By Neil Leverett

  • Dalilah Muhammad breaks her own World record in the women’s 400m hurdles final, to take Gold on Day 8 of Doha 2019
  • Mutaz Essa Barshim sends Doha into ecstasy with high jump title, Steven Gardiner wins men’s 400m crown
  • British trio of Josh Kerr, Jake Wightman and Neil Gourley make men’s 1500m final, whilst relay quartets book showdown spot also
DOHA, QATAR – Dalilah Muhammad and Mutaz Essa Barshim win 400m and high jump Golds respectively, on an electric Day 8 of the World Athletics Championships 2019 in Doha.

 

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Golden WR for Muhammad

American Dalilah Muhammad again broke her own World record on Day 8 of the World Athletics Championship 2019, taking the 400m hurdles world title and clocking 52.16 ahead of teammate and rival Sydney McLaughlin.

Adding the world crown to the Olympic title she won in Rio three years ago, Muhammad breaks her own standard after running 52.20 at the US Trials earlier this summer. For 20-year-old McLaughlin – the more fancied to win here – it was another tale of frustration having lost out again in a head to head contest with her teammate.

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As Muhammad went out hard from the gun, McLaughlin gradually reeled her foe in during the final 100m straight, but as the younger athlete inched closer to the line – and her compatriot – the line came too soon, with Muhammad crossing in a new record time, four-one-hundredths faster than her own one set earlier just months ago.

20-year-old McLaughlin dropped to the track to congratulate the winner, but with disbelief on her face having again been beaten head to head, wondering what she must do to take Muhammad down. Tokyo will be mighty interesting.

 

Barshim defends electric high jump title

Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim brought the house down at the Khalifa International Stadium on Day 8, winning a stirring high jump competition with a height of 2.37, ahead of Independent athletes Mikhail Akimenko and Ilya Iyanyuk.

Clinging on to hopes of a medal, the home crowd favourite cleared 2.30 with his final attempt, but then put in a flawless performance to record 2.33, 2.35 and then two centimetres higher, as a packed and raucous Doha crowd erupted in jubilation.

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With Qatar’s second medal of the championships, Barshim – who has struggled with injury throughout 2019, only just having returned to full fitness also – becomes the first male in history to defend the world crown he won in London two years ago.

 

Gardiner surges to 400m glory

As the finals continued unrelentingly on a memorable Friday night in the Middle East, Steven Gardiner stormed away to win the men’s 400m at a gallop in a national record time of 43.48, ahead of surprise silver medalist Anthony Jose Zambrano of Colombia, with America’s Fred Kerley taking the bronze.

Following Michael Norman‘s shock failure to reach the final, the remaining eight men could all consider themselves contenders for the throne, with Kirani James looking back to his best, and as a former world champion.

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Coming off the final bend, Machel Cedenio was firmly in the frame also, however as athletes entered the home run-in, Gardiner stretched his legs to pull away from the field as the Bahamian made the step up from the silver he claimed in London 2017.

 

Brit 4x100m relays make finale

As the traditional relay began to signal the latter stages of the championships, favourites the USA are on course to win gold in the women’s 4x100m, after running 42.46 ahead of Switzerland and Trinidad & Tobago in the opening heat.

GB will also take their place in the final, after Asha Philip, Imani Lansiquot, Ashley Nelson, Daryll Neita ran a faster 42.25 in third – without 200m world champion Dina Asher-Smith – behind a Jamaican-led Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce who’s four came home first.

In the men’s relays, Britain’s quartet of Adam Gemili, Zharnel Hughes, Richard Kilty and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake qualified fastest into Saturday’s final as GB look to defend the title they won on home soil in London two years ago.

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The US team meanwhile, narrowly avoided disqualification for crossing into the British lane on the first takeover, and also for handing over on the very fringes before the yellow line into the home straight, but having survived, the likes of 100m champion Christian Coleman, Noah Lyles and Justin Gatlin will be clear favourites to win.

As South Africa and China also impressed recording Area and National records respectively, Canada missed out after a shocking race, meaning Aaron Brown and double medalist in Qatar, Andre de Grasse, will not compete in the final.

 

Brit trio into 1500m final

There was history made in the men’s 1500m semi-finals, as Britain for the first time will have three men in a world championship middle-distance final, after the trio of Neil Gourley, Josh Kerr and Jake Wightman all came through three fiercely contested races, to take a spot each in Sunday’s final.

As Gourley first took his place finishing third behind red-hot favourite Timothy Cheruiyot who clocked 3:36.53 – eliminating Filip Ingebrigsten after overtaking the Norwegian in the final metres – fellow Scots Kerr then finished fourth, with Wightman enduring an agonizing wait after a blanket finish, before  creeping in as a fastest loser in seventh in the second semi.

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Jakob Ingrebrigtsen, Ronald Kwemoi and Marcin Lewandowski booked their place also, however Ronald Musagala, one of the pre-race outsiders for a medal failed to progress.

The 1500m final was set to be one of the most explosive throughout the ten days of competition in Doha, and now with three British interests involved, that excitement will now peak on the final day of the championships.

 

The World Athletics Championship 2019 continue on Day 9 with the penultimate day of action, with the heats of the women’s 100m hurdles at 3:15 pm UK time.

 

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