March 2, 2018
BIRMINGHAM, England — Day 2 of the 2018 IAAF World Indoor Championships is in the books, and it was a golden one for the home team. For several years, 25-year-old Katarina Johnson-Thompson has been hyped as the future of the multi-events in Great Britain but repeatedly fell short on the global stage. Tonight, in front of a roaring crowd at Arena Birmingham, Johnson-Thompson finally delivered, following in the footsteps of British multi-event stars Daley Thompson, Denise Lewis, and Jessica Ennis-Hill to claim global gold.
Heading into the final event, the 800, Johnson-Thompson held the lead, meaning a win would guarantee her the title. Johnson-Thompson took the lead on the penultimate lap, but the second- and third-placers, Yorgelis Rodriguez of Cuba and Ivona Dadic of Austria, were right behind her. Johnson-Thompson was challenged entering the final lap, but she responded with a strong move that would prove to be the winning one, storming to victory in both the 800 and the pentathlon overall.
Johnson-Thompson admitted that she wasn’t at her best tonight — her 4750 points were 250 behind the national record she set in her last pentathlon competition three years ago, and she said afterwards that her strongest (relative) performance today came in the shot put. That’s not typical for KJT, as she’s known, who specializes in the jumps.
While the British press were already eager to know what’s next, and whether KJT can pull off a “triple” this year by winning World Indoors, Commonwealths, and Europeans, she should take some time to enjoy this one. It’s not every day you become world champion for the first time.
Women’s 60: Murielle Ahoure Leads Ivorian Sweep With Two World Leaders in the Span of Three Hours
The women’s 60 did not receive the same pre-race hype as the men’s event featuring world record holder Christian Coleman, but the final tonight was pretty darn good. How good? Neither double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson nor reigning 200m world champion Dafne Schippers came away with a medal.
Instead, it was the Ivorian duo of Murielle Ahoure and Marie-Josee Ta Lou who came away with gold and silver, with Ahoure clocking a blazing 6.97 in the final — a time that no woman has bettered since 1999. Claiming the bronze was Mujinga Kambundji of Switzerland, who proved that her massive 7.03 PR at the Swiss champs earlier this year was no joke.
WATCH: In a dominant display @MurielleAhoure makes history to win her nation's first ever global ?medal.
— IAAF (@iaaforg) March 2, 2018
The drama began before that, however, as the semifinal round featured an unlikely tie that had huge implications for American Javianne Oliver, who entered the competition as the world leader. Oliver ran 7.10 to finish fourth in heat 1 and was in position to grab a time qualifier. But unfortunately for Oliver, two women — Michelle-Lee Ahye of Trinidad & Tobago and Remona Burchell of Jamaica — tied for second in heat 2 in 7.145 seconds. With the top two women advancing automatically in each heat, and Ahye and Burcell tied for second, the IAAF advanced both women automatically, reducing the number of time qualifiers from two to one. As a result — and with only eight lanes in the final — Oliver, who would have been the second time qualifier, was left out in the cold.
Unfortunately for Oliver — who, ran faster than both Ahye and Burchell — those are the rules. IAAF Rule 167.4 spells out this exact scenario:
Where qualifying for the next round is based on place and time (e.g., the first three in each of two heats plus the next two fastest), and there is a tie for the last qualifying position based on place, placing the tied athletes in the next round shall reduce the number of athletes qualifying based on time.
|1||645||Murielle AHOURÉ||CIV||6.97 WL||0.162|
|2||646||Marie-Josée TA LOU||CIV||7.05 PB||.043||0.170|
|6||846||Michelle-Lee AHYE||TTO||7.13 SB||0.138|
Murielle Ahoure dedicated this victory to her father, who died of cancer last year
Marie-Josee Ta Lou after adding World Indoor silver to two World Outdoor silvers in ‘17
Men’s long jump: 19-year-old Juan Miguel Echevarria wins a thrilling competition with longest jump in 8 years
The men’s long jump final tonight produced a thrilling final three rounds and ended with the birth of a new star in Cuba’s 19-year-old Juan Miguel Echevarria.
Through three rounds of the final, outdoor world champ and 2018 world leader Luvo Manyonga of South Africa led with a best jump of 8.33 meters, and though Echevarria got out to 8.36 in round four, the lead didn’t last long as Manyonga responded with a world-leading 8.44 and indoor PB to regain the lead. In the next round, American Marquis Dendy — the reigning champion — joined the fray by going 8.42, an indoor PR and tied for his longest legal jump outdoors, moving into silver-medal position.
But Echevarria wasn’t done, and he laid down a 12-centimeter PR of 8.46 in his fifth-round attempt to take the lead. With Manyonga fouling and Dendy only managing 8.18 meters in his final attempt, the 19-year-old — who didn’t even make the final at World Outdoors last year — held on for his first global gold.
Manyonga had been undefeated since the Rio Olympics and it took a Herculean effort by Echevarria to beat him. Echevarria’s jump was the longest in the world indoors since the Sebastian Bayer’s massive 8.71 in 2009.
WATCH: 4 centimetres separate the top three in the men's long jump.
Juan Miguel Echevarria upsets the big guns to become the youngest ever #IAAFworlds indoor champion in a field event.
— IAAF (@iaaforg) March 2, 2018
Marquis Dendy on his bronze medal and camaraderie in the long jump
What’s it like to run the 400 meters on this track? Let American Aldrich Bailey, Jr. — who made the final — tell you
Though there were no further DQs in the men’s 400 semis tonight, there were three in the women’s semis. We spoke to the U.S.’s Aldrich Bailey, Jr., who along with teammate Michael Cherry both advanced to tomorrow’s final, about whether it was challenging to run on the steep banked track in Birmingham.
“It’s not difficult. It’s just indoors. Gonna have a lot of bumping, gonna have people trying to get to the break. Just a part of the sport. Especially just part of indoors, you know?
“That’s just something you just gotta be careful of, you know. I hear they’re sticklers out here as far as doing everything by the rule book.”
Bailey said that the morning’s DQs definitely made him more cognizant of watching his feet in tonight’s semis.
“For sure,” Bailey said. “Just had to make sure I stayed in my lane.”