Bolt shows he is still the boss

Jamaican ace thunders to 200M gold; American Felix first to clinch 200 and 400 titles
Last Updated 27 August 2015, 18:52 IST

Mission One was tough, Mission Two was nice and easy.

The hardest race of his life behind him, Usain Bolt was a relaxed man running in his comfort zone on Thursday. The Justin Gatlins of this world stood no chance against this smooth operator as the Jamaican completed a sprint double, winning the 200 metres gold in commanding fashion.

Bolt timed a world-leading 19.55 seconds, the tenth quickest of all-time, for his record tenth World Championships gold medal, enhancing his reputation further as a big meet performer. His only blip of the night came when he was knocked over by a cameraman but that was well after the medals were decided.

On the sixth night of the 15th World Championships, Bolt started well, dominated the middle phase and cruised through the finish. He even had time to slow down and thump his chest before Gatlin crossed the line in 19.74 seconds, with Anaso Jobodwana of South Africa completing the top three in 19.87.

“Well done, Usain,” he said, after kneeling down to kiss the track and going round the stadium to lap up the affection of the thousands that thronged the Bird’s Nest. “I am just happy, I told you guys that I will do it, there was no doubt in my mind.”

It was the Jamaican’s fourth straight gold medal in the 200, an event in which his last defeat came in 2012. “When it comes to the 200M, I am a different person,” said Bolt. “This is a great present to me and to my country, my four gold medals in the 200 – it is big deal, a great accomplishment. I was not focused on the time, I knew I was not in the shape for a world record.”

Gatlin, the quickest of the season ahead of this race with a 19.57, nursed hopes of a better show after his defeat in the 100M but that was not to be as Bolt collared the race early. He was in lead coming into the straight and given his pace down the line, the American was only running for the silver.

On a warm and wonderful night, Bolt’s triumph capped a series of sparkling performances -- Christian Taylor and Allyson Felix restoring a semblance of pride in the US ranks with gold medals in the triple jump and women’s 400M, as well as a mighty heave in women’s hammer throw by Anita Wlodarczyk of Poland.

Taylor versus Pedro Pablo Pichardo was touted as a contest to look out for and it lived up to expectations. In a season in which they have crossed swords repeatedly, the American Olympic champion produced the second biggest leap of all-time to silence the Cuban. Taylor’s 18.21 in the final round was just eight centimetres short of Jonathan Edwards’ world record set in 1995.

Pichardo was the early leader with a 17.52 and 17.60 but Taylor equalled it in the third round and leapt to 17.68 before uncorking that monster leap. Pichardo, the season’s leader at 18.08, landed at 17.73 in his final effort, leaving the American a big winner on the night.

“It was a great fight, I saved it until my last jump,” said Taylor. “When you are that close to a record, this makes you even hungrier. So I am looking forward to Rio.”

Felix, the 200M ace, was challenging herself in the 400 and fulfilled her dreams with a hard run for her ninth World Championships gold in 49.26 seconds. She ran a fast 200 and held her nerve even when Shaunae Miller of Bahamas threatened at the 200M mark. Miller’s silver came at a personal best of 49.67.

Felix is the first to win 200 and 400 world titles.

Wlodarczyk, the 2009 champion, had set a world record of 81.08 in August. The only woman to cross 80M, she threatened it with throws of 80.27 and 80.85 to demolish the competition.

In the morning session, three-time long jump champion Brittney Reese failed to qualify for the final while world indoor champion Ayanleih Souleiman didn’t finish the 1500M qualifying. Later in the night, former champion Caster Semenya bowed out in the semifinals of the 800M, finishing last in 2:03.18.

Results: Men: 200M: Usain Bolt (Jamaica) 19.55 seconds, 1; Justin Gatlin (USA) 19.74, 2; Anaso Jobodwana (South Africa) 19.87, 3.

Triple jump: Christian Taylor (USA) 18.21 metres, 1; Pedro Pablo Pichardo (Cuba) 17.73, 2; Nelson Evora (Portugal) 17.52, 3.

Women: 400M: Allyson Felix (USA) 49.26 seconds, 1; Shaunae Miller (Bahamas) 49.67, 2; Shericka Jackson (Jamaica) 49.99, 3.

Hammer throw: Anita Wlodarczyk (Poland) 80.85 metres (Meet record. Old: 78.80, Tatyana Beloborodova, 2013), 1; Wenxiu Zhang (China) 76.33, 2; Alexandra Tavernier (France) 74.02, 3.

(Published 27 August 2015, 18:52 IST)

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