LONDON – On a night of even more upsets, Dafne Schippers restored some normalcy Friday when she proved again she is the fastest woman over 200 meters at the world championships.
The Dutchwoman dipped at the line just ahead of Marie-Josee Ta Lou in another extremely close race to defend her title in 20.05 seconds.
“I really had to fight for it today,” Schippers said. “It is not an easy life but it can be beautiful.”
The most jaw-dropping result in a week of upsets at the Olympic Stadium came in the women’s steeplechase, where the United States clinched an unlikely 1-2 finish at the expense of the Kenyans.
Emma Coburn took the lead for good at the final water jump and kicked for home to finish in a championship record of 9:02.58.
“Oh my goodness, what a race to be part of,” Coburn said. “I never expected to win in that time but I kept pressing. It is pretty amazing to get a championship record.”
American teammate Courtney Frerichs finished second by outkicking defending champion Hyvin Jepkemoi of Kenya in a sprint for silver.
“I would never have believed this could happen,” Frerichs said.
Beatrice Chepkoech of Kenya, the third best performer this year, was running in the lead at the start when she missed the turn for the water jump on the inside of the track and had to go back. She made a strong comeback but faded in the remarkable last lap.
From Justin Gatlin beating Usain Bolt in the 100 on the opening weekend to Ramil Guliyev of Turkey winning the 200 ahead of Wayde van Niekerk, the crowd has been stunned plenty of times.
And another crazy incident came Friday in the long jump. Ivana Spanovic seemed to have produced a medal-winning leap on her final attempt, but she was given a much shorter mark – seemingly because the number bib on her back dragged into the sand and likely cost her precious centimeters.
Without that jump, Brittney Reese added a world title to the Olympic gold she won in the same stadium five years ago. The American hadn’t won a major title since 2013, but her jump of 7.02 meters was good enough for her fourth world title.
Darya Klishina of Russia, competing as a neutral athlete because of her country’s doping suspension, took silver with a jump of 7.00 meters, and defending champion Tianna Bartoletta added yet another American medal with bronze.
In the men’s hammer throw, Poland got another gold when Pawel Fajdek won his third straight title. Valeriy Pronkin of Russia, also competing as a neutral athlete, took silver ahead of Wojciech Nowicki of Poland.
Going into the closing weekend, the United States has eight gold medals. Kenya is second with three. Overall, the Americans have 23 medals, 15 more than second-place Kenya.