PORTLAND, USA, March 19, 2016 – The competitions of the prestigious IAAF World Indoor Championships got underway in Portland, USA on Thursday.
Elite athletes are representing Qatar in this prestigious championship including Mutaz Issa Barshim (High Jump), Musab Abdulrahman (800m) and Abdullah Haroun (400m).
The event opening day featured the rising American sprint star Trayvon Bromell swept to victory in the men’s 60 meters to cap a day of high drama at the World Indoor Athletics Championships here Friday.
Bromell, who won a bronze medal in the 100m at last year’s World Championships in Beijing, gave another demonstration of his talent to come home in 6.47sec, stunning pre-race favourite Asafa Powell of Jamaica.
The 20-year-old, who made worldwide headlines in June last year when he clocked an astonishing 9.84sec at the US trials, just edged out Powell with Ramon Gittens of Barbados third in a photo finish.
“It was a great race. I know those guys are great competitors so I said to myself ‘When I hear the gun go off, you got to go, you got to power out,” said Bromell.
“I’m just here to have fun, run my race, run my event as best I can as long as I can and have fun with the sport.”
It was an agonizing loss for Jamaican veteran Powell, who had looked to be in ominous form after twice clocking 6.44sec in the early rounds on Friday.
“I’m happy with a medal but I’m not overly excited because if I’d run a 6.44 in the final I would have won the gold medal,” Powell told reporters.
Bromell’s victory was the final act of a thrilling first full day of competition at the Oregon Convention Center.
– Nerve-jangling finish –
Earlier the home crowd had witnessed a nerve-jangling finish to the women’s pentathlon, where Canada’s Brianne Theisen-Eaton snatched gold with victory in the final event, the 800m.
Theisen-Eaton’s hopes of winning a first gold medal in a major championship had looked to be over after she trailed by more than 100 points to Ukraine’s Anastasiya Mokhnyuk heading into the race.
But Theisen-Eaton blasted clear of the field in a duel with American Barbara Nwaba before powering home to win in 2min 9.03sec as Mokhnyuk faded badly.
The Canadian’s husband — Olympic and world decathlon champion Ashton Eaton — roared support from inside the track as she came down the home straight to claim a memorable win before embracing her at the finish line.
“To have someone that you share so much with right there being able to experience it with me is so special,” Theisen-Eaton said.
“Seeing him on the sideline running toward me to help me with something helps calm me down a little bit and being able to celebrate this with him is really awesome and the cherry on top.”
Eaton meanwhile remained well-placed to secure an unprecedented hat-trick of indoor gold medals when the heptathlon concludes on Saturday.
The reigning world and Olympic champion leads the heptathlon after four events with 3,564 points, ahead of Germany’s Kurt Felix (3,501) and Oleksiy Kasyanov of Ukraine with 3,420.
Elsewhere Friday, American athletes dominated with gold medals in the women’s long jump and women’s 60m hurdles.
Olympic champion Brittney Reese won the long jump at the death, producing a last-gasp leap of 7.22m to overhaul Serbia’s Ivana Spanovic, who had seemed poised to win gold after leading with a jump of 7.07m.
“If you’re going to win you have to put it all on the line,” Reese said. “I took everything I had left in me and just jumped.”
Britain’s Lorraine Ugen took bronze with a best jump of 6.93.
In the 60m hurdles, Nia Ali successfully defended her 2014 Indoor crown with victory in 7.81secs, just ahead of compatriot Brianna Rollins in 7.82sec.
American-born British runner Tiffany Porter won bronze.
New Zealand’s Tom Walsh won the shot put gold medal after producing a season best throw of 21.78m to easily defeat his rivals, none of whom were able to break the 21-meter barrier.
Walsh registered four throws longer than 21m, and saved his best for last.
“I’d been holding back all day and I just decided to let it go,” said Walsh, the bronze medalist at the 2014 World Indoors.
Andrei Gag of Romania took silver while Filip Mihaljevic of Croatia grabbed bronze.