Queen Elaine conquers 200

Queen Elaine conquers 200

Jamaica's latest sensation outsprints favourite Dafne Schippers to complete sprint double

Queen Elaine conquers 200

Lying flat on her back and staring into the night sky, Elaine Thompson must have seen a couple of twinkling stars looking right back at her. Moments earlier, the Jamaican had turned into a star of a different kind, those occupying the constellation of track and field.

In the women’s 200M final of the Olympic Games on Wednesday night, Thompson wasn’t the favourite. Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands was. But out on the track, there was just one clear winner on the night and that wasn’t the Dutchwoman.

Schippers, looking to become the first from her country to win this event since Fanny Blankers-Koen in 1948, had no answer to the rapid strides of Thompson. The Jamaican became the first woman in 28 years to win the 100-200 double, timing 21.78 seconds to dash Schippers hopes of repeating her World Championship triumph here.

Only six women have won the sprint double in Olympics history and Florence Griffith-Joyner was the last to achieve the feat in 1988.

“My school motto was, ‘let the light shine’ and I let my light shine tonight,” said Thompson. “It is a big surprise to me because I have had a hamstring injury. You must overcome these things and tonight, I am standing here with the gold. To beat Dafne is a hard run.”

Thompson had attempted just that at Beijing last year but she came up short thanks to Schippers’ strong finish. On this night, the Jamaican and the world expected the same finish but it never came. Thompson led from the start and had a clear lead past the bend. She maintained that with a strong run down the straight while Schippers’ desperate strides were only good enough for the silver in 21.88 seconds, ahead of American Torie Bowie (22.15).

“I came for gold, I am not happy with the silver,” said Schippers, who was fifth in the 100M final three days ago. “Running six races – it is a bit heavy,” she remarked.

For the first time in an Olympics, there was a sweep in the women’s 100M hurdles, with the United States athletes claiming all the medals. Brianna Rollins (12.48 seconds) led the charge in a race where their world record holder Kendra Harrison didn’t even qualify at the US trials. Nia Ali (12.59) and Kristin Catlin (12.61) completed the podium.

The long jump came to life in the fifth round. American defending champion Brittney Reese laid down the marker after leaping past early leaders with a 7.09M effort.  Ivana Spanovic of Serbia responded with a 7.07 but the real big one came from another American – Tianna Bartoletta. The 2005 world champion uncorked a career best, a 7.17, beyond the reach of her rivals on the night. Reese came close with her final round jump but it was two centimeters short of Bartoletta’s mark.

Darya Klishina, the lone Russian athlete here, ended ninth with a 6.63M leap.

Gatlin bows out

American Justin Gatlin, the silver winner in the 100M, failed to come through his semifinals of the 200M. Gatlin was third in his heat in 20.13 seconds, not good enough to take him forward.

“My ankle is giving me problems and I had a tight turn in lane three but I am happy to be still here for the relays,” said Gatlin.

Usain Bolt, aiming for a world record, looked in good shape for that as he strolled to the finish in a leisurely 19.78 seconds, his season’s best. Another American, LaShawn Merritt, the 400M bronze winner, is Bolt’s challenger, after entering the final with a 19.94 seconds in the semis. “I feel I can definitely go for the world record,” said Bolt. “I need to run efficiently and get into the straight and get the perfect race.”

Kemboi disqualified

On Wednesday, Ezekiel Kemboi, who won the bronze in the 3000M steeplechase, was disqualified for stepping off the track. After a French protest, the IAAF studied the video footage of the race before disqualifying the Kenyan, who had announced his retirement soon after the race. Frenchman Mahiedine Mekhissi, who had originally finished fourth, was elevated to the bronze position.

Results: Women 200M: Elaine Thompson (Jamaica) 21.78 seconds, 1; Dafne Schippers (The Netherlands) 21.88, 2; Tori Bowie (United States) 22.15, 3.

100M hurdles: Brianna Rollins (United States) 12.48 seconds, 1; Nia Ali (United States) 12.59, 2; Kristi Catlin (United States) 12.61, 3.

Long jump: Tianna Bartoletta (United States) 7.17 metres, 1; Brittney Reese (United States) 7.15, 2; Ivana Spanovic (Serbia) 7.08, 3.

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