A stupendous night of athletics on day five of the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23 produced another shock 1500m defeat by a Briton – this time Josh Kerr – for Norway’s Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen, the regaining of the men’s 400m hurdles title by compatriot Karsten Warholm and a towering women’s pole vault final where defending champion Katie Moon and Nina Kennedy of Australia chose to share gold.
Lightning struck twice as far as Ingebrigtsen was concerned, and the bolt went right through his heart as the 25-year-old Scotsman employed the same tactic that earned his compatriot Jake Wightman this title in Oregon last summer, moving outside and past the 22-year-old Norwegian phenomenon around the final bend and hanging on.
Kerr added a global title to his Tokyo Olympic bronze in 3:29.38, with Ingebrigtsen earning a second world silver at this distance in 3:29.65, compatriot Narve Nordas finishing just 0.03 behind him.
Acknowledging the cheers upon his introduction, Ingebrigtsen had raised one forefinger to indicate his prediction of the night’s result. It proved incorrect.
Kenya’s Abel Kipsang led out, with Ingebrigtsen at his shoulder, before the Norwegian moved into the lead with two-and-a-half laps remaining, with the usual effect of changing the shape of the race from a bunch to a line.
But Kerr was at his shoulder as they reached the bell, and the Norwegian had it all still to do. Now he will seek to retain his world 5000m title with iron in his soul…
This stunning contest punctuated a similarly captivating women’s pole vault final which saw Moon, the Olympic champion from the United States, and Kennedy agree to split the title in the manner of high jumpers Mutaz Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi at the Tokyo Olympics, after both had cleared 4.90m at the third attempt and failed at 4.95m.
Rather than moving back through the heights after a long competition in muggy conditions similar to those in which the Olympic men’s high jump final had taken place, the two competitors walked together with the inevitable question in mind – and after a brief conversation, Kennedy suddenly put her hand over her mouth and a smiling Moon moved forward to embrace her.
It was a third global title in a row for the US vaulter, and a first for Australia’s 26-year-old world bronze medallist, who had set national records at 4.85m and 4.90m.
Bronze went to Finland’s European champion Wilma Murto, with a season’s best of 4.80m, with Tina Sutej setting a Slovenian record of 4.80m in fourth place, one position above Britain’s surprise package Molly Caudery, who set a personal best of 4.75m.
In the women’s 400m final Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic, the world and Olympic silver medallist, took her opportunity to claim gold as she dominated the race to finish in a national record of 48.76.
Poland’s Natalia Kaczmarek was a delighted silver medallist in 49.57, with Sada Williams of Barbados running 49.60 to thwart the medal ambitions of Ireland’s rising 20-year-old talent Rhasidat Adeleke, who clocked 50.13.
Warholm earned his third world gold in customary fashion, running boldly from the start as he sought to reclaim the title he lost last year after a hamstring injury in his first race of the season had undermined his preparations.
But it was not until the second part of the race that he pushed into the lead as the advantage at the halfway point was held by Rai Benjamin – the US athlete who had finished behind him at the 2019 World Championships and the Tokyo Olympics, and behind Brazil’s Alison Dos Santos in Oregon last summer.
There was no gainsaying the 27-year-old Norwegian, however, as he drove inexorably down the finishing straight to secure victory in 46.89, with Kyron McMaster of the British Virgin Islands coming through for silver in 47.34 and Benjamin having to settle for a bronze, in 47.56, to add to his three global silvers.
Dos Santos, whose prospects for 2023 appeared annulled when he suffered a knee injury early in the year, earned a creditable fifth place in 48.10.
The opening track event of the evening – the first of the women’s 5000m heats – was notable for the courage and enterprise of Latvia’s 19-year-old Agate Caune, who took a huge gamble, and a huge early lead, to earn a personal best of 15:00.10 – and a place in the final.
Caune, who won this year’s European U20 3000m and 5000m with similar tactics, was at one point about 130 metres ahead.
She had her lead reduced to the length of the straight with two laps to go, and half the length of the straight at the bell. But it was not until the final bend that the determined figure was passed, and she had the talent and guts to maintain her form to the line, eventually claiming the fourth of the eight qualifying places.
So often such tactics end in brave failure; not this time. The heat was won by Kenya’s Beatrice Chebet in 14:57.70, 0.02 ahead of the Ethiopian who beat her to this world title last year, Gudaf Tsegay, who will now seek to complete the double having won 10,000m gold.
In the second of two heats moved from the morning to avoid the heat, Sifan Hassan – whose dramatic fall metres from the line presaged Tsegay’s win – appeared to be making a point as she pushed to finish marginally ahead of the Kenyan Faith Kipyegon, who won a third consecutive world 1500m title yesterday in a race where the Dutch runner took bronze.
As one might have expected, a single effort was all it took world and Olympic triple jump champion Yulimar Rojas to reach Friday’s final as she bettered the automatic qualifying mark of 14.30m by 29cm.
Dominica’s Thea Lafond qualified with a national record of 14.62m while others to go through first time were Ukraine’s European champion Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk, on 14.55m, and top qualifier Shanieka Ricketts on 14.67m.
Former world record-holder Kendra Harrison was fastest qualifier for tomorrow’s 100m hurdles final in 12.33, with Puerto Rico’s Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn second overall in 12.41. Nigeria’s defending champion Tobi Amusan won her semifinal in 12.56.
Hanna Skydan was top qualifier for tomorrow’s women’s hammer final with an Azerbaijani record of 77.10m, with 2019 world champion DeAnna Price recording 76.25m.
Jackline Chepkoech was fastest qualifier for the women’s steeplechase final in 9:16.41. Other heat winners were Bahrain’s Winfred Yavi (9:19.18) and Kenya’s Faith Cherotich (9:19.55).
Defending 800m champion Athing Mu, her uncertainties about competing here a thing of the past, moved smoothly into Friday’s semifinals as she won her heat in 1:59.59, although her gun-to-tape lead came under late pressure from Jamaica’s Natoye Goule-Toppin, who clocked 1:59.64.
The 21-year-old US runner – whose last race, an 800m victory at the New York Grand Prix on 24 June, was her first at the distance since adding the world to her Olympic title in July of last year – was the fifth fastest qualifier, one place behind the Briton whom she beat to Olympic gold in 2021 and world gold last year, Keely Hodgkinson.
The latter also led her heat from start to finish, clocking 1:59.53.
Kenya’s current world ranked No.1, Mary Moraa, who beat the Briton to the Commonwealth title last year, left no margin for error as she also led from gun to tape, winning in 1:59.90.
Nia Akins of the United States had plenty to spare as she accelerated past Britain’s Jemma Reekie to win heat five in 1:59.19, the fastest qualifying time.
Two days after securing her first global title in the 100m, Sha’Carri Richardson of the United States set off in pursuit of a sprint double as she qualified fastest for tomorrow’s semi-finals in 22.16.
Her US teammate Gabby Thomas was second fastest in 22.26, with Marie-Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast clocking the same time. Jamaica’s defending champion Shericka Jackson shut down early to win her heat in 22.51, and Britain’s 2019 world champion Dina Asher-Smith did likewise in clocking 22.46 in her heat.
In the men’s 200m heats all three of Sunday night’s 100m medallists proceeded with convincing wins. Britain’s bronze medallist Zharnel Hughes was fastest on 19.99, with champion Noah Lyles clocking 20.05, and Botswana’s Letsile Tebogo ran 20.22.
Kenny Bednarek, the Olympic and world silver medallist from the United States, was second fastest through in 20.01.
Jamaica’s Wayne Pinnock qualified in startling fashion for tomorrow’s men’s long jump final with a first-time effort of 8.54m, the best recorded in the world this year.
Pinnock’s teammate Carey McLeod also required just one jump to surpass the automatic qualifying mark of 8.15m, reaching 8.19m. Others to move on included China’s defending champion Wang Jianan on 8.34m, Greece’s Olympic champion Miltiadis Tentoglou on 8.25m and Switzerland’s sometime decathlete Simon Ehammer on 8.13m.
Meanwhile all three of last year’s world medallists in the men’s pole vault – Mondo Duplantis of Sweden, Chris Nilsen of the United States and Ernest John Obiena of Philippines – qualified without undue stress for Sataurday’s final by clearing 5.75m.
Latvia’s Lina Muze-Sirma topped qualifying for Friday night’s women’s javelin final on 63.50m, followed by Australia’s Mackenzie Little on 63.45m and Japan’s world bronze medallist Haruka Kitaguchi on 63.27m.
Mike Rowbottom for World Athletics