WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP RECAP
By ELLIOTT DENMAN
DOHA, QATAR - On further review, there will be no further review.
All returns are now officially in. The 17th World Championships of Track and Field have officially been put in the books.
Forty-nine events were staged, 24 for men, 24 for women, one for both - the brand new mixed 4x400 relay (with two male and two female teammates.)
And the unanimous winner of the "greatest event they did here," award - as I am formally confirming herewith - was the Saturday night men's shot put.
Details forthcoming shortly. Please read on.
Forty-three Worlds events were staged at the elegant Khalifa International Stadium, which thanks to its innovative/ingenious installation of cool-air blowers all over the place, was not
hugely hot throughout as the rest of Doha surely was, but was downright cool at times. Stadium-goers, once they understood what they were getting into, started donning second layers of clothing to beat off the chill.
Six other events were relegated to the Corniche park area of town, and they weren't air-cooled at all.
Five of them turned into visits to the sauna as their participants fought through the steam best they could, knowing fully that winning times in these events had no way of avoiding relegation to the "slowest ever" list in World Championships history.
Only the men's marathon, which started a few ticks before midnight of the final Saturday, and finished in the wee-small hours of Sunday. somehow avoided the worst of the Persian Gulf area temps. Somehow, these guys ran brilliant races in pretty brilliant times.
Two-time Boston and 2018 New York City Marathon champion Lelisa Desisa won it all for Ethiopia in the pretty-darn good time of 2:10:40. Even the 55th and final finisher, Nicholas Cuesta of Uruguay, ran a pretty decent one, too, 2:40:05.
But the five other events, women's marathon, and the double pairings of men's and women's 20 and 50-kilometer racewalks, were brutal exercises in survival technique. Amazingly, no one in them suffered major damage.
And now we take you back to Khalifa International Stadium, 20:05 p.m. Saturday.
Twelve burly gentlemen approached the ring to have it out, three Americans, two New Zealanders, and the lone muscular delegates of Brazil, Poland, Nigeria, Canada, Czech Republic, Croatia and Serbia.
The Serbian, Armin Sinancevic, was sent out after three fouled efforts. Croatia's (and U. of Virginia's) Filip Mihaljevic, Czech Republic's Tomas Stanek and Canada's (and DePaul U.'s) Tim Nenow fell short with their first three tosses, too. Goodbye. guys.
And now the highest-stakes battle was really on.
Team NZ's Tom Walsh had fired the first salvo, a 22.90 in the opening round, fourth best all-time.
As Nigeria's Chukwuebka "just call me Chuck' Enekwechi (of Francis Lewis HS, Queens, NYC, and Purdue University), NZ's Jacko Gill (making a remarkable comeback after cardiac difficulties), Poland's Konrad Bukowiecki and USA's Dorrell Hill (of Penn State U.) were coming up a bit shy, as well, the battle of the Big Berthas was fully on.
Brazil's Darian Romani heaved one 22.53 in round two to put him squarely in the podium mix.
All USA'S Joe Kovac (another Penn Stater) could do now was get off the longest throw of an already distinguished career that included the 2015 Worlds title and the 2016 Olympic silver medal. It plunked into the soft Khalifa turf at 22.91, putting him in gold medal position with the equal third best on the all-tiime list.
But gutsy USA's (and U. of Texas's) Ryan Crouser, the reigning Olympic champion, wasn't out of this thing yet, either.
Poised and ready, he let if fly.
And it landed 22.90 away, a single silly centimeter behind Kovacs and equal to Walsh's big first-rounder, but good enough for the silver because his second-best of 22.71 topped Walsh's next best of 22.56.
The place - as the IAAF itself accurately put it - 'exploded into life' with all these back-forth-back dramatics.
It was one ''wow' after another, and another.
All three medalists now rank in their sport's all-time top seven, and continue to have their eyes on the 29-year-old world record of 23.12 set by USA's/ West Virginia's/ Texas A&M's Randy Barnes, before they were born. Of course, Barnes was later tossed from the sport on drug charges and the 23.12 remains questionable to some purists.
"I am proud that I was able to stay in my own head and not watch Ryan and Tom throw so far,' said Kovacs.
'i'm honored just to be part of it,' said Crouser.
And I was honored to be sitting in Row 21 of the Media Tribune on this special night to see it all go down.
So to repeat - put it in the books as the Moment of All Moments at the 17th Worlds. And sure to be long remembered.
Leave a Reply.