Gatlin Pays Tribute To ‘Class Act’, Bolt
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 semi-finals, 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.
Afterwards both Gatlin and Bolt paid their respects to one another. Bolt added that his body was telling him it was time to retire and he said he had been competing this whole season in the memory of his late friend, Germaine Mason.
Bolt and Gatlin are both expected to feature in next week’s 4×100-metre relay final.
Elsewhere, South Africa’s Luvo Manyonga won the world championship long jump title which made up for the disappointment of missing out on an Olympic Gold in Rio last year. Manyonga admitted afterwards he was feeling the pressure going into the final.
In the field events, Lithuanian Andrius Gudzius, a one-time junior prodigy, finally fulfilled expectations to shock the big names in the discus and take gold.
The 26-year-old, who had won the world junior title back in 2010 but had never since come close to threatening the elite in his event, prevailed with a second-round throw of 69.21 metres, the best of his life.
His winning effort came immediately after Sweden’s Daniel Stahl, the event favorite as the only man to throw over 70 metres this season, had launched a 69.19m throw.