China's Bin Feng was a surprise winner of the women's world discus title in Eugene ©Getty Images

China’s Bin Feng was a surprise winner of the women’s discus title and Kazakhstan’s former Kenyan 3,000 metres steeplechaser Norah Jeruto won gold in a super-fast final at the World Athletics Championships on a day when three-times champion Caster Semenya failed to progress in her new distance.

A huge personal best of 69.12 metres with her first throw was enough to earn Feng gold ahead of the home favourite, Tokyo 2020 gold medallist Valarie Allman, who was also beaten by her predecessor as Olympic champion, Croatia’s 32-year-old Sandra Perkovic.

The latter, who has been like a tigress robbed of its cubs since Tokyo, was seeking a third world title to go with those she had earned in 2013 and 2015, and her second-round season’s best of 68.45m, while not enough to displace the Chinese thrower, was more than Allman - whose US record of 71.46m in April was the farthest throw seen since 1992 - could manage.

A third-round effort of 68.30m did, however, secure the American a place on the podium.

Feng’s huge effort added more than three metres to the personal best of  66.00m she set earlier this year.

China's Bin Feng, surprise winner of the women's world discus title in Eugene, is congratulated by Croatia's silver medallist Sandra Perkovic ©Getty Images
China's Bin Feng, surprise winner of the women's world discus title in Eugene, is congratulated by Croatia's silver medallist Sandra Perkovic ©Getty Images

It was a memorable triumph for the 28-year-old from China’s Penglai District, who, like the men's discus winner Kristjan Ceh, competes in spectacles.

She finished fifth at the last World Championships in Doha three years ago, shortly after winning the Asian title in the same venue, but who failed to qualify for the final at last year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Her opening flourish was the second farthest thrown by a Chinese athlete since Yanling Xiao’s 71.68m in 1992.

Perkovic, meanwhile, is now the first athlete in this event to win five world medals, the first of which was gold at the Moscow 2013 World Championships.

In the other final on day six of the World Athletics Championships, Norah Jeruto, who missed last year’s Olympics as she switched allegiance from her native Kenya to Kazakhstan, won the women’s 3,000m steeplechase title in a Championship record of 8min 53.02sec in a race where, for the first time, three runners all dipped under nine minutes.

Silver went to Ethiopia’s African champion Werkuha Getachew, whose time of 8:54.61 was a national record, and her compatriot Mekides Abebe earned bronze in a personal best of 8:56.08.

Those performances lifted them to fourth and fifth on the all-time list behind Jeruto, who had already claimed the third position having run 8:53.65 at Hayward Field last year.

Jeruto and another former Kenyan runner, Bahrain’s Winfred Yavi, had taken the race out at a fast pace followed by athletes including Uganda’s Olympic champion Peruth Chemutai, the two eventual silver and bronze medallists and home athlete Emma Coburn, the 2017 world champion.

As the race reached its closing stages Yavi made a push for home but Jeruto re-asserted herself and moved decisively clear at the final water jump, just as Morocco’s Olympic champion Soufiane El Bakkali had in the men’s final.

"At the start line I was afraid of my friends from Ethiopia," Jeruto said.

"They are also champions like me, so I was scared of them.

"I tried my best to win the race and it was not easy.

"I decided to be at the front because I like to control the race, to make sure I can fight for medals."

Yavi finished fourth in 9:01.31, followed by Albania’s 33-year-old Luiza Gega in a national record of 9:10.04 and home runner Courtney Frerichs, the Tokyo 2020 silver medallist, in 9:10.59.

Aimee Pratt was seventh in a British record of 9:15.64 ahead of Coburn, who clocked 9:16.49.

Semenya, who last competed in the World Championships in 2017, when she secured her third 800m gold, has since been obliged to move to a new event following the World Athletics ruling on female athletes with naturally elevated testosterone levels.

Following scientific research athletes in this category are required to take testosterone-reducing drugs to compete in races from 400m to a mile or move to shorter or longer disciplines.

Semenya, who was 18 when she won her first world 800m title at Berlin in 2009, has made several unsuccessful legal attempts to overturn the ruling.

Now 31, Semenya initially failed to qualify for these Championships but got a place when other runners had to drop out.

Three-time world 800m champion Caster Semenya failed to progress from the heats of the women's 5,000m at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon ©Getty Images
Three-time world 800m champion Caster Semenya failed to progress from the heats of the women's 5,000m at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon ©Getty Images

Her time of 15min 46.12sec was not enough to progress to Saturday’s women’s 5,000m final, which promises to be one of the most competitive of these Championships.

Ethiopia’s world record holder Letesenbet Gidey, who has already won the 10,000m title, topped qualifying with a mark of 14:52.27 from Kenya’s Caroline Kipkirui, who clocked 14:52.54, Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay, narrowly beaten to the 1500m gold by Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon in a monumental final, who ran 14:52.64, and defending and Olympic champion Sifan Hassan of The Netherlands was fourth fastest in 14:52.89.

Home runner Michael Norman, a huge talent in search of his first global title, topped qualifying for tomorrow’s men’s 400m final in 44.30, with Matthew Hudson-Smith second fastest in 44.38, just 0.03 outside his British record.

But there was dismay for home fans as all three of their men’s 800m runners, including defending champion Donavan Brazier, failed to qualify from the heats.

Britain was also disappointed as 20-year-old Max Burgin, who tops this year’s world lists with 1min 43.52sec, failed to start because of a calf injury.

Poland's Olympic bronze medallist Patryk Dobyk was another who failed to reach the semi-finals.

Japan’s Haruka Kitaguchi topped qualifying for tomorrow’s women’s javelin final with 64.32m, from China’s Olympic champion Shiying Liu, who threw 63.86m, and Australia’s defending champion Kelsey-Lee Barber, who recorded 61.27m.

Double Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo of The Bahamas topped qualifying for tomorrow’s women’s 400m final in 49.55sec ahead of the Dominican Republic athlete she beat to gold in Tokyo last year, Marileidy Paulino, second in 49.98.

The three Tokyo 2020 medallists in the women’s 400m hurdles filled the three top qualifying spots for tomorrow’s final, with home athlete Sydney McLaughlin, Olympic champion and world record holder, topping the list on 52.17sec.

Bronze medallist Femke Bol went through with 52.84, while Tokyo silver medallist and defending champion Dalilah Muhammad of the United States was third fastest in a season’s best of 53.28.