AHOURE AND JOHNSON-THOMPSON TRIUMPH ON NIGHT OF EMOTION AND HISTORY
Murielle Ahouré of the Ivory Coast sprinted to an emotional and historic 60m title while Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson sealed her first global title in the pentathlon as female athletes dominated the second night of action at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018.
Ahouré said she was thinking of her father who has died in the last year as she came home in 6.97 seconds to win her country their first ever gold at the championships.
Compatriot Marie-Josée Ta Lou sealed a great night for the Ivory Coast with silver ahead of Switzerland’s Mujinga Kambundj. Both athletes clocked 7.05 in a desperately close finish to the prestigious event.
But the focus was on Ahouré who was close to tears after the race when the emotion of her victory began to sink in.
“This last year has been so difficult with my father. I knew he was watching from up there,” she said. “I was talking to him before the race, saying 'please Dad help me in the race.' I couldn't get a gold medal when he was alive. I have so much pent-up up emotion now.”
Johnson-Thompson won Britain’s first gold medal of the championships with an impressive day of performances in the five-discipline event.
The Briton led the competition after the penultimate long jump and then raced home ahead of the rest of the field in the 800m to win with 4,750 points ahead of Austria’s Ivona Dadic (4,700) and bronze medallist Yorgelis Rodriguez of Cuba (4,637).
The 25-year-old Johnson-Thompson won a European indoor title three years ago but Birmingham marks her biggest success on the world stage in front of an enthusiastic home crowd.
“It’s been a very long hard day but it’s definitely been worth it. As always in the pentathlon there are highs and lows throughout the day,” she said. “I knew going into the 800 I was in the lead. All I needed to do was keep ahead of Dadic and Rodriguez. Something just happened to me in the third lap and I just felt good so I wanted to go for the win.”
Cuban Juan Miguel Echevarria won a tight men’s long jump competition when just four centimetres separated the medallists. The Cuban’s fifth-round effort of 8.46m sealed gold ahead of South African silver medallist Luvo Manyonga who had led the event after his fourth-round effort of 8.44. American Marquis Dendy took the bronze medal with 8.42m.
The other gold medal of the night was won by Anita Marton who clinched Hungary’s first ever World Indoor Championship gold with 19.62m in the women’s shot. Jamaica’s Danniel Thomas-Dodd took the silver head of China’s Lijiao Gong.