Day 4

2:38am

 

Finally returning to my Antarctic hotel room, it’s been quite an adventure. We’ll discuss the track and Field heroics later, but first, I need to delve into the adventure that was the magical mystery bus tour of Doha.

Its 11.23pm and I’m hustling out of the track after the women’s 100m final (we’ll get to that at the end), I was planning on heading to the women’s 20km race walk to catch Jemima Montag and Katie Hayward cut some laps of the Corniche. I was thinking maybe a bus back to the hotel then a cab/uber would suffice. Might take a little while but what the heck, it’s a 20km walk and I have about 40mins till they start.

I get to the bus bay and guess what, there’s buses going directly to the Corniche! I’m in luck. I’ll catch the start of the midnight walk sesh and be able to really soak it up.

I was so full of hope, but it was all downhill from here. As we putt along the freeway, you can tell it’s been a long day, with tired heads of the international media all just resting their eyes quickly before firing up again to cover the walk. Time ticks by and the driver takes a drastic left-hand turn. I’m a bit curious at this manoeuvre as I know the Corniche as giant skyscrapers all lit up like Christmas but I’m fairly sure I can see them disappear behind us.

20mins into our supposed 15min trip and I can see a grumpy American fidgeting in his seat, and he whispers, “we’re lost”. By this time, we’ve been driving about 20km an hour in the slow lane down the freeway. The chants of “we’re lost” grow louder and louder but the driver doesn’t want to admit it. Those who have Wi-Fi are pulling up their maps to see our bus slowly crawling Saudi Arabia, definitely NOT the right direction.

Finally, a young Japanese journalist with Wi-Fi, pulls his maps up and sits next to the driver to direct him to the walks course. We’re in luck.

Or so we thought.

This driver’s phone continually rings the whole trip whilst our Japanese navigator tries to direct. Every time we come to a fork in the road, the driver decides to answer his phone and miss the continuous shouting “LEFT! LEFT! LEFT!”

We continued on straight.

“This is stooped” and “We’re gonna miss the race” flies out of the grumpy American on a loop every 30s.

We somehow make it to the city but again, the calls for “RIGHT!!!” go unanswered, unlike the driver’s phone.

We take a later right and end up driving down a one-way street to a dead-end. We begin reversing down this street and the and the navigation has now been taken over by another Japanese man, and Italian fella and a Dutch photographer.

We finally get going again and we can see the lights of the course. By this time, we’d been driving for almost 90mins, the athletes were 10k into their 20k race while we were still trying to find the venue.

Then, out of nowhere, we finally get to the bus terminal. But it’s on the otherside of the road. Someone shouts “yea you need to drive 1km down the round to a roundabout to turn around”

Knowing this driver’s experience with roads and directions in general, we cause a mutiny and tell him to stop and open the door right here in the middle of the street. The commotion causes a police-officer to come and block the door telling us we can’t get off here. We plead and beg him to rescue us from our captive drive and finally, like hostages free from a bank heist, we escape into the midnight air. Free at last to catch the final half of the midnight 20k walk.

Now finally, back to the aths.

Shelly-Anne Fraser-Pryce was next level. She missed the 2017 London World championships because she had her first child, Zyon. But she’s certainly back and basically better than ever (well 0.01 away from being better than ever). Her hair may have changed colour between the heats and tonight’s semi & final, but the trademark missile start certainly hadn’t changed. Clocking 10.71 for the win (her pb is 10.70) she’s destroyed all around her.

To put it into perspective, SAFP and I are the same age. I’m currently trying to convince my broken body to put together 800m of movement in the media race on Oct 4, whilst SAFP is basically dropping Pb’s, winning her fourth world 100m title, 10 years after her first, two years after having a baby. Compare the pair.

My other highlight of the night was the triple jumping effort from Burkina Faso’s own superstar Hugues Fabrice Zango.

Heading into the final round sitting in fourth position, the stocky jumper pulled a 17.66m leap out of his back pocket to snag a bronze and a new pb and African area record.
He also grabbed Burkina Faso’s first ever medal at any major athletics championship. Burkina Faso has also sent athletes to every single world championship since Helsinki 1983. Their previous best result was a 10th place in the Men’s Long Jump in 1995.

Give him the keys to the city!

1 COMMENT

  1. I am surprised you didn’t seize the moment to mention the best named capital city of any country in the world given you suggest Hugues souls receive its keys.

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