No substitute for experience as Olympic champions earn world gold

No substitute for experience as Olympic champions earn world gold
Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela competes in the women's triple jump final at the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon on 18 July 2022. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Robert Ghement)

Soufiane El Bakkali ends Kenya’s reign in 3,000m steeplechase dominance and Yulimar Rojas underlines dominance.

Experience prevailed on day four of the World Athletics Championships with Kenyan runner Faith Kipyegon and Venezuelan triple jumper Yulimar Rojas among the Olympic champions standing on top of the podium in Eugene, Oregon on Tuesday.

Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali backed up his Tokyo 3,000m steeplechase win by ending Kenya’s dominance at the worlds, while Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim had high jump gold all to himself this time.

Kipyegon, winner of the past two Olympic 1,500m titles, finished in a remarkable three minutes, 52.96 seconds to regain her world crown. 

Soufiane El Bakkali of Morocco celebrates winning the men’s 3,000m steeplechase at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon on 18 July 2022. (Photo: EPA-EFE / John G Mabanglo)

Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay took silver while Laura Muir, runner-up at the Tokyo Olympics, won bronze to collect Britain’s first medal of the championship.

“I have to say I am thankful for my second gold medal,” said Kipyegon, who won the 2017 title and picked up silver in 2019, a year after having a baby.

Read in Daily Maverick: “Amazing Fraser-Pryce leads Jamaican clean sweep in women’s 100m

Rojas dominated the triple jump from start to finish and cruised to gold after jumping 15.47m to claim her third straight world title. 

Jamaican Shanieka Ricketts collected her second consecutive world silver while American Tori Franklin delighted the home crowd by clinching bronze.

Soufiane El Bakkali’s 3,000m steeplechase victory ended Kenya’s dominance at the worlds. (Photo: EPA-EFE / John G Mabanglo)

In the steeplechase, El Bakkali produced a tactical masterclass to win his first world title and keep a Kenyan off top spot for the first time since 2005.

Lamecha Girma of Ethiopia, a silver medallist in Tokyo, finished runner-up while 2019 world champion Conseslus Kipruto of Kenya won bronze.

Qatar’s Barshim, who famously shared Olympic gold with Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi in 2021, won an unprecedented third straight world high jump title after clearing a world-leading 2.37m with ease.

World indoor champion Woo Sang-hyeok of South Korea took silver and Ukraine’s Andriy Protsenko collected bronze.

Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela competes in the triple jump final at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon on 18 July 2022. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Robert Ghement)

Double Olympic champion Nafissatou Thiam of Belgium pulled out a last-gasp victory over Dutch rival Anouk Vetter to reclaim her world heptathlon title. 

Vetter, who finished behind Thiam in Tokyo, had to settle for silver again while American Anna Hall won bronze.

Read in Daily Maverick: “Wayde van Niekerk— ‘I know the route and direction to get back to where I was’

In the morning session, Gotytom Gebreslase won the women’s marathon in a world championship-record time of two hours, 18.11 minutes and claimed a second marathon title for Ethiopia in Eugene after Tamirat Tola triumphed in the men’s event on Sunday. 

“Tola’s win yesterday motivated me a lot today,” said Gebreslase, who finished ahead of Kenya’s Judith Korir while Lonah Salpeter of Israel secured bronze.

Three Japanese athletes and one coach tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday, taking the total number of cases in the delegation to 15. Reuters/DM


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