World Indoors Day 1

As the final event of the evening was announced over the public address system and the men of the 60m world championship final settled into their blocks, an expectant hush fell over the crowd.

In lane 2 2003 100m world champion Kim Collins aimed to go one better than the Silver he claimed in 2003, the last time he ran indoors.

Next to him was Dwain Chambers, Britain’s most infamous and certainly most popular sports man of the moment hoping to let his running do the talking after so many vitriolic comments were directed his way in the build up to these championships, orchestrated by his own national body and the BBC.

One of those men to comment on Chambers was American Michael Rodgers experiencing his first major championship final in lane 5, after winning the US trials two weeks ago, the expectation of a nation was on his shoulders.

The last of the key players, Nigeria’s Olu Fasuba, took position in lane 6, the silver medallist from two years ago in Moscow and with the fastest time in the world this year of 6.51 already to his name, the slight favourite for the crown.

Only slight though, but slight is all it takes in an event where the difference between winning and losing is often thinner

A false start put the whole field on edge but as the gun sounded for a second time it was Collins who reacted the quickest, dragging Chambers out with him.

Fasuba also started well and maintained the challenge of the two competitors inside him by Michael Rodgers was left in the blocks by the world class field, a mistake which almost certainly cost him a medal.

At the halfway stage Chambers began to pull away from Collins as Fasuba began to open up the smallest of gaps between himself and the rest of the field.

That gap widened with ten metres to go as Collins fought back the ground he had lost to Chambers in the middle portion of the race.

Fasuba stopped the clock in 6.51 seconds to become the new world champion over 60m.

Chambers crossed the line just 3 hundredths behind holding Collins off by such a small margin that both would be rewarded with Silver medals.

Rodgers had to settle for fourth.
The women’s 60m was no less exciting with thrills and indeed spills along the way.

As she left the blocks, pre race favourite Ene Franca Idoko stumbled badly, effectively ruling her out of the race for the title.

Britain’s Jeanette Kwakye and Tahesia Harrigan of the British Virgin Islands looked to be locked in a private battle for the Gold as the two separated themselves from the crowd.

American Angela Williams though was in hot pursuit throughout and was slowly gaining the ground she had lost with a relatively poor start.

As Kwakye overcame Harrigan with just a few metres to go the Gold looked to be heading back to the UK but in the last few strides it was Williams who somehow found the gap required to win.

Williams finished in a world leading time of 7.06 with Kwakye and Harrigan both setting new national records with 7.08 and 7.09 respectively in 2nd and 3rd place.

The victory for Williams caps a remarkable reversal of fortunes for an athlete more used to being the bridesmaid than the bride.

The 2001 and 2004 editions of these championships both ended in a silver medal for Williams who has since undergone years of injury problems including fracturing her shin on two separate occasions.

Barring an absolute miracle or outrageous bad luck America was always likely to take Gold and Silver in the men’s shot putt.

The question was in what order with Christian Cantwell, the winner at the US trials having to play second fiddle to defending world champion Reese Hoffa in qualifying after Hoffa launched the shot 21.49m.

However in the final a different story was acted out.

Cantwell produced one of the most consistent series of all time to win with a spectacular distance of 21.77m to Hoffa’s 21.20m best effort.

Poland’s Tomasz Majewski claimed the bronze with a new national record of 20.93m.

The final set of medals awarded belonged to the women’s pentathlon which provided a much unexpected medal for Belgium.

Tia Hellebaut, a woman more renowned for her exploits in the high jump managed to hold off the vastly experienced UK athlete Kelly Sotherton in the 800m to win her first global title by a mere 15 points, or 2 tenths over the 800m.

And she did it the hard way, falling desperately over the line after Sotherton had set a new personal best over the distance of 2:09.95.

Her tally of 4867 points is a world leading mark and her 1.99m high jump was the highest ever achieved in women’s multi-events.

Sotherton was left to rue what might have been after setting the fastest 60 hurdles time (8.25) but then only managing to clear 1.81m in the high jump and 6.45m in the long jump culminating in a score of 4852.

Anna Bogdanova claimed the bronze with a tally of 4753.

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