By Neil Leverett
- Dina Asher-Smith wins GOLD in the women’s 200m final, to complete a sprint medal double on Day 6 of Doha 2019
- Katarina Johnson-Thompson leads heptathlon overnight, whilst Grant Holloway takes 110m hurdles title
- US duo set up 400m hurdle showdown, with Laura Muir back in contention for 1500m honours
DOHA, QATAR – Dina Asher-Smith takes the women’s World 200m title, winning Gold on Day 6 of the World Athletics Championships 2019 in Doha, Qatar.
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Asher-Smith takes 200m crown
Dina Asher-Smith romped to victory in the women’s 200m final to take Gold and become World champion on Day 6 of the World Athletics Championships 2019 in Doha, to claim Britain’s first Gold in Qatar.
Taking her second medal of the week after silver in the 100m, Asher-Smith becomes only the seventh British female to win a world gold and the very first to win a world sprint title.
As the red-hot favourite to make a step up on the podium with the weakened remaining field, the Orpington athlete coasted to victory in a new British record of 21.88, ahead of the USA’s Brittany Brown, and Switzerland’s Mujinga Kambundji.
For Asher-Smith having ended her World medal drought only days ago, the win is a sensational accomplishment for the 23-year-old who before looking ahead of Tokyo next summer, will now seek to guide the British relay quartet to more honours at the weekend.
Holloway 110m hurdles title
In the final race of Day 6, Grant Holloway won a chaotic 110m hurdles title, ahead of Sergey Shubenkov and France’s Pascal Martinot-Lagarde, with defending champion Omar McLeod dethroned after stumbling on his ninth hurdle and finishing in eighth.
With Holloway fastest into the final from the earlier semi’s, the American took the gold, as a surging Orlando Ortega – after a shocking start himself – was denied a likely medal after McLeod impeded the Cuban-born Spaniard, who has in previous major events won Olympic silver for his former competing nation.
In a frantic finish over the final 20 metres, and with Ortega blocked from charging the line, Martinot-Lagarde took the surprise bronze, having endured a checkered season over the event, but the plaudits belonged to Holloway who began his lap of honour in earnest.
Kat and mouse heptathlon
Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson leads the heptathlon overnight, after recording two superb personal bests in both the 100m hurdles and shot-put, to leave the Briton 96 points ahead of European, defending World and Olympic champion Nafi Thiam going into the second day on Thursday.
Kicking off her assault on the world title by smashing her personal best in the hurdles by two tenths of the second, both the Liverpudlian and Thiam cleared 1.95 in the high jump, before the Briton’s oft-awkward shot-put segment.
Indeed the now French-based Johnson Thompson failed to make a mark on the scoreboard with her first two throws, before steeling herself to record a 13.86 with her final effort, to enter the final 200m event of the day in second.
Despite clocking a below-par 23.08 in that, Johnson-Thompson’s time was nevertheless a season’s best to open up a healthy lead with three events remaining. Whilst Thiam has the by far strongest javelin in the field, the Briton and the Belgian are neck and neck in long jump standings, which could determine the champion.
If however, the Briton is within touch before the 800 final on Day 7, Johnson-Thompson will fancy her chances, and as Commonwealth champion last year, could now end her world medal drought in sensational fashion.
Muir returns to 1500m contention
Day 6 in Doha saw the women’s 1500 get under way, with concerns over Laura Muir‘s fitness temporarily shelved, after the Scot progressed safely through to Thursday’s semi-finals coming third in her heat in 4:07.37.
Finishing behind former champion and Rio bronze medalist Jenny Simpson with training partner Gabriela Debues-Stafford second, last year’s Diamond League winner nevertheless looked in control and most importantly in no pain, as the Scot crossed the finish line.
The Briton – who sustained a calf injury at the London Anniversary Games in July – will however, have her work cut out for her with Doha 10,000m winner Sifan Hassan qualifying fastest and looking to complete a unique long and middle distance double, with her respective rival for the season in Faith Kipyegon finishing side by side with the Dutch athlete.
GB’s other two competitors had mixed fortunes, with Sarah McDonald finishing in sixth to make the next Round, however Gemma Reekie, despite running well after three laps, laboured badly over the final 300m and was ran out of contention, finding the pace too much.
US duo book 400m hurdle clash
After Monday night’s 400m hurdles final fireworks for the men, US duo Dalilah Muhammad and Sydney McLaughlin set up another eagerly-anticipated clash in Doha, as both women qualified with ease into the final – with the latter clocking a tenth of a second faster than her compatriot and rival in 53.81.
With 20-year-old McLaughlin the favourite for the hurdles crown having dominated this season, Muhammad still stands as a sizeable threat having stunned her American foe by breaking the world record this past summer.
McLaughlin will be desperate to take the victory on the world stage however, and cantering to victory in the third semi’ as she did, will now be confident of gold on Friday evening.
Canada’s Sage Watson will now also be confident of fighting for a medal in 48 hours’ time, after breaking the long-standing national record, whilst Leah Sprunger of Austria again set a new season’s best. Zuzana Hejnova advances also, as does US champion Ashley Spencer, but only via a fastest loser spot despite leading for the majority of her race and finishing third. Both Britons Megan Beesley and Jessica Turner failed to make the final.
The World Athletics Championships 2019 in Doha continue on Day 7, as the heptathlon resumes with the long jump, beginning at 4:15 pm UK time.
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