Ethiopia's Genzebe Dibaba and Yomif Kejelcha interrupted the
American assault on the podium, taking gold in the men's and women's
3,000 meters before the Portland party shifted into overdrive with
the U.S. closing out the four day meeting with victories in the
women's high jump, men's 1,500 meters and long jump and both 4x400m
The United States finished as the runaway leader at the top of the
medal table with 23, smashing the old mark of 19 while claiming 13
gold, as many as the rest of the world combined.
Ethiopia was a distant second with two gold and five medals. No
other country had more than one gold.
The U.S. record may, however, come with an asterisk, because their
chief rival Russia has been banned from international competition by
the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) after
a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) investigation uncovered evidence
of what it termed state sponsored doping.
Ethiopia also arrived at the championships under a doping cloud, the
long distance powerhouse identified by the IAAF as one of five
countries that are in critical care regarding their drug-testing
The final day of competition began with Kejelcha holding off a
hard-charging American Ryan Hill to take the men's 3,000m before
Dibaba, indoor world record-holder in the 1500, mile, 3,000 and
5,000m, made it a clean sweep of the distance gold by leading a
one-two Ethiopian finish in the women's event.
Burundi kept the African roll going with Francine Niyonsaba winning
the women's 800m.
"Doping is not good news for athletes," Dibaba told reporters. "I
think it is altitude and hard training (responsible for success).”
American Matthew Centrowitz, who lives and trains in Portland,
brought a thrilling end to African domination of the distance races
with a victory in the men's 1,500m, taking gold after bronze and
silver at the 2011 and 2013 world outdoor championships.
Vashti Cunningham, the 18-year-old high jumping sensation, also
soared to gold while the U.S. squads stormed to victory in the
[to top of second column]
Jamaica also picked up their first gold on the final day, Omar
McLeod gave the Caribbean sprinting power gold in the men's 60m
With the IAAF promising changes in the wake of doping and corruption
scandals, the indoor championships could have a very different look
when they are staged in Birmingham, England in 2018.
The Portland worlds were held in a modest 7,000 temporary facility
and struggled for attention in the United States where they were
going head-to-head against the hugely popular college basketball
tournament known as March Madness.
The absence of the biggest names in athletics, including Jamaican
sprint king Usain Bolt, did not help while organizers took the
opportunity to try several cosmetic changes to the meet format to
"I think this is the start," said Vin Lananna, president of the
TrackTown USA local organizing committee. "I don't think everything
can happen all at once. I think what we have created is a valuable
show, the entertainment has been really good.
"I think this is the first step in the new president's initiative to
be more innovative to be more accessible and we have certainly
(Editing by Andrew Both)
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