China cements itself as a true marathoning powerhouse and Bekele picks up the coveted 5000m/10,000m double.
The final day in Berlin featured eight electric finals. The first event of the day was the women’s marathon, where China proved dominant on the streets of Berlin.
With the announcement that many of the major contenders would be unable to toe the line, it looked like it could be a day for American Kara Goucher to take home her first major international title. Unfortunately for Goucher she found herself unable to hold down fluids and faded in the later stages of the race. Three Chinese athletes stayed in the hunt throughout the race, allowing them to use team tactics to their advantage. Over the final 10k it would become a race between four women, China’s Xue Bai and Chunxiu Zhou, Japan’s Yoshimi Ozaki and Ethiopia’s Aselefech Mergia.
Bai was able to pull away from the trio over the final few miles to claim her first international championship with a time of 2:25:15. Ozaki was able to hold off Mergia for the silver medal, 2:25:25 to 2:25:32. Zhou would be the odd woman out, finishing an agonizing seven seconds out of the medals, with a finishing time of 2:25:39. Goucher faded over the final 10k to finish in tenth place with a time of 2:27:48. Just five seconds back was American teammate Desiree Davila, the Brooks/Hanson’s Distance Project athlete ran a fantastic race, setting a three-minute PR with a time of 2:27:53, good for eleventh overall. Other American finishers included Tera Moody (2:36:39, 28th), Paige Higgins (2:37:11, 30th) and Zoila Gomez (2:42:49, 51st). China won the women’s team championship and the American women placed a very respectable fifth, ahead of distance powerhouse Kenya in sixth.
The final of the men’s 5000m proved yet another affirmation of how great Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele truly is. Bekele finished with a blistering 2:25 final kilometer, clocking a 13:17.09 in claiming his second title of the championships. Bekele was not without contenders throughout the race, as American Bernard Lagat and Qatari James Kwalia C’Kurui took him all the way to the line. Lagat couldn’t come up with the answer for Bekele’s kick, and forced to take the silver medal, his second medal of the championships, in 13:17.33. C’Kurui held on for bronze, the first medal of his career, in 13:17.78.
In the women’s 1500m, it looked as though we would have a new world champion in Natalia Rodriquez of Spain. However, due to the fact that she tripped up Ethiopian Gelete Burka Rodriguez’s amazing sprint finish would mean nothing, as she would be disqualified. The Spainiard had moved past defending world champion Maryam Jamal of Bahrain in the final stretch, but due to the disqualification Jamal’s 4:03.74 would be good enough for her second gold medal. Two surprise women from English speaking nations would fill out the podium. Lisa Dobriskey of Great Britain claimed the silver medal in 4:03.75 and American champion Shannon Rowbury found herself with a bronze medal in 4:04.18. Ethiopian Gelete Burka was leading the entire race before the misshap with Rodriguez, after the fall she was relegated to last place with only questions remaining over whether she could have held on for the win.
The final of the men’s 800m was also a very aggressively run race, with plenty of bumping, although no falls or disqualifications. American Nick Symmonds look in great position the entire race, but so did most of the field as they passed through the first 400m in a pedestrian 53.44. In the end it would be a wire-to-wire win for South African Mbulaeni Mulaudzi in 1:45.29, securing the 800m sweep for the nation. Coming up with a late charge was defending champion Alfred Yego of Kenya, nabbing the silver medal in 1:45.35. Men’s 1500m champion Yusaf Kamel of Bahrain was out-leaned by Yego and relegated to the bronze, clocking the same time of 1:45.35. American Nick Symmonds would finish in sixth with a time of 1:45.71, his best finish at the international level.
American success was not lost on the day, as the men’s and women’s 4X400m teams retained their world championship form. In the men’s race it was a stellar second leg from Jeremy Wariner that put the Americans in to a substantial lead over their nearest rivals. The American team clocked an impressive 2:57.86 in their victory. On the women’s side it was a similar second leg by Allyson Felix that set the American women apart from the field. Sanya Richard’s needed to simply relish the victory as she finished over 3.50 seconds ahead of Jamaica to take the gold.
The field event finals for the women’s long jump and men’s javelin concluded competition off the track. American Brittney Reese set a world leading mark of 7.10 to take the win in the women’s long jump, joining American Dwight Phillips for the long jump sweep. In the men’s javelin throw it was Norwegian Adreas Thorkildsen that took home the gold in a season’s best 89.59, almost three full meters ahead of the pack.