Kara Winger’s Dream Final Season Continues With Another Win, U.S. Record In Brussels
by Chrös McDougall
Kara Winger celebrates a World Best result following her victory in the women's javelin throw at the 2022 Diamond League Brussels series on Sept. 2, 2022 in Brussels.
Kara Winger waited until age 36, and her final season as a pro javelin thrower, to have her breakthrough in a global championship.
Her swansong season keeps getting better.
Earlier this summer at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, Winger unleased an amazing final throw to move from fifth to second. That marked her first medal in 10 tries at an Olympic Games or world championships.
On Friday, she threw even farther. The native of Vancouver, Washington, again saved her best throw for last, uncorking a final throw of 68.11 meters to record a commanding win at the Diamond League meeting in Brussels, Belgium. Her throw was not only 4.66 meters farther than second place Haruka Kitaguchi of Japan, but it also marked a new American record, meet record and world-leading mark.
“I feel so incredible,” Winger said, according to quotes released by the Diamond League website. “My last personal best was 12 years ago in 2010, and I had two surgeries since then, but I felt really amazing this year.”
Winger’s standout performance was just one of many among the Americans in Brussels, where several were jockeying for spots in the Diamond League Grand Final set for next Wednesday and Thursday in Zurich. U.S. athletes won two other events in Belgium, and seven others reached the podium, while distance runner Grant Fisher also recorded an American record.
Two-time world champion Joe Kovacs kicked things off Thursday in the men’s shot put, winning his second Diamond League event in a week after also taking first last Friday in Lausanne, Switzerland. This time Kovacs, who finished second in Eugene, threw a meet record 22.61 meters to beat New Zealand’s Tom Walsh by just 0.01. Fellow Americans Adrian Piperi (20.88) and Josh Awotunde (20.69) took sixth and eighth, respectively.
Teenage sprinting sensation Erriyon Knighton recorded the other U.S. win in the men’s 200. The 18-year-old Olympian, a bronze medalist in Eugene, won in 20.07 seconds, holding off Alexander Ogando of the Dominican Republic, who finished in 20.18. The win sets up a rematch with fellow American Noah Lyles, the two-time defending world champ, next week in Zurich.
Meanwhile, in the men’s 5,000, Fisher continued his ascent as the next great U.S. men’s distance runner, this time setting an American record while finishing second. Already the U.S. record holder in the 10K, Fisher crossed the line in 12:46.96, trailing only Kenya’s Jacob Krop, who won in a world-leading 12:45.71.
Grant Fisher competes during the men's 5,000-meter final at the 2022 World Athletics Championships on July 24, 2022 in Eugene, Ore.
Fisher, who made his Olympic debut in Tokyo and placed among the top-six in the 5K and 10K in Eugene, is also the American record holder in the indoor 5K. His two Olympic teammates Woody Kincaid and Joe Klecker took 12th and 13th on Friday.
“This was a very competitive 5,000-meter and it went quick, everyone was pushing hard,” Fisher said. “I had the legs today, which is a good feeling. I did not have the legs towards the end, so I couldn’t keep up, but it’s very tough to find another gear when you´re going that fast.”
Tia Jones (12.38) and Keni Harrison (12.40) both reached the podium in the women’s 100-meter hurdles, though they fell just shy of winner Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, the reigning Olympic gold medalist of Puerto Rico, who won in 12.27.
American Khallifah Rosser was second in the men’s 400-meter hurdles at 44.88 seconds, trailing only world champion Alison dos Santos of Brazil, who win in 47.54.
Rounding out the U.S. podiums Friday was Christopher Nilsen, who took third in the men’s pole vault. Nilsen, who won the most recent Olympic and world championships silver medals, was one of three to top out at 5.71 meters, though he took third place overall via tiebreaker. The biggest surprise was just above him in the standings, where Ernest John Obiena of the Philippines (5.91) topped world-record holder Mondo Duplantis of Sweden (5.81) for the title. Duplantis hadn’t been beaten in a pole vault competition since August 2021.
Among other notable results, Americans Aleia Hobbs (10.91), Sha’Carri Richardson (10.93) and Tamara Clark (11.03) went 4-5-6 in a women’s 100-meter event topped by Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson (10.73) and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (10.74). Richardson was coming off a win over Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica in a 100-meter race earlier this week in Switzerland.
Two-time Olympic champ Christian Taylor continued his comeback from a ruptured Achilles tendon last year by taking fourth in the men’s triple jump with a second-best mark of 16.72 meters. Donald Scott of the U.S. was one spot behind him at 16.56.
Olympians Emma Coburn and Courtney Frerichs were both among the top 10 in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, with Coburn eighth at 9:14.43 and Frerichs two spots back at 9:29.93.
Three American women were also in the top-10 of the 1,500, led by Heather MacLean in fifth with a personal-best time of 3:58.76. Elise Cranny was just behind her in sixth at 3:59.61, and Cory Ann McGee was 10th in 4:04.33.