonishing fifth successive World Championships hammer title on Saturday but said his success had left him hungry for more.

 

Olympic champion and compatriot Wojciech Nowicki briefly held the lead after his third attempt but could only move one place up the podium from his three previous world bronze medals, while Norwegian Eivind Henriksen took bronze this time.

A stoney-faced Fajdek had a disappointing first throw but ran away with the competition on the third try, letting out a roar as he hit a mark of 81.98 metres.

Peaking when it counted, he had not produced a throw further than 81 metres this year before coming to Hayward Field.

"This was the competition which matters the most this year so I am glad that the major gold is in my hand for the fifth time," Fajdek said.

He is only the second athlete to win five back-to-back world golds, after pole vaulter Sergey Bubka, who ultimately went on to win six successive titles.

Pawel Fajdek celebrates winning the men's hammer throw final.

IMAGE: Pawel Fajdek celebrates winning the men's hammer throw final. Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

The Pole said his mission was to attack Bubka's mark.

"I want more! My goal is seven titles, I like to be the first, and no one has ever accomplished that yet," he said.

Henriksen, who wilted on a last-gasp attempt to match the Polish power, said he was suffering "jelly legs" during the contest and was unable to live up to his usual form.

"To compete with these Polish guys is always a big challenge," he said.

"Now I'm looking forward to our next meeting at the European Championships. I hope I'll be doing much better than today and, who knows maybe I'll manage to be inside this "Polish sandwich" or even beat them both."

The victory underscored the 33-year-old Fajdek's dominance despite frustrating finishes on the Olympic stage. He picked up bronze in Tokyo after failing to reach the final at the 2012 and 2016 Games.

Fajdek told reporters on Saturday that it also proved Poland was the true powerhouse in the event - a year after Anita Wlodarczyk collected her third Olympic gold on the women's side.

Gidey holds off Kenyans to win another 10,000m for Ethiopia

Ethiopia's Letesenbet Gidey wins the women's 10,000m final.

IMAGE: Ethiopia's Letesenbet Gidey wins the women's 10,000m final. Photograph: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Ethiopian World record holder Letesenbet Gidey held off a twin Kenyan challenge and also finally overcame her nemesis Sifan Hassan in a terrific finish to win the women's 10,000 metres gold.

Gidey had been towards the front for the majority of the race but forged clear on the final lap.

Hellen Obiri and Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi looked as if they might overhaul her in the final 30 metres but Gidey, glancing desperately to her right as Obiri closed, held on to win in 30:09.94 - the fastest time of the year.

Obiri took silver in 30:10.02 with Kipkemboi third in 30:10.07 - both personal best times - in cool conditions perfect for distance running.

Olympic and defending world champion Hassan of the Netherlands, who has barely been seen on the track this year as she took time off to recover from her stupendous but draining 2021, ran out of gas in the final straight to finish fourth.

Letesenbet Gidey crosses the line ahead of Kenya's Hellen Obiri and Margaret Chemlimo Kpikemboi in the women's 10,000m final.

IMAGE: Letesenbet Gidey crosses the line ahead of Kenya's Hellen Obiri and Margaret Chemlimo Kpikemboi in the women's 10,000m final. Photograph: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

"The dream came true, this victory is even more important to me than a world record," Gidey said.

"I was thinking about winning this gold since 2019 but Hassan was always there. I was also watching Obiri. This time, I was really watching them and I knew I had to be very fast in the last 300m."

Hassan’s fallow year and the absence of several other leading contenders meant this race was one of the most difficult of the Eugene programme to predict.

In perfect conditions for distance running, the field remained largely in one bunch, with an Ethiopian trio setting the pace and Hassan taking her usual approach of sitting towards the back

Britain’s Eilish McColgan, whose mother Liz won the title 1991 and who came in with the second-fastest time of the year, set much of the early pace but drifted once the Africans upped the ante in the latter stages.

Gidey had been easily out-kicked by Hassan as she finished third last year’s Olympic final and also when taking silver in the 2019 worlds and tried to stretch it out from the bell, opening some daylight and dropping compatriot Ejgayehu Taye.

The Kenyan pair remained in range and double world 5,000 champion Obiri, who said last year she was retiring from the track to focus on road running, looked to be closing the gap.

Gidey evidently thought so too as she covered the last 25 metres almost entirely with her head turned to the right in desperate fear that she would be overhauled.

She had enough though to hold on and go one better than in 2019 when she also lost out to Hassan and make it eight wins from the last 12 world 10,000 finals for Ethiopia.

"I have the next dream now - to win the gold at 5000m," Gidey said. "With the God's help, I can get the double, I am very confident now."

Ealey wins United States' first women's shot put World title

Chase Ealey of the United States in action during the women's shot put final.

IMAGE: Chase Ealey of the United States in action during the women's shot put final. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

One throw was all it took for Chase Ealey to make history on Saturday as she won the United States' first women's shot put title at the World Championships, denying China's Gong Lijiao a third successive gold medal.

The 27-year-old let out a roar as she threw 20.49 metres with her opening attempt, a mark that proved untouchable through six rounds, though Chinese Olympic champion Gong came close with her fifth try, which fell just 10cm short.

"I was just trying to set the tone but I felt like I could have thrown further if need be," Ealey told Reuters. "It was one of the most amazing feelings I've ever experienced in my life. I don't think I can think of a better moment."

Jessica Schilder of the Netherlands produced a national record of 19.77m to clinch bronze.

It was heartbreak for Canadian Sarah Mitton, who equalled Schilder's mark on her final attempt but finished fourth on the tiebreaker.

Ealey embraced her team mates after the final throw and basked in the roars of the home crowd as she continued her unbeaten streak in 2022.

"I felt like I could not control my last throw with these emotions. To do all this at home ... I hope this will change my life," she said.

She was the United States' first gold medal-winner as it hosts the World Championships for the first time, with the American men sweeping the 100 metres minutes later.

Ealey, with her fingernails painted red, white and blue, wiped tears from her eyes on the podium as the US national anthem played.

"I do not think I can describe the atmosphere at the stadium today," she said. "It will stay deep in my heart."

Gong said she expected more from herself in Eugene.

"After the Tokyo Olympics I got away from the game for more than six months, but when I decided to start my preparation for this World Championships I knew that I took huge responsibility as (defending) champion," she said.

"I'm not so satisfied with this silver medal."

China's Wang grabs long jump gold with final leap

Gold medallist China's Wang Jianan celebrates after winning the men's long jump final.

IMAGE: Gold medallist China's Wang Jianan celebrates after winning the men's long jump final. Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

Wang Jianan of China produced a last-round leap of 8.36 metres to snatch World Championships long jump gold after Tentoglou Miltiadis of Greece looked to be cruising to victory.

Wang had managed a best of only 8.03m in his first five attempts and was out of the medals but soared clear.

Miltiadis was on course to complete the full house of major titles after previously winning the Olympics, the indoor World title and the European indoor and outdoor titles.

His fifth-round jump of 8.32m looked to be good enough for gold and his second, third and fourth-best leaps of 8.30m, 8.29m and 8.24m were all better than anyone else in the field could manage until Wang's intervention.

Instead he had to settle for silver, with Switzerland's Simon Ehammer, who came to Eugene with a world lead 8.45m to his name after temporarily switching from decathlon, taking bronze with 8.16m.

India's Murali Sreeshankar failed to live up to expectations, finishing seventh in the finals with his best effort of 7.96 metres.

Jamaica’s injury-hit defending champion Tajay Gayle failed to make the final after posting three fouls in Friday’s qualifying.

Dominican Republic win 4x400 mixed relay, no golden goodbye for Felix

Team Dominican Republic, Team Netherlands, and Team United States pose with their medals following the 4x400 meter relay final on Friday.

IMAGE: Team Dominican Republic, Team Netherlands, and Team United States pose with their medals following the 4x400 meter relay final on Friday. Photograph: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Allyson Felix was denied a golden goodbye at the World Championships after the United States took bronze behind Dominican Republic and Netherlands in a spectacular 4x400m mixed relay on Friday.

The home crowd had roared with delight as seven-times Olympic gold medallist Felix took the baton for the second leg though the 36-year-old, running in her final major championship race, appeared to tire down the stretch after a strong start.

The United States still managed to open a massive gap at the final changeover and looked well set for victory before Dominican anchor Fiordaliza Cofil reeled in Kennedy Simon down the home stretch to win gold and improve on their Tokyo silver.

"We have been training hard for this moment so I knew I could catch her," Cofil said of her battle with Simon.

"Allyson Felix is a legend and I am happy to be in the final with her."

Netherlands anchor Femke Bol produced an extraordinary effort down the home straight to come from 30m back and overtake Simon for silver, as the 2019 champions were forced to settle for bronze.

Felix embraced her team mates at the finish, 18 years after she picked up her first Olympic medal at the 2004 Athens Games, as the home crowd gave the most decorated woman in the sport a warm send-off into retirement.

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