America’s Olympic champion Brittney Reese maintained her firm grip on the women’s long jump on Sunday when she won her third successive world outdoor title.
The 26-year-old posted a best jump of 7.01 metres to take gold, while Nigerian Blessing Okagbare won silver (6.99m) and Serbia’s Ivana Spanovic the bronze in a new national record of 6.82m. Despite her dominance; Reese is a long way from threatening the world record of Galina Chistyakova of the then Soviet Union which stands at 7.52m and was set back in 1988.
Meanwhile, Aleksandr Ivanov gave hosts Russia their first gold of the championships yesterday and the country’s third successive title in the 20 kilometres walk. The 20-year-old timed 1hr 20min 58sec as he crossed the line to roars of delight from the crowd, ahead of China’s Olympic champion Chen Ding (1hr 21min 09sec) while Spaniard Miguel Lopez, fifth in the Olympics, took bronze (1hr 21min 21sec).
Ivanov said that it signified a changing of the guard in Russian walking, and that although he had found parts of his first senior championships race tough the youngsters had replaced the veterans. “My main aim is Rio 2016,” he said. The beginning was particularly tough but I kept telling myself keep going, you have to keep going.”
Chen was delighted with the silver after a miserable time since his Olympic triumph that has been hampered by injuries and this was his first race back.
“I haven’t had a good time since then, but I think this has lifted me out of the hole,” said the 21-year-old. Japanese youngster Takuma Saito set the early pace once the field had left the stadium, opening a significant gap on a group of three, who were themselves clear of the main pack.
Saito’s more experienced team-mate, the Asian champion Yusuke Suzuki gave chase and had reduced the gap to just two seconds at the 5km mark, while the main pack was 13sec adrift. Suzuki joined and passed Saito soon afterwards with the latter a spent force, although his efforts had not been in vain in ensuring he set an early pace to meet his more senior colleague’s demands.
Suzuki, 25, held a 13sec lead at the halfway mark but faced a daunting final 10km as a sextet, which included the first three from last year’s Olympics including China’s Chen and bronze medallist Wang Zhen as well as Guatemala’s silver medalist Erick Barrondo closed him down. The game was up soon afterwards as Suzuki was caught.
Wang then went out in front but his dreams of taking gold this time were dashed as he received a third and final warning, though he appeared to be unaware of it and carried on until finally being forced to leave the fray. Chen and Barrondo took up the pace along with Ivanov and established a lead of 22sec over a group of four, but Barrondo was flirting with disaster as he received two warnings in quick succession.