Five things we learned on Athletics World Championships day 5 – Bosse can’t party like Bolt and can Van Niekerk pull off a golden double?


Not to joke about the runs

There has been an outbreak of the norovirus bug at one of the team hotels. This leads to vomiting and diarrhea. Isaac Makwala from Botswana was told he could not compete in the 400m final on day five by medical teams from the IAAF, which organises the championships. On day four Makwala was withdrawn from the first round of the men’s 200m. The 31-year-old said he was ready to run the 400m. But the medics said no.

Not to get into conspiracy theories

Wayde van Niekerk has been tipped to be the next big poster boy for world athletics. He is aiming to pull off a golden double in the 200 and 400m. This hasn’t been done at the world championships since the American Michael Johnson achieved the feat in Gothenburg in 1995. One of van Niekerk’s main rivals? Yep. Isaac Makwala.

Good things don’t always come to an end

Yes, we are talking yet again about Usain Bolt. But while Bolt botched up, the Kenyan supremacy continued in the men’s 3000m steeplechase. The last time someone born outside Kenya won the event was back in 1987. That was Francesco Panetta from Italy. We use the phrase ‘someone born outside Kenya’ for a reason. Back at the world championships in Paris in 2003 and in Helsinki in 2005, Saif Saaeed Shaheen of Qatar won the event.

However, Mr Shaheen was born Stephen Cherono in the Keiyo district of Kenya. He changed nationality for various reasons. Those who say it was for a whacking pay cheque are out of order. Well out of order. Conseslus Kipruto won the steeplechase on day five in 8:14.12.

Soufiane Elbakkali from Morocco was second and the American Evan Jager was third. What we liked afterwards was Ezekiel Kemboi doing a lap of honour with Kipruto. Kemboi’s won the steeplechase four times – so that makes him Kenyan – and he was the defending champion. But 11th place just one ahead of compatriot Jairus Kipchoge Birech didn’t seem to bother the 35-year-old.  “These boys are like my children,” he beamed.

Hot Bosse run

Pierre-Ambroise Bosse burst for the line 150 metres out during the men’s 800m final. It shocked everyone. But the gamble paid off for the 25-year-old Frenchman who admits a penchant for the casino. He is now king of the world in the 800m. It’s a huge improvement on his fourth place in the 800m at the Rio Olympics. But he has a lot to learn about victory.

During his lap of honour he said he had to stop to throw up. No, nothing to do with the norovirus. Bosse accepts he’s just a lightweight. “I can’t party like Usain Bolt,” he conceded. Sacré bleu.

Boy, y’all livin’ in mama town

Wayde van Niekerk completed the first part of the dream 200/400m double. He strolled to the 400m gold easing up à la Bolt as he approached the finish line. That makes it three golds in three years for the 25-year-old South African.

But the honcho of the one lap revealed that this bauble is the first that he will be able to give away to whomsoever he pleases. The other two captured at the Beijing world championships in 2015 and the Rio Olympics in 2016 have been subject to a maternal edict. “She said that everything that was achieved in her house stays at home.” The poor lamb added: “This is the first gold medal that I can take to my own house.” Bless.

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