World Athletics Championships: Ruth Chepngetich wins women’s marathon as many pull out in heat

Ruth Chepngetich crosses the line to win the women's marathon
Ruth Chepngetich has run the fastest time in the women’s marathon in 2019
2019 World Athletics Championships
Venue: Khalifa International Stadium, Doha Dates: 27 September-6 October
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport website and app; Listen live on BBC Radio 5 Live; Live streams, clips and text commentary online.

Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich won the women’s marathon at the World Championships as 28 of the 68 starters withdrew in gruelling conditions in Doha.

In a race that started at midnight local time, Briton Charlotte Purdue was among the athletes to pull out in temperatures of 32C and with humidity reaching over 70%.

Organisers decided to go ahead with the event in its scheduled slot despite fears that the conditions might not be conducive for marathon running.

Ethiopia’s marathon coach Haji Adillo Roba witnessed his trio of athletes stop, including Tokyo Marathon winner Ruti Aga.

“We never would have run a marathon in these conditions in our own country,” he told BBC Sport during the race.

“I’ll be interested to see how many finish.”

Chepngetich, 23, took the first gold of the championships in two hours 32 minutes 43 seconds with athletes attempting to complete six 7km loops of the Corniche in the Qatar capital.

Bahrain’s defending champion Ruth Chelimo, 39, was second in 2:33.46 and Commonwealth champion Helalia Johannes of Namibia, also 39, took bronze in 2:34.15.

Purdue, the third fastest British female marathon runner in history, withdrew after the start of the third loop. Compatriot Tish Jones pulled out before the race with a leg injury.

Four athletes are driven to the finish area in a kart after pulling out of the women's marathon
The heat and humidity took its toll with Ethiopia’s Ruti Aga among four athletes driven to the finish area in a kart after pulling out

Chepngetich was among a small group that included Chelimo, two-time champion Edna Kiplagat, Kenya’s Visiline Chepkesho and Johannes that broke clear from the rest as early as the fifth kilometre.

Israel’s European champion Lonah Chemtai Salpeter was among the pack but dropped out as the quartet stretched away from her.

It became a two-horse race between Chepngetich and Chelimo before the eventual winner surged again, this time decisively, to secure her first major championships medal.

“I was not expecting to be a medallist in such tough conditions,” Chelimo told AFP.

Laurent Koscielny
France defender Laurent Koscielny has left Arsenal after nine years at the north London club

Arsenal legend Ian Wright has described former Gunners captain Laurent Koscielny as “disrespectful” for the nature of his social media video unveiling at Bordeaux.

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Directly addressing former France centre-back Koscielny, ex-England striker Wright posted on social media: “You should be ashamed for the way you’ve left the club after nine years.

“Got what you wanted and still trying to have a dig. Hope it’s worth it in the long run.”

Koscielny has later posted a statement on Instagram explaining his decision to join Ligue 1 Bordeaux in a £4.6m deal.

He describes his return to his homeland as a “turning point” in his life “as a player, man and family man”.

“My decision to leave has been discussed for months with my club, my team-mates, my coach.

“However, I hope you can understand, and in any case I cannot be thankful enough for these years past at Arsenal.

“I am aware of everything that the club and you supporters have brought to me. But it is time for me to go home so today my will is to join the Bordeaux.”

From Arsenal fans and journalists to former players and celebrity supporters, plenty of people have been airing their thoughts on Koscielny’s move on social media.

Former Gunners forward Eniola Aluko posted her agreement with Wright, while comedian Jack Whitehall – an Arsenal fan – tweeted his own witty response…

Eniola Aluko responds to Ian Wright's tweet: "This has got to be the worst, most crass signing reveal I have seen. He'll cringe looking back at this."

Is VAR a passion killer for the Premier League?

The Premier League is back: 20 games, 52 goals.

Thirty-seven players have scored so far, including hat-tricks from Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling and Norwich’s Teemu Pukki, with the added twist that every goal is now scrutinised by a video assistant referee (VAR).

It has led to celebrations, cheers, hesitation, jeers, anxious waits and, in four cases, disallowed goals for City’s Gabriel Jesus (twice), Brighton’s Leandro Trossard and Wolves’ Leander Dendoncker.

“It’s killing the passion in football!” complain critics. “Players, managers and fans won’t celebrate like they used to.”

“Nonsense, it adds to the drama!” counteract others. “Football’s about entertainment. Let’s use technology to help.”

VAR has, as expected, polarised opinion. Significantly, it has been introduced in the Premier League at the same time as key amendments to the laws of the game.

Fans are getting used to acronyms: IFAB (the lawmakers), PGMOL (the referees) and VAR (the technology). Thrown together, they are creating a volatile mix.

In theory, IFAB tells the PGMOL, and every referee in world football, how to officiate a game and VAR is there to help. VAR corrects “clear and obvious errors” or a “serious missed incident” in four match-changing situations: goals; penalty decisions; direct red cards and mistaken identity.

Has it been consistently applied across competitions? No. Has it led to delays? Yes. The fact it takes more than a few seconds to review multiple camera angles shouldn’t surprise anybody. It’s exactly what every club signed up to last November. It has corrected decisions, but at what cost?

‘This is evolving’

“We’ve done exactly how we have been educated,” Neil Swarbrick, the former referee in charge of VAR’s introduction to the Premier League, told Sky Sports News. “Fans have to trust in what we’re doing.”

Swarbrick warned it could take up to three years for everybody to adjust to VAR. How the new handball law has been applied has been a particular bone of contention, as have millimetre calls with offside.

“IFAB brought in 27 amendments from the start of this season,” he explained. “It’s not frustrating as far as I’m concerned. It’s probably frustrating because a lot of fans don’t pick up on the amendments of the law so, once again, it’s just educating them.”

IFAB officials have been bombarded with questions since the start of the new season and issued unprecedented ‘important clarifications’ to the media about their new laws on Wednesday night.

Lawmakers said they had received “much positive feedback” but “some apparent wrong understanding and applications of the laws.” IFAB made no reference to the handball law or its interpretation.

Premier League match officials met on Tuesday and, according to Swarbrick, were “really happy, really comfortable” with the way they have checked and reviewed around 130 incidents in the opening two rounds of matches.

“This is evolving,” he said. “The main issue we have had is the in-stadium experience for fans.”

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September 2019