BELGRADE, Serbia Mar 20 – Italy’s Olympic 100m champion Lamont Marcell Jacobs trumped American rival Christian Coleman for 60m gold on the second day of the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade on Saturday, while Yaroslava Mahuchikh claimed a memorable high jump title for war-ravaged Ukraine.
Jacobs had been a surprise winner of track’s blue riband event at last summer’s Tokyo Games where he also won gold as part of Italy’s 4x100m relay quartet.
The Italian barely raced after his Japan exploits, but his return to the indoor circuit did not go unannounced and he lived up to all his promise in the Serbian capital.
Jacobs timed a winning 6.41 seconds as he produced a savage, perfectly-timed dip at the line to nudge ahead of defending champion and current world 100m title holder Coleman, making his comeback from an 18-month ban for breaking anti-doping rules.
Coleman’s teammate Marvin Bracy claimed bronze in 6.44sec.
“I always have the same target: to be in best shape at the most important moment,” said Jacobs after backing up his Olympic performances.
“When you win two Olympic gold medals, you cannot win by chance. This win can only compliment what I did last year. The two golds of last year are the two golds of the Olympic Games.”
Jacobs now has a rare chance to “win whatever is possible to win in athletics” with the European and world outdoor champs to come this summer. “My target is this goal,” he said.
Coleman said he had “mixed emotions” with his silver. “I can’t say it’s a disappointment,” he said. “I came up a little short.
“It was a fun race and I look forward to the rivalry, the outdoor season… competing with these guys.”
The scintillating sprint brought an end to Saturday’s programme that had earlier seen Mahuchikh win a dramatic high jump gold, having fled her war-torn nation after the Russian invasion and making it to Belgrade after a tortuous three-day trip.
After holding her nerve amid “explosions, fires, and air raid sirens”, the 20-year-old replicated her sang-froid in the Stark Arena, triumphing with a best of 2.02 metres in what she said was a “defence of Ukraine colours on the track in the international arena, to show that we are the strongest in the world”.
– Gun-to-tape Miller-Uibo –
In what was billed as one of the battle royales of the championship, two-time Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo claimed gold over the two-lap race from Dutchwoman Femke Bol.
The Bahamian, not a regular fixture at indoor meets, clocked a stunning gun-to-tape 50.31sec for victory, Bol claiming silver 0.26 behind — her first indoor defeat in two years.
“It feels great. It’s the first championships of a long season so I just wanted to come out here and get one in the bag,” said Miller-Uibo.
“I have so much respect for all the girls out here so I had to go off fast to control it. It’s the best way for me to run.”
Among a slew of Olympic champions on show were two fancied Americans, Katie Nageotte and Ryan Crouser.
Nageotte bombed out at 4.75m in the women’s pole vault, pushed into silver by US team training partner and defending champion Sandi Morris, who cleared 4.80.
And Crouser, unbeaten in two seasons, suffered a rare defeat as Brazilian Darlan Romani won his first global medal with a surprise gold after a best of 22.53m, 9cm further than the American. Two-time defending champion Tomas Walsh of New Zealand claimed bronze.
Canada’s Olympic decathlon champion Damian Warner went into the 1000m, the final event of the men’s heptathlon, 23 points behind Simon Ehammer in the knowledge that he would have to beat the Swiss by more than three seconds for gold.
The Canadian did just that to finish up with a total of 6,489 points over the two days of gruelling competition, 126 ahead of the Swiss athlete, while Australian Ashley Moloney claimed bronze, 19pts further adrift.
Elsewhere on the track, Jereem Richards of Trinidad and Tobago won the men’s 400m in a championship record of 45sec flat, Spain’s Mariano Garcia held off Kenyan Noah Kibet for gold in the men’s 800m while France’s Cyrena Samba-Mayela claimed victory in the women’s 60m hurdles.
And world record holder Gudaf Tsegay, a world outdoor bronze medallist, led an Ethiopian podium cleansweep in the women’s 1500m in a championship record of 3:57.19.