By Neil Leverett
- Karsten Warholm retains 400m hurdles World title with Gold on Day 4 of Doha 2019
- Halimah Nakaayi beats Ajee Wilson to 800m title, Dina Asher-Smith fastest into 200m semi’s
- Noah Lyles looks in 200m control, Adam Gemili makes final, Daniel Roberts DQ’d in 110m hurdles heats as Shaunae Miller-Uibo eases into 400m semi’s
DOHA, QATAR – Norway’s Karsten Warholm takes epic 400m win to retain hurdles title, as the Brits impress also on Day 4 of the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar.
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Warholm remains on top
On an electric night at the Khalifa International Stadium, Norway’s Karsten Warholm came out on top again in one the most eagerly anticipated finals of the 2019 World Athletics Championships, on Day 4 of Doha 2019.
Holding off the challenge of Rai Benjamin and home favourite Abderrahman Samba, the defending champion from London proved the stronger again for the majority of the race, and despite American Benjamin creeping toward his rival over the final two barriers, Warholm held on to win.
Though finishing in a time of 47.42, far slower than many expected – with Kevin Young’s 27-year record under threat – Warholm crossed the line with glee and could now go on to dominant his field for years to come.
Behind the Norwegian, Benjamin was clear for silver, however with Samba trailing Kyron McMaster, the Qatari athlete rose to the growing roar of the Khalifa Stadium crowd to sneak home and take the bronze.
Nakaayi wins sensational 800m crown
American favourite Ajee Wilson suffered a surprise upset in the women’s 800m final, as Uganda’s Halimah Nakaayi won a stunning Gold ahead of a fast-finishing Raevyn Rogers, as Wilson herself was forced to settle for bronze.
Having dominated the Diamond League campaign throughout 2019, Wilson was overhauled from the final bend having led from the gun, as fellow season-dominant Winnie Nanyondo finished off the podium.
Nakaayi, who finished only 3rd in the African Games in Rabat earlier this year, surged past a tiring Wilson on the finishing straight, and just held off the efforts of Rogers, who put on storming finish to take second place – overtaking teammate Wilson.
Asher-Smith poised for 200m title?
As the second leg of the women’s sprint double in Doha began with the 200m heats, Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith looked in buoyant mood from her silver medal win in Sunday evening’s 100m final in qualifying fastest into Tuesday’s semi-finals, and is now regarded as perhaps the favourite to go a step higher on the podium.
Clocking 22.32 as the Bromley Harrier returned to the track, Asher-Smith eased to the line to book her spot in the semi-finals. Following the Briton’s conqueror Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and third placed Marie Josee-Ta Lou‘s respective decisions not double up, defending champion Dafne Schippers was then forced to pull out moments before her heat with the existing groin injury that forced the Dutch athlete out the final of 24 hours ago.
Having already lost major contenders for Gold, Blessing Okagbare was then disqualified in her race for stepping outside of her lane. Elaine Thompson did progress but still looked to be struggling with an achilles problem. With the field looking to have significantly opened the way for potential world crown, instead the main challengers could now come elsewhere.
Niger’s Aminatou Seyni won her heat impressively, ahead of Germany’s Tatjana Pinto in a new national record time of 22.58, whilst American Brittany Brown ran a personal best 0.01 of a second outside of Asher-Smith time’s .
Britons Jodie Williams also made her way through to Tuesday, and too did Beth Dobbin and whilst neither are likely to challenge for honours here, Team GB will be keeping very keen eye on events on the track in a day’s time.
Lyles in 200m control; Gemili into final
With the men having advanced to the semi-finals, Noah Lyles remains on course to pick up the 200m title, but the American has again been given much to ponder ahead of Tuesday evening’s gold-dash.
The overwhelming favourite for the Qatari crown ran the fastest time of 19.86, closely pursued by surprise package Alex Quinonez, with the Ecuadorian now firmly in the medal hunt.
As too is Britain’s Adam Gemili, who having put aside the disappointment of failing to qualify for the 100m final, clocked a SB of 20.03 ahead of defending champion Ramil Guliyev, both making the final.
Zharnel Hughes however, failed to make the final finishing third in his semi ahead of the also departing Yohan Blake, but Kyle Greaux further enhanced his chances of a podium place in 24 hours, while Andre De Grasse reached his second final in Doha and could take a second prize away from Doha.
Miller-Uibo, Naser ease into 400m semi’s
The women’s 400m heats also kicked off on Day 4 in Doha, which saw the Shaunae Miller-Uibo set foot on the Khalifa International Stadium track. Whilst not at her explosive best, the Bahamian did enough to progress with very little effort made, running 51.30.
Champion in Rio, Miller-Uibo’s chief rival for gold in Doha, Salwa Eid Naser cruised to win her respective heat by over two seconds to the rest of the field, whilst London winner Phyllis Francis went 50.77 to qualify fourth fastest.
After being initially DQ’d, Francis’ compatriot and medal contender Shakima Wimbley was reinstated on appeal and will race again as will bronze medalist in Rio Shericka Jackson.
Both British athletes also qualified, with Laviai Nielsen progressing by right, as Emily Diamond who ran in Sunday’s inaugural mixed 4x400m relay final, clocking a season’s best 0f 51.66.
Roberts DQ’d in 110 hurdle heats
The start of 110m hurdles competition saw one of favourites to win in Doha, Daniel Roberts, disqualified after intially winning his heat despite clattering the final hurdle. Following the race however, replays showed the American’s trailing leg also crept into France’s Pascal Martinot-Lagarde‘ slane, with Roberts penalised from infringement.
With the rest of the major contenders making it through, Spain’s Orlando Ortega again looked the strongest running 13.15 ahead of Ronald Levy, with the Cuban-born athlete not having lost a race since June.
Omar McLeod who won in Birmingham and Shanghai this year, will now fancy his chances ever more as defending and reigning Olympic champion over the distance, and hurdled smoothly in progressing, as did outsider China’s Xie Xhenye.
Former world champion Sergey Shubenkov meanwhile- a two time Diamond League winner this season, and the second fastest man in the event – also ran well with a time of 13.28.
Having seen his teammate eliminated, Grant Holloway catapulted into the seat of best American hope winning his heat, whilst Andrew Pozzi this time made it over the barriers and into the semi-final, but the Briton will need to perform better on Wednesday.
The 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha continue with Day 5 on Tuesday, as the heats of the men’s 400m get under way at 2:35 pm UK time.
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