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Disappointing end to Boyd’s pole vault campaign

Dual Commonwealth Games pole vault champion Alana Boyd fell just short of a place in the top 10 at the world championships in Beijing last night.

In her first world championships final Boyd, 31, consolidated her final appearance at the London Olympics, finishing 11th as she did in London.

After a shaky start in which she missed her first attempt at 4.35m, Boyd found her rhythm. She went over 4.50m without a hitch and took two attempts to clear 4.60m, the best by an Australian woman at a major championship. But in an extremely high standard competition, she needed to go higher still to achieve her goal of a top eight finish.

For the first time at a world titles, 12 women cleared 4.60m. Boyd’s third attempt at 4.70m was her best but she clipped the bar on her way down and it plummeted to the mat, along with her hopes of a higher placing.

Boyd was one of five women to exit the competition at 4.70m but her first round miss at 4.60m dropped her down the order on a countback.

That left seven women to continue the fight for the medals.

Boyd, coached by her father Ray, himself a former Commonwealth champion, has said she intends to retire after next year’s Rio Olympics so this is likely to have been her last appearance at the world titles.

In other competition, Julius Yego became the first Kenyan athlete to win a world title in a field event as he dominated the men’s javelin final.

Yego, who learned how to throw a spear by watching YouTube videos, claimed the world title with a massive throw of 92.72m, the biggest in the world for 14 years.

In another first for the world titles, Africa claimed the top two medals in the javelin.

Egypt’s Ihab El Sayed won the silver medal with a best throw of 88.99m, while Finland’s Tero Pitkamaki took the bronze (87.64m).

On the track, Czech world champion Zuzana Hejnova retained her title with a commanding victory in 53.50sec, the fastest time in the world this year.

Meanwhile, Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin will resume their rivalry in the 200m final tonight after dominating their respective semi-finals.

Gatlin jogged to the finish line in 19.87sec to lead the field into the final, while Bolt cruised through in 19.95sec. But as the 100m showed, Bolt is able to find another gear when the title is on the line.

Two Kenyans have failed pre-competition drugs tests at the world championships and have been provisionally suspended, the IAAF announced yesterday.

Koki Manunga and Joyce Zakary “have accepted provisional suspensions following positive samples provided in Beijing on the 20th and 21st of August respectively”, the IAAF said in a statement.

Track and field’s world governing body said the Kenyan pair had been tested at the athletes’ hotel before their competition started as part of “targeted tests”.

Zakary clocked a national record of 50.71sec in Monday’s first round of the women’s 400m at the Bird’s Nest, but did not start the semi-final on Tuesday for which she had qualified.

African silver medallist Manunga, however, failed to make it out of her first round of the 400m hurdles on Sunday, timing 58.96sec to finish 35th out of 37 athletes competing.

Athletics Kenya, the nation’s governing body, later confirmed that it had been “informed by the IAAF of the positive tests returned by two of its athletes, Koki Manunga and Joyce Zakary”.

“Athletics Kenya has already met with the IAAF and the athletes involved, and has begun investigating the situation which led to these results and appropriate follow-up action will be taken in Kenya,” track and field’s governing body in the east African running powerhouse added in a statement.

“In the meantime, Athletics Kenya will provide full support and co-operation to the IAAF during results management process.”

Kenya was rocked this year when marathon star Rita Jeptoo was banned for two years after being caught doping with the banned blood-boosting hormone EPO.

Jeptoo is the biggest name in Kenyan sports ever to have been caught, and the bust has been a major trauma for a country that idolises its medal-winning and record-breaking runners.

Top Kenyan athletes earlier this month called for the national governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federation and the world’s anti-doping body WADA to take action over reports of widespread doping.

Leaked results cited by German broadcaster ARD and London’s The Sunday Times claimed that more than 800 athletes, including 18 Kenyans, had “suspicious blood test results” between 2001 and 2012.

ARD alleged doping was ongoing in Kenya, and claimed there was “massive corruption” within the Kenyan set-up and “a desire to cover-up doping … to the summit of the Kenyan athletics federation”.

Athletics Kenya said it had “watched with grave concern the German TV ARD documentary”, calling the broadcast, which coincided with the national trials for the world championships in Beijing, “extremely suspect and ill motivated”.

From: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/rio-olympics/disappointing-end-to-boyds-pole-vault-campaign/story-fnvtnjbp-1227500399884?sv=3da42cb3bffeb0eb406e86680bef4cfb

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