A look at day six winners at athletics championships
High jump glory, pregnant pauses and training with the boys. Here are five things we learned from day six at Moscow's World Championships in Athletics.
- You might as well milk the glory. After winning the women’s pole vault on day four, Yelena Isinbayeva told organisers she wanted to try and break her own world record. It didn’t work. Bohdan Bondarenko should have taken heed. After securing the men’s high jump gold, the Ukrainian decided he’d like to take a shot at Javier Sotomayor’s high jump world record of 2 metres 45, which has stood for just over 20 years. Given that Bondarenko had difficulties bounding over the bar at 2 metres 41, seizing the accolade from the Cuban was unlikely. And so it proved.
Pregnant pauses are useful. Isinbayeva was back at the Luzhniki Stadium to be presented with the gold medal gained from her crowd pleasing exertions on day four. But a few hours before she went to collect the bauble, she outlined her post championship plans. “I wouldn’t say, yes, I’ll be in Rio [at the Olympic Games] or no, I won’t be in Rio, because I don’t know,” she equivocated. “My main goal is to become a mum. I’d like to become a mum. Everything will depend on my maternal feelings. If I feel that I would like to come back to sport and try for Rio, then definitely I will do it. If I feel, no, I’d like to stay at home with my baby, no one will force me to come back.” Scientific studies have suggested that women’s brains are rewired when they’re with child. Maybe the preparation for fecundity has started the process chez wannabe mama Isinbayeva and the circuits controlling diplomacy have been tripped. After spurting forth about the need to breed, she proceeded to lay into a Swedish athlete who was having a dig at Russian laws on publicising homosexuality, and expounded views that could be construed as homophobic. But Isinbayeva was talking in English and though it’s good, it’s not as brilliant as her pole vaulting.
- Ato Boldon has been lonely for 16 years. He won the 200 metres at the 1997 World Championships in Athens and for nearly two decades has been Trinidad and Tobago’s only gold medalist from the championships. Three hours before the men’s 400 metres hurdles final, 39-year-old Boldon said he hoped that this was about to change. And so it did, when 21 year-old Jehue Gordon claimed the 400 metres hurdles title. But it was close. Gordon finished in 47.69 seconds and the American Michael Tinsley was clocked at 47.70.
- Ezekiel Kemboi listened and earned. The Kenyan said he fancied running marathons after he won the world title in the 3,000 metres steeplechase in Daegu two years ago. But his coach and manager both told him to stick with the day job. Two years later, Kemboi won his third consecutive steeplechase crown. That makes three silvers and three golds in the event in six straight world championships since Paris in 2003. But the 31-year-old said his time is coming to an end. Kemboi’s compatriot, Conseslus Kipruto, was second and he’s 19 – the same age as Kemboi when he won his first silver medal.
- If you’re a girl, hang with the boys. Brittney Reese, who won gold in the women’s long jump, said she trains with the men so that she can beat the women and she’s now won three consecutive golds at the championships. The women’s 400 metres hurdles champion, Zuzana Hejnova, said she’d been doing that too. The 26-year-old from the Czech Republic got the bronze at the Olympics in London last year but has her first world championship after finishing first in 52.83 seconds, ahead of the Americans Dalilah Muhammad and Lashinda Demus. At a press conference for medal winners after the race, Hejnova said at the outset that her English wasn’t very good – a certain athlete should take note – but she persevered nevertheless. She said she’d become a stronger runner since the Olympic Games because she was now training with the men, which she certainly showed as she surged down the back straight. She was asked, slowly, in English, which athlete had inspired her. There followed a seven-second pause – not a pregnant one – and she said shyly: “Maybe Lashinda has been the ideal for me.” As the 2011 champion smiled and thanked her rival for the compliment, Hejnova added: “She’s a really good competitor. I know that she trains really hard and I would like to be like her.” Simply classy.