Some of the best mo­ments from a bril­liant 2018 sea­son in the sport


Athletics Weekly - - News -

Chris­tian Cole­man breaks 60m world record – Fe­bru­ary 19

With the likes of Noah Lyles, Ron­nie Baker and Michael Rodgers all ex­celling this year, Amer­i­can sprint­ing is once more tak­ing on the look of a for­mi­da­ble force. Spear­head­ing their charge in 2018 was Chris­tian Cole­man – and he started early.

In Jan­uary at a meet­ing in Clem­son, he had ap­peared to break Mau­rice Greene’s world in­door 60m record of 6.39, but a lack of elec­tronic start­ing blocks meant the run of 6.37 in South Carolina could not be rat­i­fied.

Cole­man didn’t take long, how­ever, to of­fi­cially top the all­time lists.

The fol­low­ing month, at the US In­door Cham­pi­onships in Al­bu­querque, New Mex­ico, he won his heat in 6.46 and his semi-fi­nal in 6.42 de­spite eas­ing down.

In the fi­nal, Cole­man started with a re­ac­tion time of 0.149 and then threw his arms open wide in cel­e­bra­tion as he crossed the fin­ish line in 6.34.

“For it to be the world record was pretty spe­cial,” he said. “I just love this sport. It’s so com­pet­i­tive, and ei­ther you’ve got it or you don’t on this day.

“I just love rac­ing in the big races, when ev­ery­body’s watch­ing. I just flour­ish in those mo­ments. It’s not re­ally in my per­son­al­ity, but when the lights are on, it just comes out.”

Cole­man went on to take world in­door gold in Birm­ing­ham in March and, though he had in­jury strug­gles dur­ing the out­door sea­son, still fin­ished the year as the fastest man over 100m with a world-lead­ing 9.79 in Brus­sels.

Red-hot Pozzi beats the Birm­ing­ham cold – March 4

The so-called Beast from the East may have meant the weather out­side was fright­ful, but in­side the Arena Birm­ing­ham the ath­let­ics ac­tion was de­light­ful as the IAAF World In­door Cham­pi­onships un­folded.

As some­one who grew up in the area, achiev­ing suc­cess would be of huge sig­nif­i­cance to sprint hur­dler and Euro­pean in­door cham­pion An­drew Pozzi, so the Bri­ton threw ev­ery­thing he had at the task in hand.

That was just as well, given that his win­ning mar­gin was a mere 0.01 of a sec­ond.

De­spite hit­ting one of the hur­dles, he re­cov­ered su­perbly and beat US cham­pion Jar­ret Ea­ton on the line thanks to a per­fectly ex­e­cuted dip.

Pozzi, who cap­tained the Bri­tish side, was made to wait for his big mo­ment as the photo fin­ish was re­viewed. How­ever, when the gold medal was con­firmed as his, he said: “I can’t de­scribe how much I wanted it.

“To be a world cham­pion in Birm­ing­ham makes the achieve­ment ten­fold. I’ve grown up here over the last decade. The first com­pe­ti­tion I ever watched was the tri­als here 15 years ago.”

Per­sonal best for KJT – Au­gust 10

An­drew Pozzi was not the only Bri­tish win­ner in Birm­ing­ham. His girl­friend, Kata­rina John­sonThomp­son, also won her first se­nior global gold af­ter clinch­ing the pen­tathlon ti­tle.

She would also fin­ish top of the Com­mon­wealth podium in the hep­tathlon on the Gold Coast, de­spite nurs­ing her way through it with a calf in­jury.

How­ever, her own high­light of 2018 came in a per­for­mance

where she fin­ished as run­ner-up. In the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships in Ber­lin, the 25-year-old pro­duced two tremen­dous days of com­pe­ti­tion and a big per­sonal best score of 6759 af­ter a mem­o­rable tus­sle with even­tual cham­pion Nafis­satou Thiam.

It felt like a big turn­ing point for the Liver­pudlian who now lives and trains in France. “I be­lieve in my­self and this is go­ing to be good for me mov­ing for­wards,” said the 2009 world youth cham­pion. “I was happy with my first two medals, but this has a big sig­nif­i­cance fac­tor for me.”

Dina’s 200m tri­umph – Au­gust 11

She broke her own Bri­tish record by run­ning 10.85 to win 100m Euro­pean gold and came from be­hind to take her team to the top of the 4x100m re­lay podium in Ber­lin, but it was Dina Asher-Smith’s 200m per­for­mance at the Olympic Sta­dium which stood out from her hat-trick of vic­to­ries.

The look of in­cred­u­lous de­light af­ter cross­ing the line and see­ing 21.89 on the clock, hav­ing hit the straight a me­tre and a half clear and dom­i­nat­ing a field which in­cluded dou­ble world cham­pion Dafne Schip­pers, will live long in the mem­ory.

Asher-Smith’s time took 0.18 off her own Bri­tish record and moved her into the Euro­pean all-time top 10.

“I was think­ing that out there I had a dou­ble world cham­pion in­side me (Schip­pers), so it was ‘main­tain your form, re­lax’ and all the other tips my coach gives me, but ul­ti­mately you’ve got to run like a bat out of hell,” she said. “Hon­estly, I had the fear of god in­side me.

“The race was over in a blur. I re­mem­ber cross­ing the line and it was like a mix­ture of hap­pi­ness and re­lief that I got it.

“10.8 and 21.8 is more than I could have asked for from this.”

Jakob’s stun­ning run – Au­gust 11

Asher-Smith was not the only ath­lete do­ing re­mark­able things on that fa­mous Ber­lin track, how­ever. 24 hours pre­vi­ously, the then 17-year-old Jakob Inge­brigt­sen had as­ton­ished the watch­ing world by be­com­ing the youngest ever se­nior male Euro­pean Cham­pion by win­ning the 1500m.

His sub­se­quent vic­tory in the 5000m left more than a few jaws on the floor.

In what was the first ma­jor

se­nior cham­pi­onships of his ca­reer, he looked in to­tal con­trol and a sub­tle gear change in the lat­ter stages sim­ply saw him glide away from the com­pe­ti­tion to clock 13:17.06, a Euro­pean un­der-20 record.

“This is huge!” said the man who also im­proved his own age group 1500m world record to 3:31.18 at the Di­a­mond League meet­ing in Monaco.

Du­plan­tis vaults into his­tory – Au­gust 12

Inge­brigt­sen had been the teenage sen­sa­tion on ev­ery­one’s lips but an­other as­ton­ish­ing night in Ber­lin saw an­other prodi­giously tal­ented teenager win a Euro­pean ti­tle.

The 18-year-old Swede Ar­mand Du­plan­tis lit­er­ally leapt his way into the spot­light.

The pole vaulter pro­duced a cham­pi­onship record height of 6.05m, which beat his per­sonal best and world un­der-20 record by 12 cen­time­tres, and sent him into wild cel­e­bra­tions.

When Du­plan­tis cleared 5.95m, over­haul­ing his pre­vi­ous best mark of 5.93m, at the first time of ask­ing it was clear that some­thing spe­cial was in the air.

He only needed one at­tempt to clear the mag­i­cal sixme­tre bar­rier – the pre­vi­ous cham­pi­onship record which had stood for 24 years – be­fore then go­ing five cen­time­tres higher. The his­tory-mak­ing vault was also a first-time clear­ance.

Muir bril­liant in Brus­sels – Au­gust 31

Laura Muir had world in­door medals and a re­sound­ing 1500m Euro­pean vic­tory to cel­e­brate in 2018, not to men­tion the com­ple­tion of her ve­teri­nary de­gree, but the big­gest win of her ca­reer to date came with a su­perb per­for­mance at the Di­a­mond League Fi­nal in Brus­sels.

On what was a sen­sa­tional night of ath­let­ics, she pro­duced her best per­for­mance of the sea­son to seal vic­tory over a top-class field in 3:58.49.

Muir eased by Si­fan Has­san to lead through the bell in 2:58. She was also ahead at 1200m in 3:13.23 – the third lap be­ing cov­ered in 66.72. Houli­han was now at the back of the lead­ing group and look­ing the fresh­est.

Muir picked the pace up along the back straight, with Has­san and Shelby Houli­han still in con­tact as they hit the last 200m. The Scot kicked hard on the bend and did enough to hold off her Amer­i­can and Dutch pur­suers. Her last 300m was 45.2 and her last lap 61 se­conds.

“Even my arms were full of lac­tic acid but I felt very good at the same time,” said Muir. “I have learnt with my mis­takes in po­si­tion­ing and did not want to go too fast in the first half.”

Kip­choge rules the world – Septem­ber 16

Eliud Kip­choge fo­cused much of his ef­forts last year on the

Break­ing2 ex­per­i­ment in which he came so close go­ing un­der the fa­bled two-hour bar­rier for the marathon.

When he re­turned to the roads in 2017, there was a win in Ber­lin that was fol­lowed up by an­other vic­tory – at this year’s Lon­don Marathon.

Nei­ther of those show­ings got within Den­nis Kimetto’s world record mark of 2:02:57 but, when Kip­choge re­turned to the Ger­man cap­i­tal three months ago, the marathon stars aligned.

That so-called im­pos­si­ble sub-two-hour dream be­came a lit­tle more be­liev­able when the 33-year-old Kenyan ripped the world record apart with a time of 2:01:39 on the same course where Kimetto clocked his mark.

Re­mark­ably, the 34-year-old Kenyan achieved it de­spite los­ing his pace­mak­ing help ear­lier than ex­pected. His fi­nal pacer, Josphat Boit, led Kip­choge through half­way in 61:06 be­fore drop­ping out at 25km.

“It was re­ally hard,” said Kip­choge, “but I was truly pre­pared to come to Ber­lin. I trust my prepa­ra­tion and I knew what hard work I did in Kenya and that’s what helped me in the last few kilo­me­tres.”

Mayer makes up for Euro woe – Septem­ber 16

Septem­ber 16 was a stand­out day for ath­let­ics in 2018. Just hours af­ter Eliud Kip­choge set his world marathon record, Kevin Mayer smashed the world de­cathlon mark in his home coun­try of France.

Com­pet­ing at the De­cas­tar meet­ing in the Bordeaux sub­urb of Ta­lence, the 26-year-old world cham­pion scored 9126 to im­prove Ash­ton Ea­ton’s world record of 9045, set by the Amer­i­can when win­ning the world ti­tle in Bei­jing in 2015.

Mayer’s per­for­mance came af­ter a dis­as­ter at the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships in Ber­lin in Au­gust. De­spite be­ing favourite to win gold, he failed to reg­is­ter a mark in the long jump – and pulled out to save his en­ergy for an­other de­cathlon.

That de­cathlon turned out to be a month later in Ta­lence and Mayer be­gan his two days with a 100m PB of 10.55 (0.3). He then long jumped 7.80m, threw the shot 16.00m and high jumped 2.05m be­fore clos­ing his first day with a 400m in 48.42.

The French­man be­gan day two by clock­ing 13.75 for 110m hur­dles (-1.1m) be­fore throw­ing the dis­cus 50.54m, go­ing clear in the pole vault with 5.45m and throw­ing a su­perb 71.90m in the javelin.

With just the 1500m to go, he only needed a sub-4:50 per­for­mance to break the mark but he clocked 4:36.11 to shat­ter Ea­ton’s record.

Mo lays down a marathon marker – Oc­to­ber 7

Mo Farah al­ways told us it would take time to tran­si­tion from the track to the marathon and that we needed to be pa­tient. Well beaten in his first two marathons in Lon­don, he fi­nally showed bril­liant abil­ity over 26.2 miles in Chicago.

This was third time lucky for the 35-year-old af­ter his 2:08:21 English record for eighth place in Lon­don in 2014 and 2:06:21 Bri­tish record for third in Lon­don in April this year.

In Chicago, Farah clocked a Euro­pean record of 2:05:11 to beat the 2:05:48 mark set by Son­dre Nord­stad Moen of Nor­way in Fukuoka in 2017.

Farah also be­came the first Bri­tish man to win in Chicago since Paul Evans 22 years ago.

Chris­tian Cole­man: world record run

Com­mon­wealth gold: Kata­rina John­sonThomp­son

Dina Asher-Smith: 200m joy in Ber­lin

An­drew Pozzi: home win

Ar­mand Du­plan­tis: world un­der-20 record

Jakob Inge­brigt­sen: dou­ble de­light

Laura Muir: Di­a­mondLeague vic­tory in Brus­sels Eliud Kip­choge: cre­ated his­tory in Ber­lin Kevin Mayer: bounced back

Mo Farah: maiden marathon suc­cess

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