South Africa's Wayde Van Niekerk was taken to hospital as a precuation after winning the world 400m title ©Getty Images

South Africa’s Wayde Van Niekerk had to be taken to hospital here last night after winning the world 400 metres title in 43.48sec, the fastest time run since 2007.

The 23-year-old looked understandably exhausted after his run in humid conditions, and ended up laying on the track as team officials spoke to him.

Medical sources said: “His vital signs were unstable and he had to be transferred [to hospital] for better control and treatment.”

Van Niekerk was discharged from hospital shortly before 11.45pm local time.

The South African’s prodigious effort was more than matched on the day by a winning javelin throw of 92.72 metres from Kenya’s Julius Yego, the best thrown since the Czech Republic's Jan Zelezny won the same title in Edmonton in 2001 with 92.80.

Julius Yego of Kenya won the javelin world title with 92.72m, the best in 14 years ©Getty Images
Julius Yego of Kenya won the javelin world title with 92.72m, the best in 14 years ©Getty Images
For both men, it was a dramatic breakthrough in global level competition.

Yego reduced his final to a silver and bronze medal chase with a third round effort that established him as the third best thrower of all time behind Aki Parviainen of Finland, who threw 93.09m, and Zelezny, whose world record is 98.48.

Van Niekerk, meanwhile, went fourth on the all-time lists behind Jeremy Wariner with 43.45, Butch Reynolds 43.29 and world record holder Michael Johnson, who clocked 43.18 in winning this title at Seville in 1999.

The 26-year-old Kenyan - who already headed this year’s world lists with 91.39m - is only 5ft 9in, but he walked tall as he left the throwing area, beating his chest in excitement.

“I’m so happy, I can’t even express it,” Yego said.

After winning the Commonwealth title in Glasgow last year, this was another significant step up for the man from the Nandi district of Tinderet - and a timely one, given the unfortunate news that two female Kenyan athletes, 400m runner Joyce Zakary and 400m hurdler Francisca Koki Manunga, had tested positive for banned performance-enhancing drugs.

Behind Yego, Egypt’s Ihab Abdelrahman El Sayed also made a breakthrough as he took silver with 88.99m, with bronze going to Finland's 2007 world champion Tero Pitkamaki with 87.64.

Defending 400m champion LaShawn Merritt of the United States produced a personal best of 43.65 in second place, with Olympic champion Kirani James of Grenada third in a season’s best of 43.78.

“A PR (personal record), and I just get to take the silver,” mused Merritt, while James commented: “This was one of the toughest races of my life.

"With guys running such times, the world record could be under threat.”

A national record of 44.11 by Olympic silver medallist Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic was only enough for fourth place.

That is what you call a classy final…

Silva into gold - Cuba's Yarisley Silva, second in the pole vault in London 2012, goes one better in Beijing ©Getty Images
Silva into gold - Cuba's Yarisley Silva, second in the pole vault in London 2012, goes one better in Beijing ©Getty Images

There was more electric action in the field as Cuba’s Yarisely Silva, who took a pole vault medal to match her name at the London 2012 Games, earned her first global outdoor title with a third-time clearance at 4.90m in a hugely competitive final which saw her accompanied to that point by Brazil’s 2011 world champion Fabiana Murer, eventual silver medallist with a South American record of 4.85m, and Nikoleta Kyriakopoulou of Greece.

Silva’s final clearance provoked scenes of burly joy among her watching coaches and supporters, who included the recently elected IAAF vice-president Alberto Juantorena.

The three finishers in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase raced almost shoulder to shoulder within the final 30m before Kenya's Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkemoi prevailed to take gold in 9min 19.11sec, with Habiba Ghribi of Tunisia, who stuttered over the final hurdle but then accelerated back into contention, earning silver by just a hundredth of a second ahead of Germay’s Gesa Krause, 9:19.24 to 9:19.25.

Zuzana Hejnova of the Czech Republic produced a dominant defence of her 400m hurdles title, finishing almost half a second clear of the opposition in 53.50, the fastest time run so far this year.

Silver and bronze went respectively to US runners Shamier Little in 53.94 and Cassandra Tate 54.02.

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