Christian Coleman confirmed his status as the most exciting young sprinter in the post-Usain Bolt era when he stormed to 60m glory on Saturday as Ethiopian track legend Genzebe Dibaba bagged a golden world indoor brace.
Coleman arrived in Birmingham, England, fresh from having set a new world indoor record of 6.34sec for the sprint, and the 21-year-old American made no mistake when taking his first steps in the global arena in the absence of the now-retired Bolt.
Starting in lane four, Coleman enjoyed an electrifying start and powered through the line in a championship record of 6.37sec ahead of Su Bingtian of China, who lowered the Asian record to 6.42sec when he took silver. Coleman’s US teammate Ronnie Baker claimed bronze.
“I have a good chance to lead the sport in the post-Bolt era but like I’ve told so many others, loads of guys have the talent,” Coleman said. “I have to make sure I keep working to stay on top and when I get the opportunity to take gold medals you take them.”
Serial world record holder Dibaba once again demonstrated her imperious form in winning her second indoor 1500m title, just two days after winning her third consecutive 3000m gold.
Dibaba looked completely unruffled as she led the same two athletes on to the podium as she had in the 3000m, this time Briton Laura Muir taking silver ahead of Ethiopian-born Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan.
In an outstanding night for US athletes, there were also championship records set by Coleman’s teammates Sandi Morris and Kendra Harrison.
A thrilling competition in the women’s pole vault saw Morris clear 4.95m for victory ahead of Anzhelika Sidorova, the Russian competing as a neutral athlete (4.90m).
Greece’s Katerina Stefanidi, the reigning world, European and Olympic champion, took bronze (4.80) in what was a totally gripping event as Morris finally converted her world outdoor and indoor silvers into gold.
There was more of the same from 100m hurdles world record holder Harrison, who scorched home in 7.70sec in the shortened form, the third fastest time ever run.
US medal run
US teammate Christina Manning took silver as Courtney Okolo also led a US 1-2 with Shakima Wimbley in the women’s 400m, while there was more American gold in the triple jump as multiple world and Olympic medallist Will Claye soared to 17.43m for his second world indoor title, having previously won in Istanbul in 2012.
Poland’s Adam Kszczot also finally won a global title after two world outdoor silvers in the 800m, adding gold to the silver and bronze he has previously won indoors with a dominant display in the four-lap race.
The Pole looked untroubled as he clocked a winning 1min 47.47sec, with American Drew Windle taking silver and Saul Ordonez of Spain bronze.
Controversy again struck the 400m as more disqualifications for lane infringements marred the race.
Czech Pavel Maslak eventually became the first athlete to win three consecutive world indoor titles when he was bumped up into first spot from third after Spain’s Oscar Husillos, who was initially accredited with the win in a championship record time of 44.92sec, and Dominican Luguelin Santos were both disqualified.
“The guys were stronger than me and I do not know what went wrong for them,” said Maslak. “They would have beaten me anyway so even if it is gold, it will have a bronze flavour for me.”
France’s Kevin Mayer added indoor heptathlon honours to his outdoor decathlon title when he edged Canada’s Damian Warner by just five points at the end of two days of competition.
After a disastrous showing in his favoured pole vault, Mayer left Warner with an opportunity: to beat him by three seconds in the final event, the 1,000m, but the Frenchman bundled over the line with half a second to spare for the win.