Photo: Ghirmay Ghebreselassie won the Men’s marathon and the first World Championship gold medal for Eritrea. (IAAF Photo)
The final event on day one of the 15th IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China showed just how much track and field fans can look forward to over the next week or so as the world’s best, display their awesome talents in track and field.
Defending champion in the Men’s 10,000m, Mo Farah of Great Britain, produced another master class to turn back the threat of the Kenyans who led the race from almost start to finish. The World and Olympic champion timed his move to perfection, systematically closing the gap in the final stages of the race before powering to the lead and holding off the final push from Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor to claim yet another gold in 27:01.13. Another Kenyan, Paul Tanui claimed the bronze.
Host’s China picked up their first medal of the championships when Lijiao Gong put the shot a distance of 20.30m to claim silver behind event winner Christina Schwanitz of Germany (20.37M) while Michelle Carter secured the bronze for the USA with a throw of 19.76m. This event went exactly to the form book.
The first medal of these championships however, went to Ghirmay Ghebreselassie in the Men’s marathon, the first event of the day. The 19 year old won Eritrea's first ever gold medal and became the youngest marathon world champion in history. Yemane Tsegay of Ethiopia took the silver and Munyo Solomon Mutai of Uganda claimed the bronze.
While those athletes were winning medals for their country and celebrating their achievements, there were at least two athletes contemplating what could have been.
Defending Men’s 400m hurdles champion Jehue Gordon of Trinidad and Tobago and former World champion Bershawn Jackson of the USA both crashed out of the event in the heats. Gordon who was never in contention, crawled to a pedestrian 49.91s as he finished 7th in heat two. Jackson has a different sort of race as he appeared to have his heat sealed up before fading badly in the home stretch, finishing 7th in an even slower 50.14s.
Perhaps the most highly anticipated event of the World Championships is the Men’s 100m and most of the main protagonists obliged as they moved on to the semi-finals which takes place on day 2. The only shocker was the performance of Keston Bledman of T&T who entered the championships ranked number 6. He slouched to 10.75s in heat 3 suggesting that he may be carrying an injury.
The final will close the show Sunday morning local time and already the excitement is palpable among fans, who are split down the middle, as to who will win the duel between Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin.