Bol runs sizzling anchor to secure mixed 4x400m silver for the Netherlands in Oregon

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  • Bol runs sizzling anchor to secure mixed 4x400m silver for the Netherlands in Oregon

Femke Bol earned silver for the Netherlands in the first track final of the World Athletics Championships in Oregon as she powered past home runner Kennedy Simon in the last few metres of the mixed 4x400m relay. 

Earlier in the day Sweden’s Perseus Karlstrom had become the second European medallist on the opening day of competition as he won bronze in the 20km race walk to sit alongside the bronze he won in Doha three years ago. 

Had there been another 10 metres remaining, Bol might have earned gold such was her closing speed, but she could not quite catch the Dominican Republic’s anchor leg runner Fiordaliza Cofil as she brought her team home in 3:09.82, the second fastest time ever. 

Bol, a member of the quartet that missed an Olympic medal in this event by one place last summer, took the baton in a distant third but she ran a sizzling anchor to stop the clock at a national record of 3:09.90. Some 14 years her senior, home legend Allyson Felix, whose unparalleled career has included her seven Olympic and 13 world golds, secured a final bronze in what was her last race as Simon held on for third in 3:10.16.

World Athletics Championships Oregon22 - Day One

The Dutch line-up showed only one change from the Tokyo 2020 Games, with Tony van Diepen, last year’s European indoor silver medallist and a member of the men’s 4x400m team that won Olympic silver last summer, coming in as the second male runner on the third leg. 

Van Diepen took the baton from Lieke Klaver, who had put the Netherlands back into contention with an excellent 49.32 split - Klaver also ran 49.48 in the heat - after home runner Elija Godwin had opened a gap over Olympic finalist Liemarvin Bonevacia. 

Poland, the inaugural Olympic champions, this time had the same bittersweet experience as the Dutch last summer as they finished out of the medals fourth in 3:12.31. 

Karlstrom battles to bronze in the 20km race walk

Karlstrom, who will double up in the men’s 35km race walk later in the championships, looked as if he had dropped out of medal contention in a seesawing race where he had briefly taken the lead after 15km.

But having dropped from first to fourth, the Swede produced a surge in the final one-kilometre circuit on Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard to overtake Samuel Gathimba. 

The 34-year-old Kenyan had produced the race of his life but had no answer as the well-built Swede moved past him in a sweltering mid-afternoon temperature of 38C. 

World Athletics Championships Oregon22 - Day One

"I thought I would be out of contention around 14km, but I worked my way up. The Japanese guys and the Kenyan were so strong. I thought I would finish fourth, but then I saw a tiny weakness in the Kenyan. He lost one meter and that gave me enough energy to push and believe that I could take bronze.

"I didn't think I would have such a tough fight with the Kenyan guy. It was an amazing race so I am super happy," said Karlstrom. 

Further ahead, Japan’s Toshikazu Yamanishi, always in or at the lead throughout, retained his title in 1:19.07 from compatriot Koki Ikeda, who took silver to his bronze in Tokyo last summer and here clocked 1:19.14. 

A final lap of 3:41 meant Karlstrom finished in 1:19.18, seven seconds ahead of his Kenyan rival, to add a second European walking medal to the surprise silver medal won by Poland’s Katarzyna Zdzieblo in the women’s 20km race walk earlier in the day. 

Jacobs back on track with 10.04 opener

Italy’s Olympic 100m champion Marcell Jacobs, who has raced infrequently since winning the world indoor title in March due to a combination of a muscle injury and illness, equalled his season’s best of 10.04 in qualifying for tomorrow’s semifinals on a day when Fred Kerley laid down a big marker with 9.79, the fastest heat time ever. 

We will soon see if Jacobs, who outsmarted America’s world record holder Christian Coleman to win that world indoor gold over 60 metres in Belgrade, can do a similar job in Eugene, Oregon off a troubled build-up. 

World Athletics Championships Oregon22 - Day One

Coleman, the defending champion, was one of four US sprinters to progress along with Trayvon Bromell, who clocked 9.89, and Marvin Bracy, who ran 10.05. 

Great Britain’s reigning European champion Zharnel Hughes equalled his season’s best of 9.97 as seventh fastest qualifier in the heat won by Kerley. 

But there was calamity for his compatriot Holly Bradshaw, the Olympic pole vault bronze medallist, who withdrew from qualifying after injuring herself when her pole broke on her final warm-up attempt. 

Karlstrom’s Swedish compatriot Thomas Montler was the third best qualifier in the men’s long jump with 8.10m, one centimetre better than Swiss decathlete Simon Ehammer, who tops this year’s world lists with 8.45m. 

In the women’s 1500m heats, topped by Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay in 4:02.68, Poland’s Sofia Ennaoui was fifth fastest qualifier in 4:03.52, with Germany’s Katharina Trost sixth fastest in a personal best of 4:03.53. 

Nick Ponzio of Italy qualified fourth best in the men’s shot put with 21.35m on a day when home athlete Ryan Crouser, the double Olympic champion who set his world record of 23.37m at the same Hayward Field venue in last year’s Tokyo 2020 trials produced a towering and formidable effort of 22.28m.

Full results here.

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