The storm which had turned the track into a stream two hours before the final session of the 15th International Association of Athletics World Championships may have passed, but electricity remained in the Bird’s Nest stadium tonight as Chinese athletes, perhaps inspired by the unlikely silver earned by their men’s 4x100 metres sprinters the previous night, added two more of the same colour.
First Huihui Lyu earned second place in the women’s javelin - agonisingly deprived of gold by the very last throw of the competition from Germany’s Kathrina Molinar.
Guowei Zhang, a one-man storm of emotion, then settled with a little more equanimity for silver after Canada’s Derek Drouin had claimed gold as the only one to clear 2.34 metres in a jump off after he, the Chinese idol and Ukraine’s defending champion Bohdan Bondarenko had all failed 2.36m as joint leaders in company with Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim, fourth on countback.
But the German, in bronze medal position, drove a spear through the collective heart of the home fans as she reached a personal best of 67.69m, the furthest thrown this year, to claim gold, producing a kind of strangled hush in response.
As the dazed Molitar posed for the photographers, Lyu sobbed on her coach’s chest.
At that moment, it clearly felt for her like a medal lost rather than won.
After securing the first global, or major international medal of her career at the age of 31, Molinar, one of four Germans in the final, commented: “I cannot really believe this.
"After my fifth throw I thought - ‘Maybe I can improve a little bit.’
"I dreamed about that.
"And now I have a personal best, a world lead and my first international medal.
"I don’t know what to say.”
Asbel Kiprop of Kenya, the fastest man in the world over 1500m this year with 3min 26.69sec - just 0.69 off the world record - cooly earned his third consecutive world gold, waiting near the back as his Kenyan team-mates contested the leading places with a field including Algeria’s Olympic champion Taoufik Makhloufi before gliding up on the outside and timing his final strike to perfection, crossing in 3:34.40.
In the women’s 5,000m final, Genzebe Dibaba’s hopes of adding another title to the one she already had at 1500m were systematically destroyed by her Ethiopian team-mate Almaz Ayana, who took gold in a Championship record of 14:26.83 after moving inexorably away over the final kilometre after the two women had surged clear of the field.
Dibaba was even caught for silver at the last by team-mate Senbere Teferi, who clocked 14.44.07 as the world 1500m record holder, legs buckling, settled for bronze in 14:14.16.
“Today I had my fifth race in 10 days,” Dibaba said.
“I had some problem with my foot.
"My heel and my legs were painful but I had to manage it.”
Jamaica’s dominance over the United States in the previous day’s sprint relay finals spread to the women’s 4x400m as a surge over the last 30 metres from Novlene Williams-Mills took her past Francena McCorory for victory in 3:19.13,the fastest recorded this year.
But LaShawn Merritt at least brought the Championships to a victorious close for the US as he concluded their 4x400m efforts in a 2015 world-leading time of 2:57.82, with Trinidad and Tobago second in a national record of 2:58.20 and Britain sneaking bronze in 2:58.51.
Mare Dibaba claimed Ethiopia’s first-ever women’s world marathon title 2:27.35, a second clear of Kenya’s Helah Kiprop and just four seconds ahead of Bahrain’s bronze medallist Eunice Jepkirui Kirwa.
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August 2015: Bolt completes 100/200 metre double, Taylor triple jumps 18.21m
August 2015: Usain Bolt hints he will end his career at Rio 2016 rather than London 2017