Two athletes labelled “Plastic Brits” in some quarters for switching allegiance to run for Britain last night won medals at the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul.
Veteran Yamile Aldama, who previously competed for her native Cuba and Sudan, produced a brilliant jump of 14.82 metres to win gold in the triple jump.
And American-born Tiffany Porter, whose appointment as captain this week reignited the debate on the issue, claimed silver in the 60m hurdles behind Australia’s Sally Pearson.
Aldama set a superb season’s best in the second round, but then suffered a hamstring injury during her next attempt.
However, the 39-year-old did not need to jump again as none of her rivals were able to overhaul her. Olga Rypakova of Kazakhstan took the silver with 14.63m and Mabel Gay of Cuba claimed bronze with 14.29m.
In the hurdles, Pearson made the most of a stunning start to storm to victory in 7.73 seconds, with Porter just holding off Alina Talay of Belarus to claim the silver.
Dwain Chambers was unable to defend his 60m title but did claim bronze for Britain’s third medal of the day and fourth overall.
American Justin Gatlin stormed to victory in 6.46s ahead of Jamaica’s Nesta Carter, with Chambers taking third by the narrowest of margins ahead of American Trell Kimmons, with both athletes given a time of 6.60s.
Ashton Eaton set his third heptathlon world record in as many years to win gold and turn himself into a strong favourite for Olympic gold. The American dominated the two-day event from start to finish and capped it with an overwhelming 1,000m to break the record he set last year with a total of 6,645 points. The old mark was 6,568 points. “I was good, fit and healthy, and if all things went well I knew I would be able to do it,” said Eaton, who will likely be competing for decathlon gold at the London Olympics.
He knew another world record was on the line in the 1000m and said: “Every 200 metres, I would look at the clock and I was thinking, ‘Geez, I’m kind of falling off pace. It’s hard when you’re running by yourself,” Eaton said. “You don’t have that person to chase. But I was chasing a record.”
On Friday, Nataliya Dobrynska of Ukraine set a world record in the pentathlon, making the multi-events expensive for the organisers as each won $90,000 for gold and a record.
Sanya Richards-Ross added another gold for the US yesterday running from the front in the 400m to win in 50.79, and holding off Russian rival Aleksandra Fedoriva.
And Chaunte Lowe made it even better for the Americans by taking the high jump over outdoor champion Anna Chicherova.
Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba won the women’s 1,500m title at 21. “This is the first major victory of my career,” Dibaba said. “It was tough but I am happy to start the Olympic year with this world title.” Dibaba ran with the poise of a veteran and speed of a youngster to finish in 4:05.78, two seconds ahead of Mariem Alaoui Selsouli of Morocco.
Abdalaati Iguider did better for Morocco in the men’s 1,500, sweeping past Ilham Tanui Ozbilen of Turkey in the final metres.
Renaud Lavillenie of France won the pole vault with a world leading jump of 5.95 meters, and Valerie Adams of New Zealand the women’s shot putt.