GLASGOW: Record-setting Femke Bol proved unstoppable and Grant Holloway extended his 10-year win streak at a high-octane second day of the world indoor championships in Glasgow on Saturday that also featured double British gold.
Bol once again stole the show, the two-time world 400m hurdles champion bettering her own world indoor record to 49.17 seconds to win the 400m, leading from gun to tape in an exceptional display of running.
“It was amazing. It was such a strong race. I knew I had to go out fast,” said the Dutch athlete after sending a warning to potential rivals at this summer’s Paris Olympics.
Norway’s Karsten Warholm, like Bol an elite hurdler seeking a pre-Paris Games workout over the 400m flat, was undone by hard-charging Belgian Alexander Doom.
But the Norwegian, the world record holder, three-time outdoor champion and Olympic gold medallist in the 400m hurdles, was not too upset by the result.
“All in all, it’s an acceptable time, so it’s OK,” he said. “It was a last-minute decision to come here. Of course, I wish I had won today but it was so nice coming out here and performing in front of all that noise.”
Holloway made no mistake in the 60m hurdles, an event in which he has remarkably not lost since he was 16, stretching over 74 races.
He matched his own championship record of 7.29sec for a totally dominant victory.
“The streak is for you guys, I come out here and get to the finish line before everyone else!” said Holloway, the three-time 110m hurdles world champion.
There was a particularly British, and notably Scottish, tang to the evening session, with Molly Caudrey, Josh Kerr and Laura Muir guaranteeing a raucous home welcome at a packed-out Emirates Arena.
Caudrey and Kerr came good, winning the women’s pole vault and men’s 3000m to help set the stage for a thrilling night of track and field.
It climaxed with Saint Lucia’s Julien Alfred reeling in fast-starting Pole Ewa Swoboda for gold in the women’s 60m.
Alfred clocked 6.98sec, two-hundredths ahead of Swoboda, with Italy’s Zaynab Dosso taking bronze (7.05).
“Losing last season at the world championships and coming that close to a medal in both the 100m and the 200m, gave me a boost,” said Alfred.
“I was very hungry coming to the next season.”
There was a shock in the women’s 3000m as American Elle St. Pierre dug deep to outsprint massive Ethiopian favorite Gudaf Tsegay down the home stretch for victory in 8min 20.87sec to shatter, by 13sec, the championship record set by Dutchwoman Elly Van Hulst in Budapest in 1989.
“It was a hard pace from the beginning, I knew it was a very competitive field,” said St. Pierre, who won silver at the last world indoors in Belgrade in 2022 and gave birth to her first child just a year ago.
Tsegay, a global medal winner over multiple distances and 5,000m world record holder, accelerated away with two laps to go, taking Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech and St. Pierre with her, not thinking that the latter had the legs to outdo her for gold.
While Muir had to be happy with fifth, world outdoor 1500m champion Kerr timed his run to perfection to win the men’s 3000m in 7:42.98, with American Yared Nuguse taking silver and Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega bronze.
Barega and teammate Getnet Wale took turns to put in surges to split the field, Kerr bided his time and sprang into action as the bell rang for the final lap, outstripping Barega down the far straight before sprinting clear.
“I didn’t want to shortchange anyone,” said Kerr, draped in the Saltire flag. “It was a hard-fought race, up and down like we expected.
“I wanted to make sure I wasn’t emotional out there. Keep a cool head and send it with 400m to go. I win every 50-50 I’m in.”
In the field, Caudery sealed Britain’s second gold of the night when she held off New Zealand’s Eliza McCartney to win the pole vault with a best of 4.80m.
The competition was held up for several minutes after France’s Margot Chevrier tumbled off the mat and had to be stretchered off.
Chevrier said on Instagram later that she had fractured her ankle and would have surgery in Glasgow on Sunday followed by another operation after she returns to France.
“It will take what it takes,” she said. “Paris 2024, I will be there.”
Burkina Faso’s Hugues Fabrice Zango won the men’s triple jump with a best of 17.53m on his fifth attempt ahead of Yasser Mohamma Triki of Algeria (17.35m) and Portugal’s Tiago Pereira (17.08).