BUDAPEST: American Chase Ealey successfully defended her women’s shot put crown at the World Athletics Championships on Saturday, winning her second successive gold medal while China’s Gong Lijiao won a record eighth straight individual medal.
Ealey, who was competing with a new technique, produced her season-best throw in her fifth attempt to win the gold with a 20.43m effort while Canada’s Sarah Mitton took the silver with 20.08m.
Gong, the 2017 and 2019 world champion who is competing at her ninth consecutive global championships, was chasing her eighth successive medal, clinched bronze after producing a throw of 19.69m, pipping Portugal’s Auriol Dongmo on countback.
“It’s even more satisfying than last year because this year I’ve struggled to get my technique sorted and get everything right. So for it to come together at the right time is perfect,” Ealey said.
“I’ve been training really well and I was really confident. I was early in the series so I wanted to set a good mark and set the pace. I think I did that.”
“I risked this gold because I changed my technique to get better for Paris and the Olympics. That was what the change was for. So hopefully in the future I will have more consistent throws like tonight.”
Ealey had earlier complained about having the qualification round and the final on the same day, but she quickly became the hot favourite when she laid down an early marker with a 20.35m throw on her first attempt.
The 29-year-old soon became the only woman to breach the 20-metre mark multiple times in the final.
“I started crying with my mum,” she added. “I ran to her and she started crying so I started crying. And now my face is a mess!”
Gong goes into record books
Gong was initially pushed down to fourth when Dongmo matched her best mark, but the 34-year-old Chinese produced a 19.67m effort in her next attempt to ensure another podium.
The bronze was Gong’s fourth at the world championships to go with two golds and two silvers, making her the only athlete to win eight consecutive individual medals.
She was previously tied with Kenya’s Ezekiel Kemboi, who won seven medals – four golds and three silvers – in the 3,000m steeplechase between 2003 and 2015.
Ealey’s compatriot Maggie Ewen came to Budapest as the world leader and was a strong favourite for a medal having finished in the top two in eight of her last nine competitions, but she could only manage 19.51m for sixth.