21/04/2024

Nicola McDermott is the second ever Australian Woman to win a medal in High Jump at the OlympicsPhoto: Athletics Australia

It was the final full day of Athletics competition for Tokyo 2020 and it was nothing short of amazing with records tumbling and seven medals on offer.

It was a big medals night in the Olympic Stadium on day 15 with the day starting with the Women’s Marathon and then six gold medals on offer in the evening session. Keep up to date with all the happenings at Tokyo 2020 through The Inner Sanctum’s Olympic hub and Olympic Central.

The early bird gets the worm

The Women’s Marathon kicked off Day 15’s activities not long after dawn, getting moved back an hour from the original 7 am JST start time to 6 am due to the forecast heat for the day.

Nothing has quite been impacted by the heat like the super endurance events with personal bests rarely getting toppled over the course of Tokyo 2020 unlike the sprint events and only one personal best was toppled today from an unlikely place.

Finishing 72nd in the race and hailing from the Solomon Islands Sharon Firisua broke the National Record finishing in three hours two minutes and 10 seconds, wiping out her own personal best by six minutes and 46 seconds. Of the finishers, she was second last with 15 other athletes unable to finish for various reasons but it is undoubtedly a huge achievement for the 27-year-old who trains in Melbourne.

Kenya took Gold and Silver, with Peres Jepchirchir taking top honours with a time of 2:27:20 and Brigid Kosgei finishing 16 seconds behind her compatriot in 2:27:36. Molly Seidel from the United States claimed Bronze with a time of 2:27:46.

Of the top 10, eight athletes posted season-best times with Australia’s Sinead Diver finishing in 10th spot clocking in at 2:31:14. Ellie Pashley was the next Australian to finish, in 23rd with another season-best of 2:33:39 and Lisa Weightman was close behind in 26th with a season-best of 2:34:19.

High hopes for Nicola McDermott

For those watching the Boomers Bronze Medal Match they might have missed this one but the Women’s High Jump Final kicked off proceedings for the evening session of the Athletics tonight and it was exciting, to say the least.

Lasting for just shy of two and a half hours, with Victory Ceremonies and races causing disruptions there was plenty to be excited about when Australia’s Nicola McDermott and the Russian Olympic Committee’s Mariya Lasitskene stepped up to jump with the two both looking more than capable of winning all night.

McDermott was the better performer early, only missing one jump before 2.00m, at 1.96m, while Lasitskene looked to be struggling, hitting a wall at both 1.96m and 1.98m but got through on some of her later attempts as more and more finalists dropped off.

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Only Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh stayed with them past 2.00m forcing her way up onto the podium and trying a last-ditch effort to win by passing on 2.02m to get ahead of the Russian and Australian by clearing 2.04m.

It wasn’t until 2.02m that Lasitskene took the lead over McDermott clearing the first jump while McDermott needed a second attempt and when Lasitskene cleared 2.04m on her first attempt it was clear that the world number one would claim an elusive Gold Medal whilst the Australian would settle for Silver with a new National and Oceania Record of 2.02m in her hands.

McDermott is only the second Australian female High Jumper to claim an Olympic medal, the first being Michele Brown at Tokyo 1964. Eleanor Patterson also finished in the top five at 1.96m not missing any of her initial jumps but unable to clear 1.98m.

Hassan completes the double gold medal haul as she doubles the distance

What an Olympic Games Sifan Hassan has had, from falling in her initial 1500m heat to winning two Olympic Gold Medals and a Bronze.

Tonight, she claimed her second gold in the 10,000m race, finishing with a time of 29:55.32, 49 seconds shy of her personal best from earlier this year.

She’ll go down as one of the greatest distance runners in athletics history as the first Dutch woman to win an Olympic Medal in a distance event earlier in the week with the 5000m and backing it up tonight winning another Gold.

Chopra throws a party for India’s first athletics gold

India snagged its first gold medal of Tokyo 2020 on the penultimate day of competition in the Men’s Javelin Final with Neeraj Chopra beating Czech duo Jakub Vadlejch and Vitezslav Vesely with a mammoth throw of 87.58m.

Chopra entered the final as the top qualifier with a throw of 86.65m, only 2cm less than Vadlejch’s best throw in the final tonight. The 23-year-old’s first throw would have been good enough to win today with a throw of 87.03m and he bettered it with his second for the winning throw.

Vadlejch didn’t quite seem to be the Silver medal contender until his fifth throw of 86.67m and Vasely earned his spot on the podium with his third throw of 85.44m, denying Germany’s Julian Weber a medal.

Ingebrigtsen springs all-time upset with historic run

The Men’s 1500m event has been nothing short of stunning at Tokyo 2020, with two Olympic Records tumbling in the semi-final and the final.

It was Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigsten who came out on top today in a blistering time of 3:28.32. It is the first time Ingebrigsten has beaten silver medalist Timothy Cheruiyot in the 13 times the two have come up against one another.

It may sound ridiculous to call it a blistering time when it is still 2.32 seconds slower than the Word Record time but six athletes finished under the Olympic Record time set two nights prior and seventh place Stewart McSweyn also finished at a time that would have won Olympic Gold at all prior games.

It’s McSweyn’s punishing strategy that set the pace in the previous heats that made all others change their tactics and whilst it denied him gold today it may have changed how this race is run at future Olympics and World Championships.

Team USA Relay finally comes good

The United States hasn’t had the best of luck in the Relays at Tokyo 2020, getting denied several times in the pool, in the triathlon and just last night on the track.

That changed tonight when they won Gold in both the Women’s and Men’s 4x400m Relay Finals.

It was the Women’s final first with the team of Sydney McLaughlin, Allyson Felix, Dalilah Muhammad and Athing Mu who conquered the world with a time of 3:16.85, beating Silver medallists Poland by 3.68 seconds.

Poland broke their national record coming in at 3:20.53 and Jamaica rounded out the podium with a time of 3:21.24. Every team but Cuba ran a season-best or broke a National Record tonight, with the Cubans unable to beat their time from the Heats earlier this week.

In the Men’s 4x400m Relay the United States winning was certainly a big deal but it was Botswana and the Netherlands that stole the show with the Netherlands pipping Botswana at the post to deny them silver.

However, it was Botswana’s first medal at Tokyo 2020 breaking the African Record with a time of 2:57.27 and the Netherlands trounced their own National Record with a time of 2:57.18.

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