European Athletics celebrated double gold in the space of just over half an hour in Beijing today as Germany’s Christina Schwanitz won the shot put and Great Britain’s Mo Farah retained his 10,000m crown.
It meant the opening day of these IAAF World Championships was one to remember for Europe and could set the standard for a brilliant nine days for the continent.
A year on from taking her first major outdoor title at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich, Germany’s Schwanitz confirmed her superiority at the Bird’s Nest Stadium.
She had been the best in qualifying (19.39m) in the monring and in the evening broke probably more than a few home hearts in the stadium as she beat China’s Lijiao Gong.
Gong had led after the first round (20.30m) from Schwanitz (19.80m) but that was just for starters from the German who won silver in Moscow in 2013.
Round three proved the key moment as Schwanitz swept her way into the gold medal position with a brilliant swivel and delivery from the ring for a distance of 20.37m.
Gong could not respond and though Schwanitz had only one more legal throw, 20.10m in round five, she was the champion.
Gong was second from American Michelle Carter (19.76m) with Hungary’s Anita Marton having a great day, too, as she broke the national record with a fourth round 19.48m to finish fourth.
As the shot put came to an end, Farah was just preparing for the 10,000m final as he looks to cement his legend even further.
No athlete has defended the 5000m and 10,000m at the same world championships but Farah is now halfway there after doing what he does best.
He was never allowed to dominate as his three Kenyan rivals were either in front or close to him, but in the end with a lap to go, he injected his brilliant speed and it was enough, as he stretched away with 50m left.
Farah, who had been clipped often during the race, was a picture of delight as he won (27:01.13) from Kenyan duo Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor (27:01.76) and Paul Kipngetich Tanui (27:02.83).
He was aware of the tactics he faced and he said: "I knew the guys were going to do that. They had to.
"It was a matter of hanging in there and hoping it was not taking too much out of me. You have to believe in yourself.
"There were three or four times that I nearly went down, I have long strides but I want to keep winning as many medals as I can."
He will now prepare for the 5000m, with the heats on Wednesday and the final on Saturday.
Twelve hours earlier, and with one of the best performances of his career, Italy’s Ruggero Pertile finished fourth in the marathon in 2:14:23, missing out on bronze by 0.93 in a race won by Eritrea’s Ghirmay Ghebreslassie (2:12:28).
In the pole vault, France’s Renaud Lavillenie only entered the competition at 5.70m, the qualifying mark stage, and went over first time, while Germany’s defending champion Raphael Holzdeppe needed three attempts to make it after starting at the stage too. As Robert Renner, of Slovakia, Ivan Gertlein, of Russia, and Ivan Horvat, of Croatia, also progressed with 5.70m, they did so with national records.