Doha World Championships: The stars who impressed

The World Championships in Doha had many exciting moments. From a javelin shock, sensational shot put and a bunch of happy mothers, here are a few.

Anderson Peters of Grenada on way to the men’s javelin gold in Doha.   -  Getty Images

He used to hurl stones at mango and apple trees as a youngster back home in Grenada. Anderson Peters did not realise it then, but it had helped him shape up as a fine javelin thrower. At the IAAF World Championships in Doha, the 21-year-old pulled off a stunning upset, jolting defending champion Johannes Vetter, World No. 1 Magnus Kirt and Olympic champion Thomas Rohler to win his life’s most sparkling gold.

Strangely, despite being surrounded by 90m men, it needed just an 86.89m effort to bring Peters the World javelin title. Incidentally, India’s Commonwealth and Asian Games champion Neeraj Chopra, who missed the Worlds with an elbow surgery, has a personal best of 88.06m in the event.

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“What I love about the javelin is the uncertainty of how far it can really go,” said Peters, who took to athletics as a 100m runner a few years ago and is now based in the US where he is pursuing business administration at the Mississippi State University, recently.

“The world record is 98.48m but I still think a javelin with the current specifications could go further. This drives me to work even harder, to see if one day I can throw over 100m.”

Hot shot put!

While it did not need a big throw for the javelin title, things were so hot in the men’s shot put final that it needed some of the world’s best throws ever to grab the gold. In the end, American Joe Kovacs took the title with a last-round effort of 22.91m, the third best throw ever and a World Championships record. Just one centimetre behind was his compatriot Ryan Crouser who edged out New Zealand’s Tom Walsh for the silver. It was the strongest ever shot put competition.

Stunning double

On the track the Ethiopia-born Sifan Hassan, who came to the Netherlands as a 15-year-old refugee in 2008 with plans to train as a nurse, produced something that has never happened before at the Worlds. She won a 10,000-1500m double, which many felt was not possible, very comfortably. And her metric mile time, 3:51.95s was not only a World Championships record but also the sixth fastest in history.

That raised many eyebrows, and questions too, as her coach Alberto Salazar — who had also coached Olympic and World champion Mo Farah earlier — had been banned for four years by the US Anti-Doping Agency for “orchestrating and facilitating prohibited doping conduct”.

Those questions made Hassan very angry, forcing her to work harder.

World record

There were no such worries to trouble Dalilah Muhammed, though she had plenty of hurdles to cross.

In fact, Olympic champion Dalilah — who has a habit of talking to herself often as she sets herself on the blocks — kept her mind blank this time and won her 400m hurdles gold by breaking her own world record.

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This despite having the young and fast improving fellow-American Sydney McLaughlin to worry about.

“I think sometimes we get too much in our heads and try to do everything perfect, sometimes you just have to trust in what you’ve been doing all year, trust in your training,” said the 29-year-old. “I wasn’t really thinking about anything; just go for it.”

Super Moms

The Doha Worlds had plenty to offer for mothers too, so much so that it was Mother’s Day frequently at the Qatari capital. Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, 32, who missed the last Worlds in London two years ago to have a baby, came back to emerge as the fastest woman.

Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce celebrates with her son Zyon after winning the women’s 100m gold.   -  Getty Images

 

That was the fourth time the Jamaican won the 100m at the Worlds and it came 10 years after her first in 2009.

And 10 months after the birth of her daughter by emergency caesarean, American Allyson Felix won two 4x400m relay golds — in the mixed and women’s, where she ran the heats — for a total of 13 at the Worlds and surpassed Usain Bolt’s record for maximum golds at the championships.

Chinese 20km walker Liu Hong and 30-year-old American 100m hurdler Nia Ali, who has two kids, were other mothers who triumphed in Doha.

Anxious moments

Meanwhile Germany’s Malaika Mihambo, the world’s best woman long jumper this year, almost saw her world come crashing down in Doha.

After a 6.52m and a foul from her first two efforts, she was very close to making her exit but produced a massive 7.30m in her third that saw her grab the gold, stunningly. Nobody had jumped that far in three years and it was 12th in the all-time list.

The host Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim suffered a few anxious moments too, taking three attempts to clear 2.33m, before winning the men’s high jump gold with a world-leading 2.37m. And Christian Coleman, who ran into a bit of controversy with his missed drug tests earlier, emerged as the fastest man in 9.76s, the sixth fastest time in history.