South African sprinter Akani Simbine (© Getty Images)
South African sprinter Akani Simbine and Polish hammer thrower Pawel Fajdek were among the winners on the first two days of athletics action at the World University Games in the Korean city of Gwangju.
At the 2013 World University Games, Simbine had missed the 100m final by one place and one hundredth of a second. This time, there was no uncertainty as the 21-year-old dominated throughout the rounds.
He clocked a Games record of 10.00 in the semi-final on Thursday (9) before going on to win the final in 9.97 in completely still conditions.
His time took 0.02 off the PB he set last week in Velenje and equalled the South African record set four days prior by Henricho Bruintjies.
Jamaica’s Kemarley Brown, a 9.93 runner at his best, was a distant second in 10.12 with Turkey’s Ramil Guliyev taking bronze in 10.16, just 0.01 ahead of USA’s Ronnie Baker. Kim Gook-Young, who clocked a Korean record of 10.16 in the semi-final, finished sixth in the final in 10.31.
Fajdek’s win in the hammer was just as convincing, although he had to overcome an early scare after registering fouls with his two first throws.
The world champion then sent his hammer out to 77.31m in the third round to take the lead, following it with 76.40m in the fourth round before improving to 80.05m with his final throw.
It was his third victory in a row at the World University Games – a record in the men’s hammer – and his longest winning distance yet, having triumphed with 78.14m in 2011 and 79.99m in 2013.
He comfortably beat Belarusian duo Pavel Bareisha and Sergey Kalamoyets, who threw 75.75m and 74.68m respectively. It was Fajdek’s 12th consecutive victory this year and his 14th throw beyond 80 metres, including ancillary marks.
Russian double in jumps and 10,000m
Four years after taking silver in this event, Russia’s Yuliya Pidluzhnaya graduated to gold in the long jump.
The 2011 European indoor bronze medallist led from the outset, opening with 6.64m before improving to a season’s best of 6.79m (0.4m/s) in the third round. Poland’s Anna Jagaciak, who finished second in the triple jump in 2013, picked up another silver medal this time round, jumping 6.57m in the fourth round to overtake Australia’s Naa Anang by two centimetres.
Pidluzhnaya’s team-mate Dmitriy Sorokin picked up another horizontal jumps title for Russia by winning the men’s triple jump. He bounded out to a PB of 17.29m in the third round to win by 53 centimetres from Fabrice Zango Hughes of Burkina Faso.
Two more gold medals came Russia’s way in the 10,000m finals. Alla Kulyatina won the first track final of the championships, winning the women’s 10,000m in 32:52.27 with team-mate Gulshat Fazlitdinova taking silver three seconds behind.
Igor Maksimov shook off long-time challenger Nicolae Alexandru Soare on the last lap of the men’s 10,000m to win in 29:15.30. Soare held on for second in 29:18.71 with Japan’s Keisuke Nakatani taking bronze in 29:19.30.
Singh makes history
Two years ago in Kazan, Inderjeet Singh became India’s first medallist at the World University Games when taking silver in the shot. On Wednesday (8) he went one better by becoming India’s first ever athletics champion at the Games.
Russia’s Aleksandr Bulanov led for most of the competing thanks to his opening effort of 19.84m. Singh, who had only just made the top-eight cut at half way, moved into second with his penultimate throw of 19.80m but saved his best for his final attempt, throwing 20.27m to take the lead.
Elsewhere, Kazakhstan’s Viktoriya Zyabkina was a comfortable winner of the women’s 100m in 11.23, finishing almost a quarter of a second in front of Jamaica’s Shimayra Williams.
In relative terms, the men’s 20km race walk was a lot closer with Australia’s Dane Bird-Smith making a late break to take victory in 1:21:30.
Canada’s Ben Thorne trailed the lead pack in the early stages but then hit the front after the half-way mark, which was reached in 41:02. He continued to lead for most of the second half, but Bird-Smith edged ahead in the closing stages to finish three seconds in front of the Canadian.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF