No substitute for experience as Olympic champions earn world gold

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Experience prevailed on day four of the World Championships with Kenyan runner Faith Kipyegon and Venezuelan triple jumper Yulimar Rojas among the Olympic champions standing on top of the podium in Eugene, Oregon on Tuesday.

Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali backed up his Tokyo 3 000 metres steeplechase win by ending Kenya’s dominance at the worlds, while Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim had high jump gold all to himself this time.

Kipyegon, winner of the last two Olympic 1 500m titles, finished with a remarkable time of three minutes, 52.96 seconds to regain her world crown.

Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay took silver while Laura Muir, runner-up at the Tokyo Olympics, won bronze to collect Britain’s first medal of the championship. “I have to say I am thankful for my second gold medal,” said Kipyegon, who won the 2017 title and picked up silver in 2019, a year after having a baby.

Rojas dominated the triple jump from start to finish and cruised to gold after jumping 15.47m to claim her third straight world title.

Jamaican Shanieka Ricketts collected her second consecutive world silver while American Tori Franklin delighted the home crowd by clinching bronze. In the steeplechase, El Bakkali produced a tactical masterclass to win his first world title and keep a Kenyan off the top spot for the first time since 2005.

Lamecha Girma of Ethiopia, silver medallist in Tokyo, finished runner-up while 2019 world champion Conseslus Kipruto of Kenya won bronze. Qatar’s Barshim, who famously shared Olympic gold with Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi last year, won an unprecedented third straight world high jump title after clearing a world-leading 2.37m with ease.

World indoor champion Woo Sang-hyeok of South Korea took silver and Ukraine’s Andriy Protsenko collected bronze. Double Olympic champion Nafissatou Thiam of Belgium pulled out a last-gasp victory over Dutch rival Anouk Vetter to reclaim her world heptathlon title. Vetter, who finished behind Thiam in Tokyo, had to settle for silver again while American Anna Hall won bronze.

In the morning session, Gotytom Gebreslase won the women’s marathon in a world championship-record time of two hours, 18.11 minutes and claim a second marathon title for Ethiopia in Eugene after Tamirat Tola triumphed in the men’s event on Sunday.

“Tola’s win yesterday motivated me a lot today,” said Gebreslase, who finished ahead of Kenya’s Judith Korir while Lonah Salpeter of Israel secured bronze.

Three Japanese athletes and one coach tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, taking the total number of cases in the delegation up to 15.

Organisers have made it mandatory for all workforce, technical and medical officials and media to wear masks in indoor spaces as a cautionary measure.