Lightning Bolt strikes again

Athletics World Championship : Jamaican ace pips US' Gatlin to 100M gold by one hundredths of a second

Lightning Bolt strikes again

 The singing, dancing Jamaican fans stayed on in the stands and celebrated even after the Bird’s Nest had emptied. Their hero number one had risen once again, to show the world who the real champion is, at the right place and at the right time.

“Usain Bolt, Usain Bolt, Usain Bolt”, they chanted in unison and the big man seemed to draw energy and inspiration from the flag-waving contingent in yellow, green and black. The tough times of the season seemed a bad dream as Bolt flew past the finish line as the world’s favourite winner once again, but by the skin of his teeth.

Despite his eight World Championships gold medals and six Olympic gold medals, pressure was on Bolt to prove himself, beat Justin Gatlin and show that all was well in the sprinting lane. And in a final that lived up to the billing, Bolt did just that, nosing ahead of Gatlin by one hundredths of a second.

In a stadium where he first announced himself as a global superstar in 2008, Bolt timed 9.79 seconds to Gatlin’s 9.80 for his third gold medal in World Championships 100 metres -- the hardest he has ever earned. Till the final few metres when Gatlin faltered, it was hard to pick a clear winner.

“That wasn’t my best, you can call that rusty,” admitted the champion. “I came out here relaxed and brought it home. My aim is to be the number one until I retire. And therefore, I am pushing myself and pushing myself.”

Push he had to, against the season’s number one sprinter. The start was crucial and neither Gatlin nor Bolt enjoyed the best of it. Bolt reacted quicker than the American and despite a slight stumble, he was up with his rival in the early part.

That perhaps played a big role as they fought all the way down when the big strides of the Jamaican proved a touch too powerful for Gatlin, whose desperation saw him stumbling a bit with a few metres left. Behind them, American Trayvon Bromell and Canadian Andre de Grasse – considered the future of sprinting – shared the bronze medal, both timing identical 9.92 seconds into a head wind of -0.5m/s.

Bolt had attempted to look relaxed at the start despite mounting tension. His antics looked forced this time, rubbing his beard and suggesting he perhaps needed a shave. He had had a very close shave, figuratively speaking, earlier in the evening when a slip-up nearly dashed his dreams.

Five strides into the semifinal, Bolt stumbled badly, and a million hearts skipped a beat. But the Jamaican showed admirable presence of mind to recover and win his heat in 9.96 seconds, shaking his head as if to say, “this won’t do Usain.”

The crown certainly seemed to slip at that point, especially with Gatlin cruising through his semifinal in 9.77 seconds. Old hands Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay also pulled through, so did China’s Su Bingtian, the first Asian entering the final in 9.99 seconds making it a nine-man field, with little to separate the last two qualifiers. They all proved mere also-rans in the final, with Bolt blowing away the fears and doubts, underlining once again that he was the real deal, the best-ever to grace this event.

Ennis triumphs, Amos out

Thirteen months after the birth of her son, Jessica Ennis-Hill showed she still was the best in heptathlon, regaining the gold medal with a tally of 6669 points. The Briton was expected to fight it out with her compatriot Katarina Johnson-Thompson but there was heartbreak for the latter when she fouled all her efforts in long jump to go out of contention.

The shock result of the day was the exit of the fancied Nijel Amos in the 800M semifinals. The Botswanian was third in a slow heat won by world record holder David Rudisha and failed to progress. Also, Ethiopia’s defending champion Mohammed Aman was disqualified obstruction in another semifinal.

Results: Men: 100M: Usain Bolt (Jamaica) 9.79 seconds, 1; Justin Gatlin (USA) 9.80, 2; Trayvon Bromell (USA) and Andre de Grasse (Canada) 9.92, 3.

Hammer throw: Pawel Fajdek (Poland) 80.88 metres, 1; Dilshod Nazarov (Tajikistan) 78.55, 2; Wojciech Nowicki (Poland) 78.55, 3.

Shot put: Joe Kovacs (USA) 21.93 metres, 1; David Storl (Germany) 21.74, 2; O’Dayne Richards (Jamaica) 21.69, 3. Women: Heptathlon: Jessica Ennis-Hill (Great Britain) 6669 points, 1; Brianne Theisen Eaton (Canada) 6554, 2; Laura Ikauniece-Admidina (Latvia) 6516, 3.

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