News11 Apr 2023

Greatest World Championships moments - women's long list


Greatest World Championships moments

1983, Helsinki

Finland’s Tiina Lillak, who had been undefeated in the javelin all year, was in second place throughout the first five rounds of the javelin final. But with her final effort of the competition, she unleashed a 70.82m throw to strike gold, sending the home crowd wild.

Grete Waitz won the marathon by exactly three minutes to earn the first title of the inaugural World Championships, and her only gold medal at a global track and field championships. This was also the first global title awarded in the women’s marathon.

1987, Rome

Jackie Joyner-Kersee dominated the heptathlon, leading from start to finish, to win with a championship record of 7128. Three days later, she added another gold medal to her tally, this time in the long jump, which she won with 7.36m, another championship record.

Stefka Kostadinova almost exited the high jump final at 2.04m, needing three tries to get over that height. She was still in second place as the bar moved to 2.06m, but she cleared it on her second try. She then raised the bar to 2.09m and cleared it on her second attempt to break her own world record.

In one of the most dominant performances ever in the marathon at a global championships, Portugal’s Rosa Mota won her specialist event with a championship record of 2:25:17, finishing seven minutes and 21 seconds ahead of the runner-up.

1991, Tokyo

Hassiba Boulmerka sprinted to victory down the home straight of the 1500m, becoming the first African woman to win a global athletics title.

A lot can go wrong in vertical jumps. But for Heike Henkel, her series in the 1991 high jump final was perfect. She didn’t record a single failure up to and including her winning height of 2.05m.

Marie-Jose Perec, undefeated in individual races in 1991, capped a memorable breakthrough season by winning the 400m in Tokyo.

Before Jamaican women won individual major titles, the country earned its first senior global gold in women's event when winning the 4x100m in Tokyo. Merlene Ottey, who had earned bronze in the 100m and 200m, ran a storming anchor to win in 41.94.

1993, Stuttgart

The women’s 100m in 1993 remains the closest track final in World Championships history. Gail Devers won by a thousandth of a second in 10.82. She added another gold to her collection in the 100m hurdles.

In a close race against arch rival Sandra Farmer-Patrick, Sally Gunnell won the 400m hurdles in a world record of 52.74, both women dipping inside the previous mark.

1995, Gothenburg

Two and a half years after being trapped in a house fire and suffering extensive burns, Ana Quirot returned to establish herself as the world No.1 in the 800m, winning her first global title.

For the second World Championships in a row, the first two athletes in the women’s 400m hurdles final finished inside the world record. Kim Batten got the verdict against Tonja Buford, winning by 0.01 in 52.61.

Four years after finishing in last place in the heptathlon at the 1991 World Championships, Ghada Shouaa wins the heptathlon in Gothenburg to become the first person from Syria to win a global title in athletics.

1997, Athens

Four years after earning world bronze at the age of 15, Sally Barsosio triumphed over 25 laps of the track in 1997, aged just 19 at the time, to become the first Kenyan woman to win a world title.

In a close finish against Roberta Brunet and Fernanda Ribeiro, Romania’s Gabby Szabo sprinted to victory in the 5000m, winning her first of three world titles.

In a three-way jump-off for the gold medal, Norway’s Hanne Haugland eventually succeeded at 1.99m to win the high jump title.

1999, Seville

US pole vaulting pioneer Stacy Dragila won the inaugural women's outdoor world pole vault title, setting a world record of 4.60m.

Having missed the entire 1998 season through injury, Cathy Freeman returned to action in 1999 and enjoyed an undefeated season at 400m, capping her season by retaining her world title in Seville.

2001, Edmonton

Two years after taking silver, Fiona May won the long jump gold by one centimetre to regain her world title from six years prior.

Nine years after her historic Olympic triumph, Ethiopia’s Derartu Tulu won the 10,000m by 0.04.

2003, Paris

Carolina Kluft, aged just 20, made a big breakthrough to win the heptathlon, adding more than 300 points to her PB to break the 7000-point barrier.

Eunice Barber, having had to settle for silver in her specialist discipline, the heptathlon, bounced back from that disappointment to win the long jump, much to the delight of the home crowd.

Anchored by Christine Arron, France won the 4x100m on home soil, sending the crowd into a frenzy.

2005, Helsinki

Dorcus Inzikuru made history, not only just from winning the inaugural global title in the women’s steeplechase, but also by earning Uganda’s first ever world title in athletics.

Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba became the first woman to achieve the 5000m and 10,000m double at the World Championships.

Cuba’s Osleidys Menendez regained her world title from four years prior, breaking the world record in the process with 71.70m.

2007, Osaka

At the peak of her powers, Allyson Felix retained her world 200m title with one of the biggest winning margins ever at the World Championships. She added further golds in the 4x100m and 4x400m, the latter with a storming 48.01 split.

Just nine months after giving birth, Australia’s Jana Pittman-Rawlinson won her second world 400m hurdles title.

2009, Berlin

In a high jump final that captivated the entire stadium, Blanka Vlasic retained her world title in a thrilling duel with home crowd favourite Ariane Friedrich.

In her final championships appearance, 37-year-old Steffi Nerius of Germany won the javelin on home soil.

2011, Daegu

Throwing a championship record and lifetime best of 21.24m, New Zealand’s Valerie Adams won her third of four world shot put titles.

In a week when many athletes succumbed to the ‘cover curse’, after being featured on the cover of daily programmes, Sally Pearson bucked the trend by blazing to glory in the 100m hurdles in a championship record time.

2013, Moscow

Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won triple gold, winning the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m.

After six major championships silvers, Germany’s Christina Obergfoll won javelin gold at last.

2015, Beijing

Pushed all the way by Elaine Thompson, Dafne Schippers won the 200m in a championship and European record of 21.63.

Winning her third of four world hammer titles, Anita Wlodarczyk produced a championship record of 80.85m – the first ever 80-metre throw in a global championships.

2017, London

Ten years after her first global gold, Czechia’s Barbora Spotakova won her third world javelin title at the age of 36.

US long jumper Brittney Reese won the long jump by just two centimetres, earning her fourth world title and her eighth global gold medal.

2019, Doha

Dutch distance runner Sifan Hassan pulled off a unique double, winning the 1500m and 10,000m.

In a close duel with US compatriot Sydney McLaughlin, Dalilah Muhammad won the 400m hurdles in a world record of 52.16.

2022, Oregon

Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan broke the world 100m hurdles record in her semifinal with 12.12. Later that evening – showing her world record was no fluke – she won the final with a marginally wind-assisted 12.06.

With an incredibly dominant run, Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone smashed the world 400m hurdles record with 50.68.

In her fifth World Championships appearance, Shaunae Miller-Uibo – a double Olympic champion at 400m – finally won her first outdoor world title at her specialist distance.

Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas earned her third consecutive world triple jump title, winning by more than half a metre with 15.47m.


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