On a night when 18-year-old Jianan Wang wowed the Bird’s Nest Stadium by winning bronze in a global final contested, unprecedentedly, by three Chinese athletes, Britain’s Greg Rutherford fed off all the excitement and took gold with a season’s best of 8.41 metres to complete his set of Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European titles.
With Jessica Ennis-Hill and Mo Farah gold medallists here already, Rutherford’s achievement made for a kind of extended "Super-Saturday" effect which brought back memories of London 2012 – memories which, for him, will never be topped.
“Obviously London will forever be my greatest sporting moment,” he said after joining a club of only four other British clean-sweepers in Daley Thompson, Linford Christie, Sally Gunnell and Jonathan Edwards.
“But tonight is a very close second.
“I can imagine for the Chinese guys out there it would have felt exactly as it felt for me in the Olympic Stadium.
"When you are in a stadium full of people cheering you on to win it is the greatest experience in the world.
"Having those three guys there made the crowd extra-special, which was great for all of us.”
Once Jeff Henderson of the United States, who leads this year’s standings, had failed to earn three final jumps – recording two fouls and 7.95m – Rutherford had the competition under control thanks to his second round 8.29m.
His fourth round effort sealed it, and he passed the final two jumps.
After catching the obligatory flag hurled from the stands during his celebrations, he stood before the jostling photographers half-humorously showing off the Union Jack, the absence of which from the team kit he had raised unhappily before setting out for Beijing.
Until Rutherford’s Australian training partner in Phoenix, Arizona, Fabrice Lapierre of Australia, produced a fourth round 8.20m it seemed as if China might claim both the minor medals, but as Wang held bronze with 8.18m, Xinglong Gao, to his obvious dismay, had to be content with fourth place and a season’s best of 8.14m, and Jinzhe Li was fifth with 8.10m.
But if China’s emergence in the long jump created the biggest fuss, the most remarkable performance occurred in the men’s 400 metres hurdles where Kenya’s Nicholas Bett won from the outside lane in 47.79sec, the fastest time in the world this year.
No male Kenyan athlete had made the 400m hurdles final at a World Championships since Erik Keter finished fifth in 1993 in Stuttgart.
Here there were two - Boniface Mucheru Tumuti was fifth in 48.33, with silver going to Russia’s Denis Kudryavtsev in a national record of 48.05 and bronze to Jeffery Gibson of the Bahamas.
Another London 2012 champion, David Rudisha, completed his return from the injury which prevented him running in 2013 as he claimed the 800m title in 1min 45.84sec with Amel Tuka - who heads this year’s rankings with 1:42.51 - misjudging his final effort but still claiming Bosnia and Herzegovina's first ever World Championship medal in 1:46.30 behind silver medallist Adam Kszczot of Poland (1:46.08) in a fast finish to a tactical race.
Rudisha, who has had a hard road back since the injury which ruined 2013 for him, explained that he had concentrated on speed training in his final preparations in order to be able to withstand a late challenge if the race was slow and tactical.
It was, and he did.
Rudisha explained afterwards, in his quiet and laconic fashion, that his wife was expecting a baby, and he had recently heard that the due date was the date of his final.
“Maybe when I go back to the hotel I will have some good news,” he said with a smile.
Ethiopia’s recently installed world 1500m record holder Genzebe Dibaba secured her first global outdoor title as she finished a tactical race with jubilantly windmilling arms in a time of 4:08.09.
Faith Kipyegon of Kenya and Sifan Hassan of The Netherlands did everything they could to resist Dibaba’s final surge, but had to settle respectively for silver in 4:08.96 and bronze in 4:09.34.
The other gold of the evening went to Denia Caballero of Cuba, who deposed Croatia’s Olympic and defending discus throw champion Sandra Perkovic with a best of 69.28m.
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