Morning Chronicle - Cheptegei defends world title, Andersen bags third US gold

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Cheptegei defends world title, Andersen bags third US gold
Cheptegei defends world title, Andersen bags third US gold / Photo: Jewel SAMAD - AFP

Cheptegei defends world title, Andersen bags third US gold

Uganda's Stephen Cheptegei produced a devastating display of controlled distance running to retain his world 10,000m crown on Friday, while Brooke Andersen bagged a third gold for the US in the women's hammer throw.

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The third day of action at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, saw Ethiopia's Tamirat Tola make a decisive kick 8km from the finish line to win gold in the men's marathon.

Tola, who won Olympic 10,000m bronze at the 2016 Rio Games and marathon silver at the 2017 London worlds, clocked a championship record of 2hr 5min 37sec, smashing the previous best of 2:06.54 set by Kenyan Abel Kirui in Berlin in 2009.

There was an Ethiopian 1-2 with Mosinet Geremew taking silver, as he also did in the 2019 worlds in Doha, in 2:06.45.

Belgium's Bashir Abdi took bronze a further 4sec adrift.

"It's a dream come true," Tola said. "I learned from my mistake in 2017 and I made sure it did not happen again.

"I feel very happy with the championship record. And the double is amazing for us."

Cheptegei, like Tola, was in total control of his race, leading for long periods and holding off all-comers as a large pack went therough the bell for the final lap.

The Ugandan world record holder sprinted clear and was never in danger as he finished in 27min 27.43sec, leaving the chasers to battle it out for the minor medals.

Kenya's Stanley Waithaka Mburu claimed silver in 27:27.90, with another Ugandan, Jacob Kiplimo, taking bronze (27:27.97) in an unsually close finish.

Reigning Olympic champion Selemon Barega of Ethiopia finished fifth, beaten to fourth by American Grant Fisher.

Cheptegei said the race had been "very emotional", coming back to the United States where he started his international career at the World Junior Championships in 2014.

"Now, I want to continue my dominancy in long distance running and I hope I will manage it," he said.

- Andersen strikes third gold -

Close on the heels of the Fred Kerley-led US cleansweep of the men's 100m and Chase Ealey's gold in the women's shot put on Saturday, Andersen made it three titles for the host nation.

In front of a partisan crowd, Andersen backed up her great seasonal form by totaly dominating the field in the hammer.

Andersen, who went fourth in the all-time list of throwers in April, managed a best of 78.96 metres for victory.

Canada's Camryn Rogers claimed silver with 75.52m, with the USA's Janee Kassanavoid taking bronze (74.86).

Belgium's Olympic champion Nafi Thiam was in control of the heptathlon after three events.

The Belgian clocked 13.21sec in the 100m hurdles, managed a best of 1.95sec in the high jump and 15.03m in the shot put.

That left her with 3,127 points, with Anouk Vetter of the Netherlands in second on 3,003.

Reigning world champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson sat in seventh on 2,781pts, with just the 200m to come later Sunday.

The gruelling multi-discipline event concludes on Monday with the long jump, javelin throw and 800m.

- Welcome back Wayde -

There was a welcome return to the global stage for South African Wayde van Niekerk, who won his 400m heat with ease.

Van Niekerk set the 400m world record when winning gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics, but a serious knee inury saw him have a three-year hiatus from the track, and then competing only sparingly after his return to action in 2020.

"There's a lot of love," said the South African, the first sprinter in history to have run sub-10, sub-20, sub-31 and sub-44 performances at 100m, 200m, 300m and 400m respectively.

"I need to open up my legs a little bit to get my muscles going and see what I need to work on before I get to the semi-final.

"I feel much, much better but obviously my mentality is to get into the finals and see what happens."

Also advancing to Tuesday's semi-finals are top ranked Kirani James of Grenada, the 2012 Olympic champion who claimed silver in Rio and bronze in Tokyo, and the strong US trio of Michael Norman, Michael Cherry and Champion Allison as well as Botswana's heat pace setter Bayapo Ndori (44.87sec).

Reigning world and Olympic champion Steven Gardiner of the Bahamas is missing through injury, but female teammate Shaunae Miller-Uibo, the two-time defending Olympic champion, qualifed for the women's semi-finals in her bid to improve on two silver and one bronze from previous world champs.