Fri, Aug 11, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Warholm victorious on night of shocks

‘RUNNING WITH ANGER’:Makwala qualified for the 200m final despite his sickness, while Gong Lijiao won China’s first gold of the competition in shot put

AFP, LONDON

Athletes compete in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase at the World Championships in London on Wednesday.

Photo: AFP

Norway’s Karsten Warholm and Phyllis Francis on Wednesday produced sublime performances to stun the favorites and take gold at the athletics World Championships.

Warholm, 21, led from start to finish to beat one of the all-time greats in the 400m hurdles, Kerron Clement, and give Norway their first gold in the event.

Clement, bidding to become the first man to win the hurdles world title three times, had to settle for bronze.

“I truly don’t believe it,” Warholm said, imitating the famous painting The Scream by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch as he crossed the finish line.

Francis’ victory was even more surprising as the American, fifth in the Olympics last year, looked set for a minor medal at best with Bahama’s Shaunae Miller-Uibo set to add world gold to her Olympic crown.

However, the Bahamian tied up dreadfully in the final 20m and it was Francis who breasted the line in first.

Miller-Uibo stumbled over the line and collapsed on the track with not only her dreams of 400m gold having been shattered, but also of doing the 400m-200m double.

However, for two other athletes, the dream double remains on course with Britain’s Mo Farah and South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk reaching the 5,000m and 200m finals respectively.

However, they got to them in very different styles

The 34-year-old Farah — who won the 10,000m on Friday last week — looked at ease in finishing second in his semi-final as he bids to bow out of championship track running with his fifth successive global title double.

However, 400m world champion Van Niekerk struggled into the 200m final by virtue of being the second of the two fastest losers — just 200th of a second ahead of France’s Christophe Lemaitre.

Looking especially dangerous is Botswanan Isaac Makwala, who could have been contemplating the double himself if he had not been barred from the 400m final because he was diagnosed with the highly contagious norovirus.

The 30-year-old, who has late in his career surged into global medal contention, came through two 200m on Wednesday — one a solo time trial as he had been barred from the heats on Monday.

Makwala said that he was heartbroken at missing out on the 400m, adding: “I am running with anger.”

China got their first gold of the championships as Gong Lijiao ended years of near-misses in the finals to take the women’s shot put in a competition that failed to catch fire, although the torrential rain did not help.

“It is 26 years since China won a shot put medal, so it’s a very special moment for me,” she said.

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