World Championships: Wayde van Niekerk wins superb 400m

By Tom FordyceChief sports writer in Beijing
Van Niekerk wins 400m in stunning time
World Athletics Championships
Venue: Beijing National Stadium, China Dates: 22-30 August
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, Red Button, Radio 5 live, online, mobiles, tablets and app. Click here for full details.

South Africa's Wayde van Niekerk produced a sensational run of 43.48 seconds to snatch 400m world gold and upset a star-studded field.

Van Niekerk went out hard and hung on in a desperate last few metres to hold off former world champion LaShawn Merritt and reigning Olympic champion Kirani James. The South African was later taken away on a stretcher following his exertions.

Merritt's 43.65secs for silver was a new personal best while James's 43.78 was a season's best in bronze.

It was the first time in history three men in the same race have gone under 44 seconds, with Van Niekerk's time putting him on the world all-time list behind only Michael Johnson, Butch Reynolds and Jeremy Wariner.

BBC Radio 5 live athletics co-commentator Darren Campbell said after the race: "Van Niekerk can't celebrate, he's holding on to the barrier for support, and he's down again. He's in so much pain. He's not thinking about a lap of honour. That's how hard it was."

Britain's Rabah Yousif finished a fine sixth in his first world final with 44.68, his part in one of the great one-lap races fitting reward for an excellent season.

Wayde Van Niekerk
Wayde Van Niekerk needed treatment after his epic 400m win

On a night of spectacular performances Kenya's Julius Yego became the third longest javelin thrower in history, winning gold with 92.72m.

Yego only took up the event because he was too slow to run middle distance and learned the event by watching instructional videos on YouTube.

But after Egypt's Ihab El Sayed had taken the lead with a second round 88.99, Yego came up with a monstrous effort on his next attempt to smash Steve Backley's Commonwealth record, Finland's Tero Pitkamaki taking bronze with 87.64m.

World javelin champion Julius Yego
"Very few athletes have done what I have done. There will not be another YouTube athlete coming through. I want to go back and watch my throw, it was almost perfect."

A dramatic finish to the women's 3,000m steeplechase saw Kenya's Hyvin Jepkemoi fight her way past Tunisia's Habiba Ghribi and Germany's Gesa Krause in the final few metres.

The three had come to the final barrier in a line with Ghribi stuttering into the obstacle as Krause looked to pull away.

Yego wins historic javelin gold

But Ghribi pulled onto the German's shoulder before Jepkemoi - whose poor technique at the water jump had cost her three metres - kicked again to come home in 9 mins 19.11 secs, 14 hundredths clear of Ghribi with Krause just one hundredth of a second further back.

Reigning world champion Zuzana Hejnova dominated the 400m hurdles final, her 53.50secs a dominant performance as the USA's Shamier Little and Cassandra Tait fought it out for silver and bronze almost half a second back.

Britain's Eilidh Child was sixth in 54.78, while her team-mate Holly Bradshaw finished seventh in a thrilling pole vault final with 4.70m, failing three times at 4.80.

Cuba's Yarisley Silva battled it out with Brazil's Fabiana Murer for gold after Greece's Nikoleta Kyriakopoulou had put a rocket under the competition with a first-time clearance at 4.80m.

Silva and Murer cleared that height at their second attempts before both went over at 4.85 and, with the Brazilian winning on countback, Silva snatched the title at the death by wriggling over 4.90m on her third and final attempt.

Hejnova wins 400m hurdles gold