Aug. 3, 2012 Majewski and Dibaba successfully defend their Olympic titles Leave a Comment
Provided by IAAF
3 August 2012 - London - You could have been forgiven for thinking you were watching a re-run of the Beijing Olympics, but the reality was that the London 2012 Games saw the exact same day-one champions as in 2008.
Since winning the Olympic title four years ago, Tomasz Majewski had won a handful of championship medals, but none of them gold. Although one of the main contenders, he wasn't seen as a favourite to win – just like four years prior.
Indeed, it was Storl who took the early lead with throws of 21.84m and 21.86m while Majewski managed 21.72m before snatching the lead by one centimetre with 21.87m in round three.
Storl was unable to respond with his final three attempts, while Majewski saved his best for last and extended his lead to 21.89m – the third-best throw of his life.
World leader Reese Hoffa was consistent with a best mark of 21.23m, but in a high-quality final it was only good enough for bronze. Christian Cantwell threw 21.19m on his final attempt but fell four centimetres short of a medal, while Dylan Armstrong took fifth (20.93m).
As the Shot competition was nearing its climax, the women's 10,000m was just getting going. Vivian Cheruiyot had not lost a track race for two years, but Tirunesh Dibaba was back in form and out to defend her title.
The medal favourites held back during the early stages, allowing Japanese trio Kayoko Fukushi, Hitomi Niiya and Mika Yoshikawa to take the leading duties. Kenya's Sally Kipyego led at half way in 15:32.06, after which the Kenyans and Ethiopians moved to the fore.
2003 World silver medallist Worknesh Kidane then took up the running and pushed the pace on with a series of three-minute kilometres. But she began to drop back over the final couple of laps as Dibaba and Cheruiyot moved up.
Dibaba hit the front with 500m to go and began her long drive for home. She quickly opened up a gap and never looked back, leaving Cheruiyot and Kipyego in her wake.
With a final kilometre of 2:45 and a second half of 14:48, Dibaba won gold in 30:20.75, finishing almost six seconds clear. Kipyego overtook Cheruiyot on the final lap to grab the silver in 30:26.37 with Cheruiyot taking bronze in 30:30.44. Nine women broke 31 minutes, as 10 of the top 14 set personal bests.
National Hurdles record gives Ennis overnight lead in Heptathlon
The cheer for Jessica Ennis was deafening as she lined up for her heat of the Heptathlon sprint hurdles on the first morning session of the Olympic Games. It was another reminder – as if any was needed – that the hopes of a nation rested on the British combined eventer.
Although she understandably looked nervous, she did not let the pressure get to her and instead used it to spur her on to a great run. A fantastic run, in fact, as she won her heat with a British record of 12.54 – the fastest time ever within a Heptathlon, and equal to Dawn Harper's winning time in the individual event at the 2008 Olympics!
Ennis was not the only in-form athlete though, as five women in that heat broke 13 seconds – unprecedented depth for a Heptathlon 100m Hurdles heat. Canada's Jessica Zelinka clocked a PB of 12.65, with Hyleas Fountain running a lifetime best of 12.70.
But while the High Jump used to be one of Ennis's best disciplines, today the event was all about Austra Skujyte – the 2004 Olympic silver medallist from Lithuania who is back in the combined events after a brief foray into Shot Put specialising.
Ennis, Fountain, Skujyte and Katarina Johnson-Thompson were among the athletes who went clear at 1.86m. But the next height, 1.89m, proved to be decisive as Fountain and Ennis failed to clear it.
Johnson-Thompson, the teenage heptathlete who won the World Junior Long Jump title, sailed over 1.89m to set a lifetime best, so too did Skujyte and Yana Maksimava. But Skujyte was the only athlete who could go higher and she set a PB of 1.92m to bag valuable points.
The Lithuanian continued to impress in the following event, the shot, as she produced a throw of 17.31m – the best ever throw within a Heptathlon competition. Ennis was half a metre down on her best with 14.28m, allowing Skujyte to take the overall lead after three events.
Dobrynska had to make do with a 'safe' 15.05m after two fouls, while Chernova threw a season's best of 14.17m. Lilli Schwarzkopf and Kristina Savitskaya both threw 14.77m, moving them into third and fourth respectively overall.
But Skujyte's lead was not to last as she could only manage 25.43 in the 200m, leaving the door open for Ennis to take pole position. She grabbed the opportunity with both hands and set a lifetime best of 22.83 to cross the line level with Dafne Schippers. It brought Ennis's points tally to 4158, 45 points up on her day-one score from Gotzis this year where she went on to score 6906.
Skujyte currently has 3974 points in second, while just four points separate the four athletes from third to sixth. Chernova is ninth with 3849 but has three good events tomorrow, while Dobrynska – currently 10th with 3835 – may struggle to make an impact.
Few surprises in heats of track events
The women's 100m heats were graced by a string of sub-11-second performances, proving this track is a fast one. First up was Kelly-Ann Baptiste, who clocked 10.96, but Carmelita Jeter stunned in the second head with a time of 10.83 – the fastest ever 100m heat at any major championships.
Other sub-11 heat winners included Veronica Campbell-Brown (10.94) and Blessing Okagbare (10.93), while Allyson Felix (11.01) and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (11.00) also made it safely through in what proved to be an extremely high-quality first round.
In the heats of the 400m Hurdles, world leader Javier Culson made his intentions known as he sets out to win his first major title after taking silver at the past two World Championships. The Puerto Rican looked incredibly smooth in posting the fastest time of the day with 48.33, easing up at the end. Kerron Clement ran a season's best of 48.48 in second.
But the biggest cheer came for World Champion Dai Greene, who ran a very controlled race from lane one to win his heat in 48.98.
2008 Olympic champion Angelo Taylor and US champion Michael Tinsley also won their respective heats, as did 2004 Olympic Champion Felix Sanchez. But last year's world leader LJ van Zyl was not so lucky and failed to progress, along with 48.41 runner Takayuki Kishimoto, who looked to be carrying an injury and finished last in his heat.
There were few surprises in the first round of the women's 400m – not least the flash of rain that soaked the athletes in the third and fourth heats. First up was defending champion Christine Ohuruogu, who overtook Francena McCorory with ease in the home straight but took her foot off the pedal before the finish line allowing the American to take the win, 50.78 to 50.80.
World champion Amantle Montsho was the fastest overall with her smooth-looking 50.40, but both Sanya Richards-Ross (51.78) and Antonina Krivoshapka (50.75) clearly had much more in the bag based on their comfortable heat victories.
Kenya on course to attempt clean sweeps in two events
All three Kenyan athletes progressed to the final of the men's 3000m Steeplechase as they attempt to take a clean sweep of the medals. But Olympic silver medallist Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad and US record-holder Evan Jager also looked good when finishing ahead of Abel Mutai in the first heat.
Defending champion Brimin Kipruto won the second heat, while World champion Ezekiel Kemboi coasted the third and final heat, allowing Roba Gari of Ethiopia to come through at the end for the win.
The trio of Kenyans also made it through to the 1500m semi-finals, although Nixon Chepseba only made it through on appeal after being tripped in his heat.
His compatriots Asbel Kiprop and Silas Kiplagat made it safely through, but the most impressive runs came from Algeria's Taoufik Makhloufi, winner of the first heat in 3:35.05, and New Zealand's Nick Willis who dictated the third tactical heat to win in 3:40.92.
Veterans Aldama, Lebedeva and Murofushi impress in qualifying
Between World champion Koji Murofushi and Olympic champion Primoz Kozmus, they had competed a total of just three times this year in the Hammer. But any question marks over their form were soon answered as they were the first two to automatically book their place in the final.
World silver medallist Krisztian Pars was the top performer in the second group, producing the best throw of the day with 79.37m. Amazingly, 10 of the 12 qualifiers came from the first group.
World silver medallist Olga Rypakova overcame a scare in the Triple Jump qualifying to pull out a 14.79m leap on her final attempt, leading the qualifiers for the final. World leader Caterine Ibarguen (14.42m), World Indoor Champion Yamile Aldama (14.45m) and World Champion Olga Saladukha (14.35m) also made it safely through, while Jamaica's Kimberly Williams set a PB of 14.52m.
39-year-old Aldama was not the only veteran to make it through, as former World champions Tatyana Lebedeva and Trecia Smith qualified comfortably.
Less than 20 centimetres separated the qualifiers in the men's Long Jump. In a close but unspectacular qualifying round, only two men – Mauro da Silva and Marquise Goodwind – gained the automatic mark, both jumping 8.11m. British duo Greg Rutherford and Chris Tomlinson also made it through, while Australia's Mitchell Watt and Germany's Sebastian Bayer just about made the top 12.
But joint World leader Sergey Morgunov and defending Olympic champion Irving Saladino were not to lucky. Morgunov managed just 7.87m, while Saladino recorded three fouls.
There were fewer surprises in the women's discus qualifying as all the big medal contenders made it through, led by Yarelys Barrios (65.94m), Nadine Muller (65.89m), Sandra Perkovic (65.74m) and Darya Pishchalnikova (65.02m).
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF
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