Barshim thrills home crowd as record-breaker Muhammad takes gold

By Sports Desk October 04, 2019

Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim sent a raucous home crowd into raptures with a stunning gold in the men's high jump at the World Athletics Championships.

Empty stands often dogged the IAAF's showpiece event but the masses flocked to Doha's Khalifa International Stadium on Friday and Barshim did not disappoint, taking the title by clearing 2.37 metres on his first attempt.

It was a record-breaking evening for Dalilah Muhammad, who pipped her United States team-mate Sydney McLaughlin in a coruscating women's 400m hurdles final, although their compatriot Fred Kerley had to settle for bronze in the men 400m final as Steven Gardiner of the Bahamas claimed a stunning victory.

Conseslus Kipruto continued Kenyan dominance in the men's 3000m steeplechase by the barest of margins – pipping Ethiopia's Lamecha Girma on the line, while Yaime Perez and Denia Caballero made it a Cuba one-two in the women's discuss.


World champion in 2017, Barshim only returned to action in June having spent almost a year on the sidelines following ankle surgery.

But he brought his best form to delight an adoring public and top the podium in a thrilling high-jump competition.

Barshim only erred at 2.33m, claiming a dramatic season's best at the third attempt, before sailing over 2.35m and 2.37m.

Neutral athletes Mikhail Akimenko and Ilya Ivanyuk could not do likewise and a remarkable comeback was complete.


Muhammad stormed to her second world-record run of the season to claim gold in the 400m hurdles.

The Olympic champion broke Yuliya Pechonkina's record, which stood for almost 16 years, when she won at the US Track and Field Championships in July, clocking 52.20 seconds.

She became the first track athlete to set an all-time best in an individual race at the championship in Doha on Friday, clocking a blistering 52.16 secs.

As expected, Muhammad was pushed all the way by McLaughlin, whose brilliant personal best of 52.23 made her the second-fastest woman in the history of the event – having chased relentlessly from a draw two lanes inside the world champion.

Jamaica's Rushell Clayton took the bronze.


Michael Norman's shock semi-final elimination left fellow American Kerley as the favourite for men's 400m gold but Gardiner had other ideas as he sensationally streaked clear of the field to clock 43.48 – placing him sixth on the all-time list.

Kerley managed to hold on to third as he faded in the home straight, with Anthony Jose Zambrano of Colombia claiming silver.

Former Olympic and world champion Kirani James came in fifth following his inspirational return from Graves disease, but Gardiner's gold crowned a similar story of human triumph – fundraising efforts having helped to make it possible for a Bahaman team to attend the World Championships following the devastating impact of Hurricane Dorian upon the Caribbean island.

Gardiner's victory by more than half a second stood in stark contrast to the conclusion of the steeplechase, where Olympic champion Kipruto ran down Girma off the final barrier to make it back-to-back world titles by 0.01 seconds.

The Ethiopian had the consolation of setting a new national record, with Morocco's Soufiane El Bakkali left behind to collect bronze.


Croatia's Sandra Perkovic will know how Kipruto and Barshim feel, having retained her world title in London two years ago.

She could not make it three in a row as Perez came out on top in a ding-dong battle with Caballero – a fifth-round 69.17m seeing off her team-mate.

Defending champions Great Britain qualified fastest for the men's 4x100m relay final, with the United States just edging through despite an error-strewn run. Jamaica and Canada were not so lucky.

Jamaica, Britain, China and USA look set to vie for the medals in a strong women's field, although Germany – the fastest team in the world this year – failed to make the cut.

Favourite Timothy Cheruiyot won his 1500m semi-final in a time of 3:36.53.

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    IAAF President Sebastian Coe has described the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 as the best in history in terms of the quality and depth of performances produced by the athletes of more than 200 nations.

    Speaking after the final evening session last Sunday, Coe noted that six championship records had been set, 43 countries had won medals, and athletes from 68 different nations had achieved at least one top-eight placing. There have been 21 area records – double the number from 2017 – and 86 national records have been broken, underlining the global reach of the sport.

    “For those who follow our sport closely, you will know that we rank our championships on the performances of the athletes,” Coe said. “It is how we, the athletes and the coaches measure our success.

    “The world’s athletes have put on the best show in the history of the IAAF World Athletics Championships, according to the competition performance rankings which are used as an objective measure of the quality of international competition.

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    “We are proud of the fact we reach more countries than any other sport,” added Coe. “Just look at the breadth and depth – 43 countries on the medals table and 86 national records set. We want our athletes to experience different cultures and different conditions. It’s what makes our sport so accessible.”

    Dahlan Al Hamad, Vice President of the local organising committee, was delighted to see Qatar’s dreams become reality.

    “Our dream started in 1997 when we organised the first meeting in this stadium,” he said. “After that, we kept hosting many meets until 2000 when we organised the Grand Prix Final. We continued our journey in 2010 when we organised the World Indoor Championships in the nearby Aspire Dome. We also organised the Diamond League meeting here and it was really good.

    “We are thrilled we have been able to expand. There are generations here who are hungry to have this kind of sporting event here. Qatar is a nation of more than 100 communities. They have been able to celebrate their athletes from all around the world.”


    Top ranked World Championships

    Based on the IAAF competition performance rankings, used to rank the quality of competitions, the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 tops the list of all World Championships to date.


    Taking the best five results and athletes from the best 24 events, the top five editions are:


    1. 2019, Doha – 195,869
    2. 2015, Beijing – 194,547
    3. 2017, London – 193,426
    4. 2013, Moscow – 192,664
    5. 2009, Berlin – 191,168


    Based on the average scores of all track and field results, the top five editions are:


    1. 2019, Doha – 1024.75
    2. 2017, London – 1012.84
    3. 1999, Seville – 1007.98
    4. 2015, Beijing – 1004.78
    5. 2009, Berlin – 1004.55


    There have been many outstanding performances over the 10 days of competition with unprecedented depth in many of the finals. Based on the IAAF scoring tables, the top five men’s and women’s performances are:



    22.91m Joe Kovacs (USA) shot put – 1295pts

    22.90m Tom Walsh (NZL) shot put – 1294pts

    22.90m Ryan Crouser (USA) shot put – 1294pts

    9.76 Christian Coleman (USA) 100m – 1291pts

    43.48 Steven Gardiner (BAH) 400m – 1289pts



    7.30m Malaika Mihambo (GER) long jump – 1288pts

    48.14 Salwa Eid Naser (BRN) 400m – 1281pts

    48.37 Shaunae Miller-Uibo (BAH) 400m – 1272pts

    3:51.95 Sifan Hassan (NED) 1500m – 1271pts

    6981 Katarina Johnson-Thompson (GBR) heptathlon – 1269pts


    The championships have not just been about record-breaking performances, though. This edition will also be remembered for its close finishes, surprise winners, moments of fair play, and the arrival of the next generation of athletics stars.

    USA’s 200m winner Noah Lyles and Germany’s decathlon victor Niklas Kaul became the youngest ever world champions in their respective events. Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh twice broke the world U20 record on her way to the silver medal in the high jump. She was one of several athletes born in or after the year 2000 who earned medals, along with Ethiopian duo Selemon Barega and Lemecha Girma and Bahrain’s Musa Isah.

    The innovations – including light shows, new camera angles and increased engagement with athletes – have helped the sport reach a younger audience around the world.

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    "This situation including uninformed innuendo and unsubstantiated assertions has become an unfair burden for current OP athletes. That is exactly counter to the purpose of the team.

    "We have therefore made the decision to wind down the Oregon Project to allow the athletes to focus on their training and competition needs.

    "We will help all of our athletes in this transition as they choose the coaching set-up that is right for them. We will continue to support Alberto in his appeal."

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