LONDON, Aug 6, (Agencies): Justin Gatlin ruined Usain Bolt’s farewell party when the 35-year-old American won the world 100 metres title on Saturday, beating the Jamaican superstar into third and sparking a chorus of boos from a London crowd unhappy with his doping past.
What was meant to be a glorious celebration of the departure of the sport’s greatest showman turned into a condemnation of its biggest pantomime villain as Gatlin, twice banned for drug offences, rolled back the years to win a second world title 12 years after his first and 13 after claiming Olympic 100m gold.
As so often before Bolt made a terrible start but for once could not make it up as Christian Coleman, the 21-year-old American who beat him in the semifinals, looked set for victory.
But Gatlin, who stumbled at the death to lose the 2015 world final to Bolt by a hundredth of a second, on this occasion timed his surge and dip to perfection to win in 9.92 seconds.
Coleman, who has run over 40 races this year but turned professional only a few weeks ago, took silver in 9.94.
Bolt, straining every sinew, fought all the way to the line but the pace and grace that took him to his world record of 9.58 eight years ago has withered with age and perennial injury battles and this time he ran out of track.
When the results flashed up on the giant screen the crowd immediately began repeating the booing with which Gatlin’s name had been greeted since the heats on Friday.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, his first response was to put his finger to his lips to indicate silence.
The crowd reacted by chanting Bolt’s name and the Jamaican hugged Gatlin and told him he did not deserve the disrespect.
“I tuned it out (the boos) through the rounds and stayed the course. I did what I had to do,” said Gatlin, who served a four-year ban from 2006 for a second doping offence – which he always denied.
As always, the ever-popular Bolt gave generously of his time after the race to fans and media alike, despite the unfamiliarity of finishing third for the first time in a major championship.
The Jamaican had been seeking a fourth 100m world title to go with his four over 200m, four relay golds and eight Olympic crowns and a capacity 56,000 crowd had turned out fully expecting to celebrate it.
He still has another chance to add to the medal tally in the 4x100m relay next week – when he will be desperate to avenge Saturday’s defeat in what, if the Americans manage to get the baton round, should be a last-leg showdown with Gatlin.
Also in the US team will be Coleman, who looked set for a remarkable victory running in the lane alongside Bolt until the man 14 years his senior snatched it from lane eight of nine.
Coleman, however, was not about to complain.
“Both of us have done well, I’m really happy for him to get the gold and I’m delighted with silver,” he said.
Of Bolt, he added: “He’s a man who has taken the sport to a whole new level.
“He’s been an icon of mine as I’ve grown up. It’s an honour to toe the line with him.”
Rose Chelimo, a Bahraini who switched allegiance from her Kenyan homeland, sprinted away from her former compatriot Edna Kiplagat to win the women’s marathon at the World Athletics Championships after a tactical battle and an exciting finish on Sunday.
Chelimo, who had looked beaten, fought back over the last few hundred metres approaching the Tower Bridge finish after Kiplagat struck for home too soon with two kilometres left.
Forging away to victory, the 28-year-old, who acquired Bahraini citizenship two years ago and was cleared by the IAAF last year to run for her adopted country, denied Kiplagat what would have been an unprecedented third world marathon gold.
Chelimo finished strongly in 2 hours 27 minutes 11 seconds, seven seconds clear of Kiplagat.
Amy Cragg, of the United States, made a tremendous final burst to overhaul another Kenyan Flomena Cheyech Daniel, who had looked set for the bronze medal.
The American also closed in swiftly on the tiring 37-year-old Kiplagat but had to settle for third place in the same time of 2:27:18.
Chelimo had enough energy to spare to wave to the crowd as she approached the line and took the Bahraini flag offered by her team officials.
This, though, was the sort of scene that the IAAF want to see ended. Earlier this year, they froze new transfers of allegiance to stop oil-rich countries luring talented athletes from poor countries with offers of school and financial rewards.
Chelimo was one of those athletes, who has achieved success particularly in half-marathons since switching to Bahrain.
This was only her fourth marathon. Having won on her debut in Seoul, she finished eighth at the Rio Olympics before her runner-up spot behind Kiplagat in Boston in April.
Chelimo’s win this time stopped Kenya celebrating a marathon double alongside men’s champion Geoffrey Kipkorir Kirui on the first occasion both races had been held in the same day.
Chelimo proved a worthy winner of a race that only came alive in the final few kilometres over a tricky, tight-cornered four-lap circuit of central London around some of the city’s most famous sights.
Watched by huge and enthusiastic crowds, British stalwart Aly Dixon, at the age of 38 and with no chance of winning, was the unlikely home star.
She opened up a 32-second lead by the half-way point as she gestured cheerily to the crowd to give her more cheers.
The real race, though, had not even started. A pack of 14 were still only edging up the pace gradually, allowing Dixon, who eventually finished 18th, to lead until the 18th mile.
Even when caught, she managed to hold on to the main contenders until the two-hour mark as they held off making the first move.
American Cragg eventually broke but, when the field splintered, Chelimo pushed for home only for the more rangy Kiplagat to storm past her.
She had, though, made her move too early.
Kenya’s Geoffrey Kipkorir Kirui won the men’s world marathon on Sunday, making up for his country’s podium no-show in the last two championships.
Kirui, this season’s Boston marathon winner, clocked 2hr 08min 27sec for gold, 1min 22sec ahead of Ethiopian rival Tamirat Tola.
Alphonce Simbu of Tanzania claimed bronze, just 2sec adrift of Tola after 42km around a 10km Thames river embankment loop in central London in glorious sunshine.
Kirui added: “Winning this title has been my goal for so long. Now my goal will be to repeat it.”
Tola, the Olympic bronze medallist at 10,000m and fastest in the field here with his season’s best of 2:04.11, led the field through the halfway point in 1:05.28, accompanied by Kenyans Kirui and Gideon Kipketer, with this year’s London champion Daniel Wanjiru a couple of seconds back.
At the 1:38 mark, Tola surged to open up a 20-metre lead on Kirui, but the Kenyan gradually reeled the Ethiopian back in and spurted past him to become the fifth gold medallist from the east African powerhouse in the marathon.
Britain’s Callum Hawkins finished fourth in a personal best of 2:10.17, while Kipketer claimed fifth in 2:10.56, a place ahead of Italy’s Daniele Meucci, given the same time, a personal best.
Ethiopian Almaz Ayana destroyed the field to win the 10,000 metres at the World Championships on Saturday, finishing around 300 metres clear of her rivals in her first race of an injury-plagued season.
The Olympic champion began pulling away from the field after 10 laps, sweeping past back markers who were made to look sluggish in comparison.
She finished in 30:16.32 seconds, well outside the world record she set when she won in Rio last year but still enough to win by an astonishing 46.37 seconds, by far the biggest margin in championship history.
Ayana’s compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba, the former world and Olympic champion, added to her impressive collection of medals when he took the silver with Kenya’s Agnes Tirop in third.
“I am very happy to win this title, much more than when I won the Olympic gold because I have been sick this year and didn’t expect it. In fact, this was my first race of 2017,” Ayana told reporters.
A repeat of her world record-breaking performance in Rio was never on the cards after a slow, tactical start to the race in which the field crawled around the first lap in 81 seconds.
But the last two thirds of the race was reminiscent of Ayana’s extraordinary run last year where she also blew away the field. Ayana began pulling away after 10 laps and by the 12th had opened up a gap of 30 metres.
The 25-year-old ran the next three kilometres in 8:33 minutes as she continued to increase her advantage and began overhauling the backmarkers with eight laps to go.
Remarkably, Ayana’s prospects had been in doubt because injuries forced her to cancel a number of appearances at European meetings this season.
The battle for second turned into a three-horse race between Kenyans Tirop and Alice Nawowuna and the 32-year-old Dibaba.
Almost unnoticed, Dibaba, who is now focusing on running marathons, won the sprint to claim silver to sit alongside the five world championship and three Olympic golds she has won.
Andrius Gudzius of Lithuania won gold in the men’s discus at the IAAF World Championships in London on Saturday.
The 26-year-old Lithuanian, 12th in last summer’s Rio Olympics, managed a best effort of 69.21 metres.
Sweden’s Daniel Stahl claimed silver with 69.19m, American Mason Finley taking bronze (68.03).
South Africa’s Luvo Manyonga said he was “over the moon” after winning the World Championship long jump title on Saturday, making up for the disappointment of missing out on an Olympic gold in Rio.
Manyonga, who only returned to formal competition last year after overcoming a drug addiction, led the final from the second round with a leap of 8.48 metres – the third best mark of 2017. The 26-year-old held off the challenge of American Jarrion Lawson, who in his first senior championships jumped a season-best 8.44 in the final round to claim silver.
The bronze was taken by Manyonga’s compatriot Ruswahl Samaai, the leader in the Diamond League standings, who jumped 8.32.
“This gold medal makes me feel over the moon. I have been praying to get this gold medal,” Manyonga said.
“The world record is my next goal. Ruswahl and me are pushing each other through the events. I am the best in the world – this sounds great.”
Manyonga, a junior champion in 2010, suffered numerous personal setbacks in recent years.
Coming from a township just outside of Cape Town, he was given an 18-month suspension in 2012 for testing positive for the recreational drug tik – the local variant of crystal methamphetamine.
The South African admitted previously that at one point he felt about “five percent away” from death.
After missing out on gold in Rio with his final effort ruled a no-jump, the relief at his win in London was evident as he fell backwards into the sandpit and made an angel imprint.
“I do not feel like thinking about the last attempt in 2016, this brings back bad memories. It does not matter anymore because I have the gold medal now.”