World Athletics Championships – Not the ending anyone wanted to see for Usain Bolt

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Updated: August 13, 2017
U. Bolt

The much-awaited event of Day 9 was the Men’s 4x100m Final, billed essentially as the Usain Bolt swansong. As matters transpired, however, it wasn’t the ending for the Jamaican the sell-out crowd sought as the multiple-times IAAF World Championships gold medallist looked to pull a hamstring shortly into his anchor leg.

Bolt received the baton from teammate Yohan Blake about three metres down on the British and Americans but the 11-times World Championships gold medal winner soon lay on the ground, clearly in pain, as Briton Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and American Christian Coleman battled down the straight for the gold medal.

The British team of Mitchell-Blake, Chijindu Ujah, Adam Gemili and Danny Talbot won in a European record time of 37.47 seconds, the fastest time in the world this year. USA was second (37.52) and Japan third (38.04).

Bolt, who had anchored his Jamaican team to six 4x100m world gold medals, finally hobbled across the finishing line with the assistance of his colleagues.

The Caribbean nation’s team doctor, Kevin Jones, later confirmed that it was an issue with Bolt’s left hamstring:

“It’s cramp in Usain’s left hamstring but a lot of pain is from disappointment from losing the race. The last three weeks have been hard for him, you know. We hope for the best for him”, Jones said.

Omar McLeod summed up the feeling of his fellow Jamaicans about Bolt, offering:

“Usain Bolt’s name will always live on.”

Maria Lasitskene joined Dafne Schippers (NED) as a champion who managed to retain her crown at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in London when she won the final of the Women’s High Jump.

Lasitskene, the 2015 champion in Beijing, competing at this year’s championships as an ‘Authorised Neutral Athlete’, in other words, not allowed compete under the Russian banner, successfully retained her title when clearing 2.03m at her first attempt, the 14th competition this season in which she has cleared 2.00m or better.

Ukraine’s Yulia Levchenko (2.01m) and Kamila Licwinko from Poland (1.99m) were the reigning champion’s closest opponents in the competition with the 19 year-old Ukrainian becoming the youngest medallist ever in the event at a World Championships when she claimed the silver, with Licwinko taking the bronze.

The final of the Women’s 100m Hurdles had a top class starting list which included 2012 Olympic Champion Sally Pearson of Australia, 2008 Olympic gold medal winner Dawn Harper-Nelson (USA), and the current world record holder from the USA, 24 year-old Kendra Harrison.

Harrison began the championships as a hot favourite for the race but she was far from impressive in her semi-final, failing to qualify automatically, and only getting through as one of the next two fastest.

Pearson, 2011 gold medallist in Daegu and 2013 silver medal winner in Moscow, returned this year from a torn hamstring injury and produced a technically brilliant performance to cross the winning line first in 12.59 seconds.

The 30 year-old from Sydney, was followed home by another 30-something, 33 year-old Illinois-native Dawn Harper-Nelson (12.63), with Pamela Dutkiewicz (12.72) getting the bronze for Germany.

Twenty four year-old German Johannes Vetter, the top qualifier for the Men’s Javelin Final, maintained his consistency with throws in the high-eighties to win the gold medal with a first-round best effort of 89.89m.

Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch, the 2016 IAAF Diamond Trophy winner, threw a lifetime personal best of 89.73m to finish just 16cm short of the gold, with his fellow Czech Petr Frydrych’s 88.32m winning the bronze.

Mo Farah’s hopes of end the championships with a 5,000m/10,000m double went up in smoke as the 23 year-old Muktar Edris outgunned the 10-time 5,000m/10,000m medal winner on the final lap, winning in 13:32.79.

The Briton, unable to deal with the sprinting speed of the Ethiopian down the home straight, took silver in a time of 13:33.22, with Paul Kipkemoi Chelimo (USA) gaining the lower step on the podium in 13:33.30 when he charged past another Ethiopian, Yomif Kajelcha, metres from the finishing line.

The 34 year-old Farah reflected on his career post-race stating:

“It’s been amazing. It’s been a long journey but it’s been incredible. It doesn’t quite sink in until you compete here and cross the line – I had a couple of minutes to myself – that this is it.”

Frenchman Kevin Mayer produced a world-leading points total of 8,768 over the two days of the decathlon competition, to secure gold. Rico Freimuth and his German colleague Kai Kazmirek joined Mayer on the podium, winning the silver and bronze medals with 8,564 and 8,488 (a season’s best) respectively.

The USA 4x100m Women’s team, including 2017 World 100m Champion Tori Bowie and six-time World Athletics Championships veteran Allyson Felix, regained the title they last won in Daegu, winning in 41.82 seconds, a world leading time for the season. Host nation Britain clocked 42.12 for the silver medal, with 2013 and 2015 World Champions Jamaica relegated to third in 42.19.

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