Budapest (AFP) – Femke Bol struck gold in the 400m hurdles amid an unexpected Jamaican double gold rush at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest on Thursday.
Bol made up for the disappointment of falling with the line at her mercy in the mixed 4x400m relay by producing a totally dominant victory in the hurdles in 51.70 seconds.
“It wasn’t easy to forget what happened in the final metres of the mixed relay but my team was around me and they put me at my ease,” said the 23-year-old Dutch runner.
“I knew that 400m hurdles would be a chance to show up and I was confident. I have just had the best first 200 metres ever.”
In the absence of defending world and Olympic champion Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, American Shamier Little claimed silver, more than one second behind Bol, while Jamaica’s Rushell Clayton rounded out the podium.
Clayton’s bronze was one of five medals Jamaica won out of a potential 15 on offer in the evening session of day six of action at the National Athletics Centre.
Two of those were surprise golds.
First up was Danielle Williams, who shocked the field to reclaim her world 100m hurdles crown after previously winning the title in Beijing in 2015.
“When I won in 2015 it was unbelievable,” said Williams. “But this took a lot of hard work, a lot of years of toil and injuries, and losing my confidence and battling to get back to this stage.
“It’s awesome, Jamaica is a proud country and we love to win. I love to win!”
Then came 21-year-old Antonio Watson, who also upset a loaded field including South African world record holder Wayde van Niekerk to win gold in the men’s 400m.
Watson, 21, produced a perfectly-timed effort down the home straight to win in 44.22sec.
“I am excited I managed to go home with a victory. I was surprised too!” Watson said.
“I did not have any secrets in my race. I just came and ran my own race. I am really proud I am bringing gold to Jamaica… it is amazing to win the gold medal at my first world senior championships.”
It looked like there might have been a third Jamaican gold in the men’s long jump, but Greece’s Olympic champion Miltiadis Tentoglou went out to 8.52 metres with his sixth and final jump to push Wayne Pinnock into silver position.
Pinnock’s Jamaican teammate Tajay Gayle claimed bronze.
The second field event of the night saw Camryn Rogers win the women’s hammer world title to give Canada their second gold in the event at the championships after Ethan Katzberg was crowned men’s champion at the weekend.
Rogers took gold with a best effort of 77.22m, last year’s bronze medallist Janee’ Kassanavoid of the United States finishing second (76.36m). Kassanavoid’s teammate DeAnna Price took the bronze (75.41).
Newly-crowned 100m champions Noah Lyles and Sha’Carri Richardson both advanced into their respective 200m finals on Friday.
Lyles’ semi-final had to be rescheduled after the golf buggy he was travelling in with his rivals to the track had a collision with another one, leaving Jamaican Andrew Hudson with glass in his eye.
“I was directly impacted when a bunch of glass went into my eye,” Hudson said.
“They got most of the glass out. Now I’ve got to go back and have it looked at, make sure it’s OK. My eye is pretty blurry right now.”
Hudson was handed a spot in the final of the 200m despite finishing the semi out of the running for a top-eight spot. The track has nine lanes so can accommodate an extra athlete.
The incident did not deflect Lyles in his bid for a first sprint double by a male athlete since Usain Bolt in 2015, clocking an impressive 19.76sec.
Lyles is the two-time defending world champion over 200m and has said he wants to target Bolt’s world record of 19.19sec set back in 2009 at the Berlin world championships.
“I’m pretty sure I’ll get close to it,” Lyles told NBC. “I’m very confident in what we did. Today I ran 19.7 and wasn’t even really trying. I’m very confident in my ability.”
Richardson was equally at ease, albeit finishing second to defending world champ Shericka Jackson in her heat as all the favourites advanced.
Norway’s reigning world champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen put the relative disappointment of silver in the 1500m on Wednesday behind him to easily qualify for Sunday’s final of the 5,000m.
Olympic champion and world record holder Joshua Cheptegei was a late withdrawal, however, the Ugandan who won last week’s 10,000m pulling out with a foot injury –AFP.