David Rudisha strained every sinew to win gold while Genzebe Dibaba dominated in the way the Kenyan once did at the world athletics championships on Tuesday.
While Rudisha’s 800 metres victory was not a patch on the brilliant run that won him gold in a world record time at the London Olympics, there was a reminder of one of the great nights of that Games when Britain’s Greg Rutherford won long jump gold.
Nicholas Bett showed finishing speed his compatriot Rudisha would have been proud of to win a surprise gold in the 400 metres hurdles and Cuba’s Denia Caballero was a shock winner in the women’s discus courtesy of her opening throw of 69.28m.
Since a serious knee injury in 2013, the once all but unbeatable Rudisha has looked vulnerable against fast-finishing rivals and so it was as much with relief as joy that he celebrated the return of the world title he also won in 2011.
“I am delighted about this gold medal,” he said after crossing the line in one minute 45.84 seconds. “It means a lot to me. Especially after all those disappointments I had this year.”
Another Dibaba gold
Genzebe Dibaba’s family already owns 11 Olympic and world distance gold medals through her sister Tirunesh and cousin Derartu Tulu and the 24-year-old added a first at 1,500m with a stunning display of front-running.
“It’s great to have such a strong performance,” said Dibaba, who finished in four minutes 8.09 seconds. “My sister won the gold medal in this stadium at the (2008) Olympic Games so I wanted to share this family experience.”
Rutherford, who won Olympic gold on ‘Super Saturday’ in London, proved himself a performer of the highest class by securing a full set of major titles with a leap of 8.41m, his best of the year.
“European champion, Olympic champion and now world champion, it’s unbelievable, it’s the most incredible thing,” he said after battling a severe headache to win gold.
Rutherford joined an illustrious list of Britons who have simultaneously held Olympic, world, European and Commonwealth titles in Daley Thompson, Sally Gunnell, Jonathan Edwards and Linford Christie.