Olympic Sta­dium, Lon­don

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS -

Sun­day’s high­lights

For­mer Arkansas Ra­zor­back Sandi Mor­ris took the sil­ver medal in the women’s pole vault at the track and field world cham­pi­onships in Lon­don on Sun­day after fall­ing short against Greece’s Eka­terini Ste­fanidi. Mor­ris, an Amer­i­can, also fin­ished sec­ond to Ste­fanidi in the Olympics last sum­mer.

Two other for­mer Ra­zor­backs ad­vanced to the fi­nal in their event: Omar McLeod (Ja­maica) in the 110-me­ter hur­dles and Stan­ley Kebenei (United States) in the 3,000 steeple­chase.

In the women’s 100, Amer­i­can Tori Bowie dipped at the line to edge Ja­maica’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou by .01 sec­onds.

Bel­gium’s Nafi Thiam added a world championship to her Olympic gold medal in the hep­tathlon, cruis­ing to the ti­tle with 6,784 points.

In the men’s shot put, To­mas Walsh of New Zealand won gold over Amer­i­can Joe Ko­vacs.

Amer­i­can Amy Cragg, the wife of for­mer Ra­zor­backs All-Amer­i­can Alis­tair Cragg, took the bronze. Rose Che­limo of Bahrain won the gold.

LON­DON — With Usain Bolt and Elaine Thomp­son in the 100 me­ters, it was sup­posed to be dou­ble sprint gold for Ja­maica by now. In­stead, it’s the United States that leads 2-0 at the world cham­pi­onships.

With a des­per­ate fi­nal lunge on Sun­day, Tori Bowie dipped at the line to edge Marie-Josee Ta Lou by .01 sec­onds and win in 10.85.

Once across and off bal­ance, the Amer­i­can sprinter fell onto the track and didn’t have a clue who had won.

“The dive doesn’t feel too good now,” said Bowie, who added gold to her Olympic sil­ver from last year. “I never give up un­til I am over the line.”

Dafne Schip­pers, the 2015 world cham­pion in the 200, took bronze in 10.96.

Thomp­son, the Olympic cham­pion from last year, came into the race as a big fa­vorite. Sport­ing a flower bow in her head­band and pur­ple lip­stick to stand out, she was never a fac­tor and fin­ished fifth in 10.98.

“I didn’t ex­e­cute my race, which is a shame, but I’m healthy,” Thomp­son said. “I don’t know what went wrong.”

On Satur­day, Justin Gatlin won the men’s 100, beat­ing Bolt.

The stun­ning re­ver­sal of Ja­maica’s sprint for­tunes was high­lighted by the fact that it didn’t have a medal­ist in the women’s 100 for the first time in 14 years.

In an event al­most as close as the 100 fi­nal, Eka­terini Ste­fanidi again held off Sandi Mor­ris (Arkansas Ra­zor­backs) to win gold in the pole vault.

Mor­ris and Ste­fanidi were in­volved in an epic bat­tle when the Greek won on a count­back at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. It was al­most as good at the world cham­pi­onships.

This time, nei­ther had a fail­ure through 15-7 — they were tied at the top with all op­po­si­tion al­ready out. Then, Ste­fanidi scaled 15-9¾ while Mor­ris failed.

When gold was al­ready as­sured, Ste­fanidi cleared 16-1¼ for a Greek record.

There was noth­ing close about the hep­tathlon, though, as Nafi Thiam added a world championship gold medal to her Olympic ti­tle.

The 22-year-old Bel­gian al­ready had a huge lead com­ing into the con­clud­ing 800-me­ter race in the two-day com­pe­ti­tion. Thiam fin­ished last in the fi­nal heat but still had more than enough points to win.

Thiam fin­ished with 6,784 points, 88 more than sil­ver medal­ist Carolin Schaefer of Ger­many. Anouk Vet­ter of the Nether­lands took bronze with 6,636 points.

Thiam won three of the seven events — the high jump, shot put and long jump.

In the men’s shot put, To­mas Walsh of New Zealand al­ready had won gold when he threw 72-3 1/3 on his last at­tempt, 37 cen­time­ters more than de­fend­ing cham­pion Joe Ko­vacs.

The Amer­i­can also had a huge throw on his last at­tempt but was given a red flag for a foot fault. Stipe Zu­nic of Croa­tia took bronze with a toss of 21.46.

Ryan Crouser of the United States, the Olympic cham­pion and the sea­son’s top per­former, never got it go­ing and fin­ished sixth.

Dur­ing a sunny but cool day, and with some iconic Lon­don land­marks serv­ing as a back­drop, the world cham­pi­onships pro­duced a pair of stir­ring marathon races.

In the Olympic Sta­dium, Bolt got the early cheers in the evening ses­sion. Gatlin got the boos — again.

At the medal cer­e­mony for Satur­day’s 100 me­ters, Bolt re­ceived mas­sive ap­plause for his bronze medal and Amer­i­can sil­ver medal­ist Chris­tian Coleman was also warmly greeted by the crowd of about 60,000 spec­ta­tors.

How­ever, when Gatlin came up to re­ceive his gold medal from IAAF Pres­i­dent Se­bas­tian Coe, the de­ri­sive boo­ing re­turned but there was also a smat­ter­ing of ap­plause — some of it from Bolt. The neg­a­tive in­ten­sity didn’t quite reach the peaks of the pre­vi­ous days when Gatlin ran.


Amer­i­can Sandi Mor­ris (left), who com­peted at the Univer­sity of Arkansas, Fayet­teville, took the sil­ver medal in the women’s pole vault at the track and field world cham­pi­onships in Lon­don on Sun­day. Eka­terini Ste­fanidi (right) of Greece took the gold after clear­ing 16 feet, 1¼ inches.


Amer­i­can Stan­ley Kebenei, who pre­vi­ously ran for Arkansas, had a time of 8 min­utes, 24.19 sec­onds in his heat of the 3,000-me­ter steeple­chase Sun­day, earn­ing a spot in Tuesday’s fi­nal.


Ja­maica’s Omar McLeod, a for­mer Arkansas Ra­zor­back, pre­pares for the start in his semi­fi­nal of the 110-me­ter hur­dles at Lon­don on Sun­day. McLeod, the de­fend­ing Olympic gold medal­ist in the event, clocked a time of 13.10, the quick­est in the semi­fi­nals.

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