Nobody beats Pawel Fajdek in the hammer at the World Athletics Championships.
The Pole has suffered two shock exits in qualifying at the Olympic Games and has been beaten on two occasions at the European Athletics Championships but the World Athletics Championships remains his domain.
Fajdek won his fifth successive gold medal on the second morning session in Oregon on Saturday (16) with a world leading mark of 81.98m to lead a Polish one-two ahead of reigning Olympic and European champion Wojciech Nowicki.
In a near repeat of the Olympic final last year, Norway’s Eivind Henriksen launched the hammer out to 80.87m in the second round but the silver medallist from Tokyo was displaced at the start of the third round by Nowicki who eclipsed the 81 metre-line with 81.03m.
At this point, Fajdek was in bronze medal position after starting his competition with improving back-to-back throws of 74.71m and 80.58m but the bespectacled Pole roared his third attempt to a world leading distance of 81.98m.
And that third round throw would clinch his fifth successive title in the event, his remarkable run of success dating all the way back to the 2013 World Athletics Championships in Moscow.
Fajdek emulates German discus thrower Lars Riedel who won five successive world titles between 1991 and 1999 and if the Pole retains his gold medal in Budapest next summer, he will match Sergey Bubka’s record of six gold medals in the pole vault from 1983 to 1997. "I want more. My goal is seven titles. I want to be the first and no one has ever done that," said Fajdek.
The medal position remained unchanged in the second half of the final with Nowicki and Henriksen taking silver and bronze respectively.
In a high class final, the top five throwers all broke the 80 metre-barrier. France’s Quentin Bigot was fourth with 80.24m and Hungary’s Bence Halasz broke this barrier for the first time in his career with 80.15m.
Hassan narrowly misses out on the medals in the 10,000m
Sifan Hassan put up a staunch defence of her world title in the 10,000m but the Dutchwoman came up tantalisingly short in the last lap melee for the medals.
In her first significant race of the season, Hassan ran almost inconspicuously in the pack on the rail for the first 24 laps and the reigning champion was still in contention as the bell chimed.
But having only resumed serious training a few months ago, Hassan couldn’t quite muster up a vintage last lap where she is usually so dangerous.
In a fast and frantic last lap with the added obstacle of lapped runners to weave past, Hassan finished a battling fourth in 30:10.56 in a race won by her long-time rival Letesenbet Gidey, the silver medalist behind Hassan in 2019, in 30:09.94.
Karsten Warholm has been equally seldom seen this season after pulling up injured on his season’s debut in Rabat last month but the reigning world, Olympic and European champion had a comfortable passage through to the semifinals in the 400m hurdles.
In his first completed race of the season, Warholm blasted the first half before easing off the throttle and prevailing as a heat winner in 49.34.
Other notable European qualifiers included Estonia’s Rasmus Magi (48.78) and Ireland’s Thomas Barr (49.15).
In high jump qualifying, Estonia's Karmen Bruus became the youngest female high jumper to reach a World Athletics Championships. Only 17, Bruus cleared a lifetime best of 1.93m to progress through qualifying with the likes of Ukrainians Yaroslava Mahuchikh and Iryna Gerashechenko, Italy's Elena Vallortigara and Australians Eleanor Patterson and Nicole Olyslagers.