Laura Muir came agonisingly close to winning a bronze medal in the 1500m final at the World Championships, only to be pipped on the line by South Africa’s Caster Semenya.
One of the most eagerly anticipated middle-distance races in recent years lived up to its billing and did not disappoint, as Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon won gold from USA’s Jenny Simpson, with Semenya clinching bronze, and Muir just missing out on a first major outdoor championships medal.
Muir took the lead from the off, setting a quick pace on the first lap, before the Netherland’s Sifan Hassan and Kenya’s Kipyegon took charge, with Muir dropping to third.
Coming into the home straight Kipyegon’s endurance and strength told as she held off the chasing pack to win the gold, crossing the line in 4:02.59.
For Hassan, in what was looking like a promising final, it suddenly went so wrong. The 24-year-old’s burst of pace half way through the race took it’s toll, as she was overtaken by a charging Simpson, Muir and Semenya.
In the final 20m, coming up on the inside lane was Simpson with the speed and energy to take silver, while Muir sitting in third, was just edged out by South Africa’s Semenya at the final moment for bronze.
With 100m to go, Semenya, the 400m Olympic champion, was back in eighth, but her strength and speed over the shorter distance really showed, as she powered past the field down the home straight to clinch third place.
Britain’s Laura Weightman put in a fine performance, battling hard in the closing stages of the race to finish sixth in 4:04.11.
Afterward’s 24-year-old Muir said: ”I tied up in the last 15 yards, I gave it everything.
“I knew it was close, but it happened so late in the race. I couldn’t react, but I wouldn’t have been able to because I was so tired.”
In the men’s 110m hurdles final, Jamaica’s Omar McLeod ran the perfect race to clinch the gold, from Sergey Shubenkov, with Balazs Baki of Hungary taking the bronze.
In the triple jump, it was a special moment for Yulimar Rojas and Venezuela, as the 21-year-old won the first ever World Championship gold for the South American country.
Britain’s Eilidh Doyle finished third in her 400m hurdles heat to qualify for the semi-finals.
Team-mate Meghan Beesley also qualified, making it through as a fastest loser.
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s semi-finals, Doyle said: There is so may running well this year, I could run a PB and not make the final, but as long as I can go out there tomorrow and leave it all on the track I’ll be happy.”
In the men’s 200m heats, Britain’s Danny Talbot ran a personal best as he crossed the line in 20.16 to finish second, with South Africa’s Olympic champion Wayde van Niekerk finishing first, with the same time as the Talbot. Both athletes automatically advanced to the semi-finals.
Also making it through to the 200m semi-finals, are Britain’s Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, who won his heat in 20.08, and Zharnel Hughes, making it though as a fastest loser.
In the women’s hammer, Poland’s Anita Wlodarczyk clinched gold with a 77.90m throw. Britain’s Sophie Hitchon was unable to add to her Olympic bronze medal, finishing seventh with a best throw of 72.32m.
In the men’s 400m hurdles semi-finals, USA’s Kerron Clement and TJ Holmes won heats one and two, while Abderrahaman Samba of Qatar won heat three. Ireland’s Thomas Barr was set to compete in heat one, but he was forced to withdraw after an outbreak of gastroenteritis at an official athlete hotel.