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Sports

Doha world athletics championships: Five things we learned on Day 10

media Dalilah Muhammad won gold in the 400m hurdles and ran one of the legs in the victorious US 4x400m relay team. REUTERS/Ibraheem Al Omari

The Americans took more and more golds and they're even taking the championships. Goodbye Doha. Hello Eugene.

The Americans are good

We’ve had nudges over the past nine days. And on the final day, they produced a flourish. The last three finals all went to Team USA. Nia Ali won the women’s 100m hurdles. The women’s and men’s 4x400 metres relays followed soon after. The haul was 14 golds out of 29 medals.

Celebration time

The medal ceremony for the women’s 4x400m came after the faithful few in the stadium had been regaled with a big screen recap of the past 10 days. It showed all the impressive action that had taken place inside the Khalifa International Stadium. It’s just a shame that more people had not seen it.

Athletes’ feats

Athletes are a basic bunch really. That’s meant in a good way. They train. They participate. They win. They lose. It’s a lot of hard work in a simple cycle. And the prevailing attitude has been: we’ve turned up to try and win some medals. Gold will be gold whether there are 10 or 10,000 people in the stadium. Mainly the former in this year's championships.

The wagon rolls on

There was a charming little ritual towards the end of affairs. The ceremonial baton was handed over from Doha to Eugene, the city in Oregon that will host the 2021 world championships. Sebastian Coe, the president of the Iaaf – which organises the world championships – passed it on with a smile to Kate Brown, the Oregon governor. She accepted the stick and beamed. So did the review. It’s the chronicle of a headline foretold. If the Americans emulate their Doha achievements, it will be time to wheel out: “Oregon gold rush”. Yippee ki yay!

Au revoir, Doha mon amour

What will you be like in three years when the Fifa juggernaut rolls into town for the football world cup? Probably pitch perfect. For the Iaaf show, that’s certainly not been the case. There have been some brilliant developments such as the deployment of the air-conditioned Khalifa International Stadium and an excellent running track. But the low attendances have jarred.

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