Jehue Gordon makes golden run at IAAF World Championships

Jehue Gordon (right) crosses the finish line just ahead of Michael Tinsley (out of picture) and Emir Bekric (left).
Jehue Gordon (right) crosses the finish line just ahead of Michael Tinsley (out of picture) and Emir Bekric (left).

MOSCOW — Trinidad and Tobago’s Jehue Gordon won his country’s first medal at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Russia when he captured gold in the men’s 400 metres hurdles at the Luzhniki Stadium today.

Gordon ran a patient race over the first 200 metres before changing gears to prevail after a prolonged stretch duel with America’s Michael Tinsley, in a world leading time of 47.69 seconds. The American bagged silver in 47.70, a new personal best, while Serbia’s Emir Bekric copped bronze in 48.05, a new national record.

Gordon had a few distinguished hurdlers behind him, notably reigning Olympic champion and two-time world champion Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic (5th) and the USA’s double world champion Kerron Clement (8th).

Gordon’s performance can be viewed as delivering on the potential he displayed when finishing fourth at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, Germany, as a 17-year-old junior athlete. Ato Boldon, who won the 200 metres crown in 1997, was Trinidad’s last world gold medallist.

Meanwhile, world 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was the only Jamaican through to the women’s 200m final after a comfortable win in the semi-final at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics inside the Luzhniki Stadium.

Compatriot Anneisha McLaughlin pulled up 20m from the finish line in her semi-final, while Patricia Hall was eighth in a time of 23.26, leaving Fraser-Pryce to carry Jamaica’s hopes in the final, which runs off tomorrow at 11.15 a.m Barbados time.

Fraser-Pryce came off the curve in control of the race and then kept her form through to the finish, stopping the clock at 22.54 ahead of Mariya Ryemyen of Ukraine, 22.70, and Charonda Williams (USA), 22.80.

Jamaica’s 400 metre relay quartet is also through to the final of that event set for tomorrow at 11:50 (Barbados time).

Meanwhile, Kenya’s Ezekiel Kemboi cemented his status as history’s greatest steeplechaser today to wrap up the action on day six of the championships in perfect fashion.

The mohawked Kemboi has won medals at the worlds dating back to 2003 in Paris. The 31-year-old began his gold-medal streak in Berlin four years ago. He also has two Olympic gold medals, one in 2004 and another in London last year.

“I’m so happy for this medal today,” he said, insisting that it was anyone’s race. “These championships, it’s an open game. Everybody wants to win. I’m so happy to have won.”

Kemboi’s 8:06.01 time was roughly five seconds slower than the championships record he set in 2009, but it was fast enough to elude his teenage countryman, Conseslus Kipruto, an up-and-comer in Kenyan steeplechase. France’s Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad, the London silver medalist, prevented Kenya from the podium sweep with a bronze-medal time of 8:07.86.

In the women’s 400-meter hurdles, Zuzana Hejnova capped her best-ever season with gold in 52.83 seconds, the fastest this year and a massive 0.24 seconds off her previous personal best, which doubled as the Czech record. The silver went to Delilah Muhammad of the United States in 54.09, while her compatriot Lashinda Demus took the bronze half a second back.

Swedish runner Abeba Aregawi timed her final sprint perfectly to take gold in the women’s 1,500 meters. Aregawi, who switched allegiance from Ethiopia last year, won a comparatively slow final in 4 minutes 2.67 seconds, ahead of Jennifer Simpson of the United States (4:02.99) and Kenya’s Hellen Onsando Obiri (4:03.86).

In the field, Ukraine’s Bohdan Bondarenko won high jump gold, setting a championship record of 2.41 meters and narrowly failing to clear Javier Sotomayor’s world record of 2.45 by a centimeter. Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar, one of the London 2012 bronze medalists, managed 2.38 for silver. The 22-year-old beat Canada’s Derek Drouin, another third-placed jumper last year, into the bronze with the same result but fewer failures. That was a national record for Drouin.

Reigning Olympic champion Ivan Ukhov disappointed the home crowd after charging through the early heights but unexpectedly unable to overcome 2.38, though his last attempt was interrupted by a medal ceremony. His 2.35 was good for fourth.

The women’s triple jump didn’t deviate too far from the form book as London 2012 silver medallist Caterine Ibarguen won gold with a world-leading leap of 14.85 meters. <z11>The Colombian, also world silver medalist from Daegu two years ago, equalled the mark with her second attempt to go one better. <z11>That effort saw her displace surprise leader and two-time student games champion Ekaterina Koneva, who posted 14.81 the previous jump. Defending world champion and world No. 1 Olga Saladuha was unable to improve upon a round-two jump of 14.65 and had to settle for bronze.

The three silver medals and one bronze won by American athletes, pushed the U.S. medal total to 14 overall, including four gold medals. The Americans have won eight silvers. Kenya and Russia, both with three gold, three silver and two bronze, have the second most-medals with eight.

Tomorrow sees five medal sets on offer: The women’s hammer, the men’s long jump, the men’s shot put, the men’s 5,000 meters and the men’s 4 x 400 metros relay.

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