By Ros Satar
- Usain Bolt beaten into bronze medal by Christian Colman and Justin Gatlin
- Laura Muir and Laura Weightman book their places in the W1500m final
- Katarina Johnson-Thompson salvages a terrible high-jump to finish the first day
LONDON, UK – The party ended for the greatest athlete in the world, Usain Bolt, beaten by Justin Gatlin and Christan Coleman.
Laura Muir & Laura Weightman book places in W1500m final
Laura Muir kept her World Championships alive as she and Jessica Judd took to the track for the first of the W1500m semi-finals. Once more Judd headed straight to the front to give it her best shot, with Muir tucked further behind, boxed in a little.
As Judd started to tire, Muir positioned herself cannily to come around the outside on the shoulder of reigning Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon. Genzebe Dibaba boxed and looked to be in trouble. The defending champion and current world record holder got a spot in the final as a fastest loser, but something went dreadfully wrong with her tactics, with just a couple of days to fix it.
Joining Muir in the semi-final was Laura Weightman, who also adopted the Judd tactic of striking out for the front at the start of the race before pedalling back after Kostanza Klosterhalfen streaked into the front, and just kept on going, opening a huge gap. Of course she could not keep the pace up, and as the chasing pack closed on the German, Weightman went from being out of contention to being lifted by the crowd as she caught up to the leader, finishing fourth and qualifying automatically.
Shaky start for Katarina Johnson-Thompson
So much expected of Katarina Johnson-Thompson in her best discipline of the high jump, after a decent start with the 100m hurdles. She waited, comfortably cleared her opening height of 1.80 but shockingly failed at on her next at 1.86, For context she has a season’s best of 1.95, and a personal best of 1.98.
Although Heptathlon is the best of seven events the first day was going to be a challenge for the Brit. She did her best in the Shot Put, which is not a great event for the willowy Brit, before a chance to try and redeem something from a terribly disappointing first day in the 200m.
Part of the challenge is to put a bad performance behind you – whether it be in a weak discipline, or your favourite. With the roar of the crowd putting a smile on her face, she would have to pull quite the Houdini act to even be an outside chance of a medal.
She was, however, the class athlete in the field, striding away from the field and having to not only win it, but having to push for the best time to give herself that chance. A staggering run of 22.86s was enough to put her in fourth place heading into the second day.
One last time – Bolt denied 20th Gold
It had not been the easiest of rounds for the world’s best athlete. If people could will someone over the line then the cheers would have lifted Bolt all the way. Not even the dazzling Christian Coleman had his day, as Justin Gatlin just edged his compatriot and alas spoiling the party.
Once more in a battle of perceived good versus evil, Bolt has done talking on the track to answer the question once and for all, who is the greatest sprinter of them all but he was denied a gold medal by the future of sprinting, and it’s inglorious past (and present).
With boos continuing to ring around the track at the confirmation of Gatland as the world champion, there was no doubt of the love for Usain Bolt as he quietly went about his business walking around the track to acknowledge the crowd and fans.
He had never looked as he did in his prime, this championships. His heat saw him almost falling off wobbly blocks, and as he lined up for the semi-final, ripples of anxiety seemed to flow around the stadium – surely he would get through?
It was another slow start, but as we have come to expect he ate up the track to finish comfortably behind Coleman. Gatlin in his heat looked pensive and not really relaxed and even in victory, no-one really wanted to know.
While the men themselves embraced warmly, a crowd’s memory is long, and in this case unforgiving, as the curtain closed on Bolt’s remarkable career. We will never see the like again.
Day Three of the IAAF World Championships begin on Sunday at 10am.
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