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Asher-Smith and Holloway Strike Doha Gold

10/03/2019

Doha, Qatar
October 2nd, 2019

image001As Day Six of these 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships was devoid of any middle distance or distance events, the focus today is upon the only two track finals of the day

In the women’s 200 meter final, the question appeared to be this:  Which of the winners of the preceding day’s semi-final races would prevail in the final?  Would it be Great Britain’s sprint sensation Dina Asher-Smith, victor of semi-final #1 in 22.16. Or could one of the two American semi-final winners – Brittany Brown [winner of semi #2 in 22.46] or Anglerne Annelus [first in semi #3 in 22.49] – be able to pull off the upset?

The race was essentially over shortly after the gun.  The Brit authored a terrific start [with the fastest reaction time at 0.138] and never looked back.  After racing a great curve, Asher-Smith maintained magnificent turnover as she powered down the homestretch and hit the line in a season’s best 21.88 to set a new British national record, #2 on the world list.  Dina Asher-Smith’s world championship 200 meter victory was the first ever by a British woman.  A personal best 22.22 by the American Brown earned her the silver.  And Swiss athlete Mujinga Kambundi got up for the bronze in 22.51.  Annelus clocked 22.55 for 4th, and her USA teammate Dezerea Bryant was 5th in 22.63.

image002In the men’s 110 meter hurdle final, the championship race featured all of the finest hurdlers in the world.  5 athletes appeared to have a realistic opportunity to stand on the top step of the podium:  Jamaica’s Omar McLeod [the reigning Olympic and world champion, WL #4, and the winner of semi-final #2 in 13.08]; USA’s Grant Holloway [NCAA champion; SB of a world-leading 12.58; winner of semi #1 in 13.10]; France’s Pascal Martinot-LaGarde [#T5 on the WL list; runner-up in semi #2 in 13.12]; Spain’s Orlando Ortega [WL #3; winner of semi #3 in 13.16]; and the wily Authorized Neutral Athlete Sergey Shubenkov [2015 world champion; WL #T5; and runner-up in semi #1 in 13.18].  Rookie professional Holloway got the best start as he instantly bulled his way to the front.  His start gave the Florida alum an advantage that he would never relinquish as he powered his way to the gold medal, crossing in 13.10. Meanwhile, behind the new champion full-contact hurdling was on display.  Defending champion McLeod, who has developed an annoying habit of lane drifting to his right, was making frequent contact with the late-race hurdles as well as clearly making contact with and obstructing Spain’s Ortega on his right.  The tangle crescendoed while both McLeod and the fast-finishing Ortega were clearing the 10th hurdle.  A mid-air collision over the final barrier sent McLeod falling to the track and further impeding the Spaniard who was on his way toward either a silver or bronze medal.  Unimpacted by the Jamaican’s bumping, it was Shubenkov [13.15] who crossed 2nd for the silver and Martinot-LaGarde [13.18] who finished next for the bronze.  Spanish officials timely filed a protest citing McLeod’s obstruction and requesting the race be re-run – a remedy unprecedented at this level of global competition.  Request for a re-run denied.  The protest also requested in the alternative that Ortega be awarded a duplicate bronze medal - as was granted earlier in the day pursuant to the protest and request filed on behalf of Polish hammer thrower Wojciech Nowicki.  Request for a duplicate bronze medal denied.  Later on, Hurdle great Renaldo Nehemiah, well aware of and experienced with mid-race contact during hurdle contests, noted the unfortunate absence of any adequate remedy for those fouled in hurdle finals.  He cited Ortega as “a casualty of the sport.”

After the race, the 2019 world championship 110H hurdle victor  reflected on his new status as a professional and the earlier honors he had garnered in his very long season as a collegian-turned-pro.  “When you step on the line, no one cares what you’ve done before,” declared the new champion,  “It’s all about the here and now.”  


Dave Hunter is an award-winning journalist who is a U.S. Correspondent for Track & Field News.  He also writes a weekly column and serves as Senior Writer for www.RunBlogRun.com, and covers championship track & field competition domestically and in such global capitals as Moscow, Birmingham, Zurich, Brussels, Beijing,  Rio de Janeiro, Zagreb, and Ostrava.  Hunter frequently serves as the arena or stadium announcer for championship track & field gatherings, including the Ivy League, the Big East, the Mid-American Conference, the NAIA, the Big Ten, and the Millrose Games.  Hunter has undertaken foreign and domestic broadcast assignments..  He ran his marathon P.R. of 2:31:40 on the Boston Marathon course back in the Paleozoic Era.  To find out more about Dave, visit his website:   www.trackandfieldhunter.com  He can be reached at: dave@trackandfieldhunter.com

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