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August 11, 2017

2017 IAAF World Championships Day 8: Ups & Downs

BIG UPS

EMMA COBURN AND COURTNEY FRERICHS 1-2 PUNCH

Emma Coburn lowered her own American record, broke the meet record, and won the gold medal in the 3000m steeplechase Friday night.

Not to be outdone was her fellow USA teammate, Courtney Frerichs, who also broke the the American record, and would be the meet record holder had it not been for Coburn.

Coburn and Frerichs stayed calm as Jebet of Bahrain and Chespol of Kenya set a hot early pace. Coburn looked very smooth over the water barriers and used the obstacles to put herself in position each time they came around. Coming over the final water barrier she went from third to first and would not relinquish the lead, holding off Jebet, and a charging Frerichs. Frerichs would run a fantastic final 100, to steal the silver medal, lower her PR by over 15 seconds, and give America the 1-2 punch in the women’s steeple.

The last qualifying spot

Men’s 1500m

Johnny Gregorek advanced to the 1500m final. After running in last for a majority of the race, Gregorek let out what is becoming a signature kick over the last 300 meters, running the fastest split of anyone in the field. He moved himself into 7th place in 3:38.68, snagging the last little ‘q’ qualifying spot. He has one day of rest before he enters the final as the Last American Hope. Needless to say he has quickly become an American hero.

Here he is in his post-race interview with Lewis Johnson where he gave us a great quote, “We needed an American in the final, so I said ‘Let’s do this Johnny G.'”

Women’s 100m hurdles

Kendra Harrison is the fastest woman in the world this year by 0.2 seconds. In a sprint event that’s night and day. But Harrison has developed a knack for underperforming in high performance situations. The world record holder missed out on the 2016 Olympic team after she finished 6th in the trials — a month later she went on to set the world record. In 2015, the last world championships she ran in, she false started in the semi-finals and was disqualified.

She’ll get her first crack at a major world final tomorrow, though, despite finishing 4th place in her heat after cracking the first hurdle and struggling to finish in her semi-final. She managed to squeeze in on time. Hopefully tomorrow she’ll bring her A game, and prove that she’s more than just a name in the record books.

BIG DOWNS

Brenda Martinez

Brenda Martinez has had a tough go in London. She finished 4th in her opening heat of the 800m, and sneaked into the semi-final on time, albeit as the 2nd slowest qualifier.

In today’s semi-final, though, the 2013 World Championships silver medalist failed to advance to the final. Martinez stuck with eventual winner, Neyonsaba the whole race, but found herself boxed on the inside on the bell lap. She tried making two different moves, but didn’t have the position to either swing wide or pass on the inside. She ended up finishing third in the slowest of the three heats, and well outside of the 1:59.74 it took to get through to the final.

Martinez is a household name in American track and field circles, but has failed to replicate her 2013 season that brought a silver medal. American fans can’t help but feel a little disappointed. But Martinez or not, we still have Ajee Wilson and Charlene Lipsey in the final.

Robby Andrews

Robby Andrews DNF’d in the smei-final of the men’s 1500m today. On the penultimate lap, Andrews, who was in last place, started making some moves. He jostled by a few other athletes and on the homestretch was midpack when he pulled up lame. From our stream, he looked a bit like a sprinter pulling up after tearing a hamstring. He pounded the track out of frustration, and stayed on the infield as the men went around the track one more time.

After the race in an interview with Lewis Johnson, he said that his calf locked up and he had to stop running. Up until now Andrews was having a good season, winning his first national championship as a pro, and looked poise to unleash is signature kick to make it into his final.

His streak of bad luck on the world stage continues, as in last year’s Olympics Andrews was disqualified in the semi-final after taking one too many steps on the infield in the homestretch of the 1500m.

But Citius loves him dearly, and we wish him well.

The Refs

Today’s 3000m steeplechase final went off without Colleen Quigley. She was DQ’d, after finishing third in her qualifying heat, for stepping on the curved line after a water jump. The one-inch infringement was apparently enough of a “material advantage” to warrant the IAAF to give her the boot. The USATF tried protesting on her behalf but to no avail.

Today’s women’s 800m semi-final had another fast and loose interpretation of the rule book, as Lynsey Sharp was disqualified from her semi-final heat after “impeding another runner” during her race. The infraction? Her forearm went wide as she crossed the finish line and brushed up against the eventual third place finisher Charlene Lipsey.

Had she not been disqualified, she would have secured the final qualifying spot in Wednesday’s final.

This “rules are rules” mentality that the officials in London have been maintaining is an obvious detriment to the quality of the fields. Did the athletes gain any advantage from the above scenarios? Obviously not. Were other athletes opportunity at a clean and fair race ruined because of them? The answer is no. But I suppose if you have a rule book in your hand the impulse to flex your muscles just because you can must be a little too great.

UPDATE: Lynsey Sharp has been reinstated into the women’s 800m final. Sorry for the rant.

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