Series31 Aug 2019

Fab five: final-round drama at the World Championships


Fab five: sixth-round dramas at the World Championships (© Getty Images)

As we continue our countdown to the start of the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019, we identify five dramatic moments which lit up the final round from previous editions of IAAF World Championships. 


Saladino vs Howe – men’s long jump

Osaka, 2007

Irving Saladino in the long jump at the 2007 IAAF World Championships in Osaka


Irving Saladino held control of the competition with third-round leap of 8.46m before a dramatic climax to the competition.

In the final round the gifted Italian Andrew Howe powered out to 8.47m to temporarily dislodge the Panamanian from gold by one centimetreHowever, maintaining his composure, Saladino launched the perfect counter-punch to soar out to 8.57m with his final effort and snaffle a dramatic gold medal. 


Raty vs Yevsyukov – men’s javelin

Rome, 1987

Finland's Seppo Raty in the javelin at the IAAF World Championships


The previously unheralded Seppo Raty caused a major surprise to strike gold with a dramatic sixth-round effort in the Italian capital.

Qualifying 10th, few would have predicted the giant Finn would be a gold medal contender after embarrassingly stumbling and digging out his javelin from the runway just before his first-round throw. However, he assumed control of the competition in round three with an 82.32m effort, only for Viktor Yevsyukov of the Soviet Union to relegate Raty to silver in the fifth stanza with 82.52m. However, showing all the mettle and resilience of a seasoned campaigner, Raty responded with his sixth and final throw of 83.54m to take an unexpected gold. 


Washington vs Schult – men’s discus

Seville, 1999

Anthony Washington after winning the discus at the 1999 IAAF World Championships in Seville


Anthony Washington of the USA stunned the twin German threat of four-time world champion Lars Riedel and world record-holder Jurgen Schult to strike gold in a compelling competition inside the Estadio Olimpico.

For much of the competition, a second-round 68.18m appeared good enough to secure Schult’s first world title in 12 years, only for the 33-year-old Washington to deny him with a sixth-round 69.08m and elevate himself from fourth to gold. 

“To tell you the truth, I don’t know how the heck I did that, Washington said in the wake of his victory. “I’m glad to show that a family man with a full-time job can win a world title.” 


Alekna vs Kanter – men’s discus

Helsinki, 2005

Virgilijus Alekna in the discus at the 2005 IAAF World Championships in Helsinki


Virgilijus Alekna liked to dominate from the opening round, but on this occasion he required a very special effort with his sixth attempt to grab gold.

Alekna, the defending champion, had led the competition from round two, only for Estonia’s Gerd Kanter to dislodge the Lithuanian from top spot with a 68.57m throw in the penultimate round. However, showing all his class and experience, the double Olympic champion responded magnificently in the final round to produce a masterful championship record throw of 70.17m.


Bartoletta vs Proctor – women’s long jump

Beijing , 2015

Long jump winner Tianna Bartoletta at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015


Ten years since winning her previous world long jump title, Tianna Bartoletta regained the crown courtesy of a personal best sixth-round jump of 7.14m.

In a high-class final inside the Bird’s Nest Stadium, Christabel Nettey took a first-round lead with 6.95m only for Ivana Spanovic to dislodge the Canadian with a Serbian record of 7.01m in round two. In the third round Shara Proctor claimed top spot with a British record of 7.07m and appeared destined for gold until Bartlotetta’s stunning moment of magic in the final stanza. 

Steve Landells for the IAAF