BEIJING -- Tianna Bartoletta won a historic long jump gold and Aries Merritt returned to medal form in the hurdles, while Ashton Eaton’s 45-second 400m in the decathlon thrilled fans Friday at the IAAF World Championships.
Bartoletta wins LJ gold with sixth-round leap
In 2005, Tianna Bartoletta (Elyria, Ohio) was a surprise world champion in Helsinki, topping the world before her 20th birthday. Ten years and one 4x100m world record later, she entered Beijing as the world leader. She lived up to her ranking, prevailing over two national records to earn her second World Outdoor gold medal in the long jump.
Bartoletta, who will turn 30 on Sunday, returned to the winner’s podium in a dramatic way. After fouling on her first attempt, Bartoletta safely put in a mark of 6.95m/22-9.75 on her second jump to sit in second place behind Ivana Spanovic’s 7.01/23-0 national record for Serbia. She fell to third when Shara Proctor catapulted herself from fourth to first with her third-round 7.07m/23-2.5, which set a British national record.
Facing bronze in the sixth round, Bartoletta unleashed a world-leading and personal best 7.14m/23-5.25 in the final round to win.
Janay DeLoach (Ft. Collins, Colorado) posted 6.67m/21-10.75 on her first try, which stood as her best mark of the night, giving her eighth place.
Merritt claims bronze in 110m hurdles return
Continuing his return from a near-fatal kidney illness, Aries Merritt (Atlanta) earned a bronze medal in a spectacular men’s 110m hurdles race. Russia’s Sergey Shubenkov ran a national-record 12.98 to take gold, with Hansle Parchment of Jamaica second in a season-best 13.03. Merritt was not quick out of the blocks but ran a clean race, gaining momentum throughout. His lean left him just a hair shy of Parchment, finishing third in 13.04. Defending world champion David Oliver (Kissimmee, Florida), running in lane 9, crashed the first hurdle hard, then hit barriers three and four and never got his rhythm down, finishing seventh in 13.33.
Eaton breaks decathlon WR in 400
Ashton Eaton (Bend, Oregon) finished Day 1 of the decathlon firmly in 1st, running a 400m decathlon world record of 45.00 in the last event of the day, heading into Saturday with 4703 points. Damian Warner of Canada stood in second with 4503; Americans Jeremy Taiwo (Renton, Washington) and Zach Ziemek (Itasca, Illinois) were 12th and 13th, respectively, with 4244 and 4205 points. Trey Hardee (Vestavia Hills, Alabama) withdrew from the competition after sustaining a lower back injury following his final attempt in the long jump.
Taiwo turned in the best jump of the American trio at 2.10m/6-10.75, placing third overall with 896 points. Ziemek cleared his best height of the day at 2.04m/6-8.25, but bowed out after three misses at 2.07m/6-9.50. Eaton cleared 2.01m/6-7 for 813 points.
Bookending the day with record-setting performances, Eaton was spectacular in the 400, setting a decathlon world record in 45.00. Far and away the class of the field, he led by more than 30 meters. Taiwo staggered out of the blocks in the fourth heat and couldn’t recover, finishing seventh in 47.94. Ziemek ran a personal best in his heat of the 400, surging down the straightaway to finish in 49.89, the first sub-50 performance of his career.
McGrone fourth in record-setting 200
In perhaps the most surprising performance of the Championships, Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands pulled away from the field to win the 200 in 21.63, a Championships record and a time that only Florence Griffith-Joyner and Marion Jones have surpassed. Team USA’s Jeneba Tarmoh (San Jose, California) had gotten out well in lane 8, with Candyce McGrone (Indianapolis, Indiana) in lane 7 rallying strongly and surging down the stretch. McGrone finished fourth in a personal best 22.01, with Tarmoh sixth in 22.31. Jamaica went 2-3, with Elaine Thompson second in a personal-best 21.66 and Veronica Campbell-Brown third in a season-best 21.97.
Rollins fourth in 100H
The defending world champion, Brianna Rollins (Miami) hit the first hurdle, setting her back in the field. She quickly rallied but ran out of real estate before the finish line. Dannielle Williams of Jamaica won in 12.57, with Cindy Roleder second in 12.59 and Alina Talay of Belarus third in a national record 12.66. Rollins was fourth in 12.67, while Sharika Nelvis (Memphis, Tennessee) couldn’t find her form, finishing eighth in 13.06.
In the semifinal round earlier in the evening, Nelvis was second in heat 1 12.59; Rollins won heat 3 in 12.76. Dawn Harper-Nelson (East St. Louis, Missouri) was going well from the start in heat 1 before she clipped hurdle 2 with her trail leg and fell. Kendra Harrison (Clayton, North Carolina) false started and was disqualified from the second semi.
American trio advances to 1500m final for first time since 2009
Matt Centrowitz (Arnold, Maryland) and Leo Manzano (Austin, Texas) both grabbed automatic qualifying spots from the first semifinal, though they employed differing tactics to get there. Centrowitz stayed toward the front for the entirety of the race, fluctuating between first and fourth until the bell lap, when he went with Asbel Kiprop of Kenya and Nick Willis of New Zealand, finishing fourth in 3:43.97 in a highly tactical race. Manzano stayed in the middle of the pack until the closing 100 meters, when he stormed to the finish line to steal the fifth automatic qualifying spot in 3:44.28.
In heat 2, Robby Andrews (Manalapan, New Jersey) was in ninth with 170m to go and placed sixth in 3:35.88, earning one of two time-qualification spots in the final.
Borman, Winger make javelin final
In women’s javelin qualifying, Brittany Borman (Festus, Missouri) threw 64.22m/210-8 to post the second-best throw of her career and move to the final. In group B action, Kara Winger (Vancouver, Washington) threw 62.21m/204-1 to qualify on distance.