An unlikely triumph in the men’s javelin, yet another steeplechase gold and two positive drug tests – it was an eventful night for Kenya at the world athletics championships.
Julius Yego and Ihab Abdelrahman El Sayed formed an unlikely one-two for Kenya in the javelin and Egypt at the world titles.
Yego claimed gold with a massive effort of 92.72m – the third-biggest throw ever and the longest since Czech legend Jan Zelezny threw 92.80m back in 2001.
El Sayed was second with 88.99m, making it a first-ever medal for Egypt at the world titles.
Finland’s Tero Pitkamaki took the bronze with 87.64m, while defending champion Vitezslav Vesely from the Czech Republic could do no better than eighth.
The steeplechase is a much more predictable source of track and field medals for the east African powerhouse and Hyvin Jepkemoi delivered again in the women’s event at the Bird’s Nest.
It was a close-run thing, with the fast-finishing Jepkemoi finishing only 0.13 ahead of Habiba Ghribi from Tunisia.
But Kenyan teammates Joyce Zakary and Koki Manunga failed pre-competition drug tests and were provisionally suspended.
Track and field’s world governing body said the pair had been tested at the athletes’ hotel before their competition started as part of “targeted tests”.
Zakary bettered the 400m national record with 50.71 in Monday’s’s heats.
Manunga flopped in the opening round of the women’s’s 400m hurdles.
“Athletics Kenya has already met with the IAAF and the athletes involved, and has begun investigating the situation which led to these results and appropriate follow-up action will be taken in Kenya,” track and field’s governing body in the east African running powerhouse added in a statement.”
Yego said the positive tests were a shame for Kenyan athletics.
“In sport you win clean so it’s a shame for them. I can’t make any more comment on that,” he said.
South African Wayde van Niekerk announced himself as the next big thing in 400m running with a commanding victory in 43.48 seconds – making him the fastest non-American athlete ever over the distance.
Left in his wake was 2009 world champ LaShawn Merritt from the US – whose silver medal time of 43.65 was a PB – and Grenada’s reigning Olympic champion Kirani James.
The other gold medals decided on Wednesday went to Cuba’s Yarisley Silva in the women’s pole vault and Zuzana Hejnova from the Czech Republic in the women’s 400m hurdles.
Jamaican sprint king Usain Bolt and American rival Justin Gatlin set up another showdown in Thursday’s 200m final by winning their semis.
Gatlin – who has served two doping bans – clocked the fastest semi-final time of 19.87.
Bolt – who stormed over the top of Gatlin in the 100m final earlier in the championships – clocked 19.95 despite slowing down well before the finish line.