Report20 Jul 2022

Championship records for Dos Santos and Ceh, surprise titles for Wightman and Patterson in Oregon


Alison dos Santos wins the 400m hurdles at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 (© Getty Images)

Edwin Moses had no equal in the men’s 400m hurdles for more than a decade and now he’s at the top of his game as a prognosticator.

While Norway’s Karsten Warholm and Rai Benjamin of the US had dominated the event in recent years, Moses had his eye on Brazil’s Alison Dos Santos going into the 400m hurdles final on Tuesday (19) at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22.

On a day with a major upset by Great Britain’s Jake Wightman in the men’s 1500m, a minor upset by Australia’s Eleanor Patterson in the women’s high jump, Sweden’s Daniel Stahl failing to make the men’s discus podium and a cramp taking US star Fred Kerley out of the men’s 200m, the 400m hurdles unfolded exactly as Moses predicted.

“It’s a three-man race, essentially,” said Moses, who won two Olympic and two world gold medals and held the world record for 16 years. “Dos Santos’ technique is a lot more efficient over the hurdles, and obviously he’s got the speed.”

Dos Santos, the Olympic bronze medallist, came into Hayward Field as world leader and clocked the fastest time in the semifinals.

However, the others had better credentials: Warholm was the reigning Olympic and world champion and world record-holder while Benjamin earned Olympic and world silver medals and is the second-fastest man in history.

Benjamin started in lane three, Warholm in four and Dos Santos in six.

“Dos Santos had a good lane; he didn’t have to worry, he ran his race,” Moses said. “Warholm was watching Dos Santos. Benjamin got caught sleeping. By the time he tried to pull it off, it was too late.”

Dos Santos became the first man from Brazil to win a world title, doing so with a time of 46.29, a South American record and the fastest performance on US soil. He shattered the 29-year-old championship record of 47.18 set by Kevin Young in 1993.

Benjamin took home his second straight world silver medal – and third straight silver in a global final – with a season’s best of 46.89. Warholm, who picked up a hamstring injury in Rabat in June and had not completed a race in 10 months before arriving in Eugene, faded badly on the homestretch to place seventh in 48.42.

Trevor Bassitt of the US was the surprise bronze medallist with a PB of 47.39, edging France’s Wilfried Happio, who clocked a PB of 47.41.

Dos Santos said he felt the love of the crowd and people were hugging him. “When you win, you start being everyone’s favourite,” he said.

And not just Moses’.

Through eight hurdles, Dos Santos held a slight lead over Warholm and then dropped him.

“I had an injury,” Warholm said, “but to me it’s always your fight and giving your all and leaving it all on the track. I felt I did that. I hope looking back I’ll feel proud of that even though I prefer to take a medal.”

Benjamin said he chopped a few hurdles, “and my race plan went out the window,” he said, “but when I heard ‘USA, USA,’ I ran as fast as I could to keep my second place.”

Moses won 122 straight races – including 107 finals – from 1977 to 1987.

The prospect of watching the three hurdlers push each other in the future makes him feel wistful about their rivalry.

“I wish,” Moses said, “I would have had one when I was running.”

Wightman makes 1500m a family affair

While Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway and defending world champion Timothy Cheruiyot were battling for the lead in the men’s 1500m, Great Britain’s Jake Wightman stayed close by.

Perhaps he could hear the stadium announcer, who happened to be his father Geoff, describe the race.

So when Wightman stormed around the leaders with about 250 metres to go, Hayward Field erupted.

Ingebrigtsen could not stay with him and Cheruiyot faded. As Wightman crossed the finish line in a world-leading time of 3:29.23, the British champion put his hands to his head. Ingebrigtsen, who took the silver, clocked a season’s best of 3:29.47 and clapped Wightman on the back in congratulations.

Mohamed Katir of Spain took the bronze while Cheruiyot was sixth.

Wightman posted the second-fastest 1500m at the World Championships behind Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco who ran 3:27.65 in 1999.

The 1500m was a family affair. In addition to Wightman’s father calling the race, his mother, Susan Tooby, came down to the track for the post-race interview. Wightman’s aunt, Angela Tooby, is the 1988 world cross-country silver medallist.

“I've been dreaming of this since I was eight years old,” Wightman said. “Having my mom in the stands and my dad calling the race at the stadium, what else could I ask for?”

For Ingebrigtsen, who was fourth in Doha, the medal was the second for his family at the outdoor World Championships. His older brother Filip took bronze in the 1500m in 2017.

“I didn’t keep up in the last 200m,” Ingebrigtsen said. “I’m owning it, but somewhat disappointed. But I’m very happy for him.”

Ceh captures first major title

Kristjan Ceh of Slovenia won his first major title in the men’s discus, and put an exclamation point on it with a championship record of 71.13m.

While his victory was not unexpected, since he had won 13 of 14 contests this year, Olympic champion Daniel Stahl of Sweden missing the podium was a surprise.

Ceh moved into the lead in the third round while also throwing beyond 70 metres on his fifth throw as well at 70.51m. Lithuania claimed the other two medals, with Mykolas Alekna taking silver with a toss of 69.27m on his fourth attempt and Andrius Gudzius also having his best effort on his fourth throw at 67.55m.

Kristjan Ceh in the discus at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22

Kristjan Ceh in the discus at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 (© Getty Images)

Stahl could manage only 67.10m on his fifth attempt, which moved him ahead of compatriot Simon Pettersson by 10cm.

“I knew that I had the ability for the big throw,” Ceh said. 

Patterson prevails in women’s high jump

An Australian won the women’s high jump, but it wasn’t Olympic silver medalist Nicola Olyslagers. Eleanor Patterson set an area record, clearing 2.02m on her first attempt, to take the gold. Her victory was dramatic, given her two misses at 1.98m and another miss on her first try at 2.00m.

Yaroslava Mahuchikh of Ukraine, the Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist and world indoor champion, won the silver after needing two attempts to clear 2.02m. Elena Vallortigara of Italy had a clean slate all the way through to 2.00m, a season's best. She had the sympathy of the crowd at Hayward Field when she missed all three attempts at 2.02m.

Another Ukrainian, Iryna Gerashchenko, also cleared a PB of 2.00m for fourth, while Olyslagers matched her season's best of 1.96m for fifth.

Ukraine has now won one gold, five silvers and a bronze in World Championships high jump competitions.

Sydney McLaughlin makes first appearance 

Sydney McLaughlin had raced only five times this year coming into Oregon. She ran the first heat of the women’s 400m hurdles in lane eight, which meant she was closest to the crowd that longed to see the reigning Olympic gold medallist and world record-holder.

She coasted to a time of 53.95, bettered only by Femke Bol of the Netherlands two heats later at 53.90. 

“Just checking out, getting ready for the next round, getting used to the stadium,” McLaughlin said. “The atmosphere was good. Lane eight is not ideal, but I only had to do what I needed, and I am just really happy."

World record-holder Sydney McLaughlin in the 400m hurdles heats at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22

World record-holder Sydney McLaughlin in the 400m hurdles heats at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 (© Getty Images)

Janieve Russell of Jamaica edged 2015 silver medallist Shamier Little of the US, 54.52 to 54.77, in the second heat. Dalilah Muhammad, the reigning world champion from the US, won her heat in 54.45, while compatriot Britton Wilson captured the final heat with a time of 54.54.

Lyles and Jackson lead qualifiers into 200m finals

Led by defending champion Noah Lyles, the US posted the top three times in the semifinals of the men’s 200m, but 100m champion Fred Kerley suffered a cramp and was eliminated.

Lyles, the Olympic bronze medallist, ran 19.62 ahead of Olympic silver medallist Kenny Bednarek, who clocked a season's best of 19.84. Lyles ran through the finish line this time, rather than waving his hand like he did in the first round. 

“My coach told me to get out a little bit of the beast today,” Lyles said.

Erriyon Knighton, the 18-year-old sensation, clocked 19.77 to win his heat, running a fantastic curve. He said after going out hard, he gave about 70% effort on the home stretch. “I took it smooth,” he said.

However, the trio won’t be joined in the final by Kerley, who appeared to falter before taking an awkward step and finishing sixth in 20.58. 

“Caught a cramp, it’s part of the game, on to the next one,” Kerley said. 

The US is depending on him to be part of the 4x100m relay. “I’ll be good,” Kerley said.

Alexander Ogando of Dominican Republic set a national record of 19.91 to win his heat, with Joseph Fahnbulleh of Liberia clocking 19.92.  

In the women’s 200m, Shericka Jackson, the Jamaican champion, clocked 21.67, while compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the five-time world 100m champion sporting lavender-coloured hair, posted a season's best of 21.82.

Tamara Clark of the US had the third best time of 21.95 while Abby Steiner, running her 54th race of the year following a stellar collegiate season, ran 22.15 to qualify for her first global final.

Defending champion Dina Asher-Smith of Great Britain ran a season's best of 21.96, while Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah, the five-time Olympic champion, also ran a season's best of 21.97. 

Mujinga Kambundji set a Swiss record with a time of 22.05.

Jackson is close to the championship record of 21.63, set by by Dafne Schippers in 2015.

“I’m strong, I’m fast, so it wasn’t surprising,” she said.

Karen Rosen for World Athletics