"Doha has made me want it even more and I am prepared to put in the hard work", was the response from one of the athletes I coach.

Any young athlete with any passion for track and field can't help but be inspired by the excitement and quality of performance at the 17th version of the IAAF World Championships in Doha.

Even in my case although the horse has well and truly bolted, I feel excited for the season ahead that for me and about 20 young athletes starts at pre-season camp in Tauranga next week.

However, as Duncan Johnstone opined in his column in Tuesday's Dominion Post, the Rugby World Cup has been the flattest to date because of problems with TV coverage.


Athletics has fared a little better on Sky but only a relatively small proportion of the population have Sky and fewer are able to record the five to six-hour small hours coverage and watch in more civilised hours. It has been good to be on holiday and I hope many athletes I work with have had the chance to be similarly inspired.

There have been some wonderful events so well presented on TV with outstanding commentary and it is clear the presentation at the stadium has reached new levels, especially for the closing event of the day, sadly in front of a disappointingly small crowd.

On Day 2 it was the men's 100m final. The stadium lights dimmed following by a light show as the eight finalists were introduced and then delivered.

Christian Coleman, the pre-race favourite won with 9.71 for a world leading mark with the controversial Justin Gatlin in second and Andre de Grasse of Canada in third making a welcome return. Five sprinters went under 10 seconds. Our own Edward Osei-Nketai still only 18 missed progressing to the semifinal by only two places and by .01 of a second. A great learning experience for the highly exciting prospect.

A night later it was the turn of the women and it was pleasing they were given the same treatment as the men and delivered a stunning final. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price returning to the sport after giving birth to a son won with a world leading time to produce a season's best (10.71) to place her as one of the world's greatest women sprinters.

Dina Asher-Smith broke the UK record (10.83) for silver, Britain's first women's 100 metre World Championship medal with Marie Josee-Talou of the Ivory Coast third.

On Tuesday it was the turn of the male 400 metre hurdles to get the full treatment and with a stacked field they delivered. As the rest of the men stood quietly on the start line, Karsten Warholm (Norway) the defending champions bellowed to the camera at the beginning of the race and then attacked the hurdles with similar aggression to win in 47.42. The time would be good over a straight 400 metres let alone a lap with 10 hurdles to negotiate. The world record is under threat.

The field events have been tremendous and being able to share the twists and turns as the event unfolds has brought the sport to life. Defending champion Mariya Lasitskene won her third consecutive world high jump title with a clear card right up to 2.04 metres but was pushed all the way by World Youth Champion Yaroslava Mahuchikh who also jumped 2.04 twice breaking the World Junior record. Lasitskene again proved her ability to perform when it matters.


The sportsmanship and respect for each other has been evident throughout.

In the pole vault Sandi Morris (USA), who had been clear and joint leader right through to 4.90 metres, failed in all three attempts at 4.95 but stood and joined the clapping from the crowd as Katerina Sidorova came in for her third and successful attempt which took gold.

Morris ran straight to her rival to congratulate her. Katerina Stefanidi was third with 4.85 metres which is the same height our own Eliza McCartney vaulted in Hastings in January to share the 4th best vault of the year also 4th in the all-time.

We all hope McCartney can take her place in Tokyo next year.

New Zealanders have had mixed fortunes in Doha. Portia Bing was sadly disqualified having been inside the New Zealand record and had qualified for the 400-metre hurdle semifinal.

Camille Buscomb set a personal best in finishing 12th in the 10,000 metres with a Tokyo qualifying mark and Quentin Rew finished 11th in the gruelling 50km walk, again coming through in the second half are the Kiwi highlights to date.

We are at the half-way point of the championships. I look forward to the rest of the action.