Here is a look at some of the stats from Hungary and the event’s overall success
The aim of the athletics organisers in Budapest this month was to stage the greatest ever World Championships, I think they have succeeded.
This was my 13th World Championships I have attended as a journalist and my favourite and I can’t see Tokyo topping it in 2025.
The athletics was superb with a fine mixture of great dominating champions, shock new winners and final round on the field or last 10-metre changes on the track.
The stadium was excellent – just the right size and splendid beside the Danube – and the crowds (despite a lack of home success) and atmosphere were helped by the Fan Zones while the city itself was magnificent. It was too hot, but the Hungarians did a magnificent job. Getting out of Budapest, however, proved harder for many.
The British performance
This exceeded all expectations – 10 medals equalled Britain’s best in Stuttgart 1993 and it could have been more with some near misses in fourth and the usually dependable Laura Muir and Dina Asher-Smith not quite at their very best.
It won’t be easy to repeat the same medal success in Paris. Josh Kerr was superb but Jakob Ingebrigtsen was not in his earlier Diamond League form and world two mile record form even though he won the 5000m. Nafi Thiam and a few other missing heptathletes should be back next year but KJT’s second day form does reconfirm what a competitor she is and could be even better in 2024.
Matt Hudson-Smith could have Steven Gardiner and Michael Norman to contend with in the 400m and USA’s women are unlikely to be disqualified from the 4x400m in France.
The Paris 100m final could be boosted by past championships winners Fred Kerley and Marcell Jacobs.
Katarina Johnson-Thompson – heptathlon
Josh Kerr – 1500m
Keely Hodgkinson – 800m
Matthew Hudson-Smith – 400m
Zharnel Hughes – 100m
Ben Pattison – 800m
Zharnel Hughes – 200m
Morgan Lake – high jump
Daryll Neita – 200m
Jemma Reekie – 800m
Molly Caudery – pole vault
Laura Muir – 1500m
Dina Asher-Smith – 200m
Jess Warner-Judd – 10,000m
Katie Snowden – 1500m
Dina Asher-Smith – 100m
Others who made final
Neil Gourley – 1500m 9th
Anna Purchase – hammer 11th
Melissa Courtney-Bryant 1500m 12th
USA easily top the world
The United States are the world’s top nation with 12 golds, 8 silvers, 9 bronzes (29 in total) and they had 55 top eight placings.
On the points system which determines a nation’s strength (8 for first place down to one point for eighth) the USA scored twice as many points as any other nation.
Only Jamaica with their sprints and jumps strength and Kenya with their distance prowess also outscore Britain who had almost twice as many points as the next best European nation Spain for whom 32 of their points came from their walks golds.
Britain scored 82 points in Doha and 68 in Eugene so it was a huge step forward in Hungary.
Britain’s traditional European rivals, Germany, scored 36 points and had no medals. Poland had just 31 points and only two medals. Despite the Paris Olympics approaching, France got just 29 points and a single medal.
1 USA 277
2 Jamaica 139
3 Kenya 112
4 GBR 102
5 Ethiopia 96
6 Canada 70
7 Spain 55
8 Australia 51
8 Italy 51
8 Netherlands 51
Who was the top athlete?
Noah Lyles was the star male performer with three golds and provided more than just fast sprinting with his persona. Mondo Duplantis was the most dominant winner and is the other big male star.
Femke Bol won two women’s golds and came close to three as her finish to Budapest proved much better than her day one and her last gasp relay win where she made an astonishing amount up in her final strides was possibly the moment of the championships. However the female athlete of the championships and the year is undoubtedly Faith Kipyegon with her world records and dominance.
The women’s sprint stardom was shared by Sha’Carri Richardson (100m and 4x100m gold and 200m bronze) and Shericka Jackson (200m gold, 4x100m silver and 100m bronze).
The latter produced what was the performance of the championships with the second fastest 200m of all-time with 21.41.
There was one world record but that was in the mixed relay which has no history and because of its position in the timetable does not include the world’s best 400m runners which is ludicrous.
Ingebrigtsen repeated his 1500m silver and 5000m gold from Eugene despite a sore throat even though Norwegian’s dislike of Scots increased. Is it Neil Gourley’s turn to upset them in 2024?
You could have probably got long odds that Britain’s only multiple medallists would be relay runners Rio Mitcham, Lewis Davey and Laviai Nielsen rather than the likes of Hudson-Smith, Hughes and Asher-Smith.
The maddest athlete in Budapest was undoubtedly Sifan Hassan. Attempting three events questions anyone sanity but she ran a far too extravagant 1500m heat on the morning of her 10,000m final needlessly winning. In the 25 lap event, she veered wide in the straight to disrupt a fast approaching Gudaf Tsegay and fell over claiming she was pushed and walked across the line later in 11th.
In the 1500m semi final she ran in the fastest heat in history and ran 3:55.48 and then took bronze in the final slightly slower but with a 57 final circuit.
The day after her 1500m final she ran her 5000m heat and despite her busy programme and 1:56 800m speed she set a torrid pace in hot conditions which was close on a championships best with 14:32.29 even sprinting at the line to beat Kipyegon. She was second a few days later in the 5000m final with a 56 final lap completing her 60 laps of racing in Budapest. However, that wasn’t enough for her as immediately after some of her heats, she was also seen doing some fast 400m intervals!
Performance levels in Budapest
The overall standard was incredibly high but there were probably fewer records than anticipated given the fast track and heat and even championships records were not that frequent.
What was notable though was the competition was fierce and there seemed to be an unusually high number of final round medal changes or change of leader in the last 20 metres.
The mixed relay, the women’s 100m, 800m, 10,000m, 100m hurdles, triple jump, javelin and 4x400m, the men’s 400m, 5000m, long jump, and discus all featured late changes. It was Championships athletics at it’s very best.
At least the drama of day one for the Dutch with the 10,000m and mixed relays were not repeated though.
The standard in qualifying was exceptional and numerous records were set in terms of fastest heats and the fastest an athlete has ever failed to make the final.
The level of surprises can often be indicated by the success of the level of the predictions rather than just plain incompetence on my behalf though picking the likes of Jackson, Duplantis, Holloway, Rojas, Warholm and Bol etc is not entirely a difficult task requiring great athletics foresight.
Even with the many obvious ones, less than half the predicted winners being right suggests more surprises than normal.
We did not have winners Antonio Watson and Danielle Williams even in our top eight in our online predictions and we also missed Perez from our 35km walk top eight although had her third in the 20km.
We only had Katzberg sixth in the hammer and likewise Tausaga in the discus and Lyles was only down for fifth in the 100m and our chosen one Kerley did not even make the final.
There were some minor successes such as the 200m order of Lyles, Knighton, Tebogo, Hughes, De Grasse and Bednarek being very close to what actually happened.
My favourite events in Budapest
My British bias comes out here but Kerr taking on Ingebrigtsen on the final bend and pulling clear and Johnson-Thompson chasing a superb Anna Hall in the 800m and tracking her close enough to smash her PB and take gold will live in my memory forever.
The biggest medal shock was Ben Pattison. He was beaten in the British Champs by Dan Rowden, only qualifying for the team by finishing second to Max Burgin at the very last chance at London and then barely sprinting through to a qualifier in his heat and then advancing from the semis as a fastest loser. He clearly had the talent but his application in the final was a shock to many and the fact it was Britain’s first medal in the event for 36 years added to its achievement.
Hodgkinson’s 800m was more anticipated but it was great she finally was able to overtake Athing Mu although there was a tinge of disappointment with Zharnel Hughes and Matthew Hudson-Smith despite their magnificent performances as they had looked more impressive in qualifying.
Hudson-Smith could have won with a slightly slower first 200m than 21.1 following his European record in the semis and Hughes was not able to quite match his New York form but both had exceptional championships.
The final legs of all four medal winning relays where the British teams defied expectations without their best runners were also thrilling. The mixed team could have been stronger and the men’s and women’s team missed their fastest runners from the individual events but those who ran all rose to the occasion. The fighting spirit was best summed up by Rio Mitcham holding off and running away from individual champion Antonio Watson with a 43.89 split which defies all logic for someone with a 45.60 PB whose best 400m in July and August was 46.90. Britain also got a medal in the women’s 4x100m without double finalist Asher-Smith.
Jess Judd’s eighth may have only added one point to the British points total but that too was way in excess of what anyone predicted as was the efforts of Daryll Neita, Molly Caudery and Katie Snowden.
Away from the Brits, Bol and Warholm’s well-judged 400m hurdles were impressive as they left the opposition behind in the straight and Kipyegon’s 56sec last circuits in the 1500m and 5000m were exceptional but my favourite race with an international winner was El Bakkali’s battle with world record-holder Girma in the steeplechase. He ran a last 800m of 1:58.14 over eight barriers and two water jumps and he eased off to celebrate!
Cheptegei’s control – Mo-style – in the 10,000m was also majestic as were the superb throws victories for Ryan Crouser and Daniel Stahl which were both the best world championship performances in history and Miltiadis Tentoglou fought magnificently in a final round long jump contest.
Defending a title is not easy.
Of the 49 champions from Eugene only 14 successfully defended (Cheptegei, El Bakkali, Holloway, Crouser, Kipyegon, Moon, Lyles, Jackson, Rojas, Duplantis, Ealey, USA (women’s 4x100m and men’s 4x400m) and Ingebrigtsen and eight did not compete for various reasons (Pichardo, Mihambo, Thiam, Dominican Republic (mixed 4x400m), Wightman, Norman, McLaughlin. Jeruto) and 27 who did compete were unable to add to their victories.
World Athletics’ performance
The World Athletics website had record numbers as did its social media postings but it’s not a sign that athletics is in full control of itself if it has to close down part of the World Athletics website every night as it couldn’t cope with demand.
Its scheduling was still in poor in places (mixed relay etc) and I don’t understand why Mahuchikh’s final high jump attempt couldn’t have come before the 4x400m relay rather than after so the Championships could have ended with a glorious relay leg rather than a failed high jump. And why have a relatively low profile event such as the women’s steeplechase on the last day which is always the most watched session?
On the plus side, the athletics was glorious and the qualifying by time rather than places and the scrapping of fastest losers worked for distances of 1500m and above.
The thought that it might mean slow jogs before effective 400m races was not a problem. In the 1500m Adelle Tracey ran 3:58.77 and Tsepho Tshite ran 3:32.98 and didn’t even make the final when those sort of times would have easily have made all previous finals but if you can’t make the top six in your semi, then you are probably not going to make the top six in the final!
World Athletics’ timing partner Seiko were appalling. There were more mistakes in Seiko’s results timing analysis in Budapest than in all the previous 30-plus major championships events I have attended put together over the last 40 years.
According to Seiko, 400m winner Antonio Watson was a tailed off last at 200m and did not go through the 300m mark and Dina Asher-Smith bypassed the 100m mark in the 200m.
The timing company suggests that Faith Kipyegon dropped from first to tenth at 1100m and was back to first at 1200m. I missed that.
Timings were wrong in all men’s 1500m final runners at the bell bar the leader which resulted in fictitious last lap times being even included in World Athletics report – it suggests the Scots drive from 800m onwards consists of 100m splits of 13.55, 13.72, 14.52, 12.97, 13.25, 12.93 and 13.62. Two of those boldoned are wrong and he was not six metres back at the bell.
The mixed 4x400m splits were originally hopelessly wrong and on the wrong information some teams mistakenly changed their teams for the final. They did at least correct the results a few days later.
In the men’s 4x100m Seye Ogunlewe was credited with a 8.05 anchor leg and in the 4x400m heats Shakeem McKay apparently ran 39.54. Nobody in Seiko thought that might be wrong.
The poor quality control by Seiko and World Athletics was prevalent throughout the championships but after some criticism their response was not to improve but just not release any 4x400m splits on the final day though some have been provided by a different unofficial but accurate source and will be included in AW’s results.
GB selection process still wrong
Yes, Britain had a great championships but it does not mean the selection process was right. I wrote a scathing critique pre-championships of British Athletics turning down the opportunity of UK athletes high in the world rankings not being able to take up places on offer from World Athletics.
Athletes were penalised for being British as no other nation did it to such an extent.
Maybe some of the athletes who were in the rankings have had a past opportunity and not taken it and I see that the Worlds is not a development event and that taking athletes destined to exit at the first opportunity may have had a negative impact on morale in the past.
However, too many events with no athletes is more demoralising – 14 men’s events and six women’s had no British competitor which was unfair on British supporters there who had the biggest number of overseas supporters and it’s also unfair on UK television viewers but mostly on the athletes.
Certainly, however, the lack of male endurance runners is not entirely the fault of the selectors – they can’t pick athletes without qualifying marks though maybe that is more the fault of the system and British Athletics need to provide more competition and encouragement. The British Milers’ Club system obviously works as we had eight 800m and 1500m finalists. Two runners only made the team because of the 800m in the London Grand Prix and while distance races are not always practical in a busy timetable there should be more domestic events held at the biggest meets before the main programme starts.
Molly Caudery wouldn’t have competed in Budapest but for one performance in the British Championships and she finished fifth and Ben Pattison only qualified even later and he finished third. Anna Purchase, a rarity who did get a ranking opportunity despite being short of the standard, made the hammer final.
Josh Zeller was fifth in Eugene and there was no sign in his 2023 form he would have repeated it but World Athletics gave British Athletics a chance for a promising young athlete to try again.
Nick Percy threw 64.73m at the beginning of August and 63.72m made the final in Budapest and that distance would have placed eighth in the discus final. Different competition pressure obviously but he might have made the final.
Heptathlete Jade O’Dowda achieved a PB 6255 in Gotzis this year and that would have placed her 10th in Budapest although she has not competed since an attempt in Bydgoszcz in July when she high jumped 1.86m, a height that nome of the heptathletes bettered in Hungary.
Charles Dobson’s 200m spot and Alex Haydock-Wilson’s 400m place were both turned down. Judging by their medal winning relay legs – Dobson ran 43.75 in the 4x400m – an individual place would have been warranted.
NCAA hammer champion Kenny Ikeji threw 77.92m in that competition which is a distance that finished sixth in Budapest even though his post-NCAA form was not at that level. So why not see if he could raise his form again?
Discus thrower Jade Lally threw 61.37m in 2023 but 61.31m made the final in Budapest.
On 2023 form I am not sure Will Battershill and former world finalist Zak Seddon would have necessarily made the final in Budapest but a time of 8:24.74 succeeded and the pair have both run sub-8:23 this summer.
A jump of 6.61m made the women’s long jump final and Lorraine Ugen jumped 6.76m wind-assisted and 6.66m legally.
Joel Clarke-Khan set a PB 2.27m in front of a huge crowd at London, so who’s to say he wouldn’t have found that necessary one extra centimetre in Budapest to make the final where 2.27m would have placed eighth.
British Athletics need to have a closer look at what level of performance makes the final rather than compare British performances to often highly inflated standards chosen deliberately high to keep numbers down so a higher emphasis can be put on ranking places.
Whether some of the athletes would have progressed is irrelevant to some though. The undenying view of most athletes and supporters is that if World Athletics think you’re good enough to get in via a ranking place then your own governing body should support you.
If 400m hurdler Lina Nielsen would have automatically got selected with a 54.90 and she runs 54.96 and is then given a ranking spot shouldn’t the governing body be pleased that she has got a selection opportunity and back its athlete?
Future event changes
Do the marathon and walks have to be included when the conditions are always so difficult? The walks do at least attract the world’s best but the marathon fields never compare with the line-ups in the likes of London, Berlin and Chicago. Should they just be included in a spring and autumn marathon and then athletes won’t be subjected to dangerous conditions and it will be a true world championships?
While the marathon obviously has to be in the Olympics it’s not a must have in these championships though special mention to GB’s one marathoner Natasha Cockram who acquitted herself admirably.
Can the mixed relay be better timetabled so it isn’t just a minor event? Most countries won’t run their best runners so close to the individual heats and whoever thought it would be a good idea to hold the 4x100m heats just before the 200m finals should be sacked.
Seb Coe is talking about a new event to fill the gap in the non-World Championships years. I doubt if it will be too revolutionary – how about a 1000m time trial or 3000m elimination race? – and maybe the World Championships itself could be trimmed down to just the best 24 in each event. Why should 100m runners get 80 entries and 10,000m runners get 28?
There would be no need for semi finals which would cut down the number of races.
Also with that reduction of numbers, the final say in who can compete should perhaps be up to World Athletics and not the national governing body!
Why do so many runners use the stay inside at nearly all costs and risk getting boxed tactic?
Near the front but a few metres wide and free to react to any acceleration, is surely better and less likely to result in a stumble or fall or being surrounded and nowhere to move?
It does often open up but if it doesn’t, it requires very good acceleration and risks finishing behind inferior runners.
Also is it always the best tactic to follow the leader whatever and stay in contact? Surely it is safer to run at the pace which is best for you to maximise your best performance and if that means letting someone go and catching them later, that’s okay?
Most of the women’s 800m finalists were at least four seconds slower on their second lap than their first. Wouldn’t a 57 and 58 be better than a 56 and 60?
List of all winners
100m: Noah Lyles USA 9.83
200m: Noah Lyles USA 19.52
400m: Antonio Watson JAM 44.22
800m: Marco Arop CAN 1:44.24
1500m: Josh Kerr GBR 3:29.38
5000m: Jakob Ingebrigtsen NOR 13:11.30
10,000m: Joshua Cheptegei UGA 27:51.42
3000mSC: Soufiane El Bakkali ETH 8:03.53
Marathon: Victor Kiplangat UGA 2:08:53
110mH: Grant Holloway USA 12.96
400mH: Karsten Warholm NOR 46.89
HJ: Gianmarco Tamberi ITA 2.36m
PV: Mondo Duplantis SWE 6.10m
LJ: Militiadis Tentoglou GRE 8.52m
TJ: Hugues Fabrice Zango BUR 17.64m
SP: Ryan Crouser USA 23.51m(CBP)
DT: Daniel Stahl SWE 71.46m (CBP)
HT: Ethan Katzberg CAN 81.25m
JT: Neeraj Chopra IND 88.17m
Dec: Pierce LaPage CAN 8909
20kmW: Alvaro Martin ESP 1:17:32
35kmW: Alvaro Martin ESP 2:24:30
4x100m: USA 37.38
4x400m: USA 2:57.31
100m: Sha’Carri Richardson USA 10.65 (CBP)
200m: Shericka Jackson JAM 21.41 (CBP)
400m: Marleidy Paulino DOM 48.76
800m: Mary Moraa KEN 1:56.03
1500m: Faith Kipyegon KEN 3:54.87
5000m: Faith Kipyegon KEN 14:53.88
10,000m: Gudaf Tsegay ETH 31:32.19
3000mSC: Winfred Yavi BRN 8:54.29
Marathon: Amane Beriso ETH 2:24:23
100mH: Danielle Williams JAM 12.43
400mH: Femke Bol NED 51.70
HJ: Yaroslava Mahuchikh UKR 2.01m
PV: Nina Kennedy AUS/Katie Moon USA 4.90m
LJ: Ivana Vuleta SRB 7.14m
TJ: Yulimar Rojas VEN 15.08m
SP: Chase Ealey USA 20.43m
DT: Laulanga Tausaga USA 69.49m
HT: Camryn Rogers CAN 77.22m
JT: Haruka Kitaguchi JPN 66.73m
Hept: Katarina Johnson-Thompson GBR 6740
20kmW: Maria Perez ESP 1:26:51
35kmW: Maria Perez ESP 2:38:40 (CBP)
4x100m: USA 41.03 (CBP)
4x400m: Netherlands 3:20.72
Mixed 4×400: USA 3:08.80 (world record)
READ MORE: Results from the 2023 World Champs
World leads summary:
Men’s long jump: Pinnock 8.54m (qualifying)
Men’s 20km walk: 1:17:32 Martin
Men’s 4x100m: USA 37.67 & Italy 37.65 & USA 37.38
Men’s 4x400m: USA 2:57.31
Decathlon: LePage 8909
Women’s 200m: Jackson 21.41
Women’s 3000m steeplechase Yavi 8:54.29
Women’s 100m hurdles: Harrison 12.24 (in heat)
Women’s 4x100m Jamaica 41.70 & USA 41.59 & USA 41.03
Women’s long jump: Vuleta 7.14m
Women’s 4×400: Jamaica 3:22.74 and Netherlands 3:20.72
Mixed 4x400m: USA 3:10.41 and 3:08.80
Equalled world lead
Men’s 100m: Lyles 9.83
Men’s high jump: Tamberi and Harrison 2.36m
Women’s pole vault: Kennedy and Moon 4.90m
Women’s 100m: Richardson 10.65
Other stats of note
World under-20 record: 400mH: Roshawn Clarke JAM 47.34
11 area records inc European 400m Matthew Hudson-Smith (GBR) 44.26
73 national records
71 countries finished in top 8
46 countries won medals
23 countries won gold medals
Europe won 16 golds – from 9 countries – second to North America’s 20
First golds for: India (men’s javelin), Burkina Faso (men’s triple jump), Serbia (women’s long jump)
First medals for: Pakistan (Arshad Nadeem silver in javelin) British Virgin Islands (Kyle McMaster silver in 400m hurdles)
First shared gold: Women’s pole vault (plus medal in men’s pole vault – also involving USA and Australia
A record eight consecutive medals for Gong Lijiao in the shot between 2009 and 2023 (Merlene Ottey won six consecutive 200m medals between 1983 and 1997)
In the World Athletics Competition Performance Ranking Budapest scored 196,643 points bettered only by Eugene last year with 196,916. The rest of the top five are Doha 2019 (196,457) Beijing 2015 (194,547) and London 2017 (193,426).
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