BEIJING -- Joe Kovacs took home gold in the shot put while Justin Gatlin and Trayvon Bromell took silver and bronze, respectively, in the men’s 100 meters as Team USA hit for the cycle in medals Sunday evening at Beijing National Stadium.
Kovacs claims SP gold
Competing at his first World Outdoors, Kovacs (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) uncorked an opening throw of 21.23m/69-8 to lead the competition early on, but rival David Storl of Germany assumed the lead with a second-round throw of 21.46m/70-5. It took a national record of 21.69m/71-2 from Jamaica’s O’Dayne Richards on his third attempt to bump both Storl and Kovacs from the top two spots.
On his fourth throw, Kovacs moved back into second with 21.67m/71-1.25, while his 21.93m/71-11.50 on his fifth throw of the night sealed the gold, giving Team USA at least one medal in the event in 11 of the last 12 editions of the Championships. 2007 world champ Reese Hoffa (Augusta, Georgia) had a best of 21.00m/68-10.75 in the fifth stanza to finish fifth. Christian Cantwell (Eldon, Missouri) was a medical scratch from the final after suffering back spasms following this morning’s preliminary round.
Bolt-Gatlin duel delivers
The men’s 100m matchup between Justin Gatlin (Pensacola, Fla.) and Usain Bolt was the talk of the meet, with the resurgent Gatlin riding a two-year win streak and the world record-holding Bolt running far off of his best form.
The two men delivered on the anticipated drama.
Running his fastest time of the year, Bolt snapped Gatlin’s dominance, running 9.79 to edge Gatlin by .01 second as Gatlin came second in 9.80. World Championships rookie and NCAA runner-up Trayvon Bromell (St. Petersburg, Fla.) tied for third in 9.92 with the 2015 NCAA champion, Andre De Grasse of Canada. Mike Rodgers (St. Louis, Mo.) ran 9.94 for fifth and Tyson Gay (Lexington, Ky.) finished in 10.00 for sixth.
In the semifinal round earlier in the evening, Gatlin turned heads while winning heat 2 in 9.77, the fastest time ever in a semifinal at the World Championships and equaling the third-fastest time ever run at the World Championships. Rodgers was second in 9.86. Gay won heat three in 9.96, while Bromell advanced to the final on time, finishing third in heat 1 in 9.99.
Simpson, Rowbury move on to 1500m final
At Friday’s Team USA press conference, 2011 world champion Jenny Simpson (Oviedo, Fla.) had expressed a desire for her 29th birthday present on Sunday to be qualifying for the final. The birthday girl got her wish, placing fifth in the speedy second heat of the semifinal round with a time of 4:08.20. Lauren Johnson (Huntington, Indiana) was eighth in the same heat in 4:10.01, just missing out on the final time qualifying position.
In the first semifinal, American record holder Shannon Rowbury (San Francisco) and Kerri Gallagher (Queens, New York) were in the midst of a pedestrian-paced pack in the early stages, splitting 800 in over 2:25. Heading into the final 200, Gallagher was in the top three, with Rowbury a few strides behind. Rowbury went wide down the final straight and claimed the last automatic qualifying spot with her 4:16.64 in fifth, while Gallagher was eighth in 4:17.63.
Tinsley, Clement advance in 400H
Two Americans will be featured in Tuesday’s final of the men’s 400m hurdles. In the third and final heat of Sunday night’s semifinals, Michael Tinsley (Little Rock, Arkansas) had a bobble at hurdle six and came off the curve in third but pushed down the final stretch and won his heat in 48.47. Kerron Clement (La Porte, Texas) was out well in the first semifinal and was in the top three coming off the fifth hurdle, finishing second in 48.50. Johnny Dutch (Raleigh, North Carolina) flew through the first half of the second semi and was in the top two coming off the final hurdle, but faded to fifth in 48.74 and did not advance to the final.
Murphy ends special summer with semifinal run
Clayton Murphy (New Paris, Ohio) came through 400m in the first semifinal in fifth place at 52.71 and maintained that position over the next 200m before getting obstructed and falling to the back. Heading into the homestretch, the Pan Am Games gold medalist fought back to take seventh in 1:46.28. Erik Sowinski (Waukesha, Wisconsin) settled into second over the first lap of the third semi, passing 400 in 52.09. Down the back straight Sowinski was passed by three men and was sixth at 600m before yielding one more spot in the sprint into the finish, taking seventh in 1:47.16.
Women’s heptathlon concludes
Sharon Day-Monroe (Costa Mesa, California) was steady throughout the final event of the women’s heptathlon, finishing second in her heat in 2:11.61. Day-Monroe finished the competition with 6,246 points for 14th place. Barbara Nwaba (Los Angeles) closed out her first World Championships appearance with a win in the first heat of the heptathlon women’s 800 meters in 2:12.20. Nwaba scored 5,315 points after beginning the competition with a DNF in the 100-meter hurdles. Erica Bougard (Byhalia, Mississippi) was a DNS in tonight’s 800 meters and had 5,140 points heading into the evening session.