MOSCOW - Team USA’s 400m hurdles crew came through in intense competition, winning a combined three medals in the women’s and men’s races, while Jenny Simpson nearly pulled off a wire-to-wire win as she got silver in the women’s 1,500m at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships Thursday night at Luzhniki Olympic Stadium.
With three silvers and one bronze medal on the night, Team USA now has 14 medals (4 gold, 8 silver, 2 bronze) to top the medal charts, and continues to lead the point standings by 64 over Russia, 163-99.
Americans take half of 400m hurdles medals
The women’s 400m hurdlers kicked off the medal haul, claiming silver and bronze. Olympic silver medalist and defending world champion Lashinda Demus (Los Angeles, Calif.) got out strong, leading the first 250 meters. Demus stretched for the tenth hurdle, but Czech’s Zuzana Hejnova took the lead coming into the home stretch making her move and extending the gap to win in a world-leading time of 52.83. Demus' training partner Dalilah Muhammad (Bayside, N.Y.) passed her just before the line to take the silver in 54.09, with Demus claiming bronze finishing in 54.27. It was an impressive finish for the youthful Muhammad and the still-recovering-from-injury Demus.
Olympic silver medalist Michael Tinsley was next on the track for the men’s 400m hurdles, where he battled Trinidad and Tobago’s Jehue Gordon, the 2010 World Junior champion. Tinsley (Round Rock, Texas) blasted from the blocks in lane 3 and was well in the lead over the first three hurdles. Gordon came back on him around the curve, and a battle was on in the homestretch. Gordon took the early advantage, but Tinsley seemed to inch ahead of Gordon with one stride left. That final stride made all the difference; however, and Gordon took the win as both men dove through the line, with Gordon clocking a world-leading 47.69 to Tinsley’s personal-best 47.70. Emir Bekric of Serbia was third in a national record 48.05; American Kerron Clement (Gainesville, Fla.) was eighth in 49.08.
Simpson runs strong
The women’s 1,500m was held at the start for more than 10 minutes while the men’s high jump competition concluded. After the gun finally sounded, Simpson (Boulder, Colo.) bolted to the lead, with 17-year-old Mary Cain (Bronxville, N.Y.) on her shoulder and then tucking in behind. Simpson led through 400m in 1:05.73, followed by Hellen Obiri of Kenya. Simpson continued to lead as Cain moved to midpack. Simpson continued towing the field through 800m in 2:13.92, this time with Abeba Aregawi of Sweden on her shoulder. Cain came through in 12th.
At the bell, it was Simpson in 3:03.78, with 1200m passed in 3:18.91. Aregawi took the lead at 1200m but Simpson fought back, along with Obiri. In the homestretch, Simpson came back on Aregawi, but the Swede held on to win in 4:02.67 to Simpson’s 4:02.99. Obiri came third in 4:03.86, with Cain 10th in 4:07.19.
Olympic silver medalist Erik Kynard (Toledo, Ohio) easily managed 2.20m/7-2.5 on his first attempt and was clear until 2.32m/7-7.25, where he needed two tries. Kynard went out at 2.35m/7-8.5 to finish out of the medals in fifth place in the greatest men’s high jump competition in world championships history. Bohdan Bondarenko of Ukraine won out in a duel with Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar, clearing a championships record 2.41m/7-10.75 to Barshim’s 2.38m/7-9.75. Derek Drouin of Canada was third with a national record 2.38.
American record holder Evan Jager (Portland, Ore.) ran with the lead pack throughout the men’s 3,000m steeplechase final, and went through the bell lap with a pack of five. He surged to challenge the top three down the backstretch and over the final water jump but couldn’t keep up with the Kenyan leaders over the final 100 and just missed out on fourth place at 8:08.67. His time is the third fastest ever by an American and the fastest at a world championships.
Moving to finals
The U.S. men ran to a world-leading time of 2:59.85 in the first round of the 4x400 relay.
James Harris (Lanett, Ala.) got Team USA off to an early lead and got the baton to David Verburg (Lynchburg, Va.) in the first position. Verburg held the lead until the final straight when Jarrin Solomon of Trinidad and Tobago pulled along side. Josh Mance (Los Angeles, Calif) bolted out of the exchange zone to gap the Trinidadians, but they once again pulled alongside Team USA on the homestretch. 19-year-old Arman Hall (Pembrook Pines, Fla.) ran one stride ahead of Deon Lendore of Trinidad through 300 meters, but coming down the homestretch, Hall opened a small lead to take the win, with Trinidad more than half a second behind in 3:00.48.
Three-time world champion and reigning Olympic champion Allyson Felix (Los Angeles, Calif.) ran an impressive 22.30 to win semifinal two, the fastest of all three sections. She will be joined in the final by Jeneba Tarmoh (San Jose, Calif.) who ran a season-best 22.70 from lane eight to take third in the first semifinal, and last year’s Diamond League champion Charonda Williams (Richmond, Calif.) who took third in the third semifinal at 22.80. Kimberlyn Duncan (Baton Rouge, La.) closed hard to place third in semifinal two at 22.91, but did not advance to the final
The World Championships boast nearly 50 hours of television coverage in the U.S. with broadcasts airing during all nine days of competition. View the complete broadcast schedule here.
For more information on Team USA at the IAAF World Championships, visit www.USATF.org. Live results and startlists are available at www.IAAF.org.
Dalilah Muhammad, women’s 400m hurdle final
"I'm just really excited about it. I don't think people really expected me to get on the podium, so to get silver, that is something. You know I tried to get out good and hard, but not go out too fast and die at the end. I was really able to run my own race being in lane six, I didn't really have anyone in front of me to push me along. My mom came out to support me, so I'll probably just be celebrating with her tonight."
Lashinda Demus, women’s 400m hurdle final
"It is a blessing. I'm happy for [Dalilah Muhammad] since it is her first championships. Coming from a long year of injuries, and you name it for me, this is literally a good thing for me. I'm happy that I made it this far. I had a couple of tears behind my knee, I strained my hamstring this year, so I've been battling some wars coming back, but I have the heart of a champion, and this is what I do. I know how to pull it through when the time is right."
Michael Tinsley, men’s 400m hurdle final
“At hurdle 10 I just came off and I went to pump, and I thought I may have gotten him. I knew it was close, but I just leaned as hard as I could. It was a great race, I had a personal best tonight. I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to win; I really wanted the gold, but I thank God I was able to come out and compete to my best.”
Kerron Clement, men’s 400m hurdle final
"First I want to say thank God for me being healthy and finishing the race. Of course it wasn't the race I wanted. I'll just continue to work hard and be positive."
Jenny Simpson, women’s 1500m final
"I think the last 200 I was almost unconscious. I just kept telling myself, just run as hard as you can. The whole race I don't think I ever intended to lead as much as I did, but I definitely wanted to be in control, and as soon as I ended up in the lead I told myself, my mantra the whole way was, 'be hard to beat, be hard to beat, you be the one that everyone has to beat the last 200m.' When (Abeba) Aregawi (SWE) moved past me, I thought, ’this is perfect, I have someone to hunt,’ and that is when I am at my best. I just really tried to forget about the time, running on the rail and all that, just get up on her shoulder and remind her that you are going to fight and she is going to have to run hard. I don’t know exactly where the separation happened, but the whole time I was just trying to stay as close as I could.”
Mary Cain, women’s 1500m final
"Oh geez, I'm not even sad. I'm just angry, and I think that is a good thing. I think this is all a learning experience, this whole meet. I know I have to put things in perspective, and when I was in the line I was like, 'so many kids my age would die to do this.' But I'm a tough person, I expect a lot for myself, and I think later tonight I'll refocus.
“I don't know what happened, I really don't. I was in there, and I was running to win. That's crazy, I know. I think a lot of people didn't even think I'd get out of heats, kind of let alone myself. Then in the semis they were like, 'Did you see her race?' and they were like, 'no way'. I think a lot of people would have been like ‘hell, I'm cruising it in, I'm just going to be smiling, waving that last lap,’ but I knew I still could run faster and I just kicked it in.
“I think later tonight I'm going to be really, really angry in a good way, and I think I'm going to be really motivated. I think you guys are probably a little scared, normally you see me like, 'oh ducks, puddles' but I'm going to go home and I'm going to get into this. I think this is going to motivate me so much for next year. Next year there are no Worlds, it's just me and learning how to race."
Erik Kynard, mens' high jump final
"It was an up and down night. I had a hard time figuring it out tonight. The track is fast, I kept being a little close. I think I was just all jumped out. I'm a little exhausted, but it's alright. But it's okay, it happens. These guys are great, (Derek) Drouin (CAN) broke the national record. Even if I made 35, it took 38 to medal. It has been the greatest high jump year period in track and field history. So I'll just get ready for next year."
Evan Jager, men’s 3,000m steeplechase final
"I almost had Koech right at the end, but he held me off, and the other three guys were to far ahead of me to worry about passing in the end. I'm disappointed, but I'm also just a little bit happy improving upon last year. That was the ultimate goal, just to improve on 6th place, and I did that, I was fifth, and I was only two seconds off the winner this time as opposed to five last year and completely getting by doors blown off in the last 400. I'm definitely happy with how far I've come, and I'm excited for the future. But I really wanted a medal, I wanted it real bad."
James Harris, Men’s 4x400 relay qualification (lead off)
“It felt really good. I hadn't raced on a while and I felt like I had to leave it all out there. I looked up and the clock said 44.8 for my split and it felt good when I gave the stick to David. I wasn't afraid at all, I knew these guys were going to hold it down regardless. It felt really good. I'm looking forward to the finals tomorrow.”
David Verburg, Men’s 4x400 relay qualification (second leg)
“My goal was just to get out and make the cut in. I wanted to get my teammates in a good position. James had a good lead off so I knew that we had two world class sprinters following up. So my my goal was to get the stick around, stay healthy and hopefully split a fast time.
Josh Mance, Men’s 4x400 relay qualification (third leg)
“It was good. I knew the guy was going to come. I just wanted to run a smooth race. I came home and got on it. I got the stick to Arman first, that was the goal so I'm happy with today's work.”
Arman Hall, Men’s 4x400 relay qualification (anchor leg)
“It was fun. I felt like I kind of messed on the second round and I didn’t make it to the finals. I knew in the relay that I had to leave it all out there. I feel like I redeemed myself, I just have to do the same thing in the final. They gave me the baton in a great position. They gave me a lead and a great position. I have to stay calm, stay within myself and be confident in my ability to run away with it.”
Allyson Felix, women’s 200m semifinal
“It felt good. It felt comfortable. I just wanted to come in and get a good lane for the final.”
Jeneba Tarmoh, women’s 200m semifinal
“It was an okay race, I ran my season’s best. I ran exactly like my coach told me to do, to run a very aggressive turn, pumped my arms coming off. That’s exactly what I did. I’m not exactly pleased with my time, but there will be other days.”
Charonda Williams, women’s 200m semifinal
“I had a technical, strategic error in my race. Moving forward I know what I need to do. I need to get my hips up in the last 10 meters of my race. I dropped my hips and my forearms just lost. I’m thankful and I made it to the finals. That’s what I’d planned to do.”
Kimberlyn Duncan, women’s 200m semifinal
“It didn’t go as well as I wanted it to, especially on the time. We’ll just see what happens. Hopefully, I’ll make it.”