Portugal’s Olympic triple jump champion Pedro Pablo Pichardo secured his first world outdoor gold on the penultimate day of the World Athletics Championships in Oregon on Saturday (23).
And there were bronze medals aplenty for European athletes as the Czech Republic’s javelin thrower Jakub Vadlejch, the German women’s 4x100m team - making their country’s first trip to the podium - and the British men’s 4x100m quartet all finished third.
Pichardo, the Cuban-born athlete who has competed for Portugal since 2019, earned his second outdoor global gold thanks to an opening mark of 17.95m which tops the 2022 world list.
His dominance of the event was underlined by subsequent efforts of 17.92m, 17.57m and 17.51m.
"I opened strongly. Since I left my residence, my mindset was focused on 18 metres. It did not come out today, but more importantly, I won gold," he said.
Pichardo will now turn his sights to the European Athletics Championships in Munich where the prospect of adding the outdoor title to the indoor continental title he won in Torun last March beckons.
Burkina Faso’s France-based Hugues Fabrice Zango also laid down a big marker in the first round with 17.55m, which was enough for him to earn silver ahead of China’s Yaming Zhu, who had a second-round best of 17.31 in a final where the top six exceeded the 17-metre line.
Zango also showed top class consistency, adding further efforts of 17.38m, 17.14m and 17.49m.
Bronze for Germany in the 4x100m as Asher-Smith pulls up
Germany’s debut on the Eugene podium was earned by the quartet of Tatjana Pinto, Alexandra Burghardt, Gina Luckenkemper and Rebekka Haase, who clocked a season’s best of 42.03 to finish behind a United States team brought home in 41.14, the fastest time of the year.
The high hopes held by Great Britain sadly disappeared on the third leg as world 200m bronze medallist Dina Asher-Smith, who had equalled her national record of 10.83 in the 100m final, pulled up stricken.
After yelling out in pain, Asher-Smith struggled on to pass the baton to Darryl Neita, whose finishing a split of 9.57 was only enough for sixth place in 42.75.
The British men’s 4x100m team created happier memories shortly afterwards as they earned bronze in 37.83 behind the respective gold and silver medallists Canada and the United States.
The quartet included two of those who had won 4x100m silver at the previous year’s Olympics, Zharnel Hughes and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, only to have the performance annulled by the subsequent positive doping test for team-mate CJ Ujah.
Meanwhile, Vadlejch, who took silver behind India’s Neeraj Chopra at last year’s Olympics, added a global gold to his collection with a best of 88.09m in a competition dominated by defending champion Anderson Peters.
The thrower from Grenada established a lead that no rival matched with a first-round effort of 90.21 before extending his best to 90.46 in the next round and extending his winning margin with a final effort of 90.54.
Chopra took silver with 88.13m and Germany’s Julian Weber was fourth with 86.86m.
There was drama in the fifth and final event of the decathlon’s opening day as Canada’s Olympic and world indoor champion Damian Warner, the event’s Mr Reliable, crashed out of contention as he failed to finish the 400 metres, having maintained his first session lead with a season’s best of 2.05m in the high jump.
Ayden Owens-Delerme of Puerto Rico carries the overnight lead on 4606 points from Canada’s Commonwealth silver medallist Pierce LePage on 4485 and Zachery Ziemek, flying the flag for the hosts following the whereabouts transgression doping suspension imposed on the leading performer this year, Garrett Scantling, third on 4469.
Australia’s Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist Ash Moloney, fifth on 4378, and France’s world record holder Kevin Mayer, sixth on 4372, will both be looking forward to day two with relish.