The most anticipated race in athletics finally held yesterday, with Usain Bolt proving once again why he is the star attraction in the sport as he dashed Justin Gatlin’s hopes of 100 metres gold at the World Championships in Beijing. The Jamaican dispelled any notion that he would suffer defeat at the hands of the 33-year-old Gatlin, who served a four-year doping ban midway through his career, to win in 9.79 seconds.
Gatlin, the fastest man in the world this year, has found himself under increased scrutiny in the wake of the doping scandals of recent weeks and had to settle for silver in 9.80secs. A Gatlin win in athletics’ blueriband event looked likely after the semi-finals, where the American clocked 9.77s and Bolt only scraped a win after an awful start. But the world record holder knows how to deliver when the pressure is really on and ran his fastest time of the year to take his tally of individual global titles to 10.
American Trayvon Bromell and Canada’s Andre de Grasse each took a bronze after posting the same time – 9.911. Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic champion, came into the championships at the top of the world rankings, having run 9.74. Bolt, in contrast, still had to answer questions about his fitness following a pelvic injury earlier in the summer.
He talked a good game last week, and, at the Bird’s Nest on Sunday night, the scene of his first triple Olympic triumph, he delivered one. “It definitely means a lot because I’ve been struggling all season,” Bolt told the BBC. “It took me a while to discover what was the problem. And it’s all held together so I’m just happy. “I stumbled a little [in the semi], but I had to get back in the rhythm. My coach [Glen Mills] told me to forget about it and that when it came to the right time, I’d get it right. It was a big deal.”
-Oladipo Okubanjo with Agency Report