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Athletics

Doha world athletics championships: Five things we learned on Day 5

Flipping brilliant. Armand Duplantis (left) Armand Duplantis and Sam Kendricks (right) show off their gymnastic skills after the men's pole vault competition.
Flipping brilliant. Armand Duplantis (left) Armand Duplantis and Sam Kendricks (right) show off their gymnastic skills after the men's pole vault competition. AFP/Andrej Isakovic

There was an insight into some holiday plans as the United States annexed day five at the championships with a glut of golds.

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Celebration time Part I

What to do at the end of a long season of running and running and running? André De Grasse claimed the silver medal in the men’s 200 metres. It will go with his bronze from the 100 metres. He says he’s going to chill out with the family and maybe go to Disneyland. 

Celebration time Part II

Noah Lyles won the 200 metres in 19.83 seconds. He said it was a tough race because he wanted to run faster but his body was telling him it was not possible. Downtime? “Sleep, rest, buy some clothes. Drive my car. Get a haircut. Enjoy my life away from the track.”

Esprit de corps

Oh those crazy pole vaulters. It was a nailbiting climax to the men’s competition.  Defending champion Sam Kendricks, Armand Duplantis and Piotr Lisek duked it out as the bar was raised. At one moment Kendricks looked good for gold, then it was Duplantis, then suddenly Kendricks. In the end Kendricks prevailed. The troika sat on the mat smiling as they digested the ferocious competition. But then they suddenly stood up, paused and did a synchronized back flip. The crowd cheered the camaraderie and agility. “That was Piotr’s idea,” said Kendricks. “I think it’s the responsibility of the champion to build the fraternity and if I don’t make it into an environment I want to be part of, then we can’t expect great performances.”

Keep calm and win

The world championships have been going since 1983 and in that time there’s never been an American winner in the 800 metres. Statistics eh? Donovan Brazier changed that with a scintillating run. The 22-year-old clocked a championship record time of 1:42.34 seconds to claim gold. He told the review that he was aware of his status as favourite but he said he managed to keep calm – unlike two years ago in London when he was a hot tip but failed to reach the finals. “To get to the final this time and get gold means the world to me.”

Monopoly

The crowds might not have shown up but the United States team certainly has. Sam Kendricks, Noah Lyles and Donovan Brazier added three more golds to the pot to give the Americans seven of the 20 golds dished out so far. The Americans lead the medals table with 16 baubles. China are second with eight – including two golds.

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