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Sports

Five things we learned on day eight – time to do collective projection by the IAAF and flying Dutchwoman soars higher

media Brittney Reese claimed gold in women's Long Jump. Dylan Martinez/REUTERS

Long jump winner dedicates gold to her grandfather and music programmer shows impeccable sense of timing.

One for grandpa

Brittney Reese won the women’s long jump. It was her fourth world championship title following victories in Berlin in 2009, Daegu in 2011 and Moscow in 2013. There’s also been an Olympic gold in London in 2012 and silver last year at the Rio Olympics. She has been able to share all those successes with her grandfather King Dunomes who was the reason for her life in track and field. She dedicated her latest medal to Dunomes who died in July after a short illness.

The music programmer has a sense of humour

Modern arenas of the industrial entertainment complex have all kinds of paraphernalia to enhance the stadium experience. Toilets every 20 metres and booths every five selling all kinds of hot goodies like French fries, colas and hot dogs. There’s usually a weapons grade sound system. On day eight, the burly boys were in action in the hammer competition. And at one point out of the speakers blared the song If I had a hammer. This was never one of the review’s favourite tunes. This song must have been playing during some childhood trauma or other. However, this isn’t the place to delve into the distant past. It was an apt choice as the men were hammering it out. Pawel Fajdek won the competition with a throw of 79.81. Wojciech Nowicki, also from Poland, came third.

When you are in the zone … you are in the zone

Beatrice Chepkoech from Kenya set off amid the melee at the start of the women’s 3000m steeplechase and was trundling around the first bend when she looked over her left shoulder to see all the other competitors in a side lane going over the water jump. Oops. Back she went and through the water. Around 200 metres later, she tripped up and took down two other runners with her. After all that drama, the Kenyan finished fourth. Just imagine what might have been with a more technically accomplished race.

IAAF has lots of talent at its disposal

There were lots of double attempts going on at the world championships. But from the way the event’s been promoted by the IAAF – which organises the championships - it appeared that there was only one athlete trying it. Much was made about Wayde. And why not. The South African comes across as personable and diligent. He was trying to emulate Michael Johnson’s feat from 1995 of golds in the 200 and 400m. He reaped gold in the latter and silver in the former. In the women’s competitions, Marie-Josée Ta Lou from Cote d’Ivoire was in the 100 and 200m as was Dafne Schippers from the Netherlands. Did their quests receive half as much publicity? No. Perhaps because 100 and 200m are much more common. There has been a concern about how to promote athletics once Usain Bolt saunters off into retirement. Van Niekerk, 25, has been anointed as the successor. But as the coach to two gold winning medallists told the review, you can’t replace Bolt with just one person. The Jamaican is that stratospheric. Perhaps it is time to do collective projection as there are a lot of faces out there with a lot of good stories to tell and sell.

Flying Dutchwoman

When will a fast man from the Netherlands emerge? Until he does, it will have to be ‘Flying Dutchwoman’. Dafne Schippers retained her 200m crown on day eight after a scintillating race. The Utrecht Rocket clocked 20.05 seconds, the fastest time of the season. Marie-Josée Ta Lou set an Ivorian national record of 20.08 seconds as she claimed the silver – she also got a silver in the 100m – and Shaunae Miller-Uibo from the Bahamas won the bronze. Schippers, 25, who won bronze in the 100m, is only the third woman since the inception of the world championships in 1983 to retain her 200m title. The other two were the Jamaican Merlene Ottey and the American Allyson Felix. Schippers has joined legends of athletics. Marketing people, where you at?  

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