AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Kenya continues to lead the medal standings with gold medals added from the men’s javelin and women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase.

By Chris Chavez
August 26, 2015

Wayde Van Niekerk (South Africa), LaShawn Merritt (United States) and Kirani James (Granada) were the first three men across the finish line and the first three men ever to run under 44 seconds in the same 400-meter race. Van Niekerk finished in 43.48, just .17 ahead of Merritt, as James clocked 43.78.

The men’s 400-meter final at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing featured five of the 13 fastest runners at that distance.

“That was the fastest 400-meter group I’ve been in since I’ve been a pro,” Merritt told NBC Sports after running a 43.65 personal best for silver.

Merritt won his fifth 400-meter medal at the world championships, which puts him one ahead of Michael Johnson. Johnson’s medals were all gold. Merritt now owns 10 world championship medals. His latest medal was won at the same site at which he won Olympic gold at 400-meters in 2008.

Van Niekerk was taken off the track on a stretcher after posting the sixth-fastest time in history and winning the first world championship medal for South Africa at the distance. He ran the fastest time ever by a non-American. While Van Niekerk is not entered in the 200 meters in Beijing, he holds a personal best in the event of 19.94, which suggests he could attempt a Michael Johnson-like double at next summer’s Olympics.

Watch the three men run under 44 seconds below:

[youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29q5OEME-44]

Men’s javelin final: Julius Yego missed medaling at the 2013 world championships by .83 meters, but the Kenyan made up for it in Beijing as his winning throw of 92.72 meters is the longest in the world since 2001. 

In 2013, Yego was the first Kenyan finalist in the event and he now has the eighth-longest throw in history to his name. Only world record holder Jan Zelezný of the Czech Republic (six times, with a best of 98.48) and Aki Parviainen of Finland (93.09) have thrown farther.

The last 10 world championship gold medals have been won by seven different countries. 

Ihab Abelrahman El Sayed of Egypt took silver with a throw of 88.99. Finland’s Tero Kristian Pitkämäki, who took silver in 2013, rounded out the podium with his 87.64-meter throw. 

Women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase final: With 800-meters remaining in the race, American Emma Coburn did not want to suffer the fate of compatriot Evan Jager, who in the men’s steeple, left the race to a kick and was swallowed by Kenyans with less than 400 meters remaining. Coburn’s effort resulted in a fifth-place finish, tying the American best at a world championship, as Hyvin Jepkemoi of Kenya added a sixth gold medal to the country’s tally in 2015 with her 9:19.11 performance.

The medals were decided in the final 100 meters as Habiba Ghribi, who has the fastest time of the year, finished second in 9:19.24. Gesa Krause of Germany ran a personal best of 9:19.25 for bronze. 

Americans Stephanie Garcia (9:31.06) and Colleen Quigley (9:34.29) finished ninth and 12th in their first world championships. 

Women’s 400-meter hurdles final:  Zuzana Hejnova of the Czech Republic defended her world championship title in 53.50 with two Americans following her across the line. 

NCAA and world junior champion Shamier Little, 20, took silver in 53.94. Little has the fastest time of the year with her 53.74 from the NCAA championships and was the slowest qualifier into the final. Cassandra Tate finished in 54.02 for bronze. 

Women’s Pole Vault final: Yarisley Silva of Cuba took gold with a clearance of 4.90 meters. Fabiana Murer of Brazil took silver with a vault of 4.85 and will surely look to to improve upon her new silver medal next year at the Olympics in front of a home crowd. 

Nikoléta Kyriakopoulou of Greece finished third with a 4.80.

Men’s 200-meter semi-final: Usain Bolt cruised to a 19.95 win in his semi-final, securing the chance to defend his world championship crown on Thursday. The Jamaican superstar’s time was the fastest he has run in a semifinal at the Olympics or world championships.

“I’m a better 200-meter runner,” Bolt said. “I’m going to show it. That’s the plan.”

[youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFgBexGiFLg​]

Already a silver medalist in the 100 meters, Justin Gatlin continued his road to redemption and will take on Bolt in the final. He clocked a 19.87 in the second section after being challenged by Alonso Edward, who ran 20.20 for second place.

Olympic bronze medalist Warren Weir of Jamaica failed to qualify for the final with a seventh-place finish in 20.43.

Sixteen-year-old Sani Brown of Japan did not advance to the final after running 20.47.

The men’s 200-meter final is scheduled for Thursday at 8:55 a.m. ET. 

Men’s 110-meter heats: Defending champion David Oliver of the United States appeared in great form as he posted the fastest time of the day with his 13.15. 

Olympic champion and world record holder Aries Merritt ran 13.25 to win his section. Merritt looks to win his first global championship since taking gold at the 2012 Olympics. Whatever the outcome, Merritt faces an even greater challenge come Sept. 1, when he is scheduled to undergo a kidney transplant. 

The second section of the men’s race, won by France’s Pascal Martinot-Lagarde in 13.35, saw a false start by two men. American Ronnie Ash was disqualified and took a few moments to remove himself from the track as he paced in his lane to protest the decision by the officials.  

Men’s 5,000-meter heats: American Ben True kicked in the final 100 meters to secure an auto qualifier for the next round as he finished second in the first heat with a 13:45 performance behind Ethiopian Hagos Gebriwhet. If the final is a tactical and slow-paced race, True believes he can medal for the U.S. 

Ryan Hill (13:19.67) and Galen Rupp (13:20.78) advanced on time qualifiers out of the second section. The fastest time of the day was recorded by Yomif Kejelcha of Ethiopia, who held off charging Olympic champion Mo Farah after a near fall with 100 meters remaining. 

Men’s triple jump semi-final: Olympic champion Christian Taylor and Pedro Pablo Pichardo of Cuba, the only two men to jump beyond 18 meters in 2015, will face off in the final after recording the top two jumps of the heat. Olympic silver medalist Will Claye and NCAA Champion Marquis Dendy failed to qualify for the final. 

Women’s 800-meter semi-final: Seven women ran under two minutes for the two-lap distance as the fastest time of the day was posted by Marina Arzamasova of Belarus in 1:58.69. 

The 2009 world champion and 2013 silver medalist, Caster Semenya, who was the subject of controversial gender testing, ran her fastest time since Sept. 2013 with her 1:59.59. Afterwards, she told Eurosport that she was not in the best shape and that this would be a very challenging year for her.

Brenda Martinez, the 2013 world championship bronze medalist, and Molly Beckwith Ludlow will represent the United States in the semifinal. 

Doping: The IAAF announced that Kenyan athletes Joyce Zachary and Koki Manuga have provisionally been suspended for doping after positive tests. Zachary set a national 400-meter record in the heats before not turning up for the semi-final. 

Medal Table: Kenya leads the medals through the first five days of competition with six golds and 11 medals total. The United States has nine medals and just one gold—from Joe Kovacs’ shot put victory.

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