BEIJING, China—Usain Bolt (above, on the right/photo by Paul Merca) was everything advertised and more, as the Jamaican successfully defended his world title, coming from behind to defeat current world leader Justin Gatlin of the USA in the featured men’s 100 meters at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships at the Bird’s Nest Stadium.
Gatlin got out early and appeared to be in command to add a world title to the Olympic title he won way back in 2004 in Athens.
However towards the last few strides of the race, Gatlin appeared to time his dip to the finish line a bit early, and the taller Bolt, who won Olympic gold in the 100 and 200 at this venue in 2008, took advantage of Gatlin’s gaffe to win in a season best 9.79, far off his world record of 9.58, but nonetheless a victory when it mattered.
Gatlin finished second in 9.80, while Baylor University’s Trayvon Bromell of the USA and USC’s Andre DeGrasse of Canada tied for third in 9.92, after running a long collegiate season. Both appear as the future of the short dash on the international scene.
In the semis, Gatlin appeared invincible after running 9.77 in the semis a few hours earlier, while Bolt ran 9.96 pressed by USC standout Andre DeGrasse of Canada.
Such was the depth of the field that it featured the first nine-man final, as it took 9.99 to get in with Bingtian Su of China getting the last spot when the Seiko timing device could not separate him and Jimmy Vicaut of France for the last spot even though they ran in separate heats.
Su tied his Chinese national record of 9.99 in finishing fourth in the first heat, which he set in Eugene at the Nike Prefontaine Classic, and which got most of the 50000 spectators in a tizzy.
In finals contested this evening, Pawel Fajdek of Poland won the hammer with a toss of 265-4 (80.88m); Jessica Ennis-Hill won the heptathlon with a final score of 6669 points, while Oregon grad Brianne Theisen-Eaton of Canada and the Oregon TC Elite was second with 6554.
Penn State alum Joe Kovacs, who formerly was coached by new Arizona throws coach and former University of Washington assistant TJ Crater, won the shot put with a toss of 71-11.5 (21.93m).