Schippers announces her arrival

Dutch sprinter clocks 3rd fastest time to win 200; Williams claims 100 hurdles
Last Updated 28 August 2015, 18:15 IST

Too shocked to celebrate hard, left speechless by her feat, Dafne Schippers only knew she had become the new world champion in the 200 metres.

In a scintillating women’s final on the seventh night of the 15th World Championships in athletics, the Netherlands runner ran the third fastest time ever to emerge as the new force of women’s sprinting, becoming the first European to win the title in more than a decade.

The 23-year-old had given a glimpse of her finishing prowess in the 100M final when she won the silver but on this night, she raised it to another level, charging from behind to snatch the title at the very last moment from Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson.

Her time – 21.63 seconds – has been bettered only by Florence Griffith-Joyner’s world record of 21.34 at the Seoul Olympics in 1988 and Marion Jones 21.62, timed at the altitude of Johannesburg in 1998. With the bronze-medallist Veronica Campbell Brown clocking 21.66 it was the quickest 200M in 17 years.

On a night that sprang alive late, American Tianna Bartoletta’s spectacular leap in women’s long jump and Sergey Shubenkov’s triumph in the 110M hurdles for Russia’s first gold kept the fans enthralled but neither feats matched Schippers’ electrifying surge.
The Dutchwoman, who had won the heptathlon bronze in Moscow two years ago, decided to focus on sprints only this season and her performance in the 100 metres confirmed her choice was right. Thompson, with her cool displays in the earlier rounds, had emerged as the favourite and as the athletes came round the bend, the Jamaican seemed well-poised to win.

Schippers, placed a distant third, then began to make her move. Covering ground with rapid, powerful strides, she struck terror into Thompson’s heart. And the Jamaican’s worst fears came true when Schippers leaned at the finish to ensure victory, raising her right forefinger to the night sky.

Flo-Jo’s record was considered too good to be true and Marion Jones has admitted to doping. Inevitably, Schippers faced questions on that front. “I know I have worked very hard for this, I know I am clean, that is all I can say,” she said while the Dutch team coach Bart Bennema also brushed aside such suspicions. “She has been tested on a regular basis, all sorts of tests, she is tested for about 50-60 times a year,” he said.
Russian Anastassiya Kapachinskaya was the last European winner of the 200M, back in 2003, after American Kelli White was disqualified for a doping offence.

Ivana Spanovic was the early leader in women’s long jump, with a 7.01M leap and for a while, it looked beyond the reach of others. Then came Britain’s Shara Procter, with two 7-plus jumps, 7.07 and 7.01. Bartoletta, champion in 2005 before turning a sprinter, then dashed the Briton’s dreams with a huge 7.14 in the final round, the biggest winning leap since 1991.

Shubenkov also reserved his best for the last. Under a cloud over doping charges, Russia had been struggling without a gold here when the bronze medallist of 2013 delivered with a career-best 12.98 seconds. Olympic champion and world record holder Aries Merritt, who will undergo kidney transplant on September 1, claimed the bronze in a tremendous show of grit.

“This bronze feels like gold, to be honest,” said Merritt, whose sister LaToya is donating the kidney. “Hopefully, I will be back next outdoor season.”

Danielle Williams of Jamaica was the winner in the women’s 100M hurdles, a race that featured her sister Shermaine Williams as well. Defending champion Brianna Rollins hit the first hurdle and never regained momentum. The Americans had a disastrous time in the semifinal too, with the 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper Nelson crashing into the second hurdle and Kendra Harrison disqualified for a false start.

Amidst all the flurry, defending decathlon champion Ashton Eaton quietly kept working at his job and burst into limelight when he ran the final event of the first day, the 400M, in an all-time decathlon best of 45.00 seconds. Eaton (4703 points) is in line for 9000 points on day two.
DH News Service

Results: Men: 110M hurdles: Sergey Shubenkov (Russia) 12.98 seconds, 1; Hansle Parchment (Jamaica) 13.03, 2; Aries Merritt (USA) 13.04, 3.

Women: 200M: Dafne Schippers (Netherlands) 21.63 seconds (Meet record. Old: 21.74, Silke Gladisch, 1987), 1; Elaine Thompson (Jamaica) 21.66, 2; Veronica Campbell-Brown (Jamaica) 21.97, 3.

100M hurdles: Danielle Williams (Jamaica) 12.57 seconds, 1; Cindy Roleder (Germany) 12.59, 2; Alina Talay (Belarus) 12.66, 3.

Long jump: Tianna Bartoletta (USA) 7.14 metres, 1; Shara Proctor (Great Britain) 7.07, 2; Ivana Spanovic (Serbia) 7.01, 3.

(Published 28 August 2015, 18:15 IST)

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