Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 24th 2015 Contents A54
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, August 24, 2015
BEIJING---A heart-stopper. A lean
at the line. A next-to-nothing mar-
gin over a more-than-game chal-
Sure, for Usain Bolt, the winning
result, the bow-and-arrow victory
celebration and even the setting may
have been the same as 2008. But
the show he put yesterday in a .01-
second victory over Justin Gatlin at
the Bird s Nest was something very
Bolt crossed the line in 9.79 sec-
onds---pedestrian by his standards.
Yet it very well may have been his
greatest race ever.
"My coach said, You ll have to
run 100 metres if you re going to
win the race, " Bolt said after cap-
turing his record ninth career gold
medal at world championships. "So
I ran 100 metres."
The 29-year-old Jamaican came
in hurting and anything but race
ready---a far cry from seven years
ago, when he put his stamp on the
Beijing Olympics in the same sta-
dium by slowing down and bringing
his hands out to his side to start the
celebration with 20 meters left. Even
with that, he crossed the line in a
then-world-record time of 9.69 sec-
By now, that s ancient history, and
the proof was in the results from
the last two years. Gatlin has been
dominating the sprint game, while
Bolt has spent more time rehabbing
The problems carried right into
yesterday. Bolt s semifinal run---nor-
mally a stress-free jog---turned dicey
when he stumbled on his fifth step
out of the starting block. He was in
sixth place more than halfway
through and had to push to beat out
In the next semifinal race, Gatlin
breezed, just as he had the night
before in the heats. Set against each
other, those performances turned
Gatlin into the betting favorite, and
who could argue?
And so, the stakes were set: The
world-record holder and track s
happy warrior against a twice-con-
victed doper, who also won the 100
at the 2004 Olympics and the world
championships in 2005.
That Gatlin burst from the blocks
faster was no surprise; Bolt was his
typically slow self in unfurling his
6-foot-5 frame from the start.
That Gatlin was winning at the
halfway point wasn t too shocking,
either. "The best part of my race is
usually the end," Bolt said.
At 80 meters, the math started
changing. Bolt drew to within a step
but Gatlin was holding him off.
Then, with about 15 meters left,
Gatlin over-strided, then did it again,
then started leaning toward the line.
Bolt stayed upright, crossed with a
big kick and with his chest pushed
forward. A sliver of space for a man
who wins by body lengths.
After eyeing the scoreboard, Bolt
punched his right fist down and
kicked his left leg up, a clearly
unchoreographed celebration for a
man who often starts planning them
while the race is still going. It was
the closest 100 final at the worlds
since 2003, when Kim Collins edged
Darrel Brown by .01.
"At the end of the day, I guess I
would say I gave the race away the
last five meters," Gatlin said.
A bitter pill for the 33-year-old
ex-champ, who handled it with his
typical class, but still gets asked
about his doping past no matter
what the result.
"He served his suspension, and
all of a sudden, self-righteous people
who ve never done anything wrong
in their lives want to vilify him," said
Gatlin s agent, Renaldo Nehemiah.
Also winning gold medals Sunday
were Jessica Ennis-Hill of Britain in
the heptathlon, Joe Kovacs of the
United States in the shot put and
Pawel Fajdek of Poland in the ham-
Gatlin will presumably get another
chance at gold, and another chance
at Bolt, on Thursday in the 200-
meter final---the race Bolt has always
called his favourite.
No matter how it goes, there fig-
ures to be some drama and tension
between these two over the next 11
1/2 months, as the lead-in to the
Olympics in Rio de Janeiro heats up.
In Rio, Bolt will try to make it 3
for 3 at the Olympics in the 100,
200 and the 4x100 relay. He ll go
there having proven something that
most long-time champions have to
prove sooner or later: That he could
win a close one when he wasn t
close to his best and his opponent
"Ask any athlete, and they ll tell
you, if you start doubting yourself,
you ve already lost," Bolt said. "I
never started doubting myself. I just
tried to put together a race."
And so, the final photo taken on
the track looked like so many others
that Bolt s taken over the years: The
World s Fastest Man holding that
long, languid bow-and-arrow pose---
smiling, playing to the crowd.
What a race.
"I was screaming. I was screaming
because I didn t know what was
going to happen," Bolt s father,
Wellesley, said after a harrowing
night in the stands. "But we know
Usain. He s a very stubborn man
and he didn t give up."
ANDRE E BAPTISTE
Three of T&T s female athletes will be
looking to put smiles on the face of mem-
bers of the camp when they compete this
morning in the semifinals of the women s
100 metres while another will be looking
to sparkle over the 400 metres hurdles.
The trio of 100 metres sprinters Michelle
Lee Ahye, Semoy Hackett and Kelly Ann
Baptiste remained in contention for medals
after the men failed to factor in yesterday s
big 100 metres final which was won by
Jamaica s Usain Bolt. And Sparkle McKnight
will be looking to make up for the disap-
pointing performance of Jehue Gordon in
the 400 metres hurdle when she also goes
into semifinal action over the women s 400
After her victory in her heat in a time
of 10.98 (4th fastest in qualification), Lee
Ahye said she felt good and happy to be
back on track. "It feels pretty good to be
back out. It is always going to have pressure
but you cannot underestimate anybody in
the race. Anything can happen, so I am just
going out there to do my best and make
sure I am on that podium," said Ahye
Ahye will line up in semifinal heat 3, and
will run from lane 7 at 7.54 am. Also in her
heat will be Jasmine Todd, Dafne Schippers
and Murielle Ahoure.
Hackett, who is better known over 200
metres, also looked re- energized. "I just
wanted to go out and execute a proper race."
She believes the 100 metres will assist
her going forward. "My pet event is the 200
metres, so running the 100 will help my leg
speed for the 200, and it will build my con-
fidence going into the 200 metres. When
I run fast in the 100, I think I will do better
in the 200 metres."
Hackett will face the track in semi final
heat 1 from 7.40 am, and will be in lane 7.
Also in her heat are defending champion
Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce, Sherone Simpson,
Englis Gardner and Blessing Okagbare.
Kelly Ann Baptiste who is making a return
to the World Championships almost two
years after she pulled out on the first day
of the Moscow World Championships in
2013 looked calm. "It feels good to be back
so I am looking forward to the next race.
At the moment, it is about some rest, refocus
and not over think things. It is just another
race, even though we know it is not. You
have to execute as you would any other
race," added Baptiste
Baptiste is not overly concerned by the
fast times recorded by most of her major
competitors. "Everyone knows that in a
semi final and final, it is about the person
that executes their plan on the day and not
on the fast times run before. I have been
in a position, where I have ran fast before
in the heats and did not do so in the semi
finals, so I know things can turn around."
Baptiste will race in semi final heat 2 at
7.47 am from lane 7 and is expected to face
strong opposition from Natasha Morrison
and Tori Bowie.
The womens 100 metres final is scheduled
McKnight finished second in her heat in
a time of 55.71.
She will now race in her first senior semi
final but is aiming to go another step for-
ward. "At this point, I am not thinking about
any time. As long as I execute my race, stay
focus and compact, time will come, place
will come and finals will come also," a quietly
confident McKnight added.
McKnight will run in semi final 2 , at 7.18
am with her major competitor expected to
be Jamaican Kaliese Spencer who defeated
her in the first round.
Trinidad and Tobago's Kelly-Ann Baptiste,
right, and Sierra Leone's Hafsatu Kamara
compete in women's 100m round one at
the World Athletics Championships at the
Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing, yesterday.
Jamaica's Usain Bolt hugs his mom,
Jennifer Bolt, after Usain won the
men's 100m final at the World
Athletics Championships at the
Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing,
yesterday. AP PHOTO
Bolt in heart-stopping lean for gold
Sprint trio looking to put smile on T&T faces
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