Mujinga Kambundji delivered a stunning performance to capture the women’s 60 meters title with a blistering time of 6.96 seconds, while pre-championship favorite Ewa Swoboda failed to make the podium at the World Indoor Championships Belgrade22 on Friday’s (18) first day of competition.
Kambundji, who won a bronze medal four years ago when the meeting was last staged in Birmingham, England, upgraded that color to a shiny gold in the Serbian capital to move all the way up to joint fourth on the all-time indoor 60m list with the Jamaican legendary Merlene Ottey. Read more: How to watch the USATF Youth Indoor Championships 2022?
The title-winning performance by Kambundji saw the Swiss sprinter improving her PB from 7.03 seconds, while she became the first European World Indoor Championships women’s 60m champion in over decades. The last time a European women won the world indoor 60m title was in 1999 when Greek sprinter Ekateríni Thánou also clocked 6.96 secs for the gold medal.
With everyone focusing on the inside lanes where the favorites were, Kambundji finished like a running away train in lane eight to produce her new national record.
Another PB from Mikiah Brisco for silver
American champion Mikiah Brisco, who twice ran 7.03 seconds in the opening two rounds, finished a close second with another personal best of 6.99 secs to bag her first major championships medal, while her teammate Marybeth Sant-Price collected a well-deserved bronze medal with a time of 7.04 secs, as it took photo-finish to separate third place through sixth place.
This was the fourth time in history that two women have broken the 7.00 seconds barrier in the same race and the second time at the world indoor championships after sprint legendaries Gail Devers of United States (6.95) and Irina Privalova (6.97) of Russia did it in 1993.
Meanwhile, Swoboda could only manage a fourth place in 7.04 after failing to recover from a slow start.
The 2019 European champion and world leader entering the championships, came to Serbia in the form of her life after clocking 6.99 seconds in Torun, earlier this month, but the Polish national record holder was unable to finish off her great winter form with a gold medal run.
Jamaica’s Briana Williams, who looked impressive throughout the early rounds, ended with another impressive PB of 7.04 for fifth place with her compatriot and Olympic 100m bronze medalist Shericka Jackson, also clocking a lifetime best of 7.04 in sixth.
The World Indoor Championships Belgrade22 continues on Saturday with Day 2 competition at the Serbian capital’s Stark Arena.