Pioneering marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge and U.S. hurdler Dalilah Muhammad were named the world athletes of the year in track and field at a ceremony in Monaco on Saturday.

At the awards ceremony, Jamaican Brittany was presented with a plaque for breaking the World under-20 100-metre hurdles record.

Anderson, who won gold in the event at the 2017 World Under-18 Championships, twice broke the record at the Motonet Grand Prix in Joensuu, Finland on July 24.

The 18-year-old clocked 12.79 in her heat before winning the final in 12.71 seconds.  

Kipchoge was winning the award afer he became the first man to run a sub-two-hour marathon, though the feat wasn’t officially recognized as a world record. That’s because he ran on his own, with a rotating group of pacemakers and in strictly controlled conditions. Kipchoge’s only competitive race this year came when he won the London Marathon in April.

“I am happy to be the first human being to run under two hours. I hope that I inspired a lot of generations,” Kipchoge told the awards ceremony via video link.

Muhammad won world championship 400-metre hurdles in world record time. She earlier broke the record in July at the United States championships.

“It’s been an amazing year. I’m so thankful to be here,” she said.

Muhammad beat fellow nominees Brigid Kosgei, who broke the women’s marathon world record, Sifan Hassan, who won world gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres, and Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who claimed gold over the 100 metres at the World Championships.

The world 5,000-metre silver medalist Selemon Barega of Ethiopia was named male rising star of the year, while Ukrainian high jump silver medalist Yaroslava Mahuchikh was the female rising star. Anderson was also nominated in the category.

2008 Olympic sprint hurdles champion Dawn Harper-Nelson says she was once told that because of her skin colour she might not get the recognition her accolades deserved.

Injured Jamaican sprinter, double Olympic champion, Elaine Thompson will not know what her recovery will look like for another two weeks.

From the moment Tajay Gayle took off to when his feet kissed the sandpit, everyone who witnessed the jump knew, once the white flag came up signifying a legal effort, that something amazing had occurred. The scoreboard matched expectations, as the mark of 8.69m appeared to set tongues wagging inside the Khalifa International Stadium and around the world.

Meet Jamaica’s newest star who produced the jump of his life, the tenth best of all-time, to win the men’s long jump at the World Athletics Championships, Doha 2019.

The multi-talented Gayle hails from August Town, a tough inner-city community in Eastern St. Andrew, where life can be a daily struggle. Track and field saved him.

We are sitting in the lobby of the opulent Curve Hotel in Doha and the usually laid back Gayle uncharacteristically moves closer to the recorder and, like a history professor, spoke about his journey for 48 uninterrupted minutes.

Early trust in coach

It all started at Papine High School, the same institution that produced 2016 World U20 champion Tiffany James. However, the soft-spoken Gayle, unlike his celebrated teammate James, was a late bloomer who competed in several events before finding his niche.

“I started as a sprinter,” said Gayle. “I did not take the sport seriously my first three years in high school. I was not training properly; I was going there to have fun. However, Coach Shanieke Osbourne saw something in me that I did not see. From then I trusted her and did what I was told.”

He first competed at the Jamaican High Schools’ Boys and Girls Championships in 10th grade contesting the high jump. The following season he began to show a deep affection towards the long jump and added it to his range.

“I was always winning the long jump at our annual school sports day and perhaps that’s what Coach Osbourne saw and started to encourage me. I prefer the long jump over the high jump because the high jump is too technical and I don’t like to turn my back to stuff,” Gayle said with a chuckle.

Gayle failed to make either the horizontal or vertical jump finals at the ISSA Boys and Girls Championships in 2014. The following year, his final time competing at the championships, he bowed out showing his vast repertoire. “My coach told me that I can excel in any event. She pointed out that I am a very technical person and a fast learner and she wanted me to try the decathlon.”

After amassing 5987 points to finish seventh overall, he was quite happy to create history as the first male to contribute points for his school at the annual championships. Gayle highlighted that the performance that stood out for him in the gruelling contest, though wind-aided, was the 6.94m in the long jump.

2018 NACAC silver

After leaving Papine High, he enrolled at the University of Technology, an institution renowned for producing world-class athletes, but just like in high school, he began competing in the high jump. One day his watershed moment arrived, fortuitously.

“I turned up for practice and noticed that the high jump mat was wet. I turned to the coach and said it does not look like I am going to train today because there is no landing area. He instructed me to do some long jump practice instead. I went over and joined the group who were doing some twelve strides run ups. I remember jumping 7.29m that day which was a big surprise because my PB before that was 6.54m.”     

On 11 February 2017, Gayle joined the eight-metre club, but could not attain the qualifying standard for the London World Championships. Gayle developed into a fierce competitor in 2018 and after a fourth-place finish at the Commonwealth Games, he won silver at the NACAC Championships in Toronto where he leapt 8.24m, a then lifetime best.

The newly minted world champion had an auspicious start to his 2019 season winning his first four competitions. His first victory at the Grenada Invitational in April, where he cut the sand at 8.20m, came as a cameo appearance because he was in a race against time. “I only had two jumps, 8.04m and 8.20m and then I had to leave because I had a plane to catch. My flight was departing in three hours.”

Back-to-wins in China set the early 2019 stage

A month later, he travelled to China where he carved out two important victories, one at the IAAF Shanghai Diamond League and another 48 hours later at the inaugural Nanjing World Challenge meeting, which took place separately as a “street meet” at a local shopping mall. “This was the best meet for me,” said a delighted Gayle, who won off his last attempt with 8.21m.

“Everything about the meet was nice. The large crowd was very close, so you could feel the energy, the lights and music were just awesome. It was a great experience and I would like to jump at another street event.”

Ten days later at the Bauhaus-Galan IAAF Diamond League meeting in Stockholm, Gayle endured a chilling encounter that almost froze his soaring ambitions. “The Stockholm meet was very, very, very cold. I tried my best to take the conditions off my mind but it was too cold. I jumped a wind-aided 8.05m, finished fifth and strained a tendon under my right knee. That night my leg was swollen, and I was unable to walk freely. It took me over an hour to get to the physiotherapist downstairs, but thankfully a lady, who thought I was dying, stood by me the whole time until my physiotherapist came.”

Consistency continues with Pan-Am Games silver

A fast healer, Gayle recovered sufficiently to chalk up some solid performances including winning the Jamaican national title, his first after three attempts, followed by a lifetime best of 8.32m at the Müller Anniversary Games in London and a silver medal at the Pan-American Games in Lima, Peru, behind Cuban sensation Juan Miguel Echevarría.

“It was in Lima that I started to believe I could jump 8.40s and 8.50s,” Gayle stated.

“Even though it was cold and I was slightly loaded, I had a big jump which was ruled a foul by a toenail, but I didn’t let it get to me, I took the decision and moved on from there knowing I was right where I wanted to be.”

Training through the Diamond League final

The Diamond League final in Zurich served as a final warm-up encounter before the World Championships. However, Gayle admitted his goal was not achieving the lucrative prize. “I was never prepared to win that meet. My focus was Doha, and I was still loaded.”  

The 23-year-old spent the next three weeks practising the hitch kick technique and arrived in Doha with full confidence.

Troubles in Doha qualifying

His campaign almost ended prematurely as he only qualified in last place for the final. “When I jumped 7.89m, I started to get nervous wondering if I made the finals. I am near-sighted and so I could not see the scoreboard clearly. It was my close friend Henry Frayne from Australia, who came and told me that I had qualified.”

Notwithstanding, Gayle was grateful and promised a better showing in the next round. “Honestly, I am not sure what went wrong. My coach (Stephen Francis) and I had been practising some different flight techniques and landings recently. Maybe I was overthinking that part too much and forgot about my run-up as I made a few mistakes. I was happy to make the final though because I was going to give it my all even if I ended up pulling a muscle.”

With the mistakes in qualifying shelved, Gayle did not bother clouding his mind with executing all areas of his technique when he looked down the runway for his opening round. He concentrated on one thing only, which was the advice drilled inside his head by Francis. “Your run-up is the main thing; use your speed against them.”

“I was the third jumper, I expected to be first, and I told myself that I was going to get this on my first jump. I also did something out of character, I started to walk around and point to the crowd to get some vibes. Afterwards, I started talking to myself saying speed and power, speed and power. Then I took off.”

Feeling the speed

His first-round effort of 8.46m improved his PB by 14 centimetres and catapulted him into the lead. However, when he uncorked his 8.69m in the fourth round, he killed the competition stone dead.

“As a jumper, you feel the difference between jumps. On this jump, I felt the speed, I felt the last two steps and height and when I landed, I heard the crowd roar and I said this is a big one and did not even bother to look back. Afterwards, I did not try to prove anything by jumping again once I realised no one could challenge my mark, so I skipped my fifth and six rounds because winning was all that mattered to me.”

After his victory, a number of his competitors were singing his praises including dethroned world champion Luvo Manyonga of South Africa.

“Wow! I saw it coming,” Manyonga said. “I have been watching him throughout the season and he is so calm and collected. He is that underdog but when it comes to competition, he is just talking to himself, very composed and doing what matters. I was expecting something from him but not that far; it caught us all by surprise.”

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.

“These performances are incredible but credit must also go to the facilities and conditions provided by the host country. Doha has created conditions on the field of play and in the warm up that are unsurpassed.

“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:

 

MEN

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

 

WOMEN

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.

In looking back at what they describe as an amazing IAAF World Championships of Athletics, The Commentators have come up on a question. Is Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, after adding two gold medals to her World Championships tally, the greatest female track athlete of all time?

Jamaica’s Shanieka Ricketts, who fulfilled the promise of an excellent season by mining silver at the IAAF World Championships of Athletics points out that her rise to the podium was a long time in coming and therefore satisfying.

“I am very pleased, this is my third World Championships and the first time I am standing on a podium so I am pleased,” she told Trackalerts TV in an interview after her historic feat.

Ricketts became the first Jamaican woman to mine a silver medal at in the triple jump at the World Championships after a leap of 14.92 metres put her second to Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas, whose 15.37 could not be challenged.

The Jamaican also finished ahead of a legend of the triple jump in Colombia’s Caterine Ibarguen, 14.73, and the personal best of her fourth-placed teammate, the veteran Kimberly Williams, 14.64.

“There’ve been so many disappointments in years gone by and to finally deliver on the world stage makes me very happy,” said Ricketts.

Despite the long time in coming, Ricketts is not resting on her laurels and believes there is more she can do still.

“In some of the jumps I was having a little trouble with my third phase,” she said, thinking back to what she could have done better and what she needs to improve going forward.

“Despite that, there is not much really to complain about tonight,” she said.

Ricketts is also very aware that she has not achieved her lofty heights alone and that her successes have everything to do with those who have supported her.

“I have an amazing team. It’s been my husband [Kerry Lee Ricketts], Mr Peart, Brad yap, My chiropractor, they’ve all done a fantastic job of making sure I peak at the right times and that showed in my performances this year,” she said.

Ricketts produced a high-level series during her silver-medal run.

She had distances of 14.81, 14.76, 14.92, 14.72, 14.82, and a no jump and explained what led to the consistency in the distances and even the no jump after sher silver medal had already been sewn up.

“I wanted to give it my all. I was still trying to jump 15 metres,” she said.

Jamaica’s men, like their women in the 4x400-metre final in Doha, Qatar on Sunday look for all intents set to come off second best after heats on Saturday, the penultimate day of the IAAF World Championships of Athletics painted a very clear picture.

Running in heat two of the event, the Jamaican team of Akeem Bloomfield, Nathon Allen, Terry Ricardo Thomas, and Javon Francis, clocked 3:00.76 seconds to win ahead of Belgium, 3:00.87, and Trinidad and Tobago, 3:01.35.

The makeup of the Jamaican team may improve that time with 400-metre fourth-place finisher Demish Gaye still to come in, however, heat one with a United States team, including Tyrell Richard, Vernon Norwood, Wilbert London, and Nathan Strother, was much faster, clocking 2:59.89 seconds to win by a city block.

The next team, Colombia, finished in 3:01.06 a new national record, while Italy’s 3:01.60 was good enough for third and a spot in the final.

There was one non-automatic qualifier in each of the heats, with Great Britain and Northern Ireland holding onto one with a time of 3:01.96 seconds and France, 3:01.40, the other.

The US team still has the luxury of using Fred Kerley and Michael Norman, two of the fastest men over 400 metres in the world.

The other Caribbean interest is the T&T team of Asa Guevera, Jereem Richards, Darren Alfred,  and Deon Lendore. While the time of 3:01.35 was not impressive, the addition of Machel Cedenio in the final may mean that team gets in the mix for a medal. Cedenio looked impressive in qualifying for the final of the individual 400, but faded badly under a blistering pace set by the Bahamas Steven Gardiner, but his quality in a relay is notorious.

The final of the men’s 4x400 takes place on Sunday at 1:30pm.

The United States will go into tomorrow’s IAAF World Championships of Athletics Women’s 4x400-metre finals as understandable favourites after bettering the qualification of Jamaica’s team by more than half a second.

During Saturday’s penultimate day, the Jamaican team of Roneisha McGregor, Anastasia Le-Roy, Tiffany James, and Stephenie-Ann McPherson clocked a world lead, 3:23.67 seconds to win heat one of the 4x400s.

The Jamaicans beat back the challenge of Poland, 3:25.78, and Canada, 3:25.86. Fourth in the heat were the Netherlands, who qualified in a non-automatic spot with a time of 3:27.48 seconds.

While that team may strengthen for Sunday’s final, the race was tight until the final leg where McPherson showed her class in pulling away from her rivals and the second heat put things in perspective.

Jamaica’s World Lead would only last five minutes, as the United States won the second in 3:22.96, the team of Jessica Beard, Allyson Felix, Kendal Ellis, and Courtney Okolo stamping their authority on an event they have rarely lost.

That team, which will also strengthen, was far better than a chasing pack with no close encounters anywhere. Great Britain and Northern Ireland led that chasing pack to clock 3:24.99 seconds, while the Ukraine were third in 3:26.57 seconds. There was one non-automatic qualifier in the heat, as Belgium ran 3:26.58 seconds for fourth.

The finals take place on Sunday at 1:15 pm Jamaica time.

Former Olympic Champion Trinidad & Tobago’s Keshorn Walcott and Grenada’s Anderson Peters are set for a showdown for medal placings after the heats of the Javelin at the IAAF World Championships of Athletics in Doha, Qatar.

Peters, solidly on the rise in the javelin, took two attempts to get past the automatic qualification mark throwing the javelin out to 85.34 metres after an 82.06 loosener.

Walcott threw less, his automatic qualification throw reaching out to 84.44 metres, but he never bothered with a loosener, taking one effort before heading back for an early shower.

Seven men threw the automatic qualification mark of 84 metres with only Germany’s Johannes Vetter with 89.35 and Estonia’s Magnus Kirt, 88.36, doing any better than Peters.

Walcott is fifth on the list of automatic qualifiers with Sweden’s Im Amb, 84.85, splitting the Caribbean men.

There was also quite a bit of drama after Walcott and Peters had made their exits with a number of would-be medal contenders failing to get through qualifying.

Among the carnage were the German pair of Andreas Hofmann, 80.06, and Olympic champion, Thomas Röhler, 79.23.

The rivalry between Walcott and Peters began in August when the former, now a permanent name among the best throwers in the world, was surprised at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru where he earned a silver after throwing 83.55 metres to the latter’s 87.31.

The throw put Peters among the medal hopefuls for the World Championships and his performance in the heats suggests he is in good shap, despite never throwing over 90 metres like his more seasoned opponents.

The javelin final takes place on tomorrow morning's final day.

Jamaica’s female sprinters lived up to the billing of favourites in the 4x100 relay at the IAAF World Championships of Athletics in Doha, Qatar on Saturday despite missing double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson among their ranks.

Jamaica’s Shanieka Ricketts earned a silver medal in the triple jump at the IAAF World Championships of Athletics in Doha, Qatar on Saturday.

Ricketts put together, probably the best series of her career, with the 14.92 she would end with marking just one of five jumps that would have brought her silver.

She would lose to the brilliant Venezuelan, Yulimar Rojas, whose 15.37 was one of two marks over 15 metres, while veteran and serial World Champion, Colmbia’s Caterine Ibarguen, finished with a bronze medal even after a sub-par season, reaching out to 14.73 with her fifth attempt to get the better of another Jamaica, longtime competitor Kimberly Williams, whose personal best 14.64 saw her end fourth.

Ricketts started with 14.81 metres, which without another attempt would have given her a silver medal but proved she belonged in the rarified air by returning to jump 14.76 before her big 14.92 effort. Even after getting near the 15-metre mark, Ricketts did not rest on her laurels and kept the pressure high by jumping out to 14.72 and 14.85 before she could relax, with Ibarguen having completed her jumps to assure herself of a bronze medal.

Williams 14.64 came in her first attempt and for most of the final, looked good enough to secure an unprecedented silver-bronze combo for Jamaica.

Ibarguen’s best until her penultimate jump had been 14.46 metres and Williams, who has now been fourth at World Championships on four occasions, looked set to break the jinx.

It was not to be.

Ricketts silver medal brings to nine the number of total medals Jamaica has won at the end of the penultimate day of the Championships. The country now has three gold, four silver, and two bronze medals.

Veteran long jumper and defending World Champion, the United States’ Brittney Reese was eased out of the long jump final at the IAAF World Championships of Athletics in Saturday’s qualification round with the third-round jump of Jamaica’s Chanice Porter.

Porter’s final jump of 6.57 metres put her 10th, up from the 14th spot she occupied while Reese, who was sitting on the bubble in 12th position with 6.52, shook her head and walked out of the stadium along with compatriot, Jasmine Todd, (6.51) who she had replaced on the bubble with her final jump.

The Jamaican is the only Caribbean athlete left in the long jump after her teammate Tissanna Hickling found herself 16th with her jump of 6.49. Pan American Champion, the British Virgin Island’s Chantel Malone, was also out, failing to rescuscitate the form from a good season, to end with 6.45 metres.

Cuba’s Adriana Rodríguez, the only other Caribbean athlete in the start list was ended 25th with a leap of 6.39 metres.

At the other end of the start list, Germany’s Malaika Mihambo finished with a massive 6.89, her only jump of the round getting her past the 6.75 automatic qualification mark.

In fact, there were only three athletes past that automatic qualification mark with Nigeria’s Ese Brume, landing a 6.89 jump and the United States’ Torie Bowie, dethroned 100-metre world champion, also over the mark with 6.77.

Jamaica’s intentions to improve their medal haul in individual events at the IAAF World Championships of Athletics continued on Saturday with four women through to the semi-finals of the 100-metre hurdles.

The fastest hurdler in the world this year, Danielle Williams looked smooth in winning her heat, strutting to 12.51  and pulling second-placed Costa Rica’s Carolina Vargas to a national record 12.68 seconds.

But Williams was still not the quickest of the heats, but neither were the athletes expected to challenge for a gold medal, as Nigeria’s Tobi Amisan won the final heat in a personal best 12.48 seconds to get the better of Jamaica’s Janeek Brown, 12.61.

Brown got out first and looked to have the field covered, but Amisan, running in lane nine, worked hard through to the line.

Williams’ main challenger, Kendra Harrison, the world record holder in the event, also won her heat, running 12.55 on the way to the semi-final.

The United States’ Briana McNeal, a challenger for a medal, is out of the event, after a false start left her disqualified, giving an opportunity to Jamaica’s Yanique Thompson to finish second in 12.85 seconds and an automatic qualification. Finishing ahead of Thompson was Italy’s Luminosa Bogliolo, who stopped the clock in 12.80 seconds.

Jamaica’s Megan Tapper was also second in her heat, clocking 12.78 seconds to finish behind the United States’ Nia Ali, who crossed the tape in 12.59.

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