It was a good day for Caribbean 400-metre running at the 116th IAAF World Championships of Athletics in Doha, Qatar on Wednesday, with entrants from the Bahamas, Grenada, Trinidad & Tobago, and Jamaica all making it through to the event's final on Friday.

Noah Lyles has vowed to beat the times of sprint legend Usain Bolt, but the American was below his best when capturing the 200 metres title at the World Athletics Championships.

Lyles was unconvincing in claiming gold in Doha, needing a late surge to justify his status as the clear favourite.

His compatriot Donavan Brazier produced a stunning performance to win the 800m, while Britain's Dina Asher-Smith will go into the women's 200m final as the athlete to beat after she laid down a big marker in the semi-finals.

The field events, meanwhile, produced no shortage of drama.

 

LYLES LEAVES IT LATE

Lyles was expected to take gold in the 200m but few would have predicted the manner of his victory.

The American was behind going into the straight as Britain's Adam Gemili led after a great start and an excellent bend.

However, Lyles turned on the jets in the final 100m and edged to victory in 19.83 seconds. Canadian Andre De Grasse added to his Olympic silver by coming home in second, ahead of training partner Alex Quinonez of Ecuador.

A devastated Gemili was fourth, again narrowly missing out on a major individual medal after finishing in the same position at the Olympics three years ago.

BRAZIER BREAKS RECORDS

Brazier's victory could hardly have looked more dominant as he burst clear with 300m to go, and his 800m championship record of 1:42:34 also set a US record.

Amel Tuka of Bosnia-Herzegovina was over a second behind in silver, with Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich taking bronze for Kenya.

"I really had to dig deep for that one," Brazier told BBC Sport. "Little bit of a target on my back now [ahead of the Olympics]. I'd rather have it than not have it."


DINA LAYS DOWN MARKER

With Olympic champion Elaine Thompson, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Marie-Josee Ta Lou and 2017 world champion Dafne Schippers all having pulled out of the 200m, Asher-Smith is the clear favourite.

The European champion was a class above in her semi-final and the fastest qualifier for the final as she won in 22.16 seconds.

With Brittany Brown the next fastest qualifier in 22.46 seconds, it will take a significant tunaround to deny the 100m silver medallist the 200m title.

KENDRICKS DENIES DUPLANTIS

The men's pole vault final proved a thriller as Sam Kendricks successfully defended his title, becoming the first man since Sergey Bubka to win multiple world championship golds in the discipline.

Kendricks was run extremely close by Swedish teenager Armand Duplantis. Both men cleared 5.97 metres on the final attempt but neither could manage 6.02m.

That meant Kendricks retained the title on countback, courtesy of clearing 5.92 with his first attempt, though Duplantis did not seem disappointed with silver. He and Kendricks, along with bronze medallist Piotr Lisek, backflipped on to the mat after the result was decided.

Meanwhile, in the women's javelin, Australia's Kelsey Lee-Barber took gold with her final attempt, a throw of 66.56m, denying Liu Shiying and Lyu Huihui a Chinese one-two.

Fedrick Dacres, the 2019 IAAF World Championships silver medallist, described Monday’s final as the hardest in history, adding that he felt the gold medal was within reach.

There was a nervous look on Omar McLeod when he lined up in the 110-metre hurdles at the IAAF World Championships of Athletics on Monday and maybe there were even some nerves over the first few hurdles.

Those out of the way, the defending champion literally flew down the straight away to clock a nippy 13.17 seconds.

So quick was McLeod’s heat that the former World number-one pulled two fastest losers from his heat.

Cyprus’ Milan Trajkovic was second in a season’s best 13.37, while South Africa’s Antonio Alkana was third in 13.41 seconds. Fourth was the United States’ Devon Allen (13.46).

Italy’s Hassane Fofana, 13.49, was fifth, while in sixth, Australia’s Nicholas Hough stopped the clock at 13.60. Both were non-automatic qualifiers.

One of the event’s favourites, Sergey Shubenkov, looked in good form, cruising to 13.27 to win his heat ahead of Wenjun Xie of China, 13.38, and Jason Joseph of Switzerland, 13.39. Joseph’s time was a new national record.

Barbados Shane Brathwaite, a former World Champion, is not in the same type of form this season but he is through to the next round after his fourth place finish in 13.51.

Jamaica’s Andrew Riley, 13.67, finished third in his heat to qualify for the semi-final. The heat was won by Pascal Martinot-Lagarde, 13.45, while Grwat Britain’s Andrew Pozzi was second in 13,53, while Colombia’s Yohan Chaverria, 13.76, was fourth.

Last year’s World U20 silver medalist, Jamaica’s Orlando Bennett, was well beaten, finishing fifth in his heat but his 13.50-second clocking meant he was fast enough to finish in one of the non-automatic qualification spots.

Another qualifier from Jamaica, who now have a growing reputation for producing sprint hurdlers, came from Ronald Levy, who finished second in the final heat, running 13.48 to be well beaten by pre-race favourite, Spain’s Orlando Ortega.

Karsten Warholm retained his men's 400 metres hurdles title on what proved to be a good day for defending champions at the World Athletics Championships.

Norwegian Warholm rounded out Monday's schedule in Doha by holding off American Rai Benjamin to triumph in a time of 47.42 seconds.

Muktar Edris also made it back-to-back world golds in the men's 5,000m, while Mariya Lasitskene went one better in the women's high jump, triumphing for an unprecedented third straight time.

There was a surprise in the women's 800m, however, as Uganda's Halimah Nakaayi prevailed - with pre-race favourite Ajee Wilson having to settle for bronze - while Daniel Stahl claimed gold in the men's discus.

As for the 200m, a number of high-profile names pulled out of the women's event but men's favourite Noah Lyles had no issues in progressing to the final.

 

THIS MEANS WAR!

While the time was not fast enough to threaten Kevin Young's long-standing world record of 46.78s, a mark set way back in 1992, Warholm still produced an impressive performance to reign again at the end of a long season.

The 23-year-old set the pace in the early going and remained clear of the field, with Benjamin unable to reel him in during the closing metres. Qatar's Abderrahman Samba rounded out the podium places

"I actually felt my heart was going to stop. I thought I was going to die... but it's going to be worth it!" Warholm told BBC Sport in his post-race interview.

"Here I am - world champion. And I'm not dead either!"


HAT-TRICK HERO

Lasitskene created history as she once again ruled, in the process becoming the first athlete to win three successive world high jump titles.

The Russian, competing as an Authorised Neutral Athlete, wrapped up gold with a clearance of 2.04m at the first attempt, though she failed in an effort to set a new personal best at 2.08m.

Yaroslava Mahuchikh of Ukraine also made it over 2.04m at the third time of asking, the 18-year-old setting a world junior record as she claimed the silver medal.


DINA DAZZLES - LYLES ON TRACK

After a silver medal in the 100m on Sunday, Dina Asher-Smith set the fastest time in her heat in the women's 200m.

The British runner will have high hopes of claiming a gold after a number of leading contenders opted not to run at the distance, including Dutch defending champion Dafne Schippers.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica - who won gold in the 100m - was another leading name to withdraw, while Blessing Okagbare was disqualified after running out of her lane.

Lyles, meanwhile, laid down a marker by posting a time of 19.86s in the men's 200m. The American had silver hair for his heats on the previous day but will be out for gold in Tuesday's final. Ecuador's Alex Quinonez could be his main rival after impressing with a time of 19.95s.

There was no drama in the women’s 400-metre heats at the IAAF as favourite, the Bahamas’ Shaunae Miller-Uibo, trotted through the first round of heats to make the semi-final, while Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson and Stephenie-Ann McPherson did just enough.

Sada Williams of Barbados, running in the first heat of the 400s this morning was second in a pedantic 52.14 seconds but was certain of qualification with the first three through as automatic qualifiers.

The United States’ Phyllis Francis won the heat in 50.77 seconds, while the Czech Republic’s Lada Vondrová was the third qualifier in 52.23 seconds.

The United States kept winning heats on Monday, as Wadeline Jonathas, 50.57, won heat 2 ahead of Jackson, 51.13.

Jackson never seemed to push herself very much but did enough to pull a personal best 51.21 from Australia’s Bendere Oboyo.

Sakima Wimbley was another winner for the United States but had to file an appeal to escape a disqualification that, on the face of it, looked pretty harsh.

McPherson clocked 51.21 seconds to finish behind the personal best of Botswana’s Galafele Moroko, 50.59. Guyana’s Aliyah Abrams with 51.73 qualified from a non-automatic spot, finishing fourth in the heat behind Nigeria’s Favour Ofili.

Miller-Uibo has not finished behind anybody this year and she seems keen on keeping things that way, but she still didn’t extend herself very far in stopping clock at 51.30 seconds, to better France’s Déborah Sananes and Kenya’s Mary Moraa.

Miller-Uibo’s major challenge is expected to come from Bahrain’s Salwa Eid Naser, who won heat six on Monday and hardly looked bothered either.

Naser strolled to 50.74 seconds, slower than Miller-Uibo but also well ahead of the field headed by Poland’s Justyna Święty-Ersetic, 51.34, and mexico’s paola morán, 51.58.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Kamaria Durant was the only athlete from the twin-sdland republic to make the semi-finals of the Women’s 200 metres after a day of mixed fortunes for the Caribbean.

In the meantime, Antonique Strachan of the Bahamas qualified for the final, winning Heat one in 22.86 seconds to finish ahead of Durant, 23.08, and Jamaica’s Sashalee Forbes, 23.15.

Jamaica’s biggest hope for a gold medal, 100-metre fourth-place finisher, Elaine Thompson, was not a winner but looked comfortable enough in qualifying second in 22.61 seconds. The United States’ Brittany Brown, with a personal best of 22.33, won the heat.

All eyes though, have been on Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith. Second in the 100 on Sunday, Asher-Smith is a much better 200-metre runner and with a personal best of 21.89, is favourite to take this event.

She looked very good in qualifying, winning her heat in 22.32 seconds, easily outdoing the United States’ Dezerea Bryant, 22.56, and the season’s best 22.57 from the Bahamas’ Tynia Gaither.

Unfortunately for Jamaica, Schillonie Calvert-Powell, running in heat six, found the going too tough and faded to 23.52 and seventh place.

Also out from the Caribbean is T&T’s Mauricia Prieto, who finished sixth in heat 2 with a time of 23.33 seconds.

Newly-crowned 100m World Champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has offered kind words of encouragement to young compatriot Briana Williams who missed out on an appearance at the Doha Championships after being embroiled in a doping controversy.

The 17-year-old Williams was hit with a reprimand after returning an adverse analytical finding, following the Jamaica National Championships.  The athlete, who returned a test for the banned diuretic Hydrochlorothiazide, provided the explanation that the substance was part of a contaminated batch of flu medication she had ingested on the morning of the championships. 

An Independent Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel ruling on the matter issued Williams with a reprimand and did not prescribe any period of ineligibility for the athlete but based on the IAAF’s rules the results earned at Jamaica’s National Trials were scrubbed from the record. Williams had secured her spot on the World Championship team after finishing third behind Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson in the 100m.  Though selected to the team the athlete later withdrew after being replaced by Jonielle Smith for the 100m and facing time considerations for the relay squad.

“I’ve been in that situation before when I took a painkiller and it was very hard for me to come back and not focus on that incident,” Fraser-Pryce said.

In 2010, Fraser-Pryce served a six-month ban after testing positive for Oxycodone at the Shanghai Diamond League meeting.  The athlete had taken the substance to provide relief for a severe toothache.

“It happens, unfortunately.  I would not have wished that on anyone, and I hope that she can stay strong and stay motivated and forget about what anyone else has to say.  It’s about what you know and what you believe, and you can come back from anything.”

Allyson Felix became the most decorated athlete in IAAF World Championships history as she helped the United States to victory in the mixed-gender 4x400m relay.

Felix was level with Usain Bolt on 11 gold medals at the event prior to Saturday's race in Doha.

But the 33-year-old, who became a mother in November, helped set up Michael Cherry to power clear on the last leg.

Poland - who decided to send their two men out first in an attempt to build up an unassailable lead - held the advantage until Cherry came into play, with Felix having run second.

Cherry simply had too much for the rest of the field, with Javon Francis claiming silver for Jamaica and Bahrain coming in third.

Tajay Gayle’s gold medal for Jamaica in the long jump at the IAAF World Championships of Athletics in Doha, Qatar was a surprise to everyone – except for Tajay Gayle.

Gayle knew he had big jumps in him even as he just barely made it into Saturday’s long jump final, registering 7.89 to be the last competitor to book a place.

He knew what he had to do, run faster.

On Friday during the qualification round, there was much more swirling through the 23-year-old’s head. He was overthinking. Gayle was worried about getting the mechanics right after he took off toward the pit, making sure he extended right, lent away at the right time, got the most out of his run up. But that was dragging the cart before the horse, it did not work.

“Yesterday I made a small mistake and I worried about the jump,” the history-making Jamaican told a press conference after he claimed gold on Saturday.

But Saturday was different, on Saturday, he focused on the horse.

“Today I was focused on only one thing. That was the run-up and it was working perfectly,” he said.

Gayle would put the field under pressure with his first jump, the Jamaican reaching out to 8.46 metres, a big improvement on his 8.32 personal best.

The field would never get there, but Gayle, who had two fouls after that, was not done yet.

He would reach out towards the pit on his fourth jump and find he had gone even farther, farther than anyone in that field had ever gone.

“I’m not sure what happened, but in any case, I’m very grateful. I just was faster doing my run-up,” he said simply, as if running faster could explain the heady heights he was able to reach.

But the achievement has not been lost on the young man.

“I got here, did a personal best and a Worlds’ gold” he said, indicating that his World Championships experience could not have gone any better.

“I would have loved to put a personal best under my first victory at the World Championships.”

Gayle bested a crack field, including Miguel Echevarria of Cuba, who achieved some big wind-aided results this year and should have been a shoe-in for gold. He also dethroned Luvo Mayonga of South Africa, all while jumping to a distance they had never legally done.

But to do that, Gayle had to forget his competitors, their accolades and previous achievements, and focus on being the best Tajay Gayle he could.

“I have never worried about anything else, but myself,” he said, again, simply.

Jamaica’s Natoya Goule, who has a big chance at an IAAF World Championships of Athletics medal this year, had a few anxious moments on Saturday, as a bump from Uganda’s Halimah Nakaayi threatened to keep her out of Monday’s final.

Goule, looking comfortable for the first 600 metres, rounded Nakaayi, Kenya’s Jepkoech Sum and had been taking aim at the United States’ Ce'Aira Brown when she was bumped by the Ugandan, who wanted to make a hole after being boxed in.

Nakaayi had earlier interfered with Brown as well, trying to pass her on the inside of lane one but found no way through.

Her frustration boiled over and she lashed out at the surging Goule at the top of the final corner. Goule lost her rhythm and was not able to cash in on the momentum she had built from 150 metres out, but she did manage to stay with the leaders to finish fourth in the race in a time of 2:00.33 seconds. That time was quick enough to earn her a place in the final as one of the fastest non-automatic qualifiers.

Nakaayi leads all qualifiers with her season’s best 1:59.35, while the United States’ Ajee Wilson, 2:00.31 was comfortably through, in her heat, as was her teammate Raevyn Rogers, 1:59.57.

Kyron McMaster almost failed to put his talent on full display on the world stage for the second major meet in a row after he was disqualified from the 400 metre hurdles in Doha, Qatar for a hurdles infringement, only to be re-instated later.

McMaster, one of the five or six best 400 hurdlers in the world at this point, seemed to want to make a statement in his semi-final heat on Saturday and stormed out of the blocks so quickly he slammed into the first hurdle and almost did not recover.

The US Virgin Islands athlete still managed to finish third in the heat, clocking 48.40 behind the fast finishing Brazillian Alison Dos Santos, 48.35, and Turkey’s Yasmani Copello, 48.39.

McMaster had initially been labelled with a disqualification but successfully appealed the decision.

In a previous World Championships, McMaster, then the quickest in the world with some mid-47-second runs, failed to negotiate a hurdle properly and was deemed to have breeched the same rule. On that occasion there was to be no reversal.

In the meantime, McMaster’s rivals over the distance have all made it to the final.

Karsten Warholm, the man who has gone fastest this year and is the second fastest 400 hurdler in history won his heat comfortably in 48.28, while Rai Benjamin showed he was in better shape than Abderrahman Samba, beating the former world number one to the line in 48.52. Samba would stop the clock at 48.72.

The other man from the Caribbean in the event, Jamaica’s Kemar Mowatt, struggled in the semi-final, finishing seventh in 49.32 to bring an unwelcome end to his World Championships experience.

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