Day 6 Recap: Jamaica Shines With Double Gold as Men’s 800/5K Finals Are Set

BUDAPEST, Hungary — There were no distance finals on day 6 of the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, but there were finals in the men’s 400, women’s 100 hurdles, and women’s 400 hurdles on what turned out to be a great night for Jamaica. After failing to win a gold medal in the 100 at Worlds for just the second time since 2005, Jamaica had yet to claim a gold in Budapest. That changed in a hurry on Thursday night as Jamaicans won two in the span of 15 minutes and almost added a third in the long jump.

Danielle Williams got things started in the 100 hurdles by springing a huge upset to win in 12.43, and in the very next event Antonio Watson made it two Jamaican golds, taking the men’s 400 in 44.22. Femke Bol of the Netherlands won her first gold in the 400 hurdles in 51.70 while Greece’s Miltos Tentoglou took the long jump with a best mark of 8.52m — just 2 cm ahead of Wayne Pinnock, who almost won another gold for Jamaica. Canada’s Camryn Rogers moved one step up on the podium from last year to win the hammer with a best toss of 77.22m.

There were also semifinals in the men’s 5,000 and 800, with Americans Abdihamid Nur and Paul Chelimo advancing in the 5k (Sean McGorty missed out) and Bryce Hoppel moving on in the 800. Full recaps and analysis of all the track races below.

*Full results

Men’s 5,000 prelims: Kipkorir, Ndikumwenayo, McGorty all eliminated as Cheptegei withdraws

Luis Grijalva leads 5000 heat (Kevi Morris photo) Luis Grijalva leads 5000 heat (Kevin Morris photo)

There were a few things to sort out in tonight’s 5,000-meter prelims, where the top eight finishers in each heat would advance to Sunday’s final. The big news came earlier in the day when Olympic champion Joshua Cheptegei, who won the 10k in Budapest on Sunday, withdrew citing a foot injury. There had also been rumblings about whether defending champ Jakob Ingebrigtsen would run after revealing last night that he had been battling a sore throat, but Ingebrigtsen showed up and made it into the final.

A few notable names failed to advance. Kenya’s Nicholas Kipkorir, the Olympic 4th placer and Commonwealth silver medalist, was only 14th in heat 1 and missed out, as did Spain’s Thierry Ndikumwenayo, who ran 7:25 to win the Monaco Diamond League last year. American Sean McGorty struggled to rebound from the 10k on Sunday and could only manage 15th in heat 2.

Abdihamid Nur (5th in heat 1 in 13:36.37) and Paul Chelimo (7th in heat 1 in 13:36.51) did qualify for the final but Chelimo, especially, cut it close as spots 4 through 9 were separated by just .22 of a second. Chelimo was only 12th at the bell but made it through after a big kick. Sweden’s Andreas Almgren was the odd man out as 1500 bronze medalist Narve Nordas edged him for the last spot in the final by just .02.

Abdihamid Nur is focused on competing as best as Abdihamid Nur can – and that could be good enough for a medal

Last year, Nur was 11th in his first world final – but that came at the end of a long college season that began with Nur leading NAU to an NCAA cross country title in the fall of 2021. Nur’s 2023 racing campaign has been much shorter – tonight was just his 5th race of the season – but Nur views that as a positive. A number of top contenders in the final will be doubling back from the 10k or 1500 while Nur is running the 5k only.

Nur, a true Mike Smith disciple, does not like to talk about outcomes, but he made it clear that he considers himself a much-improved runner in many aspects this year.

“I don’t have as many races in my legs,” Nur said. “I’m fresh, I have good momentum going in and I’m just a stronger athlete. I’m doing faster workouts, I’m doing more mileage and just more experience. We added Woody [Kincaid to the training group], that gives me another level of speed.”

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Luis Grijalva was inspired by Josh Kerr’s run in the 1500 and says he wants to go big or go home in the final

Grijalva has done pretty well in his first two global championship finals. In 2021, he finished 12th at the Olympics with a pb of 13:10.09. A year later, he was 4th at the Worlds in Eugene with a near-pb of 13:10.44. At the time, Grijalva was thrilled with 4th but a year on, he believes he was a little conservative over the final 800 before kicking his way to within .24 of a medal. On Sunday, Grijalva does not want to have any regrets about what might have been.

“I want to go in there taking a risk and not being afraid to go for it,” Grijalva said. “I don’t want to lose the opportunity looking back a few years from now saying oh, if I would have done this differently then maybe I could have got a medal, maybe I could have won.”

Grijalva also said that although he believes he can hang in a 12:50 race (he was 3rd in Florence in 12:52), he will do better the slower the race goes as he is used to those sort of races from his NCAA days at Northern Arizona.

Sean McGorty disappointed not to make the 5,000 final

McGorty felt he ran a tactically stronger race in the 5,000 than the 10,000 but he just did not have the legs at the end of this one and finished 15th in his heat.

McGorty also mentioned that looking ahead to future hot-weather championships, he will try to do heat/humidity training. Bowerman TC prepped for Worlds in St. Moritz, where it had been very cold (temps dipping down into the 40s at times) in July and August. Though Chiavenna (the lower-elevation city where athletes often run track sessions) has been warmer, McGorty feels he needs to do a better job of prepping for hot weather, perhaps in a warmer location.

Narve Nordas did not get to do his threshold workout after the 1500 final

After winning bronze last night in the 1500, Nordas said he was planning on doing a threshold workout later that evening, which he today revealed was a ploy to get his coach Gjert Ingebrigtsen to give him permission to skip the 5000 in Budapest. But Nordas was waylaid in doping control, meaning it was too late for him to run a workout – and meaning he had to run the 5000 today instead. He said he let up at the line thinking he had top 8 secured, but actually there were 9 guys battling it out.

Morgan McDonald happy to be at Worlds and hoping to stay healthy moving forward

McDonald broke his knee falling on ice during the winter and missed much of the 2023 season. But he surprised himself by running 13:24 in his season opener on July 22, and was actually starting to feel confident after his sessions before Worlds. It turned out that McDonald still has some work to do, but he’s pleased to be over his knee troubles and is looking forward to running the 5k at the World Road Running Championships in Latvia on October 1.

Canada’s Ben Flanagan post-race

Men’s 800m semifinals: Arop & Wanyonyi continue to look strong, Hoppel makes his first final since 2019

Marco Arop in 1500 semis (Kevin Morris photo) Marco Arop in 800 semis (Kevin Morris photo)

The stage is now set for an exciting men’s 800m final Saturday night, as the semifinals were completed on Thursday. Almost all of the favorites moved on, with only a few noteworthy casualties. Those include the 5th and 6th fastest men entered into the competition this year in Benjamin Robert of France and Max Burgin of Great Britain. British champion Daniel Rowden was also bounced out from this round, as well as Australian 800m record holder Joseph Deng. The lone American remaining, Bryce Hoppel, advanced to the final on a time qualifier, finishing third in his heat in 1:44.04. Great Britain’s Ben Pattison nabbed the other time qualifier in 1:44.23.

If those times sound fast, it’s because they were: Hoppel and Pattison ran the two fastest time qualifiers in the history of the World Championships. It helps that everyone had a rest day between the prelims and semis (in previous years, they were contested on back-to-back days).

The first heat went out at a respectable clip, with Deng leading through 400m in 50.55. Deng looked strong though 550 meters, but Slimane Moula of Algeria passed him halfway down the backstretch and Deng faded all the way to last. Moula was extremely strong in the last 200m of the race and held on for the win in this heat running 1:43.93. The second auto qualifier was a shocker in Tshepiso Masalela from Botswana, who ran an unbelievable final 100m, moving up from 6th to 2nd to set a PB of 1:44.14. Ben Pattison of Team GB was the lone qualifier from his country, with a time qualifier of 1:44.23, placing 3rd in this heat.

The second heat was the slowest through 400m, with Canada’s Marco Arop taking charge of setting the pace through 400m at 51.42. Rowden of GB looked full of run in the third 200, but faded badly down the back half of the backstretch. 2022 silver medalist Djamel Sedjati of Algeria slowly moved up down the backstretch to right behind Arop and the two of them held on to place 1-2. The Canadian and Algerian had huge leads in the homestretch, with Sedjati backing off a lot for second in 1:44.49 as the slowest qualifier and Arop winning the heat in 1:44.02. Out of the two Kenyans to qualify for the semifinals, one was eliminated in this heat, Alex Kipngetich. Kipngetich was in contention with 200m to go, but did not have the finishing kick and faded to last place in 1:45.56. 

Heat #3

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The final heat was the fastest heat of the evening, with youngster Max Burgin taking the pack through 400m in 49.53. Kenyan teenager and a favorite to win the final on Saturday, Emmanuel Wanyonyi, was third at the bell, with the American Hoppel in between the two. Wanyonyi made a huge move on the backstretch to pass the young Burgin, and Hoppel followed. The lead stayed that way until the final 20 meters where Hoppel was passed on the inside by Adrián Ben of Spain, who came flying on the inside of lane 1 to earn the second automatic qualifying spot behind Wanyonyi. Ben moved from 6th to 2nd in the final 100m to run a PB of 1:43.92, which doubled as the second fastest qualifying time of the day only behind Wanyonyi’s 1:43.83. Hoppel finished third, but luckily for the American he was in the final heat of the evening and did not have to wait in the q room. He immediately knew that his 1:44.04 was good enough to send him through to Saturday night’s final. 

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Algeria is the only country to send multiple men to the 800m final, and exactly half of the finalists represent a country on the African continent. 

This final is pretty wide open but we wouldn’t be surprised if the three heat winners were your podium finishers on Saturday

The 800 has been something of a crapshoot to predict the last two years and even more so in 2023 now that reigning world/Olympic champion Emmanuel Korir of Kenya is not in the final. Still, if we had to pick a podium, Wanyonyi, Arop, and Moula wouldn’t be bad choices. Arop medalled last year, is good at controlling races from the front, and has looked very good in his two rounds in Budapest. Moula can close and showed tonight his kick is still there in a 1:43 race. Wanyonyi can do a bit of everything and has only lost once all year.

Bryce Hoppel feels he’s more prepared for the 2023 World final than 2019 and knows now that he belongs

Hoppel felt he ran very well for most of the race but was caught off-guard when Ben made his big move on the inside as Hoppel thought he and Wanyonyi would cruise through to the final. Hoppel wound up getting in on time anyway but it is a reminder of just how thin the margins are at this level. The most important thing is that Hoppel is in the final after no Americans even made the semis a year ago in Eugene.

“Got the stressful stuff out of the way, now we’re just able to have some fun,” Hoppel said. “I’m excited for it.”

Hoppel said that when he made his last final in Doha as a 22-year-old, he was “looking up to” some of the big names in the field. This time, Hoppel – who also medalled at World Indoors last year – has far more experience on the circuit and racing the best guys in the world. That doesn’t mean he’ll improve on his 2019 finish of 4th, but he’s excited to put himself to the test on Saturday.

Meet surprise finalist Tshepiso Masalela of Botswana

Not many people would have expected the 24-year-old Masalela to be one of the eight men in the World Championship 800m final this year. His pb entering the year was just 1:46.40 but he got down to 1:45.24 in Nairobi in May and PR’d by more than a second tonight to run 1:44.14 in heat 1 and look good doing it.

Until last year, Masalela trained under the same coach as 100m silver medalist Letsile Tebogo but switched to South African Samuel Sepeng after last season – Caster Semenya’s former coach and younger brother of 1996 Olympic 800 silver medalist Hezekiel Sepeng. Though Masalela’s time tonight was a big pb, he wasn’t surprised as he said he has felt good running 48- and 49-second 400m reps in practice.

Max Burgin doesn’t have good explanation for tonight

Talent has never been Max Burgin’s problem. He ran 1:47 at age 15 and 1:43 last year and this year. Staying healthy has been the problem.

Burgin did not have a good explanation on why he faded to last today but thought maybe the lack of training caught up with him as he has been battling an Achilles problem this year. He’s looking forward to next year, trying to stay healthy, and actually maybe racing indoors as he feels one thing he does lack is racing experience due to the injuries.

The Kenyan mid-d men have struggled at Worlds but Wanyonyi has a good shot in final

Women’s 100m hurdles: Williams upsets the favorites

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Danielle Williams did it again. Williams barely advanced to the final as one of the time qualifiers, running 12.50 yesterday for third place in heat 3. The Jamaican hurdler ran a season’s best 12.43 to pull a huge upset and win the 100m hurdles title. It was the second world title for Williams, who also won the 2015 Worlds in Beijing in an upset in 12.57. 

Even though Williams had won this race before and earned bronze in Doha in 2019, there was very little to indicate she would be adding to her medal tally in 2023. Williams had only won one of her 11 races before Worlds and was only 3rd at the Jamaican champs. Her season’s best coming in was just 12.54 (though she had run a windy 12.33 in New York). She finished 6th in her last meet before Worlds at the Ed Murphey Classic and only 3rd in her two prelims in Budapest. But she ran her best race of the year in the most important race of the year and will forever be the 2023 world champion.

1 Danielle WILLIAMS JAM 12.43 SB 0.132
2 Jasmine CAMACHO-QUINN PUR 12.44 0.164
3 Kendra HARRISON USA 12.46 0.155
4 Devynne CHARLTON BAH 12.52 0.149
5 Ackera NUGENT JAM 12.61 0.135
6 Tobi AMUSAN NGR 12.62 0.152
7 Ditaji KAMBUNDJI SUI 12.70 0.140
8 Nia ALI USA 12.78 0.159

Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico earned the silver and Keni Harrison of the USA the bronze. Harrison impressed early on in the rounds, running the 4th fastest time ever in the first round of the competition (12.24) and 12.33 in the semis, but could not replicate that performance tonight. Camacho-Quinn earned her third consecutive global championships medal and her first silver. 

Further back in the field were Tobi Amusan of Nigeria and Nia Ali of the United States. Amusan was the defending world champion and current world record holder (12.12). She did not have her best night, finishing 6th in 12.62. Ali is the 2016 Olympic silver medalist and 2019 world champion, but could not get it done tonight finishing in last place with a time of 12.78. 

Men’s 400m: 21-year-old Antonio Watson is your world champ

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Less than 20 minutes after Danielle Williams shocked the world and brought the 100mH world title back to Jamaica, Antonio Watson did the same. In his first World Championship 400m final, the Jamaican sprinter closed the last half of the race very well to win the title in 44.22. It was Jamaica’s first 400m title since the first Worlds in 1983. It was also the first 400m title for Glenn Mills, former coach of Usain Bolt.

The silver medalist, Matthew Hudson-Smith of Great Britain, took the first 200 meters out very quickly and was in the lead for over 300 meters of the race. Hudson-Smith, who set a European record in this event in the semifinal, could not outlast Watson for the win and ran 44.31. However, Hudson-Smith did improve upon his bronze medal finish at last year’s World Championships. 

Quincy Hall of the United States, who was competing in his first World Championships, earned the bronze medal in a PB of 44.37. Hall used to be known as a 400m hurdler, winning the 2019 NCAA title and NACAC U23 title in that event. Transitioning over to the flat race has paid off big time for the 25-year-old, who earned top American honors as well, beating out Vernon Norwood for the bronze medal by 0.02 seconds. 

Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa did not look at all like the runner who had gone undefeated this year prior to Worlds. He was given lane 2 as a time qualifier and was never in the race. The 2016 Olympic champion and world record holder looked to be getting back into good form throughout the season, but put together a poor championships. Another household name in the 400 meters, Kirani James of Grenada, crossed the line in fifth but was DQ’d from the race. 

1 Antonio WATSON JAM 44.22
2 Matthew HUDSON-SMITH GBR 44.31
3 Quincy HALL USA 44.37 PB
4 Vernon NORWOOD USA 44.39
5 Sean BAILEY JAM 44.96
6 Håvard Bentdal INGVALDSEN NOR 45.08
7 Wayde VAN NIEKERK RSA 45.11
2413 Kirani JAMES GRN DQ

Women’s 400m Hurdles: Bol gets her gold 

Without Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, the heavy favorite for the 400m hurdles was Femke Bol, still searching for gold in Budapest after falling in the final meters of the mixed 4×400 relay. Bol won her heat and semifinal with ease. Tonight was no different as she took home the gold with a winning time of 51.70, the eighth-fastest ever.

Tonight, she beat the silver medalist, Shamier Little of the United States, by 1.10 seconds. This is Little’s second World Championship silver medal, as she earned one eight years ago in Beijing as well, running 53.94 there as opposed to 52.80 tonight. The bronze medalist tonight was Rushell Clayton of Jamaica, who set a PB of 52.81. Clayton had also taken bronze in Doha four years ago in 53.74. Clayton has stepped up these championships as she only placed third in the Jamaican trials a month and a half ago. Now she’s third in the world. 

Behind the medalists, Kemi Adekoya of Bahrain set an Asian record of 53.09 and American Anna Cockrell set a PB of 53.34 for fifth. 


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