Blake Sunday for false-starting Bolt

Overwhelming favourite disqualified after jumping the gun; 21-year-old Blake restores Jamaican pride

Blake Sunday for false-starting Bolt



The biggest race of the 13th World Championships in athletics was expected to be Usain Bolt’s stage to take another step towards legendary status. Instead, all the Jamaican managed was to hand his crown on a platter to compatriot Yohan Blake after self-destructing in shocking fashion.

At the Daegu stadium, Bolt suffered the ignominy of being disqualified for a false start, stunning the crowd and millions of viewers worldwide and ending his dream of defending the title won in world record time in Berlin two years ago.

As Bolt walked away a shattered man, Blake kept Jamaican pride intact, powering away to the gold medal in 9.92 seconds – pedestrian by Bolt’s standards. Walter Dix of the United States won silver in 10.08 and 2003 champion Kim Collins of St Kitts & Nevis took the bronze in 10.09, at 35 becoming the oldest man to win a medal in this event at the Worlds.

There was electricity in the atmosphere as the eight finalists settled into their starting blocks. Bolt might not have been in the best of shape but still, something special was expected from the poster boy of world athletics. The crowd held its collective breath but a moment later, it turned to sighs of deep disappointment.

Bolt jumped off the blocks and instantly knew that he had committed the cardinal error for a sprinter. He ripped off his shirt, cast it aside and put his hands on his head. A minute ago, he had seemed the coolest man on the planet but at that instant, for a picture of dejection, one didn’t need to look elsewhere.

As the sprinters lined up again, Bolt went and sat with his back to the wall, before disappearing into the tunnel and fading into the night, with the 200 metres and the 4x100M relay holding his hopes of redemption now.

Blake, meanwhile, had to recover from a slow start to catch up with Collins. Running into a wind of -1.4 metres per second, he caught up soon enough and blazed away, producing his quickest time of the season.

“It is a wonderful feeling. I am sad for Usain but I am also enjoying the moment,” said Blake, who became the youngest world champion in this event, erasing Carl Lewis’ name from the books. Lewis was 22 years and 38 days when he won in 1983. Blake will turn 22 only on December 26.

Blake had earlier topped the semifinal heats in 9.95 seconds while Bolt won through his semifinal in 10.05. Christophe Lemaitre of France, the European champion, also made the final, eventually finishing fourth in 10.19 while Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Jamaican Michael Frater failed to reach the medal round.

Ethiopia bounce back

Where is Ethiopia, was the question after Kenya swept the distance medals on day one. The answer came in emphatic fashion in the men’s 10000 metres, with a largely unknown face storming the top of the podium.

Ibrahim Jeilan, a former world junior champion, was the man answering the Ethiopian prayers, outrunning favourite Mo Farah of Britain in a finish reminiscent of the great Haile Gebreselassie’s triumph over Paul Tergat at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

Farah must have felt he had it wrapped up after sprinting ahead in the final lap, but Jeilan began to catch up with 200 metres left and surged ahead in the final few metres for the gold in 27:13.81, inflicting on the Britain his first defeat of the season.

Four-time champion Kenenisa Bekele dropped out at the halfway stage, after struggling to keep pace with the leaders.

Results:
Men: 100M: Yohan Blake (Jamaica) 9.92 seconds, 1; Walter Dix (USA) 10.08, 2; Kim Collins (St Kitts & Nevis) 10.09, 3.
10000M: Ibrahim Jeilan (Ethiopia) 27:13.81, 1; Mo Farah (Britain) 27:14.07, 2; Imane Merga (Ethiopia) 27:19.14, 3.
20Km walk: Valeriy Borchin (Russia) 1:19:56, 1; Vladimir Kanaykin (Russia) 1:20:27, 2; Luis Fernando Lopez (Colombia) 1:20:38, 3.
Decathlon: Trey Hardee (USA) 8607 points, 1; Ashton Eaton (USA) 8505, 2; Leonel Suarez (Cuba) 8501, 3.
Women: Long jump: Brittney Reese (USA) 6.82 metres, 1; Olga Kucherenko (Russia) 6.77, 2; Ineta Radevica (Latvia) 6.76, 3.
Discus throw: Li Yanfeng (China) 66.52 metres, 1; Nadine Muller (Germany) 65.97, 2; Yarelys Barrios (Cuba) 65.73, 3.

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