Anju Bobby George was nowhere near her season's best, let alone personal best, as the lanky long jumper managed a clearance of only 6.53m to finish a disappointing ninth in the final of the World Championship in Osaka on Tuesday.
The lone Indian athlete to make it to the final of the World Championship for the third time, Anju cut a sorry figure and her show was well below her personal best of 6.83m, set at the 2004 Athens Olympics. The Indian could clear just 6.10m in her first effort before fouling her next jump. It was in her third attempt that Anju managed 6.53m, which was even below than her 6.60m effort in qualifying round.
Russia's Tatyana Lebedeva clinched gold with a leap of 7.03 metres.
Another gold for Isinbayeva
Pole vault queen Yelena Isinbayeva won gold Tuesday but failed in a world record attempt, as Kenyan runners held sway on the track at the Championships.
Isinbayeva said before the event she was unbeatable, and it was no idle boast. The Russian holds the world record of 5.01 metres and has 20 indoor and outdoor records to her name. She won here in 4.80m and attempted to clear 5.02m but was unable to pull it off. Katerina Badurova of the Czech Republic was second and Russia's Svetlana Feofanova third.
"I won and that is the most important," said Olympic champion Isinbayeva. "The only small disappointment is that I did not jump the world record. I wanted to show everybody something special. What was missing to the world record? Maybe some small technical issues, but mainly my concentration."
Kenyan domination continues
Kenya's formidable men's 3,000 metres steeplechasers toyed with the opposition before delivering the expected clean sweep, with Olympic silver medallist Brimin Kipruto winning gold.
He came home in 8 minutes 13.82 seconds, some 20 seconds off the world record, ahead of Olympic champion Ezekiel Kemboi and Richard Mateelong. "We had a plan as a team to run together until the final 400 metres. I am so happy. It's the first time I won a gold medal. We will celebrate as a team, as a country," said Kipruto.
Soon after, Janeth Jepkosgei made it a night to remember for Kenya by winning the women's 800m world title, crossing the line in 1:56.04 ahead of Morocco's Olympic silver medallist Hasna Benhassi and Spain's Mayte Martinez. It was the first time Kenya won a women's middle distance world title.
But there was sadness for crowd favourite and triple former champion Maria Mutola who pulled up injured while in third place as she rounded the last bend.
Wariner closer to world record
Earlier in the day, Jeremy Wariner made no mistakes in his 400 metres heat, while Tyson Gay began his quest for a rare sprint double. Few favourites are firmer than Wariner and he has improved his personal best to 43.50 secs.
Less than 48 hours after blowing away Asafa Powell to win the 100m gold, Gay set the fastest time in the 200m quarter-finals. Gay is bidding to emulate compatriots Maurice Greene and Justin Gatlin for the coveted 100-200 double.