Day One at the World Athletics Championships

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Day One at the World Athletics Championships
Published 12-08-2013, 05:25
Mo Farah extended his dominance over distance running with the 10,000 meter gold, and Edna Kiplagat of Kenya became the first woman to defend the marathon title in an enthralling first day of competition at the world athletics championships in Moscow on Saturday.

A year after clinching the 5,000 meter and 10,000 meter Olympic gold on home soil, Farah ran a textbook tactical race to tighten his grip over his event and go one better than 2011, when he was overtaken by Ethiopia’s Ibrahim Jeilan and had to settle for silver.

On a muggy and oppressive Moscow evening, Farah came around the final bend with Jeilan closing the gap in what looked to be a case of deja vu, but this time the Brit found "another gear” to well and truly vanquish his Daegu defeat.

"I remember two years ago the exact same thing happened, but I knew Jeilan was capable so it was important that I had something left,” Farah said.

"[Jeilan] was right there, and down the home straight I was thinking ‘another gear, another gear, another gear,’ and I had that little bit more.”

Farah’s triumph came on the heels of Kiplagat’s historic win in the marathon.

Battling hot and humid temperatures that soared close to 30 degrees Celsius, Kiplagat overcame a neck-and-neck battle with unheralded Italian Valeria Straneo at the 40 kilometer mark, bursting ahead to finish with a time of 2:25:44 hours.

Straneo, the Italian national record holder, ended up 14 seconds back at 2:25:58 hours, setting a season-best mark.

"I am delighted I was able to defend my title successfully,” she said. "I dedicate my victory to my husband for letting me have enough time to train.”

Elsewhere, day one of the decathlon did not go according to plan for Olympic champion Ashton Eaton, who had to rely on the fastest 400 meter ever run at a world championships — 46.03 seconds — to take a razor-thin nine-point lead into Sunday.

Eaton’s fellow American, Gunnar Nixon, is second after he managed a whopping 2.14 meters to win the high jump, with Michael Schrader of Germany in third a further 66 points back.

The day’s other events were restricted to preliminaries.

Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt barely broke a sweat to qualify for the 100 meter semifinals in a snail’s-pace time of 10.07 seconds, with his main challengers Justin Gatlin and Nesta Carter safely through, too.

Only 2005 world champion Gatlin and another American, the 2010 world indoor silver medalist Mike Rodgers, ran under 10 seconds in the prelims.

The semifinals and final are Sunday, when Bolt will hope to avoid the humiliation of a second false-start disqualification and beat a second-rate field deprived of injury withdrawal Yohan Blake and the suspended Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell.

There was more joy for Britain in the women’s 400 meter, where team captain Christine Ohuruogu clocked the fastest qualifying of 50.20.

The next fastest time belonged to American Francena McCorory, who is looking to improve on her fourth-place finish at the 2011 world championships in Daegu, South Korea. She led heat three Saturday at 50.56 seconds. Amantle Montsho, the reigning world champion, took the fifth and final heat of the day, clocking 50.75.

The other medals up for grabs on Sunday were in the women’s long jump, where Britain’s Shara Proctor registered the longest jump in qualifying of 6.85 meters; the women’s discus was led by German Olympic champion Sandra Perkovic with 63.62 meters; and the women’s 10,000 meter, a straight final.

The championships at Moscow’s vast Luzhniki Stadium run through August 18.

 

The Moscow Times

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