L-R: Usain Bolt hugs Justin Gatlin after a fiercely contested 100m final in Beijing, China
Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt overcame the doubters and a semi-final hiccup when he powered past American rival Justin Gatlin in the closing stages to win the blue riband 100 metres gold for a record ninth world championship title.
Bolt, whose career took off seven years ago at the same Bird’s Nest stadium at the Olympics, overcame modest form last season and earlier this year, plus a stumble in the semi, for victory in 9.79 seconds.
Season leader Gatlin took silver in 9.80 while countryman Trayron Bromell and Canadian youngster Andre de Grasse shared bronze with 9.92 each and identical 9.911 on the thousands countback.
“That still was not the best, I still stumbled. I came out here relaxed, no stress, and brought it home,” Bolt said, draped in a Jamaican flag after his lap of honour.
“My aim is to be the number one until I retire. And therefore I am pushing and pushing myself. It is all about running the race and getting it done.
“You can call that race rusty. I could have run faster.”
Bolt is the first athlete to get nine gold medals at world championships, moving ahead of Americans Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson, who have eight each. His overall haul at the worlds is 9-2-0 and he also has six Olympic titles.
Gatlin dominated the past and current season, running a personal best 9.74 this year and looking sharper than Bolt in the Beijing heats and semi, clocking 9.77 seconds in the latter.
The duel was dubbed good v evil by some because Bolt is the face of athletics and the 2004 Olympic and 2005 world champion Gatlin a two-time doping offender who according to some should not be present and banned for life.
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Source:: PM Newspaper