Norway’s world record holder Karsten Warholm silenced injury concerns as he glided through the opening round of his 400 metres hurdles world title defence on Saturday.
The Olympic champion, who tore his hamstring at the Rabat Diamond League meet in June, exploded from the start and never faced a serious challenge, winning his heat in 49.34 seconds.
Warholm, who twice broke the world record in 2021, had not completed a race in 10 months but brought his trademark swagger to the starting line, slapping his legs and springing into the air before settling into the blocks.
“I felt things were under control, had a steady race. No pain so that’s a good sign. I feel I did everything I wanted,” he said.
“In sports, I have learned to never say never. For now, it feels good.”
His chief rival, world silver medallist Rai Benjamin of the United States, also made easy work of his heat, looking side-to-side through the final straight for challengers as he slowed through to finish in 49.06.
World leader and Olympic bronze medallist Alison dos Santos of Brazil enjoyed a similarly drama-free road to Sunday’s semifinal, winning his heat in 49.41 after collecting four Diamond League titles this year.
American Khallifah Rosser also advanced in 48.62, with the fastest time of the day, weeks after winning in Rabat.
Ealey scripts history in shot put
One throw was all it took for Chase Ealey to make history as she won the United States’ first women’s shot put title at the World Championships, denying China’s Gong Lijiao a third successive gold medal.
The 27-year-old let out a roar as she threw 20.49 metres with her opening attempt, a mark that proved untouchable through six rounds, though Chinese Olympic champion Gong came close with her fifth try, which fell just 10cm short.
“I was just trying to set the tone but I felt like I could have thrown further if need be,” Ealey told Reuters. “It was one of the most amazing feelings I’ve ever experienced in my life. I don’t think I can think of a better moment.”
Jessica Schilder of the Netherlands produced a national record of 19.77m to clinch bronze.
It was heartbreak for Canadian Sarah Mitton, who equalled Schilder’s mark on her final attempt but finished fourth on the tiebreaker.
Poland’s Fajdek wins fifth straight world gold in men’s hammer
Poland’s Pawel Fajdek produced the best throw of the year to secure an astonishing fifth successive World Championship hammer title.
Olympic champion and compatriot Wojciech Nowicki briefly held the lead after his third attempt but could only move one place up the podium from his three previous world bronze medals, while Norwegian Eivind Henriksen took bronze this time.
A stoney-faced Fajdek had a disappointing first throw but ran away with the competition on the third try, letting out a roar as he hit a mark of 81.98 metres.
Peaking when it counted, he had not produced a throw further than 81 metres this year before coming to Hayward Field.
Fajdek is only the second athlete to win five back-to-back world golds, after pole vaulter Sergey Bubka, who ultimately went on to win six successive titles.
The victory underscored the 33-year-old Fajdek’s dominance despite frustrating finishes on the Olympic stage. He picked up bronze in Tokyo after failing to reach the final at the 2012 and 2016 Games.
Gidey holds off Kenyans to win another 10,000m for Ethiopia
Ethiopian world record holder Letesenbet Gidey held off a twin Kenyan challenge and also finally overcame her nemesis Sifan Hassan in a terrific finish to win the women’s 10,000 metres gold.
Gidey had been towards the front for the majority of the race but forged clear on the final lap.
Hellen Obiri and Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi looked as if they might overhaul her in the final 30 metres but Gidey, glancing desperately to her right as Obiri closed, held on to win in 30:09.94 - the fastest time of the year.
Obiri took silver in 30:10.02 with Kipkemboi third in 30:10.07 - both personal best times - in cool conditions perfect for distance running.
Olympic and defending world champion Hassan of the Netherlands, who has barely been seen on the track this year as she took time off to recover from her stupendous but draining 2021, ran out of gas in the final straight to finish fourth.
Jeruto stuns steeplechase heats after champion Chepkoech withdraws
Kazakhstan’s Norah Jeruto blitzed the women’s 3,000 metres steeplechase heats, an event left wide open after reigning champion and world record-holder Beatrice Chepkoech pulled out with injury.
The 2021 Diamond League winner Jeruto, who previously represented Kenya, comfortably strode across the finish to produce the fastest time of the day by more than nine seconds.
Olympic champion Peruth Chemutai of Uganda set a fast pace at the start of her heat and held a razor-thin lead at the 1,500 metres mark but fizzled out in the back half, missing automatic qualifying but reaching Wednesday’s final by virtue of her time.
Home hopes Emma Coburn and Courtney Frerichs, who collected silver in 2019 and 2017 respectively, qualified on time with compatriot Courtney Wayment to roars of approval from the crowd at Hayward Field.
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