Akani takes sixth SA 100m title as women’s 400m hurdles produces two Olympic qualifiers

The women’s 400m hurdles provided one of the highlights of day two of the SA Athletics Championships in Pietermaritzburg on Friday.

Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Zeney Geldenhuys was pushed all the way to the final hurdle by Rogail Joseph, just pulling away in the final metres to take her fourth national title in a time of 54.72 seconds with Joseph second in 54.84. Both times were below the automatic qualification mark for the Olympic Games later this year in Paris.

Claiming the bronze medal was 16-year-old star Tumi Ramokgopa who set a new South African youth record with a time of 57.04.

Geldenhuys said afterwards she was pleased to be pushed by her young rivals.

“You can’t always just go into a race and think I’m going to run and win by 100 metres so it is very exciting to know that there are girls pushing me because without them it’s difficult to run great times,” she said.

“I’m ecstatic [about the time] and I’m truly blessed to know I could run the Olympic qualifying time… but from here it’s much harder work to get the times done because if I want to run a final [at the Olympics] it need to be a 53.”

Joseph reckoned: “It was a really tough race and I’m really proud of myself because it’s the first time I was so close to the winner at SA Seniors, so I can see I’m on the right road and I’m so excited to see what more is in store for me.”

Meanwhile, Lindukuhle Gora was thrilled to get his hands on a first senior national title, winning the men’s 400m hurdles in 49.45 seconds.

Also claiming her first senior title was teenage sprinter Viwe Jingqi. The 19-year-old blitzed to the women’s 100m title in a time of 11.23, just one hundredth of a second off her PB.

“Fantastic! I thought it went great. I don’t know how to explain it but as you can see, the smile and how I’m talking… everything went well,” said a thrilled Jingqi afterwards.

While it was a first for Jingqi, it was title number six for Akani Simbine in the men’s 100m. The SA record holder powered to victory in a time of 10.01 seconds, holding off teenagers Bayanda Walaza (10.27) and Bradley Nkoana (10.29) for the gold.

“I’m just also happy to retain my title,” said Simbine, who admitted he was targeting a sub-10 second time but was unsure of the cool, slightly breezy conditions.

“For us it was trying to finish off on a sub-10 but I’m happy with a 10.01 – I can’t complain about that, I can’t complain about finishing the race healthy and now that sets me up for my next race in China next week,” he said.

Earlier in the day, 400m world record holder Wayde van Niekerk ran the opening race of his campaign of the SA Championships, finishing first in his 200m heat in a time of 20.57 seconds.

“It was comfortable. It felt a little bit rusty in some areas of the race, but I think once you get your legs exposed to that, those things start freeing up and the fact that I ran quite a solid time, feeling the way I did, hopefully the next two will be better,” he said afterwards.

“I think [nerves are] always there. Nerves are something that’s part of the game I guess. My wife told me – if I feel this way, how do the rest fo the guys feel? So I’m trying to use that mentally in my head. But we all have a bit of nerves, a bit of restlessness because we want to do well and be competitive so it’s very much part of the game. It’s really just about managing it and putting your best foot forward.

In other events on Friday, Cheswill Johnson claimed the men’s long jump title with a leap of 8.22m, while Brian Raats cleared 2.25m to take gold in the men’s high jump on countback.

 

Glenrose takes care of unfinished business as SA athletics champs kick off in Maritzburg

Glenrose Xaba finally has her hands on a national 5000m title. The 29-year-old has claimed gold six times before in the 10,000m but never in the shorter of the distance events on the track. On day one of the SA Athletics Championships in Pietermaritzburg, Xaba ensured that record would finally change as she staved off the challenge of middle distance star Prudence Sekgodiso to win in a time of 15:48.44 with Sekgodiso second in 16:02.04. By Karien Jonckheere

“I’m not the [type of] person that when I’m running I’m looking back,” said Xaba of taking on Sekgodiso. “I was expecting that I would see Prudence passing me, but I was going to challenge her to the finish line because I was looking forward to achieving this gold medal. For so many years I tried to win gold in the 5000 and I did not. I just came second or got bronze so I am very excited to achieve this.”

In the only other track final of the day, national 10,000m record holder Adriaan Wildschutt’s older brother, Nadeel, claimed the gold in a time of 29:15.93. The 27-year-old was locked in battle with Puseletso Mofokeng over the final lap, eventually sprinting down the home straight to take the title with Mofokeng second in 29:19.01.

In the field events, Michelle Ngozo took gold in the high jump with a clearance of 1.76m and Rocco van Rooyen claimed the men’s javelin title (74.58m), while there was gold for Ashley Erasmus in the women’s shot put (17.27m) and Yolandi Stander in the discus (55m).

Earlier in the day, Akani Simbine continued his quest for a sixth national title in the 100m, cruising through his heat in 10.07 seconds and then slowing down slightly as the wind picked up in the early afternoon but still comfortably winning his semifinal in 10.27.

“The plan was to go sub-10 now because it’s hot and it’s the middle of the day, the track has been prepared and everything but the wind didn’t play with us,” said the two-time Olympic finalist after his semi. “As soon as they blew the whistle there was a big gust and it just kept going, it didn’t stop so it was literally changing the game plan at the line,” he added.

Meanwhile, 19-year-old Viwe Jingqi is in search of her first senior national title over 100m. She won her semifinal in 11.51 and was pleased with how her body felt, having recovered from appendix surgery and other complications last year.

“Yoh, you can see I’m very small, and that wind – I could feel it. The whole time it was just pushing me behind but honestly, I’m OK,” said Jingqi afterwards. “My body is responding now. Obviously in the morning you have to cruise when it’s heats – you cannot go full-out, and I tried to get the extra gear this time but the wind was just doing whatever. But to be honest, I feel OK. My body is getting there. It’s exactly where I want it to be actually.”

Athletics action continues at Msunduzi Stadium on Friday, with both 100m finals scheduled for the afternoon.

 

Back to the drawing board for dejected Van Niekerk

Wayde van Niekerk showed much promise in the build-up to the World Athletics Championships in Budapest but couldn’t replicate that speed he produced in the last few months when he took to the track for the 400m final on Thursday.

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After just scraping into the final, the world record holder finished in last place in a disappointing 45.11 seconds as Jamaica’s Antonio Watson stormed to gold.

“I ran bad, I ran terrible, we all saw that. The run was well off, I mean I’m a 44 [second] athlete from the get-go of the season so I was wrong, I did not execute my race right. Things didn’t go my way and I’m still processing it all but it was definitely bad,” he said afterward.

Meanwhile, all three of South Africa’s 200m semifinalists missed out on places in Friday night’s final. After an unsettling delay because of a bizarre collision of the golf carts transporting the athletes to the track, Sinesipho Dambile finished fourth in his race in 20.28, Shaun Maswanganyi was seventh in his race in 20.65 and Luxolo Adams was sixth in 20.44.

Despite running a personal best time, Dambile was disappointed with his performance. “I expected much better but I couldn’t get it together. I hope the next race I’m better, but I don’t know, I’m a bit disappointed,” he said afterward.

Adams explained that he had felt dizzy after the golf cart incident and had been rattled by the delay in his race which was switched from first to last of the semifinals. “But I have no room for excuses to come here and tell you guys that, no this happened or whatever. Regardless of what happens, I have to go out there and fight.”

In the morning, the ever-green Wayne Snyman finished 21st in the 35km race walk in a time of 2:35:13.

Having returned from retirement, the 38-year-old said he had only 12 weeks of training for the event.

“Unfortunately, I think I lacked a little bit of training. I would have liked four to six weeks more but it was good. I didn’t stop to pour water on myself this time so that’s good. I’m happy with the race.

“I’m going to have to really sit back and decide why I want to do another Olympics. I have it in my legs, I showed it here – 12 weeks of training and [almost] top-20 – I think that’s really good. Ask me again in a little while. Maybe after I retire I’ll come back again.”

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Our team on the ground at Budapest have been interviewing all South African athletes after their respective events. To get an inside view into strategy and their thoughts on their performances, click the button below to see for yourself what it takes to compete on a world stage!


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Van Niekerk scrapes into 400m final and Gianmarco Tamberi wins high jump gold

Wayde van Niekerk had South Africans holding their breath as he missed out on automatic qualification for the 400m final at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest on Tuesday.

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The Rio Olympic champion and world record holder finished third in the first of three semifinals, leading to an anxious wait to see if his time of 44.65 was quick enough to see him through to Thursday’s final. In the end, it proved enough, but the 2017 world champion was not happy with his performance.

“Tonight was very disappointing. Obviously not close to what we all know I can do,” he admitted afterwards. “But I live to see another day. I’ve got a day of recovery. The final is a great opportunity for each and every one of us. It’s all about the one who wants it the most, so these next few days I have to get my head right and prove to myself that this is what I want and then we put our best foot forward in the final.”

Gianmarco Tamberi put on a thrilling performance in the Men’s High Jump final, claiming his first World Title. The reigning Olympic champion jumped a height of 2,36 metres to claim the gold medal, with the USA’s JuVaughn Harrison finishing second on countback despite clearing the same height. Mutaz Barshim took the bronze after failing to clear 2,36m, a disappointment as this is the first time he hasn’t been crowned champion at a major championship since finishing second at Rio in 2016.

Zakithi Nene was also disappointed with his performance on the night, finishing sixth in the last of the 400m semifinals, in which two athletes including world leader Steven Gardiner pulled up injured, in 45.64 to miss out on a semifinal spot. “I almost pulled out myself with the tightness of my hammy, but I’m just glad I finished the race healthy and credit to everyone that qualified and went through,” he said afterwards.

Earlier in the evening there was happier news for sprint hurdler Marioné Fourie. The SA record holder finished third in her heat in 12.71 to automatically qualify for Wednesday’s semifinals.

“I was a little bit jittery at the start, I was a little bit nervous,” Fourie explained afterwards. “But I think the execution was OK… I think it was nerves, but the semifinals will definitely be better. I want another SA record.”

Taylon Bieldt missed out on the 100m hurdles semifinals after finishing seventh in her heat in 13.05.

Zeney van der Walt’s gruelling programme at these championships came to an end on Tuesday. Having doubled up with the 400m, the Commonwealth Games bronze medallist was back after those semifinals on Monday for the 400m hurdles semifinals on Tuesday night.

She admitted afterwards to being somewhat disappointed with her time of 55.49 for eighth place. “It was tough. I am a bit disappointed with the time. I would have loved it if it was a sub-55 season’s best, PB, but it wasn’t. But I’m still grateful to have been part of the semifinals.”

Karsten Warholm Sets Eyes on Gold

Despite hitting the second hurdle, world record holder Karsten Warholm cruised to victory in his 400m hurdles semifinal at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest on Monday. He joked afterwards that it was more of a problem for the hurdle than it had been for him – his time on the night a speedy 47.09 seconds. 19-year-old Jamaican Roshawn Clarke was second in a new world junior record of 47.34. Speaking after his semifinal, the Norwegian superstar reckoned: “Surely there is going to be someone who challenges me but today it was very good and I felt strong. The truth is that I ran a bit faster than I wanted to but what can I do when the others are running like hell too? The track can never be too fast.” Warholm will be looking to regain the world title he last won in 2019 in tonight’s final scheduled for 9.50pm.

Our team on the ground at Budapest have been interviewing all South African athletes after their respective events. To get an inside view into strategy and their thoughts on their performances, click the button below to see for yourself what it takes to compete on a world stage!


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Puma Welcomes Athletes to Budapest Ahead of World Athletics Championships

Sports company PUMA has kicked off its celebrations for the World Athletics Championships in style, welcoming athletes and media from around the world to the official opening of the PUMA House.

Maria Valdes (Chief Product Officer at PUMA) and Erin Longin (General Manager, Run/Train) took to the stage alongside PUMA ambassadors, and icons of track and field including Karsten Warholm, Marcell Jacobs, Julien Alfred, Mutaz Barshim and Pia Skrzyszowska, giving insight on their preparations and expectations for the competition.

Maria Valdes said: “2023 is a great year for us – it’s our 75th year anniversary – and we truly believe that track and field is the root of many sports. There are so many memorable moments we can look back on where track and field really represented our brand. From Tommie Smith back in 1968 to the numerous world records of Bolt just a couple of years ago. We hope to have more moments like this that can help shape us for years to come – starting here in Budapest.”

Karsten Warholm said: “Confidence is something you build. Obviously, it’s not a given. If it is, it’s not real. We prepare very well in training, and I think that is the secret to my confidence. My coach takes good care of me and and the way we work, we always have control. And then of course when you go to a World Championship, you never know what you can pull out of the hat.”

Marcell Jacobs said: “Maybe I had too many injuries in the last two years… I really tried to overcome all of those problems. I’m the one who wants to be in a good shape, perfectly fit, and ready to face this very important challenge at the World Championships in Budapest.“

Julien Alfred said: “It’s been fantastic to be part of the Puma family. Puma is a great brand who have paved the way for many of my idols and it feels great. And I really love the spikes as well!“

Guests were also given the opportunity to hear from Jamaican athletes Shericka Jackson, Rasheed Broadbell, Hansle Parchment, and rising star Jaydon Hibbert.

Shericka Jackson said: “I’ve been working hard and there is no pressure for me. I’m in good shape and I’m going to show up, stay in my lane and focus on me.“

Rasheed Broadbell said: “It’s really not a bad feeling [to not be the favourite], but a good thing, because the attention is not on me, so it’s not really much pressure… But whoever the eyes are on, they have to ensure that they deliver. So for me, it’s just keeping in my lane, staying focused and delivering.“

Hansle Parchment said: “Usually everybody is going to the US for college, but at the last minute we changed our minds to go to the University of the West Indies. I think that was a very good decision for me, otherwise, I would have been running every weekend in the US. I’m very happy that I made that decision to stay in Jamaica.”

The World Athletics Championship Budapest 2023 will take place from 19-27 August.

Agony for Simbine while Van Niekerk secures semifinal spot

There was more major championship heartbreak for Akani Simbine after he was disqualified from the 100m semifinals at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary on Sunday for a false start.

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“I’m disappointed. I’ve never false started on the circuit, never false started at a championship, so I’m just very disappointed,” said a devastated Simbine. “I just know that I moved when the gun said go, because I’m generally a slow starter. But it is what it is.”

In Simbine’s absence in the evening final, it was Botswana’s Letsile Tebogo who brought glory to Southern Africa. The 20-year-old star stormed to a silver medal in a national record time of 9.88 behind American Noah Lyles who took gold in 9.83.

Earlier in the day Wayde van Niekerk cruised to victory in his opening 400m heat in a time of 44.57 to qualify for the semifinals. Zakithi Nene made a blunder at the end of his race to allow two athletes in front of him at the finish to deny him automatic qualification. His time of 44.88 was enough to see him safely through to the semifinals as one of the fastest losers, however.

Speaking after the race, Van Niekerk said: “The heats and the semifinals are about surviving so I had to read my competitors and gauge off of them. That’s what I did in the heats and I think it should be a similar strategy in the semis and then in the final we’ll give it what we’ve got left.”

Nene reckoned he would learn from his mistakes, saying: “I judged the race well to about 300 or 320m, and I thought the race was over then before it was even over. So that’s on me, poor judgement of the race but I’ll fix it in the semi.”

Also through to the women’s 400m semifinals was Zeney van der Walt, who is doubling up at these championships – also competing in the 400m hurdles. The Commonwealth Games bronze medallist finished third in her 400m heat in 51.76 to book a spot in Monday’s semifinals. She’ll also be contesting the 400m hurdles heats on Monday, with just over two hours to recover between the two races.

“It feels really great, it feels amazing to advance to the semifinals and I’m very excited,” said Van der Walt. “My coach and I decided to do both events this year to take the challenge and to see how my body can manage it and to use it as a stepping stone here.”

Our team on the ground at Budapest have been interviewing all South African athletes after their respective events. To get an inside view into strategy and their thoughts on their performances, click the button below to see for yourself what it takes to compete on a world stage!


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Simbine and Tshite secure semifinal spots while throwers fall short

Akani Simbine got his World Championships campaign off to a speedy start in Budapest, Hungary on Saturday night, winning his 100m heat in a time of 9.97 seconds. The two-time Olympic finalist is bidding to break his major championship medal drought and become the first African athlete to claim the world title.

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Fellow South African Benjamin Richardson just missed out on reaching the semifinals by a few thousandths of a second. Only the top three in each heat and the three fastest losers progressed. The 19-year-old finished fourth in his heat in 10.17 but two other athletes, Nigerian Usheoritse Itsekiri and Iran’s Hassan Taftian also recorded times of 10.17. When taking the thousands of a second into account, it was Itsekiri who progressed.

“I’m really happy to get that first run out the way, get the win out the way, and just feeling the track,” said Simbine afterwards. “It’s my first time inside the stadium today. Just running and winning and trusting my running pattern, and trusting how I race, and trusting the shape that I’m in, you know it’s paying off.” 

Speaking about South Africa’s chances in the 4x100m relay, Simbine added: “The relay really looks good, everybody must just stay healthy. Benji [Richardson] is young, you know he’s got a good career ahead, he’s going to have a good career like this. I’m looking forward to the relay, looking forward to fighting for the medal that’s also been missing for the longest time, so we shall see.”

Earlier in the evening Tshepo Tshite qualified for the semifinals of the 1500m after finishing second in the slowest heat of the night in 3:46.79. While Ryan Mphahlele ran a much quicker time of 3:39.16 in his heat to finish 10th, new World Athletics rules for the longer distances meant he missed out as only the top six in each heat progressed to the next round.

“The race was tactical but remember, this year the criteria have changed. It’s not all about how fast you run, it’s all about making sure that you’re in the top six. I think that was the reason the race was tactical,” explained Tshite.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s throwers struggled on Saturday with Olympic finalist Kyle Blignaut (18.82m) and Burger Lamprechts (19.52m) failing to qualify for the shot put final while Victor Hogan fell short in discus qualification, his 61.80m effort seeing him finishing in 27th place.

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Ed’s World Champs Blog: Early Ups and Downs – Brought to you by PUMA

It’s been a mixed bag of results for South African athletes in the first three days of the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon in the USA, which began on Friday 15 July. In fact, just getting to the World Champs has been an achievement! – BY SEAN FALCONER

Up until a few days ago, there were still literally hundreds of athletes, officials and members of the media from various countries waiting to hear if they would be able to go to the World Champs in the USA. The problem was not that they hadn’t qualified, or didn’t have the right World Athletics accreditation, it was because of a severe, worldwide backlog in the US State Department’s visa application process. As a result, some athletes only received clearance to travel a couple of days before the World Champs began, while others were simply denied outright when applying for an appointment to apply for a visa.

This affected a number of the SA contingent, some of who simply didn’t get to the USA, and some who did eventually get to Eugene at the proverbial ‘lastminute.com’ will have had far from ideal preparation for a World Champs meet, due to the stress, late travel plans, and jetlag. After all, they are crossing nine time zones in order to compete on the West Coast of the USA!

I’m sure we will hear more about that in coming weeks as the dust settles (or gets stirred up again), but for now, we focus on the action on the track and in the jumps and throws on the infield. South Africa has sent some genuine medal contenders to Eugene, as well as some youngsters who will get a first taste of a World Champs environment, which will definitely stand them in good stead in years to come. I am a firm believer in ‘blooding’ young athletes at the top level, if the country expects them to perform at that level in years to come.

Disclaimer: On a related note, the report below talks about athletes being eliminated in qualifying rounds. That is just how the results are listed and reported in athletics, but I cannot stress it strongly enough that this should never detract from an athlete’s achievement in qualifying for the World Champs. The focus should be on the fact that our athletes made it to the World Champs in their chosen event, putting them amongst the top 50 or 100 athletes in the world in that event. So even a first round elimination is still one hell of an achievement, even if the news reports make it sound like a failure. Because it definitely is not a failure!

Day 1…

Anyway, let’s talk results. The first day of competition started disappointingly for team SA, with elimination in the qualifying rounds for men’s long jumpers Ruswahl Samaai (8th in his heat with a best jump of 7.86m), Jovan van Vuuren (11th with 7.79m) and Cheswill Johnson (no legal mark recorded), as well as for women’s shot putter Ischke Senekal (15th with a best of 15.40m). Two of our sprinters, Gift Leotlela (5th in 10.19 seconds) and Clarence Munyai (7th in 10.47) were also eliminated in the first-round heats of the men’s 100m, but Akani Simbine scraped through with a 10.07 fourth place in his heat to go through as one of the non-automatic fastest qualifiers.

In the men’s 20km race walk, veteran Wayne Snyman once again showed that experience can trump youth by finishing a solid 12th in 1:21:23. At 37 years of age, he appears as hungry to compete as he in in his younger years, and having finished second in the recent African Champs in Mauritius, he was once again the second African athlete over the line in Eugene.

Day 2…

Saturday’s competition started with Antonio Alkana running in the fifth heat of the men’s 100m hurdles, but his 13.64 finish and fifth place was unfortunately not good enough to take him to the semi-final round. Carina Horn finished fourth in her first-round heat of the women’s 100m, clocking 11.29, and was also eliminated. Also out went Ryan Mphahlele, having finished 12th in his 1500m qualifying heat with a 3:39.17 finish. With all three of these athletes, their elimination belies the fact that they were only just outside the times needed to go further.

More positive news came in the men’s 400m hurdles, where Sokwakhana Zazini ran 50.09 to finish fifth in the second heat and made it through to the semi-final round as a fastest qualifier. And in the women’s 10,000m, Dominique Scott-Efurd ran a solid 31:40.73 to finish 17th, but commented on social media after her run that she was disappointed with her time. The highlight of the day, however, was Akani Simbine’s 9.97 in the first semi-final of the men’s 100m. It was a season best for him and put him into the final, due to be run just under two hours later. Akani thus went into another global final as one of the favourites, but had to settle for fifth place with a 10.01 time, and will no doubt be very frustrated by once again getting so close to a medal on the world stage.

Day 3…

The third day of competition started early with the men’s marathon, with two South Africans in the race. Melikhaya Frans came into the event with a personal best (PB) of 2:11:28, run in the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon last year, and he proceeded to smash more than two minutes off that mark with a 2:09:24 to finish 18th in Eugene. The other South African in the race was Tumelo Motlagale, who came home 52nd in 2:20:21, having been up with the leaders in the early stages of the race. He ran his PB of 2:11:15 as recently as May in the SA Champs race in Durban, so perhaps his legs were not quite fully recovered yet, and the SA Champs race would be better positioned a little further ahead of a major championship event next time.

The women’s 400m qualifiers saw Miranda Coetzee clock 53.30 to finish seventh in her heat and she did not go through to the next round, while men’s discus throwers Werner Visser and Victor Hogan both finished 13th in their qualifying groups, with best distances of 58.44 and 60.51 metres respectively, and will take be part of the final. Meanwhile, Soks Zazini lined up in the third heat of the men’s 400m hurdles semi-final round and finished seventh in 45.69, thus also being eliminated.

Without a doubt, the highlight of the day for South African fans was seeing Wayde van Niekerk back to top form. In the first heat of the men’s 400m qualifiers, he shot out to an early lead and then ran conservatively in the second half of his race to win his heat in 45:18 and qualify for the next round. While he still has a long way to go to regain the form and confidence that saw him win the 2016 Olympic and 2017 World Champs titles, as well as set a World Record of 43:03 in Rio in 2016, but it is nevertheless terrific to see him racing smoothly again after a long recovery following a freak knee injury suffered during a charity touch rugby game. Joining Wayde in the semi-final round is Zakhiti Nene, who clocked 45:69 to finish third in his heat.

International Highlights…

While many events have already delivered fantastic spectacles and results, there have been a few that nevertheless stood out from the rest. Both 100m finals saw a single country record a clean sweep of the podium positions – in the men’s race, Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Fred Kerley timed his dip for the line perfectly to win in 9.86 second, followed by compatriots Marvin Bracy and Trayvon Bromell. The women’s 100m title went to Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in 10.67 seconds, to give her a record fifth 100m World Title, and she was closely trailed over the line by countrywomen Shericka Jackson and four-time Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson-Herah.

A thrilling women’s 10,000m final was won by Ethiopian World Record-holder Letesenbet Gidey, with a thrilling sprint that could have seen any one of four or five athletes take the title. The Ethiopian has all too often just missed out on global honours due to being out-sprinted at the end, but this time she outlasted all challengers for a deserved win in a world-leading 30:09.94, and even new personal bests by Kenyans Hellen Obiri (30:10.02) and Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi (30:10.07) were just not enough to beat Gidey.

The men’s 10,000m saw Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei make it back-to-back 10,000m golds at the World Championships. The World Record-holder came into the meet seemingly not quite at his best, but he was still at the front end of the race when the bell rang for the last lap, and he cranked up the pace to win in a season best 27:27.43. Kenya’s Stanley Mburu took silver, in spite of falling in the first lap, and Cheptegei’s compatriot Jacob Kiplimo took bronze, while the first five men all finished within one second of each other!

Ethiopia’s Tamirat Tola won the men’s marathon in a championship record 2:05:36, having broken clear after 34km. His countryman Mosinet Geremew took the silver medal in 2:06:44, while Belgian Bashir Abdi claimed the bronze medal, to go with the bronze he won last year in the Tokyo Olympic Marathon.

The World Champs will run until Sunday 24 July, so there is still plenty of action to come!