4 Stunning Moments So Far at the World Track and Field Championships
Here are the top moments at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, and what to watch for this weekend
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There’s just three action-packed days of track and field remaining in Budapest, Hungary for the 2023 World Athletics Championships. Whether you’ve spent the past six days glued to your streaming service or you’re just catching up, here’s a refresher on the top highlights so far, and what we’re looking forward to most this weekend.
1. Sha’Carri Richardson Steals the Show
Sha’Carri Richardson proved that she is here to stay by winning the 100-meter final with a new championship record of 10.65. To do it, she had to take down her Jamaican rivals Shericka Jackson, the fastest woman in the world this year, and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the reigning world champion and 15-time world medalist.
After a poor showing in her semifinal, Richardson failed to achieve one of the auto-qualifiers and was placed in lane nine for the final. None of that mattered on race day, though, as the 23-year-old showcased the best acceleration over the final 30 meters of any runner in the field to claim gold from the outside lane. Jackson took silver in 10.72, while Fraser-Pryce ran a season’s best of 10.77 for bronze.
The victory marks Richardson’s first appearance at a global championship. She won the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2021, but was unable to compete in the Olympic Games in Tokyo after testing positive for marijuana, a banned substance. In 2023, Richardson said, she’s “not back, [she’s] better.”
Can magic strike twice, and can she earn another medal in the 200 meters? She’ll again face Jackson, the second-fastest woman in world history, as well as American Gabby Thomas, the bronze medalist in Tokyo and the fastest woman in the world this year.
The women’s 200-meter final is on August 25. On Saturday, August 26, Richardson and Thomas will team up to compete against Jackson and Fraser-Pryce in the 4×100-meter relay.
2. Can Noah Lyles Make History in the 200 Meters?
The flamboyant American Noah Lyles has made clear his ultimate goal of breaking Usain Bolt’s world record of 19.19 in the 200 meters for nearly a year now, ever since breaking the American record, en route to his second world title last summer in Eugene. But to get there, coach Lance Brauman reveals in NBC docuseries “Untitled: The Noah Lyles Project,” the 200-meter specialist would need to improve his speed by focusing on the 100m.
Despite never making a U.S. team in the 100 meters before, Lyles muscled his way onto the podium at the USATF Track and Field Championships a week after getting COVID, and executed his race plan perfectly in Budapest to claim gold with a world-leading time of 9.83. Letsile Tebogo of Botswana set a national record of 9.88 to earn silver and become the first African to podium at a world championship, while Zharnel Hughes of Great Britain took home his first bronze medal.
“They said I wasn’t the one,” he said immediately after the race, in what is sure to be one of this world championship’s most memorable moments. “But I thank God that I am.”
Now his attention turns to a third world title in the 200 meter—and a potential world record. Only Bolt has won three straight world titles over 200 meters, and the Jamaican world record holder is also the last man to win the 100-meter/200-meter double back in 2015.
In a bizarre turn of events on Thursday, a golf cart transporting athletes including Lyles to the track for the 200-meter semi-finals collided with another cart. Several athletes had to be seen by a doctor before the race, and Jamaica’s Andrew Hudson was automatically advanced to the final after competing with shards of glass in his eye. Lyles was reportedly fine.
Tebogo and Hughes will be back for the 200-meter final, as well as Kenneth Bednarek and Erriyon Knighton, who completed the USA sweep with Lyles last year, and Tokyo Olympic champion Andre de Grasse of Canada.
The 200-meter finals are on Friday, and the 4 x 100-meter final is on Saturday.
3. Josh Kerr Upsets Olympic Champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen in the 1,500 Meters. Can the Norwegian Redeem Himself in the 5K?
For the second year in a row, the best middle-distance runner in the world was outkicked in the world championship 1,500-meter final by a British athlete. This time, it was Josh Kerr who delivered the kick that broke Jakob Ingebrigtsen, winning his first world title in 3:29.38.
For the fiercely competitive Ingebrigtsen, the second-fastest man in world history in the event, silver is hardly any consolation for losing. Yet he nearly lost that as well — his Norwegian countryman Narve Gilje Nordås (who is coached by Jakob’s father Gjert) nearly beat him to the line, with Ingebrigtsen finishing slightly ahead, 3:29.65 to 3:29.68.
Kerr, the Olympic bronze medalist in Tokyo, seemed to employ a similar tactic as last year’s upset winner Jake Weightman, who similarly sat and kicked with about 180 meters to go. Kerr and Weightman actually trained together as youth rivals at Scotland’s Edinburgh Athletic Club. Kerr now trains in the United States with the Brooks Beasts.
Ingebrigtsen revealed after the race that he had a slight fever and some throat dryness. He competed in the preliminary round of the 5,000 meters on Thursday, advancing to the final with the third-fastest time of the day. He is the reigning world champion and will race the final on Sunday.
While the path to victory looks difficult, at least one heavy hitter has removed himself from conversation — world record holder Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda, who already won the 10K this week, pulled out of the 5K with a foot injury.
4. Dutch Athletes Femke Bol and Sifan Hassan Run to Redemption
On the very first day of competition in Budapest, the Netherlands track and field federation suffered not one but two devastating falls while running within reach of gold.
Femke Bol was leading the anchor leg of the mixed 4×400-meter relay when she fell just meters from the finish line, leaving the Dutch team disqualified while Team USA captured the gold medal.
On the same night, countrywoman Sifan Hassan stumbled to the ground in the final meters of the 10,000 meters, going from first to 11th, while the Ethiopian trio of Gudaf Tsegay, Letesenbet Gidey and Ejgayehu Taye swept the podium positions.
Hassan was the first to get redemption, earning a bronze medal in the 1,500 meters in 3:56.00 behind only world record holder Faith Kipyegon of Kenya (3:54.87) and Diribe Welteji of Ethiopia (3:55.69). She reportedly did a workout immediately following the race, calling it “not a big deal,” and the next morning won her 5,000-meter prelim in a blistering 14:32.29 over Kipyegon, who also owns the world record over 5K (14:05.20). The two will face off in the final on Saturday.
On Thursday, 23-year-old Bol got her redemption run. With the absence of world record holder Sydney McLaughlin in her signature event of the 400-meter hurdles, the gold was Bol’s for the taking and she left no mercy on the field. She stormed to her first World Championships gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles with a dominant effort of 51.70, with the United States’ Shamier Little nearly a full second behind in 52.80. Jamaica’s Rushell Clayton took bronze in 52.81.
Bol will return to the track for the women’s 4 x 400-meter relay final on Sunday. The Dutch was also disqualified in this event last year at Worlds and will seek to record a result at all expense.