Fri | Dec 15, 2017

London 2017 | Neutral athlete gets long jump silver

Published:Saturday | August 12, 2017 | 12:09 AM
Netherlands' Dafne Schippers celebrates winning the gold in the women's 200 metres final at the IAAF World Championships in London yesterday.

LONDON,England: (AP):

A year ago, Darya Klishina couldn't find a teammate. This year, she couldn't find a flag.

It's been quite a journey from last year's Olympics to this year's world championships for Russia's top long-jumper a journey that ended yesterday with her holding a silver medal and celebrating it with the people who helped her get here.

"She hopped over the barrier and said, 'I don't have a flag, but I have a coach,'" said Loren Seagrave, the coach who's been along for the entire emotional ride. "That's when she gave me a big hug."

Klishina is one of 19 from her country who are officially competing as neutral athletes because of the doping scandal that has engulfed her country. It means no flag, no Russian uniform, no national anthem.

No matter. She jumped 7 metress to take the silver and come an oh-so-close two centimetres from American winner Brittney Reese. Reese's US teammate, Tianna Bartoletta, took the bronze.

After the long jump was over, the American steeplechasers pulled quite a surprise. Emma Coburn and Courtney Frerichs turned in a stunning 1-2 finish the first two medals for the American women in the event at world championships.

"This is better than I could ever have imagined," said Coburn, who captured Olympic bronze in Brazil.

The two certainties on a wild night were these: Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands (200 metres) and Pawel Fajdek of Poland (hammer throw), each of whom are getting used to this sort of thing. Schippers defended her world title and Fajdek won it for the third straight time.