Sunday, 13 August 2017 11:49

Jamaican sprint team furious over Usain Bolt injury as they blame delays for ending his career in relay agony

The Jamaican relay team hit out at the World Athletics Championships’ organisers in London as Usain Bolt labelled the delay to his final race on Saturday “crazy”, with the sprint legend ending his career in agony after being struck down by injury.

As Great Britain powered their way to a stunning gold in the men’s 4x100m relay with the third-quickest time in history, Bolt was struck down midway through his stint with what has been revealed as cramp in his left leg.

The race started 10 minutes later than planned, with the teams being held in the warm-up area for nearly 30 minutes before they were able to run out into the London Stadium, and Bolt’s teammate Yohan Blake spoke afterwards of their concern with how the preparations were dragging on.

The concern was so great that Bolt turned to Blake before the raise to express his unhappiness, and Blake furiously hit out at organisers immediately after the race after having to watch the women’s high jump medal presentation overrun.

“I think they were holding us too long in the call room,” Blake said on Saturday night. “The walk was too long. Usain was really cold. In fact Usain said to me, 'Yohan, I think this is crazy'.

“It was 40 minutes and two medal presentations before our run. We keep warming up and waiting, then warming up and waiting. I think it got the better of us.

“We were over warm. And to see a true legend, a true champion go out there and struggling like that...The race was 10 minutes late, we were kept 40 minutes and it was a 300 metre walk. It was crazy.”

Jamaica failed to finish the race as Bolt lay prone on the track, but he dismissed the aid of a wheelchair to get up and cross the line before waving goodbye to the crowd, with Bolt now unlikely to race in Zurich as had been hinted if the injury proves worse than first feared. The Jamaican team medic, Dr Kevin Jones, played down any long-term injuries though and claimed the injury was just cramp.

“It's cramp in his left hamstring but a lot of pain is from disappointment from losing the race,” Dr Jones said. “The last three weeks have been hard for him, you know. We hope for the best for him.”

However, his other two sprint teammates, Omar McLeod and Julian Forte, were in agreement with Blake that 30-year-old Bolt’s final farewell had been doomed to fail because of the delays.

“It's heart-wrenching,” said 110m hurdle gold medallist McLeod. “I gave it my all and I really wanted Usain to leave golden, or even if it was just a medal, it was really heart-wrenching.

“I couldn't believe it, I'm in shock, utter disbelief.

"It was ridiculous, man. We were there around 45 minutes waiting outside, I think they had three medal ceremonies before we went out so we were really trying our hardest to stay warm and keep upbeat, but it was ridiculous. We waited a really long time. I drank like two bottles of water.”

Forte added: “I really wanted to be a part of the team that sends Usain off in style. Unfortunately it's one of those things, it's part of sport.

“They kept us in the call room for an extremely long time in our running kits, and it's not the warmest over here and they had us around there for quite a while, so I think they really need to look into that and do something about it.

“We were excited, we were ready, we had been doing some hand offs and everybody was feeling good, but they kept us hanging around for a long time, you know. So it's just really crazy.”

The frustration with the long wait before the race was not contained to the Jamaican team, with USA sprinter and 100m gold medallist Justin Gatlin expressing sympathy for his long-time rival Bolt as he agreed with the cause of the injury.

“You can't really have this night or championship define what he's done in the past. From 2008 on, Usain Bolt has done amazing things. Tonight is not going to define who he is. He is still the man,” said Gatlin, whose USA team finished runner-up to Great Britain.

“This is a farewell tour, we take our hats off to him and we hope he gets better.

“I know it’s TV magic, and everybody has to be prepared on time to make everything happen for the viewers at home, (but) I personally think that we were held in the stadium a little too long without our clothes on, and there was a little draught in there. I lost all my sweat and body heat.

When asked if he thought that contributed to Bolt's injury, the 35-year-old Gatlin said: “I believe so.

"Knowing how Usain performs, he’s always ready, he’s always making sure he’s not injured and it’s very rare to see Usain injured when he comes to performances.”

However, Gatlin believes that London 2017 will not be the last time that Bolt is seen on the track.

“I'm going to win my 100, he's coming back in a year or two,” Gatlin added. “He'll be ready. He has a passion for the sport, he loves the fans, the fans love him. It's something you can't walk away too easy from."


Oh Mo! Farah gets golden send-off from press

London (AFP) - British athletics legend Mo Farah was hailed by the British press on Sunday despite his glorious track career ending with defeat in the 5,000 metres world championships final.

Although his silver medal performance was pushed out of the limelight by the drama of the men's 4x100m relay, which saw fellow legend Usain Bolt collapse with cramp on his own swansong as Britain pulled off a remarkable victory, as well as the thrilling opening of the Premier League season, Farah still commanded many column inches.

The 34-year-old saw his global championship win streak of 10 gold medals dating back to the 5,000m at the 2011 world championships ended as Muktar Edris of Ethiopia held off his desperate charge in the finishing straight.

"End of the track for Mo" headlined The Sunday Times, adding that it was a "shattering defeat in front of an adoring crowd".

However, the paper eulogised about the performance by Farah -- who came to Britain with his mother and two of his brothers from Somalia via a spell with his grandparents in Djibouti aged just eight -- in the stadium where he had memorably achieved his first Olympic double in 2012.

"If defeat is the making of a true champion, then Mo Farah left the track at the Olympic stadium last night as the greatest champion of all," wrote its sports writer.

"That he failed, beaten finally, for the first time at a major championships since 2011, by Muktar Edris of Ethiopia, stripped nothing from the legend."

The Sun on Sunday, never one to miss out on an eye-catching pun, perhaps unkindly went with "Slow Mo".

However, Farah -- who has had a tense relationship with large sections of the British media over the questions raised by his loyalty to controversial United States-based coach Alberto Salazar -- would have been happier with what followed.

"The 34-year-old is hanging up his spikes to take to the roads in the marathon after a stellar career which has seen him establish himself as one of the all-time greats of the sport," purred the Sun correspondent.

"Yet despite the huge support from the home crowd packed into the London Stadium, Britain's hero was finally knocked off his perch as the king of long-distance running."

- 'I was going to take Mo down' -

The Mail On Sunday headlined their tale of Farah's final bow "Oh Mo!"

They called it a "disappointing silver" but pointed to the remarkable career of Britain's most successful ever athlete.

And they took aim at America's Kenyan-born bronze medallist Richard Chelimo for making Farah's trademark 'Mobot' gesture and then running his hand across his throat as the 5,000m runners lined up before their race.

"It is what it is, I just meant that I was going to take Mo down," said Chelimo.

The Observer remarked that those who had come in their thousands with their faces painted with "Go Mo!" and banners with "Run Farah Run" were to be left disappointed.

It also commented on how his soon to turn five twin daughters Aisha and Amani had never seen him lose a major final before Saturday.

"He curled into the foetal position at the finish, beaten in a major final for the first time in six years," wrote the correspondent.

"Silver on this occasion stung like defeat and salt was rubbed into open wounds by his conqueror, Muktar Edris of Ethiopia, performing the iconic Mobot at the finish."


Coe Tells Athletes To Stop Being Bland

Lord Coe warned athletes and their entourages on Saturday night they must stop being so bland if athletics is to prove there is life after Usain Bolt.

On the day track-and-field’s greatest showman ran the final race of his legendary career, Coe called for the next generation of stars to fill the void by showing more of their own personalities, accusing their managers and agents of preventing them being themselves.

With Sir Mo Farah also running his last 5,000 metres at a major championships on Saturday, athletics is on the brink of losing both of the only men guaranteed both to fill stadiums and draw millions of viewers on television.

Coe, the president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, said the World Championships in London, which end today, had proven there was no shortage of young talent ready to step into Bolt and Farah’s shoes.

Admitting part of the IAAF’s job was to promote those new names, he challenged the athletes themselves to do the same.

Coe said: “I want athletes with opinions, I want them with views. Sometimes, they’re going to be uncomfortable.

“But I sense sometimes that the agents and the managers are sitting there curtailing that kind of engagement.

“We have a young reporters’ programme [with people] from all backgrounds and they think our athletes are less communicative and less engaging and engaged than a lot of other sports.

“We’ve got to encourage the athletes to be themselves. When they are, you are going to find them more interesting.”

Coe hailed men’s 400 metres hurdles champion Karsten Warholm for showing the kind of personality the sport was crying out for.

“He’s absolutely what we need to start building the sport around,” Coe said of the 21-year-old Norwegian, whose reaction to his gold medal run captured the imagination last week.

“I was actually in the Hilton the other night, to talk to the federations and he walked in wearing his Viking helmet and absolutely shocked at what he’d done.”

Coe also confirmed he would speak to Bolt, who hung up his spikes after last night’s 4x100m relay final, between now and the end of the year about keeping the Jamaican involved in the sport.

Indicating that would be in an ambassadorial role engaging with young people, he revealed Bolt had tried to open discussions just before collecting his 100m bronze medal last Sunday.

Coe said: “I was chatting to him before the medal ceremony and, slightly tongue-in-cheek, he looked at me and said, ‘So what do you want me to do now, boss?’”

“And I went, ‘Anything you want to do, really’.”

Reflecting on a championships dominated by Bolt’s defeat to two-time convicted drugs cheat Justin Gatlin and a norovirus outbreak that sparked a major row over the participation of Botswana’s Isaac Makwala, Coe said the IAAF was taking steps to avoid such controversies in future.

He spoke about plans to stop athletes being drawn into doping in the first place and revealed the communication of medical decisions such as that which saw Makwala blocked from entering the stadium would be reviewed.

He also said the IAAF was awaiting a date for a hearing to determine whether it could resume forcing intersex athletes like Caster Semenya to take medication to reduce their naturally-occurring testosterone.

Confirming he expected that to take place next month or in October, he added: “I don’t want athletes being demonised but it is the responsibility of the federation to create a level playing field in female sport.”


'Infinite love for my fans' - Bolt thankful for support as stellar career ends

Jamaican icon Usain Bolt expressed his love for his fans after bowing out of athletics in unfortunate circumstances at the IAAF World Championships.

Seeking a record-equalling 15th World Championships medal in his farewell race, sprint king Bolt pulled up injured during the men's 4x100 metres relay in London on Saturday.

Having been forced to settle for a bronze medal in his final individual race – last weekend's 100m decider – a 12th World Championships gold was on Bolt's mind via the 4x100m relay but the 30-year-old's career ended painfully after he failed to finish.

Bolt fell to the ground and he was later diagnosed with cramp in his left hamstring, and as the curtains closed on a memorable journey, the eight-time Olympic gold medallist used social media to thank his supporters.

In a photo uploaded to Instagram, Bolt wrote: "Thank you my peeps. Infinite love for my fans."

While all eyes were on Bolt, Great Britain claimed a shock gold medal in a time of 37.47 seconds, with the United States and Japan second and third respectively.


Blake points finger at organisers following Bolt injury woe

An angry Yohan Blake suggested a lengthy wait in cold conditions contributed to Usain Bolt's career ending in painful fashion, after the iconic sprinter sensationally pulled up injured in the men's 4x100m relay at the IAAF World Championships.

Having been forced to settle for a bronze medal in his last individual race, last weekend's 100m final, Bolt had hoped to bow out with a 12th World Championships gold.

However, after taking the baton in the anchor role for Jamaica, Bolt dramatically failed to finish, instead falling to the ground with an injury later diagnosed as cramp in his left hamstring.

The final race of Saturday's evening session started later than initially planned, following medal ceremonies for the men's 5000m and women's high jump.

"They were holding us too long," said Blake. "To be holding us so long was atrocious.

"That long wait contributed. Inside it was cold. We kept on warming up.

"You have to think about the athletes ... because we were in the mixed zone too long, over 40 minutes.

"That's our true friend, Usain, that's our training partner. I felt it. A hero of the sport to go down like that? As a true friend, I didn't like it one bit.

"He was saying he was sorry, but there was nothing to be sorry for, he's done it for us [over his career]."

Dr Kevin Jones, the Jamaica team doctor, said of Bolt's injury: "It's cramp in his left hamstring but a lot of pain is from the disappointment from losing the race.

"The last three weeks have been hard for him. We hope for the best for him."


Gatlin hails Bolt the 'showman' despite relay flop

London (AFP) - A sentimental Justin Gatlin hailed Usain Bolt as an "amazing showman" whose career would certainly not be defined by him pulling up with cramp in the world 4x100m relay, the Jamaican's final competitive race.

There was high drama in Saturday's relay as anchor man Bolt received the baton in third place behind eventual gold medallists Britain and runners-up America.

Less than 50 metres down the track, Bolt suddenly pulled up, clutching his left leg, tumbling to the track with what was later diagnosed as a hamstring cramp.

"This is farewell time, I am sentimental about it already now," said Gatlin, who stormed to 100m gold in London, US teammate Christian Coleman taking silver to relegate Bolt to a disappointing bronze in his individual send-off.

"In the warm-up area we give ourselves respect and greet each other," Gatlin said of Bolt, who bows out of competition with a startling haul of eight Olympic gold medals and 14 world medals, nine of which are gold.

Gatlin, who has served two doping bans, put the blame for Bolt's cramp partly at the amount of time the athletes spent on the track before the starter's gun went off.

"There was a cool breeze out there. But the conditions were the same for everybody," said the 35-year-old, who won the 100m at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and the 2005 worlds in Helsinki before serving his second ban between 2006-10 for taking testosterone.

- Chilly conditions unhelpful -

"I think it was the elements. I am sorry he got this injury. He is still the best in the world.

"It was a recipe. I don't want to say this but I understand we need to be ready early but I think we took our clothes off a little too early. It's a little chilly in here so I think that's where the cramp came from. That's what he suffered with. He was running out there cold."

But Gatlin, who was roundly booed at the London Stadium before both the 100m and relay, insisted: "Usain Bolt is a great athlete.

"You can't let this championships define what he's done in the past. He has done amazing things. He's still the man, you know. The was his farewell race and we wish him the best and hope he recovers soon."

Referring to Bolt's mooted future ambassadorial role within athletics' world governing body the IAAF, Gatlin added: "He's coming back in a couple of years. He'll be ready, he has a passion for the sport.

"He loves the fans and they love him. He loves the sport too much to walk away. He's a showman."

Japan snatched a surprise bronze medal, Kenji Fujimitsu moved to comment: "Thank you, Bolt. He was an inspiration for us."

Omar McLeod, the newly-crowned 110m hurdler and Jamaica's lead-off runner in the relay, added: "Usain Bolt's name will always live on."


Does Farah leave the track as greatest distance man?

By Ian Chadband

LONDON (Reuters) - Right at the last, Mo Farah's unbeatable air could not stand up to another examination by the world's best distance runners as he was denied one final global triumph in his farewell championship track race on Saturday.

As the Briton was consoled -- and congratulated on a peerless track career -- by his competitors following his world 5,000 meters silver in the stadium where his legend was first properly sculpted in 2012, the only question that remained was where he stands in the annals of track distance running.

There is a powerful argument to say, after 10 straight global championship victories stretching back to the 2011 world 5,000 meters triumph in Daegu, that the 34-year-old is the greatest distance racer we have ever seen on the track.

Despite his defeat on Saturday, his ability, time and again, to fend off every challenge and tactic thrown at him -- from Ethiopian and Kenyan athletes ganging up on him to being spiked and bruised in physical races -- and still sprint to victory was unprecedented during an incredible six-year reign.

His ability to strike for home with that long, loping stride, anywhere from 600 meters to 100 meters out -- and then to find yet another gear when it seemed as if he was flat out -- marked him as a unique talent.

Yet being considered the best racer is very different from being seen as the greatest distance athlete of all-time.

Seb Coe, the president of the IAAF and a massive fan of Farah, set the ball rolling when declaring in Friday's Evening Standard newspaper that Haile Gebrselassie was the greatest.

"When it comes to the debate on the greatest distance runner of all time, I'm tough on this," said Coe, who himself is in the shake-up for the title best middle-distance runner of them all.

"For me, it's not Mo Farah — and that's not to do a disservice to Mo, who is one of the greats of all time.

"For me that still has to be Haile Gebrselassie, for the distances that he covered, the titles he won and the world records he broke."

In championship running, Farah won 10 on the trot before Saturday's setback, compared with Gebrselassie's six in a row at 10,000 meters and Kenenisa Bekele's best run of four championship wins in succession at both distances.

Yet the two Ethiopian greats also went chasing records to extraordinary effect, Bekele setting a total of three new world marks at 5,000m and 10,000m and Gebrselassie seven at the two events.

Farah has never been down that route, with his capacity for really fast times never examined.

It remains an extraordinary fact that the most successful championship runner ever at 5,000m with five global titles, is ranked only the 31st-fastest runner of all time, at 12 minutes 53.11 seconds. Bekele holds the world record at 12:37.35.

At 10,000 meters, in which Farah has also won a record five global golds, he is also still only the 16th-fastest (26:46.57), nearly half a minute down on Bekele's world record of 26:17.53.

Bekele, a year older than Farah at 35, won nine global golds, once went unbeaten for eight years at 10,000 meters, won 11 world cross-country titles and now holds the second-fastest marathon time in history (2 hours 3 minutes 3 seconds).

For the moment, even if Gebrselassie was the great Ethiopian trailblazer, it seems fair to rank Bekele the highest for his all-round achievements on the track, country and roads.

Yet Farah, who has run only one marathon, finishing eighth in London in 2014 in a relatively modest 2:08:21, believes he can make a big impact on the roads.

The most amazing tale in the annals of British athletics may not quite have run its course yet.

(Reporting by Ian Chadband,; Editing by Neville Dalton)


Pain no gain as Bolt and Farah's farewell party falls flat

London (AFP) - Athletics legends Usain Bolt and Mo Farah experienced some of their greatest moments in their careers at the 2012 Olympics in London but five years on and back in the same stadium, misery replaced joy on Saturday.

Bolt, who won the individual 100 and 200m and the 4x100m relay in London in 2012, collapsed to the track injured anchoring the Jamaica 4x100 metres relay team.

Jamaican team doctor Dr Kevin Jones said Bolt had suffered from "cramp in his left hamstring".

"But a lot of pain is from disappointment from losing the race," Jones said.

"The last three weeks have been hard for him, you know. We hope for the best for him."

The organisers brought on a wheelchair but Bolt shrugged them aside and he limped across the line, grimacing.

Jamaica's 110m hurdles champion Omar McLeod and relay team-mate said nothing had changed with regard to the reputation of Bolt.

"Usain Bolt's name will always live on," he said.

Briton Farah, who had won the first of his four global double doubles of 5,000m and 10,000m to deafening cheers in London in 2012, put up a spirited and courageous effort but for the first time in six years of global championship competition he had to settle for silver behind Muktar Edris of Ethiopia.

Farah, who started the championships in grand style by winning the 10,000m, had been left by Edris as the bell went and as hard as he tried he just didn't quite have the legs to pass his younger rival in the finishing straight.

"It's been amazing. It's been a long journey but it's been incredible," said Farah who was embraced by his fans as he made his way around the stadium on a lap of honour, stopping to sign autographs and pose for 'selfies'.

"It doesn't quite sink in until you compete here and cross the line -– I had a couple of minutes to myself -– that this is it."

The despair and disappointment of Bolt and Farah was in stark contrast to another hero from 2012 -- Australia's 100m hurdling great Sally Pearson.

The 30-year-old's grit and determination to come back from two years of injury hell -- she feared that she would have to have her hand amputated when she suffered a bone explosion in her wrist in 2015 -- was rewarded with her second world title.

The Australian celebrated in exuberant style, her mouth spread in a broad grin as she charged to the stands.

She tried to find her English mother Anne McLellan -- who had taken two jobs when she was raising her daughter as a single parent so she could go to training and achieve her dream -- and husband, childhood sweetheart Kieran but without success.

"Far out, that was bloody hard," gasped Pearson.

"It's been a long journey back from injury, but to get this moment and go and celebrate in front of my family is unreal."

Bolt's dramatic failure to medal permitted American great Allyson Felix to sit on top of the overall career world medals table with 15 after she was part of the women's 4x100m relay gold-winning team.

The Americans had to fight hard to edge out the British team but in Bolt's relay it was the reverse as the host nation pulled off an impressive but shock win over the United States -- for whom 100m world champion two-time drugs cheat Justin Gatlin was booed by large sections of the stadium as he had been in the 100m even after he won the gold.

Elsewhere there was a gold for Russian Maria Lasitskene, competing as a neutral, who defended the women's high jump title and extended her winning streak to 25.

It was the first gold for Russian athletes competing at the championships but whose federation are still banned due to the doping scandal that affected all sports in the country.


U.S. reclaim 4x100m world title, Britain take silver

(Adds details)

LONDON, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Individual champion Tori Bowie anchored the United States to victory in the women's 4x100 metres relay at the World Championships on Saturday.

The Americans, Olympic gold medallists in Rio last year, were led off by Aaliyah Brown who flew out of the blocks to start the run that brought them the world title they last won in 2011.

Allyson Felix, part of that winning team in Daegu, ran the second leg before passing on to Morolake Akinosun who handed the baton to Bowie, the 100m world champion.

The 26-year-old had pulled out of competing in the 200m earlier in the week due to suffering cuts and bruises in her sprint triumph last Sunday.

However, she looked in no discomfort as she surged down the final straight to win in 41.82 seconds.

Bowie was shadowed all the way to the line by Briton Daryll Neita who led her team to silver, in 42.12, ahead of 2015 champions Jamaica who were missing their usual anchor runner in Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

It was the sixth time the U.S. have won the event and the gold was also a record 15th World Championship medal for Felix. (Editing by Ed Osmond)


Injured Bolt fails to finish final race as GB take shock relay gold

Usain Bolt's illustrious athletics career finished on a painful and shocking note at the IAAF World Championships, the iconic sprinter pulling up with an injury as Great Britain claimed a shock gold in the men's 4x100m relay.

Bolt set off on the final leg behind the United States' Christian Coleman and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake of Great Britain and pushed too hard to reach the front, appearing to pull a hamstring and falling to the ground as he failed to finish.

While the Jamaican lay prone, it was Britain who crossed the line first in a world-leading time of 37.47 seconds, the US – booed upon entry with 100m champion Justin Gatlin on the second leg – second and Japan taking the bronze.

The crocked Bolt was soon joined by his team-mates Omar McLeod, Julian Forte and Yohan Blake, who helped him to his feet and across the line before departing down the tunnel.

Rather than bemoaning a far from fitting end to the 30-year-old's distinguished career, the crowd inside London Stadium were lost in celebration for the victorious home nation.


German Vetter wins javelin, Rohler misses out on medals

LONDON, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Germany's Johannes Vetter won the javelin at the World Athletics Championships on Saturday as his great rival and Olympic champion Thomas Rohler missed out on the podium.

Vetter's opening throw of 89.89 metres was enough to win the gold and the 24-year-old was overcome with emotion after clinching the title, mopping his tears on a German flag.

Czech Republic pair Jakub Vadlejch and Petr Frydrych threw personal bests of 89.73 and 88.32 respectively to take silver and bronze.

Rohler, who like Vetter has thrown over 90 metres this season, was beaten into fourth with 88.26.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)


Mo Farah misses out on fifth consecutive distance double

Britain's Mo Farah missed out on a fifth consecutive major championships distance double as he finished second in the world 5,000m.

The 34-year-old, who won 10,000m gold at the start of the championships, was swamped by his rivals in the final lap, with Ethiopia's Muktar Edris breaking clear to win gold.

Farah kicked again to take silver at the London Stadium in his final major track championships.

USA's Paul Chelimo claimed bronze.

Four-time Olympic champion Farah will finish his track career with a record of 10 golds and two silvers in major championships.

He is set to focus on marathons after his final track appearance at the 5,000m Diamond League final in Zurich on 24 August.

Great Britain have now won two medals at London 2017, with Farah taking both, as the hosts look set to fall short of UK Sport's target of six to eight.

Jamaica's Usain Bolt will race for the final time in his career in the men's 4x100m relay final from 21:50 BST, with the British team hopeful of winning a medal.


Pearson roars back to win world 100m hurdles gold

LONDON, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Australia's Sally Pearson completed one of the great sporting comebacks when she overcame two years of injury agony to win the world 100 metres hurdles title at the age of 30 on Saturday.

Pearson, world champion in 2011 and Olympic gold medallist in 2012, missed the last two seasons through hamstring and achilles injuries and a badly broken wrist but blasted back to win in 12.59 seconds, screaming "oh my God" repeatedly after crossing the line.

"I've worked so hard, I don't know what has just happened out there. I'm so tired but I'm sure it will sink in soon," Pearson said.

Dawn Harper Nelson, who won gold at the 2008 Olympics and was one of four Americans in the final, took silver in 12.63 ahead of Germany’s Pamela Dutkiewicz (12.72).

Favourite Kendra Harrison, who set the world record in the London Stadium last year having missed out on Olympic selection, again clattered too many barriers as she did in the semis and finished fourth in 12.74.

Defending champion Danielle Williams of Jamaica failed to make the final while last year's Olympic champion Brianna Rollins is banned for a doping violation.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)


Frustrations of fourth place becoming all too familiar for Britain

LONDON -- Fourth is the bridesmaid placing of track and field, the position that is agonisingly close to the tangible reward of a medal. The margins between success and failure are often miniscule, but the attention goes to the three rivals in front who then stand proudly on the podium.

Yet for Britain, the host nation at these World Athletics Championships, fourth is fast becoming the story of London 2017.

Dina Asher-Smith was the latest British hope to experience being left on the outside looking in, just behind the medalists, in the women's 200 meters on Friday night.

She finished in a season's best of 22.22 seconds, just seven-hundredths of a second behind Shaunae Miller-Uibo, one of the prerace favourites, in third. While Dafne Schippers successfully defended her title ahead of Marie-Josee Ta Lou, Asher-Smith became the fifth British athlete to occupy fourth in their event at these championships, putting them one ahead of Jamaica and Kenya in that particular statistic.

Fourth is also comfortably the most common placing for the host nation, with three sixth places the next most. The reactions from the athletes, not surprisingly, have been mostly filled with confusion and contradiction.

"I was so close!" said Asher-Smith, who broke a bone in her foot last February and did not return to the track until June. "I had absolutely no idea that I could do that tonight.

"To do that, which is faster than I did last year in an Olympic year, I am over the moon with that. It hurts to just miss out but at the same time I am so happy to be that close.

"That was so close to my personal best that I am really happy. To finish fourth in world final after having a broken foot is really good and my best-ever finish [at a major championships]."

Asher-Smith was upbeat and smiling as she talked to reporters after her race but even she expressed mixed emotions, and it seems most athletes -- certainly those not used to medalling -- just don't know what to think of fourth.

Laura Muir was in tears after her 1,500-meter final, saying: "Fourth. That says it all." After taking a day to analyse things and then return later in the 5,000 meters, it was a different story. "Fourth in the world is bloody good," she said. "And it's the best I've achieved in a global final ... it's the closest I've been to the front. It's hard to take but fourth in the world is really good."

Callum Hawkins, fourth in the marathon, was disappointed because he had hoped to "sneak" a medal and was a matter or meters from doing so. Despite the fact that he had run a personal best and equalled the highest finish for a Briton, a record set 22 years ago, he said: "To actually see it [third place] as I was finishing was a bit tough."

Kyle Langford also recorded a personal best in the 800 meters to finish fourth, and the reaction of the Briton was a now-familiar one. "You sit down and say 'fourth, I'll take that,' but I know in myself and I know in my heart that I wanted to get a medal out here, so it is gutting not getting it."


The other Briton to feel the frustration of fourth was sprinter Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake in the 200 meters, but he was unequivocal about what it meant to him. "Nothing's perfect in the sport," he said. "You just execute in the best way you can. At the end of the day, regardless of how I feel about the race, it wasn't enough to get a medal."

At the rate the British team are going, you might expect them to finish fourth in the medals table, too, but right now that looks unlikely.

They were joint 13th -- with one gold medal -- at the end of Friday, with Lithuania, New Zealand, Greece, Norway, Belgium and the Czech Republic for company. Mo Farah's gold in the 10,000 meters, the very first of the championships, remains the solitary British medal and the pre-event target of 6-8 medals appears way off beam with two days to go.

If Britain achieve such a medal haul -- and there are still 14 finals to come before the championships close on Sunday -- they will have to have quite a weekend. All they can do now is be bold, and go forth.


Bartoletta Blew Up Her Whole Life

It's genuinely difficult to find inspiration in athletics today, but for all of the mendacity and malfeasance, there are still some truly amazing stories to tell. One example is that of Tianna T. Bartoletta, an American track and field athlete specialising in the long jump. Today she won bronze at the World Championships in London, having won gold at the same event two years ago.

Not that she was disappointed at the result. In an emotional Facebook post, Bartoletta said that this was the "most special medal" she has ever won, and revealed the plight she has endured in the build-up to this tournament.

She has been the victim of an abusive relationship, and today, she revealed how she left everything behind to escape.

Here's the post:

I knew defending my title would be difficult. And you may find it hard to believe but this Bronze medal is THE most special medal I have ever won. Because just three short months ago I had to run away from my own home, I had to decide which of ALL my belongings were the most important, I had to leave my dogs, I had no money, I still have no actual address, all to give myself a chance at having a life and the love I deserved--one that didn't involve fear or fighting, threats, and abuse.

To stand on the podium today after not even being in the mix for 4 rounds means the world to me. I took a huge gamble blowing my life up in such an important year for me career-wise. But it was about time for me to see that I was worth it. It was worth it. Thanks so much for riding with me.

She is the reigning Olympic champion, but this is her most amazing victory thus far.


Here’s why track and field needs to change

LONDON — Coming into these 2017 IAAF world championships, the American Fred Kerley was the next big thing in the men’s 400.

More precisely, Fred Kerley of Texas A&M was the next big thing. He came to London having run 15 individual 400s in 2017. He had won 15.

It didn’t go Kerley’s way in the 400 final. He finished seventh, a result pre-figured in the semifinal, when he just barely qualified for the final on time. This is not to beat on Kerley. Just the opposite. It’s to pay him respect. He’s 22, and — counting the rounds and the final here — he ran 18 400s this year, plus a bunch of relays, plus some 200s to boot.

The NCAA system is the world’s diamond polisher. It doesn’t send up just Americans every two years to the world championships or every four years the Olympics. A great deal of the entire world sends its best to the United States, and in turn the NCAA sends its best back to the world, or the Olympics.

But take a good look around at these 2017 world championships in London. This may be a last go-around for the way a lot of things that have traditionally been the case in track and field.

The sport is looking at a great number of changes. To be candid, and with sincere respect for that tradition, it needs to change.

Change has been the hallmark of IAAF president Seb Coe’s first two years in office and any reasonable observer can see that change to the way track and field does things, in particular its presentation and its calendar, have to be on the agenda, and sooner than later.

Purists may shudder. That’s OK. All change is hard. All interest groups have interests. That’s understood.

Track and field has a historic opportunity in the United States owing to the 11-year timeline between now and the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. If the sport can make a powerful move in the U.S. market, it could and should prove transformational.

It’s also the case that the post-Usain Bolt era, which literally begins Sunday, after his final race Saturday (the men’s 4×100 relay), offers a clean break.

The London 2017 championships are a sell-out, which traditionalists can well cite as evidence that matters are on course. They’re not. Track and field simply can’t keep keeping on and expect to keep its self-identified position as the No. 1 Olympic sport, much less emerge a dynamic sport for the 21st century with appeal to young people.

Track and field has two options. It can change. Or it can have change forced upon it in crisis.

Better to choose option A.

The worrying signals are there for all track and field lovers, and this is the big one: aquatics will have more medal events at the Tokyo 2020 Games, 49, than track, 48. Swimming, along with gymnastics, is now what the International Olympic Committee calls for revenue distribution purposes a Tier A sport. Track used to occupy that category all by itself. Volleyball, which just concluded a hugely successful beach volleyball worlds in Austria, is banging on the Tier A door, and hard.

Better, again, to choose option A.

Teen girls, for instance, want to see Snapchat stories in which, say, the runners are adorned with stickers as they fly down the track.

They love the bright-pink colors of the sweatshirts that are part of the uniforms here.

But that ‘70s and ‘80s classic rock over the stadium loudspeakers? Come on, that’s when people who are literally in their 40s and 50s, ohmigod, were in school. Old. In case there is any doubt, and there should not be: old is not good.

Why are there three “semifinals”? Semifinal means two. Everyone knows that. (Trying to explain to teen girls that there are three so that athletes and officials from around the world can go back home with the pride of saying they were a world “semifinalist” when back home very few not in and of the track and field world understand it was made comparatively easier to make a semifinal because there are three, not two — this draws blank stares from a teen audience.)

And every night! For 10 nights! Too much, and too long! Like even Coachella, the music festival, runs on consecutive three-day weekends in April. Who really wants to hang out at a track meet (maybe with parents or grandparents, ugh) for 10 nights?

Friday’s “afternoon session” started at 5 p.m., with the high jump portion of the decathlon. It picked up again at 7:05 p.m., with (the three) semifinals in the women’s 100 hurdles. It ended just before 10, with the only final that anyone under 21 might reasonably care about, the women’s 200, because that race takes about 22 seconds and is easily Instagrammable — or, to use the lingo, good for the ‘gram.

It’s Friday night! There should be a headliner. Is that so difficult?

And why oh why are there so many events going on at the same time? It’s like going to the gym and watching people do stuff. It’s not a show! A show has a beginning, a middle and an end. It tells a story. There’s no thematic story to whatever it is that was out there. Just blips: in the race just before that 200, Emma Coburn and Courtney Frerichs of the United States went 1-2 in the women’s steeplechase (why is it 3000 meters? why is water at some of the jumps?). So many rules. So many places to try to look at, all at one time. It’s super-confusing for someone new, and when the announcer has to tell you what screen to look at, that’s a problem.

A big problem — like, at an NFL game, even if you don’t know the first thing about football, you know to watch the quarterback.

The central question, as ever: is track and field a made-for-TV event in which the stadium and audience serve as backdrop, or is the thing the stadium experience?

Indeed, presentation and time are at the core of many of the track world’s pressing — alternatively, most creatively intriguing and constructively provocative — challenges.

Those tensions make for a fascinating impact on athletes, coaches and more.

And they serve as an important driver as key players study what to do next.

Take Kerley and his Texas A&M coach, Pat Henry. (No tension there, to be clear.)

“I was ready to go,” Kerley said of the 400 final. “Coming home, I didn’t have that push like I normally did. I didn’t have no nerves. My body didn’t tell me to go like four or five weeks ago.”

The NCAA grind affects different people differently. Christian Coleman, a Tennessee junior, took silver in last Saturday night’s men’s 100, behind Justin Gatlin, ahead of Bolt. Trinidad & Tobago’s Jereem Richards, a junior at Alabama, grabbed third in Thursday night’s men’s 200.

And, as Henry pointed out, Kerley not only “still felt like he had something in the tank” before the 400 final,” what “got him here was running those [17 prior] 400s.” He added, “Without those, he wouldn’t have been here. It’s that time in his life. It’s that time to learn who he is, what his capabilities are. If you don’t run races, you don’t get that figured out. Many people might say it’s too many races. Sure. If the young man knew who he is and what his capabilities were — that’s track.”

As Henry also stressed, college track and field is not about getting an athlete ready for the world championships. It’s about aiming to win an NCAA championship.

“For a young man or any member of a team to be a contributor to a team sport, that’s first,” Henry said, and he’s right.

“What athletic department,” he asked rhetorically, “is going to support a track program if it’s all about the individual? That cannot be.

“I will be criticized for saying that. I am always criticized. That’s OK. We are at a point where we have to make those decisions.”

One of the factors likely to force such decisions is the next IAAF world championships, in Doha, Qatar, in 2019.

Here’s a secret: the big whisper backstage here in London — from athletes, delegates, officials and media — is all about Doha. In sum: who’s going, and why?

In an intriguing way for the IAAF, that creates opportunity.

The downside to Doha is that the meet is scheduled for September 28 to October 6, 2019. That’s obviously because of the heat.

Putting aside the heat issues, and looking at Doha from the downside of a bigger-picture calendar perspective:

Having a world championship in October in the year before an Olympic Games, when the track meet at the Games will be held the first week of August 2020, means everything will be askew in 2019. Television-wise, at least in the United States, the track and field worlds will be up against the NFL. If you like to bet, you might bet that the NFL will kill the track meet in the ratings.

Now, switching it up:

The upside to Doha is that the meet is scheduled for September 28 to October 6.

That means the IAAF, finally, can take a look at a long-overdue re-do of its calendar.

The track and field calendar has always been totally screwed up.

What sense does it make to hold your world championships and then carry on with more meets — like nothing happened?

Only track and field.

Do you see more NFL games after the Super Bowl? More basketball after the NBA Finals? More baseball after the World Series?

Yet year after year, track holds its worlds, or the Olympics, and then carries on with more Diamond League meets in Europe. What sort of business model is that?

A central question, going forward, is what is — or ought to be — the one-off? 2019? Or 2020?

To view this from a USA Track & FIeld perspective, and wrapping back to the NCAA issues:

Of the 138 athletes on the U.S. squad here in London for the 2017 championships, 23, including those who turned professional after the college championships, were NCAA-eligible. Of those 23, all were Division I with the exception of one, Chris Belcher, the 100-meter sprinter from North Carolina A&T.

Hypothetically speaking: even if those 23 were to take part in whenever (and wherever) the U.S. selection meet was to be held in 2019, in all likelihood none of them would be on a 2019 U.S. team going to Qatar that September and October because they would be in fall semester (or quarter) at school.

Granted, those numbers would vary because, for instance, 13 of the 23 are seniors now. But no matter because, of course, in just a few days or weeks U.S. colleges will welcome freshmen. Case in point: Sydney McLaughlin, the Rio 2016 400-meters sensation who this fall becomes a freshman at the University of Kentucky and by September 2019 would be a junior.

Bigger picture, at least for the Americans:

How many “emerging elite” and “development” athletes, as USA Track & Field calls the categories, will still be competing at a possible mid-August championships and, even more so, at a September 28 to October 6 world championships?

Doesn’t the question answer itself?

Because of projected lower numbers of entrants in a potential if not likely late summer nationals, the USATF championships format and time schedule could be radically different.

Same for the IAAF.

Knowing heads-up from Snapchat sticker corner: that is not rocket science.


1st Lesson From London: There Is No Next Usain Bolt

Attempts to anoint Wayde van Niekerk were doomed to fail. As for exotic gastric viruses, there is no link to the London Stadium’s wretched food

It is not uncommon for athletes contractually obliged to address the media to sound like disciplined hostages being paraded by their captors: name, rank, serial number, monosyllables, grunts. When Wayde van Niekerk attended his press conference after winning the 400m on Tuesday night, he sounded more like a hostage with Stockholm Syndrome. “How does it feel to be the most well-known person in track and field?” an American journalist asked.

“It’s always an honour … massive responsibility … continue performing … continue winning medals … continue the great legacy … important for each and everyone to build a positive image for our sport … a massive honour and I thank the Lord every day … it’s a journey, it’s life … embrace every moment … thank the Lord.”

Nothing has epitomised the sense of desperation that lies close to the surface of the World Athletics Championships so much as the ludicrous attempt – not only by the press but also by officialdom – to anoint Van Niekerk as the new Usain Bolt. Perhaps nothing quite so mad has been seen since Australian cricket spent about half a century trying to unearth the next Don Bradman.

There was no next Bradman and there is no next Bolt, whose combination of freakish physique, focused determination and PR genius has been matched only by Muhammad Ali. Van Niekerk is a lovely mover, a seemingly honourable and sweet young man and someone whose physical and mental vulnerability is being tested beyond reasonable endurance, as if he were a real hostage.

By Thursday night, having come within a blink of an eye of completing the 400m-200m double, he needed a live-TV hug, lasting about 20.09 seconds in itself, from the BBC reporter Phil Jones before he could jabber again, and this time the desperation had fallen entirely on him: “I worked for tonight [sniffle] … just as hard as every other competitor [sniffle] … I show everyone else respect [sniffle] … I think I didn’t get respect tonight … I feel it is very unfair.”

Then he thanked God and walked sadly away. In due course he may thank God for the defeat. It may do something to deflect unrealistic expectations and allow him to chart his own course without having to do Sebastian Coe’s job and save this benighted sport from its own outrageousness.

Football’s corruption, like the Great Wall of China, can be seen from space. But at least as the season starts we can be confident that on the field there will be fair cheating all round. At these championships officials and pundits have been thanking God for the absence of world records as a sign that perhaps the sport is becoming a little less doped up. It is a sort of motif for a planet on which progress has been abolished.

London hoped for a mini-reprise of the 2012 Olympics. But athletics, served singly, cannot provide it. JB Priestley described marriage as “a long, dull meal with pudding as the first course”, a quote that came to mind on day two when the schedule, having served up Bolt and Mo Farah in the first 48 hours, had little left to offer, which explains much of the pressure that was heaped on poor Van Niekerk.

This is not easy to remedy. You cannot easily Twenty20-ise athletics: “Hey, the 100m is way too long – can’t we make it 25?”

Much of the narrative has revolved around exotic gastric viruses, as in the tropics. Yet the weather has been parodically British: 2012 took place in a fine spell after a dismal midsummer; this time the reverse has happened. I have had wetter sporting experiences than Wednesday night in the stadium (Pontypool rugby, Folkestone races, where you could get drenched at the back of the stands); I have been colder (Nottingham Forest). But it is hard to remember wet and cold combining quite so malevolently, at least not in August.

The crowd trudged through the beckoning lights of the shopping centre, past a joint called Potbelly and a branch of Fatface, getting damp even under the roof, out on to a route that was like the steeplechase course in reverse – one long watersplash with the occasional island. If there was an Olympic-style party scene round that windswept and dystopian open space known as the park, then I never found it this week (story of my life) but colleagues assured me they never found it either.

Nonetheless, the turnout has been very good, if not quite a sell-out (£155 Sunday night tickets were still gettable through the official website on Friday). This should ensure the event is not a financial disaster, as will the price of the wretched stadium food: not very hot dog + not very hot Bovril = £8.50.

I first realised that Londoners were now willing to put up with, and turn up to, absolutely anything at Will and Kate’s wedding in 2011. It became obvious, talking to the crowds on the streets, that this was not a massive outpouring of support for royalty: it was an expression of an urgent need, by people who experience life through screens, to be part of something, no matter what. They would have been just as happy to watch the monarchy overthrown.

This was followed, most obviously, by the mass suspension of disbelief that constituted the Olympics as well as the vast numbers who stood all day to watch several seconds of the Tour de France in 2014 and the huge crowds that support American football’s increasingly frequent invasions of the capital. The public manifestations of Corbynmania may fit the same template.

The BBC coverage of the week started at peak hysteria (“We’ve got the rights to something! How special is THAT?”) but seems to have become more measured. The commentariat have still been at pains to praise the knowledgeable crowd, and indeed the spectators do seem to have grasped the essentials: that the medals are normally won by those who travel the fastest, jump the highest or throw the furthest, and any variation on that usually comes to light only after they have all gone home.

Frankly, athletics is either very simple or exceedingly technical, and there is not much scope for the kind of halfway-house knowledge possessed by followers of most sports.

The shortage of British medals has obviously been a calming influence: “It’s another fourth for Great Britain!” This takes one back to the balmy days of Olympic reporting when it was possible to go out for a dinner that did not comprise tepid dogs and Bovril without fear of missing yet another British gold.

Is there perhaps a growing realisation of the extent of the con-trickery that lay at the heart of the entire London Olympics phenomenon?

On Friday the Directory of Social Change, a charity that services the voluntary sector, issued a press release to mark the 10th anniversary of what it called “the Big Lottery Fund raid”, the diversion of £425m earmarked for charities to finance Olympic costs. This was supposed to be repaid by the sale of Olympic assets after 2012. “So far,” said Rachel Cain, senior researcher at the Directory, “little has been sold off to reimburse the Lottery.”

The middle-class takeover of the East End was happening anyway. And we now know the fate of the promised post-Olympic boom in sporting participation.

The age of Blair and Cameron, the PR PMs, is over and the country is notionally governed by a woman who has some trouble grasping public relations at all. One advantage of this may be the end of an era when Britain treasured gold medals for their own sake, and funded elite sport and stadiums at the expense of necessary facilities.

Every time I have looked at a medals ceremony this week, the honours were being handed out by a member of the IAAF council. Lord Coe and his No2, Sergey Bubka aside, they tended to look exceedingly well-fed: no stadium grub for them. Perhaps they worry about their deeply troubled sport, perhaps not too much.

Over the weekend we can all sit back and say a final farewell to Bolt and Farah. And that is unmissable. West Ham can then return to their stately home, a gift from a generous nation. And the rest of us can return to watching something else on our multiple screens, and paying occasional visits to Potbelly and Fatface.


Hurting Blake Doubtful For Men's 4x1 Final

(Reuters) - Jamaica's Yohan Blake is a doubt for the 4x100 metres relay final at the World Athletics Championships and will be assessed by medical staff before Saturday's final, head Coach Maurice Wilson said.

Blake has not been able to train at full pace in the leadup to the race, which will be sprint great Usain Bolt's last on the track.

“Well I cannot speak definitively on it until I have had conversations with the medical staff,” Wilson told Television Jamaica.

"The possibility exists that we may have some niggles."

The coach was asked whether Blake had trained with the team in relay practice on Saturday.

“Well he did some hand offs today at about half-pace and we’re expecting that if there is a problem he’s a professional athlete, he’s an experienced athlete; he will have that conversation with the medical staff, he will also be examined by the medical staff if there is a problem,” the coach said.

The Jamaican men’s quartet of Tyquendo Tracey, 100m semi-finalist Julian Forte, debutant Michael Campbell and 11-time world championship gold medallist Bolt clocked 37.95 seconds, the third fastest time to advance to the final.

The U.S. team featuring Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman, logged a world leading 37.70 seconds to win the first heat, followed by Britain on 37.76 seconds.

Reporting by Kayon Raynor; Editing by Toby Davis


Reese Wins Tightest Long Jump Final Ever

He had one failure and skipped two rounds before reaching 5.95 metres where he was agonisingly close on his second attempt, clearing the bar but nudging it on the way down.

Lavillenie then opted to move to 6.01 where his challenge ended.

Titleholder Shawn Barber of Canada struggled all evening and never looked in contention.

He had one failure at the lowest height of 5.50 and only just avoided elimination at 5.65 which he cleared at the third attempt despite clipping the bar, before going out at 5.75.

Germany's Raphael Holzdeppe, who won the title four years ago in Moscow, fared even worse as he was eliminated in the very first round at 5.50.

Belgian's Arnaud Art made an unfortunate exit at the first height, falling on his third attempt after his hands slipped from the pole. (Editing by Ed Osmond)


Van Niekerk defends world 400m title

- South African Wayde van Niekerk got his bid for an audacious 200/400m double off to a flying start when he defended his one-lap title. Van Niekerk, who also set the world record when winning Olympic gold in Rio last year, was in imperious form, running a devastating final bend to finish in 43.98 seconds, easing up a full 15 metres from the line. Steven Gardiner of the Bahamas claimed silver in 44.41sec, with Sudan-born Qatari Abdalelah Haroun taking bronze (44.48).


Jenny Simpson Savors Another Silver (Video)

She kicked past two runners in the final 100 meters to win her third medal at a world championships.

In what was one of the greatest women’s 1500-meter fields ever assembled, Jenny Simpson claimed a third world championships medal in London tonight, the 30-year-old American unleashing her trademark finishing kick to finish a superb second in 4:02.76.

With a field of intimidating quality in opposition—including Olympic 800-meter champion Caster Semenya, Olympic 1500-meter champion Faith Kipyegon, and world No. 1 Sifan Hassan—Simpson ranked as an underdog for a medal, but she toed the line with remarkable confidence.

“I said to myself: You have to be a mountain, you have to be unshakeable, because everybody here is fit, everyone is in good shape, so what’s going to make the difference is who is the most confident,” Simpson said. “You’d be surprised how confident I am in myself. I really believed I could do it.”

The early pace was slow, with British heroine Laura Muir taking the field through 800 meters in 2:17.11. But with 600 meters to run, Hassan sprinted to the front, which set off a chain reaction in the pack.

Simpson assumed pole position behind Hassan and Kipyegon, who hit full throttle out front with 300 meters left, leaving Simpson to battle with Muir and Semenya for the minor medals. While Kipyegon came home strongly to win in 4:02.59, Simpson had to summon all her courage in the home stretch to overtake Hassan, edge past Muir, and hold off the late charge of Semenya to take silver.

“I went down the stretch and thought: Just run your guts out, run the hardest you’ve ever run in your life [even if] you black out,” Simpson said.

The moments after the finish were just as nerve-wracking as the start line, with Simpson unsure if she had won a medal and gazing up at the big screen to see her fate. When her name flashed up in second, she erupted in celebration.

“It felt amazing,” she said. “I had a slow start to the season but my coaches really prepared me to be ready late in the season and it paid off. I wanted to win tonight, but I look back and get to say I’m lucky. I’m really proud of it.”

Simpson, the 1500-meter world champion in 2011, the silver medalist at the world championships in 2013, and the Olympic bronze medalist last year, had defeated not just the local favorite in Muir, the world’s best half-miler in Semenya, or the fastest athlete this season in Hassan, but also the controversial figure of Genzebe Dibaba, the 1500-meter world record holder whose coach, Jama Aden, is awaiting trial in Spain after being implicated in a doping scandal.

Afterward Simpson was adamant her performance showed it was possible to win clean.

“I want a clean sport so it feels amazing to come out and beat people [under suspicion],” she said. “If I’m second in this race, you beat cheaters because there’s not zero cheaters in the race or the world. But they’re not all stealing my moment. I’m so lucky I get to have those moments on the podium.”


Gatlin: "Athlete Of His Time, Not A Villain"

The sprinter Justin Gatlin is a tailor-made stand-in for the doping ills of track and field.

He served a four-year suspension after testing positive for steroids. He came back and continues to run fiercely in his 35th year, laying down the fastest times ever for a runner his age. Last weekend, in London, he spoiled the retirement run of the great Olympic champion Usain Bolt, whom some writers revere as the symbol of a clean sport. Gatlin ran 9.92 seconds in the 100 meters on Saturday night at the world championships, and took the gold medal. Bolt settled for the bronze.

Fans showered Gatlin with boos; British sportswriters waxed righteous about their pantomime villain (“Gatlin is a shameless fraud” was one of the milder takes); and Sebastian Coe, president of track and field’s international governing body, was beside himself for having to award a medal to Gatlin.

“I’m not eulogistic at the thought of somebody who has served two bans in our sport walking off with one of the biggest prizes,” Coe said.

This narrative is fractured and self-righteous. Gatlin has sinned, but the outrage, particularly from those who know better, edges toward the absurd.

Let’s start with what is, by now, the standard indictment: Gatlin is a “two-time drug cheat,” with “unrepentant” added as the adjectival chaser.

This is inaccurate. His first offense was no offense at all.

In the summer of 2001, after his freshman year at the University of Tennessee, Gatlin tested positive for a very small trace of amphetamine after running as an amateur in an event sponsored by USA Track & Field. Amphetamines are ingredients in Adderall, for which Gatlin has carried a prescription since he was 7 years old and learned he had an attention deficit disorder. He took Adderall while preparing for summer midterms three days before the race.

His decision was consistent with N.C.A.A. rules and guidance given to professional athletes. Nonetheless, Coe’s organization, the International Association of Athletics Federations, handed down a two-year ban. Gatlin appealed and got the suspension cut to a year. The grand executioners in the press corps might want to page to the decision’s conclusion:

“Mr. Gatlin neither cheated nor intended to cheat,” the appeals panel wrote. “He is certainly not a doper.”

So Gatlin is a one-time doper. In 2006, he tested positive for a steroid and was suspended for eight years, a sentence reduced to four years after he cooperated with federal investigators. He would lose four peak years and millions of dollars in earnings, a considerably tougher penalty than those meted out to athletes in pro baseball, basketball or football. (World soccer has adopted the Olympic Code and consequently levies tough penalties).

That seems a suitably stiff sentence for a first offense.

Let me now back off a step or three and interrogate my own righteousness.

A month ago, I talked with the American high jumper Chaunté Lowe about the moment last November when she learned she had won a bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics. The international antidoping agency, taking advantage of technological advances, retested the blood of three jumpers (two Russians and a Ukrainian) who finished ahead of her at those Games. It disqualified all three. Lowe learned of this by Facebook and felt caught between elation and sorrow, aware of opportunities lost, not least that joyous moment atop a podium.

A year ago, I sat atop a mountain outside Oslo and heard two top American biathletes, Susan Dunklee and Lowell Bailey, talk about the frustration of competing to their lung-straining best and suspecting that some of the athletes a few paces ahead of them might have a chemical advantage.

These athletes work too hard to think we can just slap them on the back and murmur que será, será. They enjoy precious few years at their peak. Several of them told me they would like to see career suspensions for first doping offenses.

There is, too, the peculiar challenge presented when nations or Olympic committees cover their eyes, with all the advantages and subterfuge that implies. The United States Olympic Committee, for many years in the 1980s, enabled a pervasive doping problem. Its leaders knew that American swimmers, runners and jumpers were doping with the complicity of top Olympic coaches.

The United States has cracked down hard. But Russia has taken on the mantle and gone far beyond, running a state-sponsored doping program with a thuggish insistence that gives its athletes and coaches little choice. This represents an existential threat to clean sport.

I called Max Cobb, the president of U.S. Biathlon and an insistent reformer, and asked about the question of appropriate penalties for athletes like Gatlin. He is not by temperament the sort who favors blanket lifetime suspensions, and he sees considerable mitigating factors in Gatlin’s case. He also sees a place for lifetime bans as a threat.

“If you are engaged in systematic blood manipulation, you are deliberately trying to cheat the system,” Cobb noted. “It cannot be an accident, and that’s where the option of a lifetime ban would really help.”

Track and field’s reputation as irreparably tarnished by doping may be unfair and owe paradoxically to its growing ability to ferret out offenders. The doping era may have reached its body-distorting peak at the turn of this century, when athletes from many nations imbibed all sorts of steroids. Olympians break records with less regularity now; some women’s records set in that period have stood for decades. Scientists speculate that cheating athletes now take smaller doses to avoid detection.

As for Bolt and Gatlin, too many reporters and fans remain invested in fairy-tale dichotomies. Bolt is a glorious runner and a joyous showman for the ages, and he has passed every drug test without a glitch. So writers fit him for a crown as the king of clean sport.

What, however, explains the urgency in fitting Gatlin for the crown of thorns? Gatlin is an athlete of his time and place. He finished third in the 100 meters at the 2012 London Olympics. Five of the eight men who ran that day have served doping bans. There were runners in London last weekend who had served doping suspensions and returned to competition.

Track and field offers a complicated world.

Coe’s rhetoric is steely, and he has accomplished some good since becoming chief of the international federation. He was also forced to acknowledge in 2015 that Nike had paid him $150,000 annually to serve as a company “ambassador.” French prosecutors are examining whether anyone bribed top international track officials to steer the 2021 world championships to Eugene, Ore.

Shadows, too, have fallen across the sporting goods companies, which wield great influence over the sport. Nike, its pre-eminent power, runs a top track program out of its facilities in Oregon, and its coach Alberto Salazar has faced repeated reports suggesting his approach is tainted by chemicals.

My intention here is not to throw up a cloud and allow Gatlin to slip untouched off the stage. His athletic history is a cross of his making. After a four-year absence, he returned overweight and slow, turning in embarrassing times in places like Finland.

He found a new coach, who had himself once tested positive, and dismantled and reworked his form. He began to explode out of the blocks with surgical precision. By 2015, he was laying down eyebrow-raising times, peaking at 9.74. That led even sober analysts like Ross Tucker, whose website Science of Sport is much respected, to wonder aloud if he was doping again, or had ever stopped.

That moment likely has passed.

The championship race in London was an old man’s affair. Gatlin won with a 9.92. Had he run that time at the world championships in Beijing in 2015, he would have finished far behind Bolt. He is tested randomly by the United States Anti-Doping Agency; screeners checked his blood four times and his urine 10 times last year before the Olympics.

He passed all of those.

Age is the runner that will track Gatlin to earth. When I saw him in Oregon in May, he acknowledged mental fatigue and hamstrings and thighs that growl like old hounds.

He is a personable man; he is flawed. There’s no need to turn him into a hero. But the villain stuff plays like the cheap tricks adults use to distract from bigger problems.


Britain's WC Woes Based On "Mentality"?

British athletes are underperforming at the World Championships because of issues with their mentality, says ex-Olympic champion Darren Campbell.

UK Sport's target is between six and eight medals but, after five days of competition, Britain have one - Mo Farah's gold in Friday's 10,000m.

While Campbell believes there is "hope" for the future, he told BBC Radio 5 live: "Clearly there's something wrong.

"We can't pretend it's not happening. If medals are not won, funding is cut."

On Monday, Britain's Laura Muir just missed out on a medal by finishing fourth in the 1500m, while Olympic bronze medallist Sophie Hitchon was seventh in the hammer throw.

The previous day, Katarina Johnson-Thompson finished fifth in the heptathlon, Holly Bradshaw was sixth in the pole vault and Andrew Pozzi failed to qualify for the final of the 110m hurdles.

"I am the last British sprinter to win an individual global medal, at the 2003 World Championships in Paris, but the talent we have is better than that," said Campbell.

"The problem we have is the mental side of things."

Many high-profile athletes missed the British trials in July, which formed part of the selection process for the World Championships in London.

Campbell said: "We were told that the top athletes who weren't there were being rested for the Worlds. Well now we're here, where are they producing what we were told they would?"

Campbell, who won 4x100m gold in Athens in 2004, said the experience of former athletes such as Brendan Foster, now a BBC commentator, should be utilised.

"You've got Brendan up here, in five minutes you can see his experience. We're not tapping into that? Wow."

'A reminder that sport is brutal'

UK Sport funding is already set for the Olympic cycle up to 2020 - with athletics the second-highest Olympic recipient behind rowing.

When the funding was announced in December, UK Sport CEO Liz Nicholl said the decision to cut funding from several sports was "based on a judgement of potential number of medals".

"With only one medal at the halfway stage, it's not going to plan," former Olympic javelin thrower Steve Backley told BBC Sport. "That is the simple message.

"There have been some marginal performances that went the wrong way. With medal hopes like Hitchon, Muir, Bradshaw, Johnson-Thompson, we could have had three or four medals in the bag by now.

"But sport is brutal, and this is a reminder of how tough it is out there. There aren't that many more chances left."


Will Usain Bolt win his final career race?

Your last chance to watch Usain Bolt race is very likely Saturday.

Bolt, one week after being upset in the world championships 100m final, is expected to anchor the Jamaican 4x100m relay team during NBC’s live coverage from London from 3-5 p.m. ET.

Bolt and the Jamaicans crossed the finish line first in all seven Olympic and world championships relays dating to the 2008 Beijing Games.

However, the island nation is losing its sprint dominance. Not only was Bolt relegated to 100m bronze by Americans Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman, but Jamaica also lacks depth.

Former relay stalwarts Asafa Powell and Nesta Carter have aged and didn’t make the world team. Yohan Blake, the primary global rival to Bolt in 2011 and 2012, was a respectable fourth in the 100m last Saturday, but the Jamaicans are lacking depth.

Like in the 100m, the U.S. could spoil Bolt’s farewell party yet again in the relay.

Add up the 100m times from Gatlin, Coleman and U.S. bronze medalist Christopher Belcher, and the Americans were a net .01 faster than the Jamaican trio of Bolt, Blake and Julian Forte last Saturday.

The key will be clean baton handoffs. The Americans have botched the relay consistently, missing the podium due to bad exchanges or disqualifications at five of the last six global championships.

Jamaica is much cleaner passing the stick, plus it has the biggest intangible in its favor: Bolt on anchor, which could intimidate whoever is running the last leg for the Americans if it’s a close race.


Tori Bowie follows her instincts to 100-meter gold at worlds

LONDON -- Lying on the track, shoulder and hip burning from her fall after crossing the 100-meter finish line, Tori Bowie had no idea what to expect.

"I was just trying to get to the finish line," Bowie said. "I knew I was in the mix, I knew I was in the top three. I didn't know if I had won or not."

The 26-year-old American used a furious charge over the final 20 meters to close in on the frontrunner, Marie-Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast. Bowie leaned so hard at the tape, she tumbled forward, ripping the skin off her shoulder and bruising several other parts of her body.

When Bowie stood up, the winner still had not been announced. When the scoreboard flashed her name in first place at 10.85 seconds, .01 ahead of Ta Lou, the moment knocked her back down.

The fastest woman in the world lay on her back and covered her face with her hands. "I was like, 'Oh my God, I can't believe this just happened. This is the greatest night of my life,'" Bowie said.

Bowie is a slender, shy country girl from rural Sand Hill, Mississippi. At several points during interviews after Sunday's race, she was overwhelmed by emotion and took some time to compose herself. But there is steely determination beneath her reticence, which fueled her devastating late-race charge.

"I don't know where the finishing comes from. I guess, just hungry -- a determined, motivated moment," she said. "It just comes from instinct, from wanting it so bad."

The favorite Sunday was Elaine Thompson of Jamaica, who won the 100 and 200 in Rio, the first woman to complete that double since Florence Griffith-Joyner in 1988. On Sunday, Thompson stumbled slightly when Bowie passed her halfway down the track. She finished fifth in 10.98, well off her season best of 10.71. Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands finished third in 10.96.

"Honestly, I don't know what happened," Thompson said. "I came out here with a brave heart and a strong mind. It didn't go as I planned, but you have to give those other girls a lot of credit."

Last year at the Rio Olympics, Bowie used another closing burst to move from fourth place to second, losing by a step to Thompson. On Sunday, Ta Lou led the entire race from Lane 4, and had no idea Bowie was bearing down on her from Lane 7. Ta Lou did not lean at the tape, and looked to her left with a shocked expression as Bowie flashed past.

"I didn't see her coming," Ta Lou said. "But it's OK, I have a medal."

Bowie, though, has the gold. She specialized in the long jump at the University of Southern Mississippi, and many consider the 200 to be her best event. Yet she insisted on focusing on the 100 in London.

"I'm probably the only person in the world who thought I could come out here and win the 100 meters tonight," Bowie said. "I learned a lot from tonight. I learned to always follow your heart."


"Mr. Silk" Omar McLeod Brings Joy To Jamaica

LONDON, Aug 7 (Reuters) - As Usain Bolt takes his leave of athletics and the desperate hunt grows to find charismatic new trailblazers for the sport, another young Jamaican, Omar McLeod, demonstrated in winning the 110 metres hurdles title on Monday why he may fit the bill.

He's young, cool, bright, very fast and likes to style himself as "Mr Silk" with the smooth hurdling technique.

After a weekend where it was all doom and gloom back home after the 100 metres losses of Bolt and Elaine Thompson, 23-year-old Mcleod chose the perfect night to bound headlong to world championship glory and cheer his nation.

"Happy Independence Day, Jamaica! I love you guys!" he declared with a laugh, recognising that everyone was watching him on the island's public holiday as he became the first man since American Allen Johnson in 1997 to pull off the Olympics/World Championships 110m hurdles double in successive years.

"I'm elated, completely overcome with emotion and I especially wanted to dedicate this win to Usain. I felt it was up to me out there to bring the boost back to Jamaica and I think I've done that."

Yet while he saluted his peerless hero Bolt, who was only able to win bronze in his final individual 100m, he also looked and sounded every inch the sort of talismanic figure who could ensure swiftly that Jamaica has a new male superstar to savour.

For after comfortably defeating what he considered the best 110m hurdles field in history in 13.04 seconds, the U.S.-based speedster made it clear that he felt this was just the beginning of something even more spectacular.

NEW WORLDS

Nobody is suggesting that Bolt is anything but irreplaceable but here is an athlete who actually has strings to his bow that even the great Usain never had.

For not only is he already the only man ever to have run under 10 seconds for 100 metres and under 13 seconds for the 110m hurdles, he can also spread his talent across events as varied as the 400m hurdles and the 200m.

Next year, he declared after his victory, would be the time to see him spread his wings.

"I've got new worlds to conquer now," he beamed. "I really, really want that world record now so we'll see what happens next."

The man who holds the 12.80 seconds mark that he is after, American Aries Merritt, could only finish fifth in the final and the future of the event now lies in McLeod's quicksilver feet.

He is the only top high hurdler still taking eight steps to reach the first hurdle and, though he was planning to move down to seven this season, he put that plan back to next year to ensure he did not mess with his world championships ambitions.

Next year, though, he will definitely experiment.

"It was probably the best line up in history tonight. I knew in order to win I had to do it the Omar McLeod way," he said.

"I had to bring my own spark back. I had to get out and take control of the race. And just go out and have fun. And I did that."

There was, he said, a special reason to deliver. "My mum is here, so I had to do it for her," he said, after having given her a big hug at trackside. McLeod looks to be a breath of fresh air for the sport. (Reporting by Ian Chadband; editing by Ken Ferris)


Laura Muir refuses to enter Caster Semenya debate after heartbreak

• Briton pipped to 1500m bronze by Olympic 800m champion 
• London organisers close hotel floor over gastroenteritis outbreak

Laura Muir was close to tears after missing out on a world championship 1500m medal by seven hundredths of a second to South Africa’s Caster Semenya.

Muir had led for much of the race but ran out of gas down the home straight and was beaten to bronze by Semenya, the Olympic 800m champion. South Africa’s Semenya later attempted to shut down debate over hyperandrogenism, the medical condition she has which is characterised by excessive levels of male sex hormones such as testosterone.

Athletics’ world governing body, the IAAF, is putting together a case to convince the court of arbitration for sport that Semenya’s condition gives her an unfair advantage over her rivals. Semenya could be forced to undergo hormone replacement therapy or face being unable to compete in the future.

“I really don’t have time for nonsense,” she said. “I do not think about something that might happen in eight months. I don’t focus on the IAAF. It’s not my business. My business is to train hard and see what I come up with in competition.”

Muir refused to be drawn into the complex debate round Semenya’s participation in these championships. “I’ve not got anything to say about that,” she said.

The race was won by Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon in 4min 02.59sec while experience proved valuable for the 30-year-old American Jenny Simpson who ran an exquisitely judged race to take silver.

London 2017 organisers have ordered a floor in one of the hotels used by competitors to be quarantined after an outbreak of gastroenteritis.

Botswana’s Isaac Makwala, a medal prospect in the 400m, was given medical dispensation to withdraw from the 200m heats after throwing up in the call room.

A number of other athletes staying at the same hotel also have gastroenteritis, including the Ireland 400m hurdler Thomas Barr. “I’m gutted to have to withdraw from the semi-final. My whole year has been focused on the world championships. To not be able to go out and compete for Ireland is beyond disappointing.”

An organisers’ statement read: “Those affected have been supported by both team and local organising committee medical staff. In addition we have been working with Public Health England to ensure the situation is managed and contained.

“As a result, further advice and guidelines have been issued to team doctors and support staff – standard procedure for such an occurrence where a number of teams are occupying championship accommodation.”


Kipyegon wins world 1500m, Semenya bronze

Faith Kipyegon of Kenya added the world title to her Olympic crown after sprinting to victory in the women's 1500m on Monday.

In a fantastic race that erupted on the final lap, Kipyegon held off allcomers down the home straight to clock 4min 02.59sec.

American Jennifer Simpson claimed silver, at 0.17sec, with South Africa's 800m specialist Caster Semenya taking bronze (4:02.90).

Defending world champion Genzebe Dibaba finished 12th and last, more than 4sec off the winning pace.

Laura Muir, one of two Britons in the field led from the off, laying down a 65sec first lap, with Kipyegon a constant companion on her outside shoulder.

Semenya was her usual comfortable self in the middle of the pack, with Dibaba behind her and the Netherlands' world indoor champion Sifan Hassan, who took bronze two years ago in Beijing, bringing up the rear.

They went through 800m in a relatively sedate 2:17 before Hassan moved up the field and kicked, Kipyegon following.

Suddenly the pack split, Hassan and Kipyegon looking to have the battle for top of the podium to themselves.

But it was not to be, at least for the Ethiopian-born Dutchwoman.

Semenya left it late for her attack, eating up the yards from ninth place with 200 metres to run.

As they hit the home stretch, Hassan tied up in dramatic fashion, 2011 world champion Simpson timed her tactically astute race to near perfection and Semenya powered through for bronze on her coattails.

Muir pipped Hassan for fourth, while world record holder Dibaba could muster nothing worthwhile in the sprint finish as she went backwards.


5 Gator Alums Qualify For World Champs Finals

Kerron Clement is into his sixth 400 hurdles final, and Novlene Williams-Mills became the oldest woman in history to make a 400 meters final

LONDON – Five Gators advanced to finals, and incoming freshman sprinter Hakim Sani Brown qualified for the 200 meters semifinals Monday (Aug. 7) night at the IAAF World Championships.

For a second consecutive day, 400-meter hurdlers Kerron Clement (2004-05), the reigning Olympic gold medalist and a two-time world champion in the event, and TJ Holmes (2015-17), this year's USATF Outdoor Championships bronze medalist, won their respective heats.

Clement, who could become the first man in history to win three 400 hurdles world titles, posted the fastest overall time (48.35 seconds) to qualify for his sixth World Championships final. His six finals are the second-most appearances in meet history.



Jamaican team captain and six-time World Championships medalist Novlene Williams-Mills (2003-04) finished third in her heat, but advanced to the final as the fastest non-automatic qualifier. At age 35, Williams-Mills is the oldest woman in history to make the World Championships 400 meters final. Russia's Tatyana Alekseyeva (33 years, 301 days in 1997) was the oldest prior to Monday. This will be Williams-Mills' sixth final, the most in meet history.

Two-time reigning Olympic gold medalist and two-time world champion Christian Taylor (2009-11) only needed one attempt to automatically make Thursday's (Aug. 10) triple jump final. Fellow American and reigning two-time Olympic silver medalist Will Claye (2010-11) also qualified for the final, posting the fifth-best jump of the night.

Sani Brown's bid to become the youngest 200 meters finalist in World Championships history continues, as he finished second in his heat and automatically qualified for the semifinals.



Tuesday's events do not feature any Gators. Clement, Holmes, and Williams-Mills all compete in Wednesday (Aug. 9) finals Sani Brown's 200 meters semi is Wednesday as well.

Two-time steeplechase Olympian Genevieve LaCaze (2009-12) and 2015 World Championships long jump silver medalist Shara Proctor (2007-10) begin their respective events Wednesday. Proctor is making her sixth World Championships appearance, trailing only Williams-Mills' seven for the most by a female Gator.


Clement eases into position for third hurdles gold

Olympic champion Kerron Clement put himself in pole position to win a third world title as the American went through the gears before cruising into the final of the 400 metres hurdles at the London Stadium on Monday.
The gifted 31-year-old, who won his first title a decade ago and has made such a revival late in his career that he struck Olympic gold in Rio de Janeiro last year, won his opening heat to ensure he was the fastest qualifier in 48.35 seconds.

It had looked briefly off the final bend that the Trinidadian-born Clement might have his work cut out.

Yet he actually timed his run in lane seven with considerable precision to reel in the field, headed by the second automatic qualifier, powerful young Norwegian hope Karsten Warholm, in what was to prove by far the fastest heat.

It left Clement delighted as he seems to have rediscovered his best form at just the right time after an indifferent season, having also won at the London Stadium in last month's Diamond League meeting.

"I trust my strength and I know I am the best off that last hurdle. If anyone is within arm's length of me at the last hurdle, it's a wrap," said Clement, who despite the titles to his name is still seen as a slightly unfulfilled talent.

"I just need to concentrate on the turn because that can be my Achilles heel. I need to make sure that goes smoothly for the final."

Clement's US colleague TJ Holmes won the slowest, faintly shambolic, heat in 49.12 seconds, but did look to have enough in reserve to be a potential threat to his illustrious compatriot in Wednesday's final.

However, American hopes of having a powerful three-pronged assault on gold were thwarted by national champion Eric Futch's poor run on the inside lane in the other heat dominated by two of the sport's growing legion of 'allegiance transferees'.

Heat winner Abderrahaman Samba, who won in 48.75, now runs for Qatar, having switched his allegiance from Mauritania, while Turkey's European champion Yasmani Copello, who eased home just behind him in 48.91, used to run for Cuba.


Stat Blitz: World Championships Day 4

(from K. Ken Nakamura)

Day 4

WTJ

Rojas became 4th TJ to win both World Indoor and World Championships

2cm is the smallest winning margin in the history of WC WTJ; previous min was 4cm in 1997 and 2003

Difference of 35cm between 3rd and 4th is the largest ever in WC WTJ; previously, 18cm in 1995 and 2003 were max

WIth a silver medal tonight, Ibaguen now has a complete set of WC medals at WTJ

Rojas won the first medal of any kind for VEN at WC WTJ

W1500m

Kipyegon also became third (after Liu Dong and Genzebe) runner to win both WOrld and WOrld Junior at W1500m

Kipyegon also became third runner to win both Olympics and WOrld Championships (after Masterkova and Bulmerka) at W1500m

Kipyegon won first gold for KEN at WC W1500m

Difference between 1st and 3rd was 0.31 second, smallest ever for WC W1500m, replacing 0.44sec from 2009

Faith Kipyegon become the first CWG champion to win World Championships at W1500m

Faith Kipyegon become the first World Youth champion to win World Championships at W1500m

110mH

McLeod also became fifth hurdler to win both WC and World Indoor

McLeod won first gold for JAM in 110mH at WC

Baji won first medal for HUN at 110mH in WC

Shubenkov won silver, thus he joined Jackson and Liu as one of the three hurdlers with complete set of medals.

McLeod joined Allen Johnson and Liu as one of the three hurdlers with both Olympic and World Championships gold

WHT

For the first time in the history of WC, a nation (this case POL) won two medals (Wlodarczyk & Kopron) at WHT

77.90 is the British all comers' record improving her own mark, 77.60 from the Olympics

Wlodarczyk won third gold in WC WHT, tying Moreno for the most gold in this event at WC

It is also fourth medal for Wlodarczyk, also tying Moreno with a number of medals in WC WHT


GOLDEN MUM Who is Jessica Ennis-Hill? Olympic heptathlon gold medallist who’s pregnant with a second child – all you need to know

The 31-year-old is one of the most-decorated British sportswomen in history, but has now retired from competition

JESSICA ENNIS-HILL DBE is one of the most decorated British sportswomen in history, having conquered the world as a heptathlete.

As a professional, she has won gold medals in the Olympics, the World Championships, the World Indoor Championships and the European Championships.

However after last year’s Olympics in Rio, she retired from competing, leaving behind a glittering career that brought her vast amounts of success.

Here’s everything you need to know about the 31-year-old…

How old is Jessica Ennis-Hill? What’s her background?

The superstar was born on January 28, 1986 in Sheffield, where she is one of two daughters to father from Jamaica, and a mother from England.

Both her parents had an interest in athletics – her dad was a keen sprinter, whilst her mum preferred the high jump – and they introduced her to the sport as a child taking her to the Don Valley Stadium to watch events.

She ended up joining the City of Sheffield and Dearne Athletic Club aged 11 where she excelled, and attended King Ecgbert School, before graduating from the University of Sheffield with a 2:2 in psychology.

What was Jessica Ennis-Hill’s career record?

In junior competitions, Jessica won two silver medals in the 2004 Commonwealth Youth Games, and won in the heptathlon at the 2005 European Athletics Junior Championships.

Her professional career took off when she took home a bronze in the Commonwealth Games in heptathlon in 2006 at Melbourne.

In 2009 she won the gold medal in World Championships, a whopping 238 points ahead of Jennifer Oeser in second, and in 2010 took won the gold in the World Indoor Championships and the European Championships.

In 2011 she won a silver medal in the World Championships, although this has now been upgraded to a gold medal after Tatyana Chernova was proved of being a drugs cheat. She also won at the World Championships in 2015.

After winning a silver medal at the 2012 World Indoor Championships Jessica cemented herself in Great British folklore after picking home the gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

However, she couldn’t defend her title in Rio last year as she had to settle for a silver.

When did Jess get married? How many children do they have?

In 2013, Jessica Ennis married Andy Hill in Derbyshire, and announced she would be known as Jessica Ennis-Hill.

She was forced to withdraw from participation in the 2014 Commonwealth Games as she was pregnant with her first child – her son Reggie was born in July 2014.

On March 16 Jess announced she’s pregnant again on Instagram with a photograph of Reggie holding a book entitled “I’m Going to be a Big Brother!”.

She wrote: “Someone’s going to be a big brother ? Another little Ennis-Hill on the way. So happy.”

What does DBE mean?

In 2017, Ennis-Hill was appointed as Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2017 New Year Honours list.

The 31-year-old was awarded the second highest class for her services to athletics in which she has achieved so much success.

What is Jessica doing now?

Since retiring from athletics in October 2016, she has put her focus on spending time with her family after ten years as a professional competitor.

Before announcing that she was pregnant, Jess was rumoured to be in the running to be a contestant in the next series of BBC1's Strictly Come Dancing in the autumn.


Damage Control: IAAF Considering A Name Change?

  • Atheltics' governing body contemplating changing its name as part of overhaul
  • Ex-president Lamine Diack was found to have collaborated with drug cheats
  • Organisation has sunk so low that it may need a new name to market the sport
  • They plan on considering all branding issues during this calender year

Athletics' governing body, the IAAF, is considering a name change in an attempt to overhaul its tainted reputation.
The IAAF name was dragged through the mud two years ago when it was revealed disgraced former president Lamine Diack collaborated with Russian drugs cheats.
Current president Lord Coe has repaired some of the damage from Diack’s regime with a reform programme, but the IAAF name has sunk so low that some within the federation believe a fresh title such as World Athletics would help market the sport.

The IAAF will consider all branding issues this year with a possible name change on the agenda, especially as what IAAF stands for is not widely known outside athletics — the International Association of Athletics Federations.
The sport still has to cope with the fall-out from the full disclosure of Diack’s actions, which have yet to reach court. He is currently under house arrest in Paris. There is also an international arrest warrant for his son Papa. He remains a fugitive in his native Senegal, who will not agree to his extradition.
When Diack was arrested in Paris, his son was on the runway in Dakar on a flight bound for Paris. Papa was quickly off the plane and has not risked leaving Senegal since.

It seemed remarkable that Sky could announce a revamped Soccer AM — the breakfast programme will include former Hull midfielder Jimmy Bullard — without mentioning the departure of excellent presenter Helen Chamberlain, the original ladette, after 22 years.


But Sky say Chamberlain, whose contract was not renewed, did not want any fanfare.

Athletes are concerned about the number of people who have gained access to the practice track at the London Stadium. 
The area is swarming with agents, team delegates and friends and family, forcing runners to dodge idle spectators crossing the lanes as they warm up.

Olympics president Thomas Bach’s decision to go on holiday after only attending the first weekend of the World Athletics Championships did not break any IOC obligations. 
But his absence was all the more conspicuous because his predecessor Jacques Rogge is staying on a lot longer.

Stadium strikes a chord

The London Stadium is gaining ground on Wembley as the best outdoor music concert venue in the capital. 
Depeche Mode, Guns N’ Roses and Robbie Williams all played shows there before the championships. 
Promoters like the Stratford base because it has more room for standing on the pitch and large gangways mean concert-goers can get out of the stadium within six minutes.
After the West Ham security nightmare at the start of their tenancy a year ago, the biggest problem for stewards has been keeping order among women of a certain age who had queued all night to be in the front row for Robbie’s show.

Brendan Foster brings an end to a great broadcasting career at the weekend and calling Mo Farah to another triumph on Saturday night would be the perfect send-off. 
Foster targeted the championships in London — and the Farah races in particular — as his TV swansong in the knowledge that there won’t be another athletics occasion as big until Tokyo in 2020, which is in the wrong time zone to attract BBC audience peaks like the 7.5million who watched Farah’s 10,000m win.

It is difficult to see why athletics fans at the championships have been forced to put up with money-saving expert Martin Lewis as their trackside athletics pundit. 
Lewis, who has been doing a similar role at lower-profile British Athletics meetings, is a friend of BA chief executive Niels de Vos. 
In contrast, the stadium commentary, in the hands of athletics expert and experienced broadcaster John Rawling, has been top class.


Sore Bolt To Run In The 4x1 Heats

Usain Bolt will run in the 4x100 metres relay heats for Jamaica on Saturday despite being a bit sore after winning bronze in the 100m final at the weekend, he told Reuters on Monday.

"We'll see, we haven't done any baton changes as yet with the guys, but I feel we are ready," said the 11-time World Championships gold medallist.

"I have talked to Julian Forte (100m semi-finalist) a little bit. I haven't really talked to the youngsters so we'll see when it comes to the baton changes, but I'm always excited to run relays and we see what the guys are prepared and ready to do."

Yohan Blake is the only other experienced member of Jamaica's sprint relay pool to have won medals at the World Championships or Olympics.

"Physically I am alright, there is a little bit of pain, but nothing a massage can't cure, I'm taking it easy," Bolt said of his condition two days after clocking a season's best equalling 9.95 seconds in the 100m final.


Omar McLeod preserves Jamaican glory; U.S. shut out of 110m hurdles

Omar McLeod finally gave Jamaica a gold medal to celebrate at the world track and field championships.

After Usain Bolt and Elaine Thompson lost 100m finals, it was McLeod who won the 110m hurdles title in London on Monday night.

The Rio gold medalist prevailed in 13.04 seconds, one tenth ahead of Sergey Shubenkov, who was part of Russia’s exclusion from the 2016 Olympics. Shubenkov, the 2015 World champion, competed as a neutral athlete in London.

Hungary’s Balazs Baji grabbed bronze, while 2012 Olympic champion and world-record holder Aries Merritt was fifth.

The U.S. failed to earn a world 110m hurdles medal for the first time, one year after failing to earn an Olympic 110m hurdles medal for the first time (excluding the 1980 Moscow Games).

Full worlds results are here.

In other events Monday, Kenyan Faith Kipyegon took gold in the women’s 1500m, .17 ahead of a hard-charging Jenny Simpson. Scrutinized South African Caster Semenya earned bronze with a late surge.

Kipyegon, the Rio gold medalist, became the first Kenyan woman to win a world 1500m title.

Simpson captured her fourth global medal following her 2011 World title, 2013 World silver medal and 2016 Olympic bronze medal.

Semenya, scrutnized after a gender-testing controversy in 2009, made the podium in her first 1500m outside of Africa since 2011. Semenya is an overwhelming favorite in the 800m (final Sunday) after taking Olympic gold in that event.

Allyson Felix and Shaunae Miller-Uibo set up a rematch in Wednesday’s 400m final. Felix topped Miller-Uibo for the 2015 World title, but Miller-Uibo edged Felix in Rio with that famous finish-line dive.

Wayde van Niekerk, looking to join Michael Johnson as the only men to sweep the 200m and 400m at an Olympics or worlds, headlined the qualifiers from the 200m heats.

Van Niekerk races the 400m final Tuesday, the 200m semifinals Wednesday and, if he advances, the 200m final Thursday.

Both the 200m and 400m are lacking superstars. Neither 2008 Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt nor 2012 Olympic champion Kirani James is in the 400m final. Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin skipped the 200m this year, and Olympic silver medalist Andre De Grasse withdrew before worlds with a strained hamstring.

Olympic champion Kerron Clement led the qualifiers into Wednesday’s 400m hurdles final.

Poland’s Anita Wlodarczyk repeated as world champion in the hammer throw, one year after repeating as Olympic champion. Wlodarczyk, who last lost in June 2014, threw 77.90 meters to win by six feet, but she was 17 feet shy of her world record from last August.


Justin Gatlin: From Despair To Destiny

LONDON — They introduced Justin Gatlin to the Olympic Stadium crowd here Sunday evening, just before they put a gold medal around his neck, before The Star-Spangled Banner played in his honor, and along with some cheers a chorus of boos rang out.

The cheers — great. The boos — this fell somewhere between disappointing and reprehensible. Olympic-style sport is not the English Premier League, the NFL or NBA. It is supposed to be about promoting three key values: friendship, excellence and respect.

Saturday’s men’s 100-meter final immediately became arguably the biggest gold-medal victory in the history of the event. Gatlin defeated the sport’s biggest legend, Jamaica’s Usain Bolt. It’s how the race will forever be remembered: who beat Bolt, and in Bolt’s last individual 100? Gatlin. And who, before Saturday, was the last guy ever to beat Bolt? Gatlin, in Rome in 2013.

None of that takes anything away from Bolt. It does, however, catapult Gatlin. The two respect each other, unequivocally.

The sport’s establishment and significant segments of the British media nonetheless remained fixated Sunday on the same tiresome narrative (cue boos): Bolt and Gatlin as a clash of good and evil, even though that narrative holds no factual support.

How about — the truth?

The truth does not care about demonizing a champion for the sake of a grotesque caricature of a narrative. Instead, the truth turns to a real story about a real person who learned to overcome, as all of us must, to succeed. It includes, in measure, acceptance, gratitude, humility and, centrally, love. With love — for each other and what we do — anything is possible.

The truth tells us all how Justin Gatlin went from despair to what destiny had in store for him Saturday night in 9.92 seconds.

On July 4, Gatlin ran a 9.98 for the win in the 100 at a meet in Budapest.

That night, he, along with his longtime coach, Dennis Mitchell, and Dave Pascal, a Cary, N.C.-based chiropractor who focuses on severe neurological injury and whose practice also includes an extensive sports background, piled into a van to drive to Vienna. Pascal’s track roster includes a host of other superb U.S. athletes, including Sunday’s women’s 100 winner, Tori Bowie.

Mitchell was riding shotgun; Pascal in the middle bench of the three rows; Gatlin in the way back, on the driver’s side.

Twenty minutes into a two-and-a-half hour trip, on a pitch-black two-lane road, a truck traveling in the opposite direction crossed the center line. Both vehicles were traveling roughly 70 miles per hour. That’s a combined closing speed of 140.

Mitchell saw the crash coming. He knew the truck did not have enough time to get all the way back onto the right side of the road. He slumped back into his seat, resigned to whatever was next.

Bam!

A head-on crash? No. At the last possible moment, the truck, in fact, slid over — just enough.

The driver of the van slowed and then pulled over by the side of the road to assess the damage. The driver’s side mirror — gone. Truck from the paint ran down the side of the van, heaviest just outside the third window, right where Gatlin had been.

Everyone was sick to their stomachs. Everyone called home. Everyone was alive.

No one was seriously hurt.

Two nights later, on July 6, Gatlin ran in one of the sport’s traditional summer highlights, a meet in Lausanne, Switzerland.

You want mentally tough?

Gatlin won, in 9.96. That was his final tune-up before London.

The cosmos whisper to us. The trick is to listen.

Gatlin, Mitchell and Pascal had of course known each other for years. Now, though — they had this. Pascal’s daughter had years before been in a serious car crash herself. On the side of the road, there was talk about her crash, and how she had survived: “I told this story to Justin,” Pascal recalled Sunday. “He was like — thank you. That helped him.”

“That incident,” Pascal said, “gave us a bond, a commonality, that we will always have.” Indeed, in the moments after Gatlin’s victory Saturday, Pascal managed to find Mitchell: “You could feel the weight come off him. You could literally feel that … someone like Dennis, who has been put through it — to feel it come off, it was really cool.”

Both Mitchell and Gatlin have had encounters with the doping authorities. Accounts in the press typically have done neither any favors, in Mitchell’s case tending to downplay his testimony for the government in the BALCO matter and in Gatlin’s this vital detail: he never intended to cheat:

Gatlin’s first positive test was for Adderall, which he assuredly was not hiding, in 2001. His second, in 2006, was for testosterone; how it got into his system remains entirely unclear, according to a voluminous record on file in federal court in Florida.

To call for lifetime bans for doping offenses, as some did here Sunday, ignores the World Anti-Doping Code rules that since 2015 include assessments of intent and proportionality. Ask Gil Roberts, who won a gold medal as a member of the U.S. 4×400 relay team last year in Rio; on July 10, an arbiter ruled he had ingested the masking agent probenecid unknowingly by “frequently and passionately” kissing his girlfriend just hours before a March 24 test; she had swallowed sinus medication powder; this was thus not a case of intentional doping.

In the doping arena, facts, rules and process matter.

During the four years he was ordered to take off, 2006 to 2010, one of the things Gatlin did was train 8-year-olds in Atlanta. It is a long way from training 8-year-olds to defeating Usain Bolt on the world stage.

“It takes a special person to endure all this,” Gatlin’s longtime agent, Renaldo Nehemiah, said Sunday.

Asked if during those long four years he ever envisioned a moment like Saturday night, Gatlin paused and said, “I would just say — no.”

At first, Nehemiah said, it was enough for Gatlin just to get back onto the track with an eye toward being competitive:

“He loves what he does. For him, it is not about money or fame. This is his safe haven — the track.”

After connecting with Mitchell, Gatlin worked his way back to bronze in the 100 here in 2012 in London, behind Bolt of course.

Then at the 2013 worlds, silver, again behind Bolt.

The 100 at the 2015 worlds in Beijing should have been Gatlin’s race.

He came in on a hot streak — including a 9.74 that May at a race in Doha, Qatar.

That Beijing 100, however, went Bolt’s way, by one-hundredth of a second, Bolt crossing in 9.79, Gatlin breaking form about five meters from the line and finishing in 9.8.

In Beijing, the good vs. evil theme got big play.

That race in Beijing, Gatlin reflected Sunday: “That was a hard loss.” Physically, he said, he was ready. But: “Emotionally, I wasn’t there. Mentally, I wasn’t there. That’s what stopped me from winning. Emotionally and mentally, I wasn’t connected.”

That is, he said, he was running perhaps too selfishly — he wasn’t feeling part of something bigger, at least enough to make a difference.

Last year, in Rio, Gatlin again took silver, behind Bolt.

Gatlin has said many times since that he was injured in 2016. Nehemiah said Sunday it was something even more.

About three weeks after the Games, Nehemiah said, he called Gatlin and said, what happened? You faded at 80 meters — that’s not like you.

Gatlin is not one to complain. Even with Nehemiah — with whom he has worked since 2003 — he is not an excuse-maker.

Food poisoning, Gatlin said. I was sick the entire time I was in Rio.

“The previous two lessons,” Nehemiah said softly Sunday, meaning 2015 and 2016, “were about realizing that he was the only thing that was in his way.”

This 2017 season did not start auspiciously. Gatlin, who turned 35 in February, battled a succession of injuries. On May 5 and May 21, Gatlin ran two races in the 10s. On May 27 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, which is a fast track, he ran a wind-aided 9.97, good only for fifth — with the U.S. nationals, and a spot on the line for the worlds, coming up just three weeks later.

After the first round of heats at the nationals in Sacramento, California, Gatlin texted Pascal.

The two had first started working together in 2003. This is the nature of Gatlin’s world — a close inner circle and longstanding relationships. With Pascal, the work has not been every year. But now Gatlin was again reaching out, asking if they could connect while simultaneously offering a heartfelt apology for wrongs he might have committed over the course of their years together.

“He deeply apologized,” Pascal said, “then he said he was hoping we could work together that day. I said, yes, of course.

“If you look at his form, to me, I’m biased, in his semifinal, he looked dramatically better and his final he won,” Gatlin going 9.95, NCAA champion Christian Coleman 9.98.

That had maybe taken care of Gatlin’s physical connection. Now — emotionally and mentally?

Before the race, Mitchell had turned to Gatlin. Understand that Mitchell is not the sort who demands of his athletes, I need x or y. This time, though, he said to Gatlin, I need 9 seconds.

“Something inside of me just rose up,” Gatlin said Sunday, adding a moment later, “When my coach said, ‘I want those 9 seconds, it turned something on in me I haven’t felt in a long time. I said, ‘OK, I am going to give it to you.’ “

Mitchell said Sunday, “A cup can only hold so much water. We had walked this walk together for so many years. He found comfort in sharing with someone.”

He also said of Gatlin, “Humility is about life and humility is what you make of it. He got to the point where he wanted to do something that was bigger than himself. You have to share it or lose it. At this point in his career, he was willing to humble himself enough to give some of it away to keep all of it.”

Mitchell added, “It’s a love story,” in part the love the two men had for each other after all they had been through and in part their shared passion for the sport.

No one in the Gatlin circle is uncomfortable speaking like this. They love track and field. They love competing.

“Gat gave me — his love for track and the person he is gave me back my love for track,” Pascal said.

“‘I love it,’” Gatlin would tell Nehemiah, meaning everything about track and field. “‘I missed it so much.’ And,” Nehemiah said, “the thought of losing it weighed on him tremendously …”

That near-death experience on the highway in Europe? Gratitude for being alive. Humility that everyone had been given more time. The sense that there had to be a reason. Right? Why else?

“Spiritually,” Nehemiah would say Sunday, “it wasn’t his time the last two seasons.

“This was his season.”

Bolt came into London ranked only seventh in the world. Coleman was the world No. 1, with a 9.82 in Eugene at the NCAAs.

Team Gatlin had something of a stealth plan through the rounds: just do enough to get to the finals. No need to run too fast.

Which is exactly what Gatlin did, a 10.05 in the heats, then a 10.09, second in his semifinal, enough to get through to the final, where he drew Lane 8 — way out on the outside.

Bolt drew Lane 4, Coleman 5.

“Me and Dennis got quiet,” Gatlin said, when the lane draw came out, and they were looking at 8. “I was like, it’s going to be a glorified time trials again — it can work in our favor … I can set my own pace and no one is going to see me coming.”

Which, of course, is exactly what happened.

When Gatlin lined up, the boos rained down. Each and every round.

“Normal people might have folded or used the booing as naysaying or why didn’t you win? Everyone was wanting Usain to win,” Gatlin said. “I just dialed it out.”

In the final, when the gun went off, Gatlin’s mind was calm. He was not running solely for himself. He was, he said, running for, in no particular order, Pascal; for the USA Track & Field medical staff; for Nehemiah; for Mitchell; for the crew he trained with day in and out in Clermont, Florida; for his U.S. teammates here and in years gone by; for fans here and at home; for his family; for anyone and everyone who had supported him on this journey.

He was feeling the love.

He ran free and easy. He surged over the last half of the race, the way he did in the 100 in Athens in 2004, 13 long years ago, when he won Olympic gold: “That’s what got me to the line. That’s what took away the pressure. That’s what got me to the line first.”

A moment later, he bowed to Bolt, out of — genuine — respect. They embraced, again out of — real — respect.

Then, while the crowd chanted Bolt’s name, Gatlin, wrapped in the American flag, went over to the side of the stadium, to find his parents, Willie and Jeanette.

“For years the agony,” his father said Sunday. Now: “Just total redemption.”


Bowie Was Rare In Thinking She Could Win

LONDON- Tori Bowie admitted she felt like she was in the minority. Other than her, not many people believed she would win the 100-meter final at the IAAF World Championships on Sunday.

“I’d bet I’m probably the only person in the world who thought I could come out and win the 100 meters,” Bowie told Excelle Sports. “Tonight, I learned a lot. Always follow your heart. Everyone in the world was telling me, ‘Oh my god, why are you choosing the 100 over the 200?’ I was like, ‘This is how I’m feeling, this is the event I want to be the world champion in,’ and it happened.”

The American sprinter, who turns 27 later in the month, can claim the moniker of “World’s Fastest Woman” after sharply leaning on her final stride to the finish line to edge Marie-Josée Ta Lou of Cote d’Ivoire by .01 seconds. London Olympic Stadium fell silent for a minute or two, as the athletes gasped for air on the track, waiting for the results of the photo finish. Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands won the bronze medal a tenth of a second behind Bowie and Ta Lou.

“The last 40 meters are the best part of my race,” said Bowie. “I am currently working on the others. It’s slowly getting better. I was happy with the finish because I thought I was the top three, but when I saw my name on the board, I couldn’t believe it.”

The result finally vaulted the former long jumper at the University of Southern Mississippi to the top of the podium at a major event. Bowie won the 100-meter bronze medal in the previous World Championships two years ago in Beijing, losing to Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. At the Rio Olympics last summer, she placed silver in the 100 and bronze in the 200 before anchoring the 4-by-100 relay team to a gold medal. Elaine Thompson of Jamaica defeated her in both individual sprint events in Rio and was a disappointing fifth on Sunday, as she was the world leader again this season.

“They all deserved to be on that podium, they worked hard and deserved it,” Thompson told Excelle Sports. “Tonight didn’t go as planned. I’ll have to watch the video because I don’t know what went wrong. I didn’t execute my race, which is a shame.”

Heats for the 200 are on Tuesday night, with the semifinals and final on Thursday. Joining Bowie in the field are Americans Deajah Stevens and Kimberlyn Duncan, plus Schippers – the reigning champion. The Olympic champion Thompson is not running the 200 meters.

Bowie’s 100-meter victory also came one night after Justin Gatlin upset Usain Bolt in the men’s final of track’s marquee event. This means the U.S. now claims both world titles simultaneously for the first time since Gatlin and Lauryn Williams achieved the feat at Helsinki in 2005. Since then, Jamaica won 14 of the 16 World and Olympic 100-meter gold medals. With all of the hype over Bolt’s retirement and the end of an era in men’s track, perhaps there is a changing of the guard for the women, as well.


Thompson Shocker Adds To Bolt Heartbreak

LONDON, England:

For the first time since 2005, Jamaica has been kept off the top of the medal podium at a major championship in the 100m events.

There was no Jamaican winner in the men's 100m and, last night, with double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson finishing fifth in 10.98 seconds, no winner in the women's 100m.

For fans of the 'Sprint Capital' of the world, it is a bitter pill to swallow, a rude awakening of what might become in the continued absence of intervention.

Thompson did not make much of it, but a pre-race vomiting incident had her rivals worried about her, with silver medallist Marie-Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast, who ran 10.86, noting, "I am sorry for her (Thompson). I think before the race, she was sick. I hope she gets better and I have respect for her. She is a big, big athlete!"

The Jamaican was still struggling to find the answers after what was her first non-top-three finish since June 2014.

Push Me Harder

"I don't know what happened. I have to go and watch the replay. I stumbled and tried to get it back. I wasn't getting the form I wanted to and I tried not to panic," said a smiling Thompson, who also alleviated fears she had suffered an injury mid-race. "I am healthy. I came out here brave, strong and ready to go, but that didn't happen. This defeat will push me harder and help me to work harder."

American Tori Bowie took gold in 10.85 seconds, with Ta Lou taking silver in 10.86. Dafne Schippers was third in 10.96 seconds.

This was Thompson's fourth loss in 35 races over 100m.

Yesterday's third day of competition inside the London Stadium actually started well enough for the Jamaicans, who will today have four athletes competing in finals.

Rich in quarter-mile history, Jamaica has had five different finalists in the men's 400m at these championships. The last one was Jermaine Gonzales, who finished fourth in 2011 in Daegu, South Korea.

The island, however, has never had two men qualifying for the final of the one-lap event at the same championship, an accomplishment achieved by the ever-improving pair of Nathon Allen and Demish Gaye.

Allen glided to a second-place finish behind Bahamian Steven Gardiner, 43.89, with a personal-best mark of 44.19 seconds in his semi-final, and Gaye matching that effort, finishing second to Botswana's Isaac Makwala, 44.30, also in personal-best fashion with a time of 44.55 seconds.

"It's a great feeling representing my country. To make the final is a great feeling and I am just focused on going out there and doing my best," Gaye told The Gleaner after his run. "It means a lot to me to see that I can go out there and represent my country well along with my teammate Nathon Allen. It's a great feeling.

Any Issues

Allen, for the second straight day, was taken straight to the medical area for a check-up, but was later cleared of any issues.

The final will take place tomorrow at 9:50 p.m. (3:50 p.m. Jamaica time), with Allen drawn to compete in Lane Six beside South African Wayde Van Niekerk, the world record holder, and Gaye lining up in Lane Eight.

There will also be two Jamaicans in the 110m hurdles final, with Olympic champion Omar McLeod and Beijing 2015 silver medal winner Hansle Parchment both securing lanes in the medal round.

"I remember in 2015, I had just turned pro. I was paying my dues. I got a sixth place and it was, honestly, like a gold medal for me, so this year is like a redemption. I just have to go out there and focus on me, have fun and execute," said McLeod after his all-qualifiers-leading 13.10 seconds win in last night's semi-final.

McLeod has won all but one of his 10 races this season and will enter the final as the strong favourite for a second straight gold medal at a major international championship.

Parchment has been less convincing this season, but has a history of showing up when it matters. He is looking for another big-race run in tonight's 9:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m.) final.

"When I come out, I tell myself that I am the best. I know I need to show that, so I keep motivating myself every time I step on the track because I know Jamaica is looking for me to give them good performances. I want to surprise myself with strong times as well," said Parchment.

All three Jamaicans are through to tonight's men's 400m hurdles semi-final at 8:20 p.m. (2:20 p.m.)

Jaheel Hyde, 49.72, was second in his heat, with Ricardo Cunningham, 49.91, and Kemar Mowatt, 50.00, both taking fourth spot in their respective heats.

Novlene Williams-Mills, 51.00, was the fastest Jamaican qualifier in women's 400m and the fourth fastest overall, with Chrisann Gordon, 51.14, Shericka Jackson, 51.26, and Stephenie-Ann McPherson, 51.27, all comfortably advancing as well.

Kimberly Williams and Shaneika Ricketts will compete in the women's triple jump final at 8:25 p.m. (2:25 p.m.), with Yohan Blake, Rasheed Dwyer and Warren Weir taking the track a bit earlier in the men's 200m heats at 6:30 p.m (12:30 p.m).


"BBC Happy To Ignore (British) Elephant In The Room"

Treatment of Gatlin in stark contrast to the refusal to ask questions about Mo Farah’s coach

here are cheerleaders in every sport but not all carry pompoms. It seems that the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has decided to reserve all critical analysis in relation to any controversy, past or present, drugs or otherwise, for ‘Johnny Foreigner’ when it comes to the World Athletics Championships in London.

The victories of Somali-born, Brit superstar Mo Farah (men’s 10,000 metres), American Justin Gatlin (100 metres), and Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana (women’s 10,000 metres) invoked pride and prejudice but unlike the title character in Jane Austen’s novel, Miss Elizabeth Bennet, the BBC commentary and analysis principals haven’t come to realise the important difference between the superficial and the essential.

There is a latent jingoism that’s front and centre when it comes to dear old Auntie and its coverage of the world of athletics, so tut-tutting about impartiality or restraint when there’s a red, white and blue filter on every screen image is a little naïve. They’re entitled to be bullish.

Accepting the partisan nature and the cloying emotional sentiment invested in the glory of the land of hope is one thing but the BBC ought to have a professional journalistic responsibility not to run a mile from discussing uncomfortable issues pertaining to one of their own.

Farah’s coach Alberto Salazar is currently being investigated as there have been allegations leaked in a 329-page report by the US anti-doping agency (Usada) into Salazar’s Nike Oregon Project training group.

The report alleges Salazar abused prescription medicines and used prohibited infusions to boost testosterone levels of his athletes. It also claims UK Athletics ignored warnings from a doctor that Farah was receiving potentially harmful treatments from his coach on moving to the US to join Salazar’s training group (2010).

Usada’s investigation continues but Farah and Salazar have always vehemently denied any wrongdoing. No one expects this to be woven into the race commentary but it’s germane to any pre- or post-race discussion, especially as Farah declined to do any media interviews prior to the 10,000 metres final to address the accusations.

Instead the task of defence fell to Neil Black, the UK Athletics Performance Director, who claimed he had looked in the eyes of Farah and Salazar and asserted that they weren’t cheats. He may be employing the black arts, so to speak, but a more likely suspicion is that it’s another mumbo-jumbo assertion drawn from the lexicon of sporting bureaucrats.

Stunning triumph

The post-race discourse relating to Ayana’s stunning triumph in the women’s 10,000 metres was also oddly incongruous given the circumstances; her first 10,000m race of an injury-plagued season saw her decimate a field of the best athletes in the world by a margin of 46 seconds.

This comes a matter of days after the Guardian newspaper ran an article by Martha Kelner under the headline, ‘Inside the doping hotspot of Ethiopia: dodgy testing and EPO over the counter’.

The allegations made in the article are eye-opening but it should be stated that there is no correlation whatsoever between Ayana’s triumph and its contents other than that the issues raised would merit some reference in any middle distance running discussion. To pick at one strand might have unravelled others and the BBC weren’t willing to take that chance.

But the Beeb had no problem fixing Justin Gatlin in their crosshairs. A twice-banned drugs cheat ruins Usain Bolt’s swansong championship appearance by winning the 100-metres title. The crowd bayed at and booed the villain; the BBC verbally and pictorially ignored the winner to focus on Bolt, exuding a moral righteousness as if adopting a tone from those in the stadium.

The BBC didn’t contemplate for one instant that Gatlin might win and so Steve Cram and his buddies were at a loss for words; well, until he had a chance to arrange his thoughts and have them beamed into the Twittersphere by BBC5 live.

The gist of his contribution on Gatlin’s triumph was that the London crowd were perfectly entitled to boo the American, that the sprinter’s primary fame is for being a drugs cheat and that he must accept and understand it when people articulate their displeasure.

Cram concluded: “And that’s just people explaining and I don’t think there’s anything wrong in that, in explaining to athletes, explaining to the IAAF, explaining to journalists, explaining to us as broadcasters how they feel about this man [Gatlin].”
No critical analysis of either Farah or Ayana has turned the BBC coverage into a ‘fawnzine’.

So ethics are to be decided by a public vote, sport’s version of reality television, a popularity contest defined under narrow parameters, where nationality is key and as long as the elephant is prepared to sit quietly in the corner of the room, there is no need to reference its presence, or think about it. It’s the modern way, live in the moment.


Centrowitz The Best American Miler Ever?

He’s running for the American record and another world championship. But first, he needs to check his Twitter timeline.

For once, Matthew Centrowitz didn't know what to do when he crossed the finish line.

He had copied a LeBron James celebration after winning the U.S. title in the 1,500 meters in 2015 and dabbed like Cam Newton after winning an indoor mile in 3:54.02 last year in Charlotte. But after finishing first to become the first American to win Olympic gold in the 1,500 meters since 1908, a stunned Centrowitz could only extend his arms and hold his palms up to the sky as if to ask, “Did that just happen?”

Centrowitz won silver at the 2011 world championships and bronze in 2013, but a win in Rio seemed out of the question going up against Kenya’s Asbel Kiprop, one of the best metric milers of all time. Centrowitz controlled the race from the gun, however, and blitzed through a last lap of 50.6 seconds as his family and close friends celebrated by yelling and attempting to crowd surf in the stands.

One week after the race of his life, Centrowitz was still in disbelief. If he could break the American record in the 1,500 or the mile, he told me then, he would have claim to the title of greatest American miler of all time.

“There’s definitely been a lot of talk about me getting the American record in the 1,500 before my career is over,” Centrowitz says. “At least for my mindset, that would kind of put the nail in the coffin.”

One year later, his gold medal tour hasn’t been the record-breaking celebration he hoped it would be. Injuries and other setbacks have turned the year into a tour of so-so races. He nearly didn’t run the U.S. Championships because of injury. He did just enough to qualify for the world championships, where he’ll compete in London in the 1.500-meter event beginning on Aug. 10. There, he will have a chance to redeem what can be best described as a hangover of a season.

Centrowitz is on borrowed time if he is going to set records, inching over to the wrong side of his prime at 27. As the glow of his Olympic gold fades, his mission to become the greatest American miler is ongoing, but losing steam.

With less than three weeks until the 2017 U.S. Track and Field Championships, Centrowitz wasn’t supposed to be in Las Vegas. Like the rest of the top runners in the country, he should have been on the track. But a slight tear in his right adductor — one of his many setbacks in 2017 — left Centrowitz dejected.

Centrowitz dyed his hair blonde and bought a one-way ticket to Las Vegas. His season, he decided, was over.

The members of Centrowitz’s inner circle — his father, coaches, friends, and training partners — don’t stop him from reaching NBA levels of pettiness on social media, like when he calls out a Twitter troll for running a “pedestrian” 4:46 mile. They don’t mind his finish-line antics. They do, however, hold him accountable, and they weren’t going to let him wallow away in Vegas.

Centrowitz arrived in Vegas on a Saturday. His coach, agent, and some family members called him on Sunday to convince him he could still race at the national championships. He flew back to Portland on Monday and received a platelet-rich plasma injection to help his adductor that day.

Centrowitz is very close with his family. His dad, Matt Centrowitz, was a 1976 Olympian and made the Olympic team in 1980 when the U.S. boycotted the Moscow Games. His mother, Beverly Bannister-Centrowitz, is in the Hunter College Athletics Hall of Fame for track. His older sister, Lauren, was an All-American runner at Stanford.

“All my kids were great runners,” Matt says, “but Matthew took it much more seriously.”

Matt recalls how his son had a penchant for history at a young age. Matt ran with Steve Prefontaine at the University of Oregon and used to tell his son stories about the legendary runner. Centrowitz studied all of the sport’s greats.

Jim Ryun above all. Ryun was the first high school runner to break four minutes in the mile, an Olympic silver medalist, and a world record holder with a 3:51 mile. He was, and still is, Centrowitz’s favorite. “For him to run those times in the 1960s and ‘70s,” Centrowitz says, “it’s just incredible.” He pored over Ryun’s In Quest of Gold, his dad calling it his bible.

Centrowitz still geeks out when he talks about his heroes. “I think my favorite part of winning gold,” he says, “was just kind of seeing all the legends of the event, the mile—guys like Jim Ryun, Sebastian Coe, Hicham el Guerrouj — and seeing how excited they were for me. These are guys I’ve looked up to and still look up to, and for them to give me any kind of credit, is just humbling and honoring. It’s honestly surreal.”

Centrowitz started building his legacy as a 21-year-old at his dad’s alma mater, Oregon, winning a bronze medal in the 1,500 at the 2011 world championships. He turned pro the following year, joining the Nike Oregon Project under coach Alberto Salazar. He missed out on a medal at the 2012 London Olympics by 0.04 seconds. He made up for that heartbreak and then some in Rio, leading nearly wire to wire in a slowly paced race to win a shocking gold.

After that race, Coe, the British runner who won the 1,500 at the 1980 and 1984 Olympics, presented Centrowitz with his gold medal. “Welcome to the club,” Coe said. Centrowitz’s father went even further. At some point in the weeks following his gold medal race, he told his son: “You’re the best American miler ever.”

Two weeks before the 2017 U.S. Championships in Sacramento, however, the gold medalist was struggling after his return from Vegas. “I couldn’t break 33 [seconds] for 200 meters,” Centrowitz says of his first workout after his injection. He kept at it, and ran a 1,000-meter time trial five days later. The result, a 2:21, wasn’t his best (Centrowitz has run 2:16.67), but it was progress.

Less than a week later, he hopped on a plane to Sacramento and ran a preliminary race that he says “shook off the rust.” Two days later, he finished second in the final to qualify for the world championships.

Did you see the Andy Bayer one?” Centrowitz asks me over the phone from St. Moritz, Switzerland, where he was training at altitude throughout July. In quick, excitable bursts, he’s talking about another Twitter beef.

He laughs them all off, like the 20-year-old college student who tweeted a month before the Olympics that he’d get a tattoo of Centrowitz’s face if he medaled in Rio. Centrowitz called him out on it. A tattoo of Centrowitz holding the American flag now covers the student’s left shoulder blade.

Centrowitz’s finish-line celebrations, which he likens to end-zone dances, are ripped from other sports. He’s partial to the LeBron celebration in which he mock-fired a pistol into the sky before reloading and holstering it. Centrowitz jokingly modeled it in front of training partners in the weight room while watching 2015 NBA Finals highlights before unleashing it on the track. Despite knowing the dab had already lived a life in full, Centrowitz honored Cam Newton at an indoor meet in Charlotte.

Like those NBA and NFL superstars, Centrowitz is a different athlete from his peers.

The best basketball and football athletes do things that mere mortals can't dream of, whereas almost everyone in the world can run. In track, fans want to know what elite athletes are doing so that they can apply it to their own training. Because of this, many runners, like 2016 Olympian Brenda Martinez, have staid public personas, tweeting out workouts and pictures of their runs. Others, like American 10k record holder Galen Rupp, are almost absent from social media, like NBA players who “go dark” in the playoffs.

The thought of Ryun imitating Joe Namath or talking trash in the 1960s seems absurd. Centrowitz, however, enjoys trolling.

Even Centrowitz’s gait has flash. It appears smooth, and powerful, and effortless even as he’s running a 3:50 mile pace. His stride eats up the track when he breaks into his finishing sprint, like James turning on the jets for a chase-down block.

“The moves he makes in races are almost violent,” Johnny Gregorek, Centrowitz’s teammate in the 1,500 in London, said after the Olympic Trials last year. “They are so sudden and decisive.”

Like James and Newton, Centrowitz isn’t for everyone, and he’s not immune from controversy. Training with the Nike Oregon Project comes with its own set of headaches. While it is considered one of the best training groups in the world, it is also dogged by drug allegations. A BBC and ProPublica report in 2013 alleged that Salazar was leading a win-at-all-costs training regimen that included the use of performance-enhancing drugs. The group is under USADA investigation, and the FBI is reportedly involved.

Salazar adamantly denied the accusations on multiple occasions. Centrowitz, too, has continually denied taking performance-enhancing drugs. Centrowitz was the most drug-tested U.S. track athlete in 2016, with 17 out-of-competition tests, and has never failed one.

Centrowitz doesn’t let drug tests or online haters faze him. He seems to thrive off doubt and loves talking back — especially when he can back it up.

“Same as Kevin Durant after the Warriors won the title,” Centrowitz says. “As long as you’re taking care of business then you can have some fun.”

Centrowitz tries to be humble about his legacy, but he agrees that he is close to being considered the American GOAT — he just can’t put himself above his idol Ryun just yet without a record.

When it comes to hardware, no one matches up with Centrowitz. Other than Mel Sheppard (1908) and James Lightbody (1904), he’s the only U.S. runner with Olympic gold in the 1,500. In fact, since 1952 only Ryun (1972) and Leonel Manzano (2012) have won medals.

His times, however, aren’t quite the stuff of legend. His 3:30.40 in the 1,500 makes him the third-fastest American of all time at the distance. In the mile, Centrowitz’s 3:50.53 makes him the ninth-best.

Faster runners include Alan Webb, the American record holder in the mile at 3:46.91, and Bernard Lagat, the Kenyan-born American who won the 1,500 and 5,000 at the 2007 world championships and has the American record in the 1,500 at 3:29.3. Steve Scott had the American record before Webb and ran a world record 136 sub-4:00 miles. Sydney Maree had the 1,500 record before Lagat.

Ryun, meanwhile, has a resume that’s hard to match: He held the world record in the mile for almost 10 years. Dr. Michael Joyner is an expert in human performance at the Mayo Clinic — back in 1991, he predicted that a human could run 1:57:58 in the marathon, long before Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge ran 2:00:25 in a controlled, Nike-sponsored race in May — thinks Ryun’s 3:51.3 world record in 1966 was one of the most impressive runs of all time.

At 27, Centrowitz is about to leave what many consider his prime. A 2011 French study concluded that athletes start to see physical declines at age 26. Centrowitz hasn’t set a personal best in the 1,500 since 2015, or the mile since 2014. The American mile record has been broken 16 times by seven different runners since 1955, and the average age of the runner on each record-breaking run was 23 years and 243 days. Only two of the seven — Jim Beatty and Jim Grelle — were 27 years or older when they set the record.

This isn’t to say Centrowitz is washed up. Thanks to better training, injury prevention, and earning opportunities (athletes were amateurs in the 1950s and ‘60s), more and more runners are extending their careers. Lagat, for example, won U.S. Olympic Trials at 5,000 meters last year as a 39-year-old and set the current 1,500 record in 2005 when he was 30.

But age isn’t the only factor. Racing for time is a different beast than racing for place. Tactical races like the Olympic finals are all about positioning and strategy.

Centrowitz’s gold medal time in Rio was more than 20 seconds off Lagat’s record, for example. He won in large part because he is a savvy racer. With about 450 meters to go, Ayanleh Souleiman briefly took the lead from Centrowitz, but only for an instant. Almost immediately, Centrowitz slithered by Souleiman on the inside, brushing him with his elbow. If Centrowitz hadn’t responded so quickly, he could have been swallowed up by the pack. Instead, he was clear of the field and had the inside track for the final 400 meters.

Most record-breaking races occur when the runners are in a single file, with pacemakers leading the way for the first half of the race or more. Instead of worrying about timing a finishing sprint or getting tripped up by an opponent, runners can focus on efficiency.

Comparing records to medals is a little like comparing rings to stats. If you’re an NBA fan, would you rather have Russell and his 11 rings or Wilt Chamberlain and his preposterous numbers? It’s a difficult question. Until Centrowitz has numbers on his side, his legacy will be the subject of similar debate.

The morning after the night in Rio that changed everything for Centrowitz — after NBC cameras caught his family’s bombastic celebration in the stands, after the blur of the victory lap and the medal ceremony, after decompressing with those closest to him at a small restaurant in the early hours of the next morning — he woke up early to his father asking if he was awake. They had to get to a morning show on NBC.

“Yeah, Dad,” he said. “What’s up?”

“My son, Olympic champion,” Matt said. “I still can’t believe this is real.”

“Me neither, Dad,” Matthew said with a grin as he pulled the gold medal out from under his pillow.

It was one of the few moments of calm for Centrowitz in the immediate aftermath of his gold medal run. He spent the next few weeks answering media requests and making appearances with his new piece of hardware. Almost one year later, he is still answering questions about the gold medal — the price of being an Olympic champion. His dad published a book called Like Father, Like Son, and Centrowitz has become a headliner at races where he used to be an also-ran.

Centrowitz believes he’s handling the extra pressure. His attitude hasn’t changed. The hardware hasn’t altered his off-track or post-race antics, even if the circumstances are different.

One thing remains the same 11 months after the Rio win: There is still a sense of disbelief. Centrowitz says he and his dad still talk about the race, citing that moment with about 450 meters to go as the turning point in a career-defining race.

They also talk about his legacy and what else he can do on the track and the American record. Not that they need to. Centrowitz is getting older, and breaking records is hard. By winning gold the way he did, Centrowitz did plenty to get the world talking.

“Is Michael Jordan better than LeBron?” Centrowitz says. “You’re gonna have that talk for the rest of our lives. I won’t be able to race Jim Ryun or Alan Webb — at everyone’s peak especially. I think it’s entertaining to talk about it.”

To be considered among the best ever isn’t easy. Centrowitz knows his history, and he knows he has a place in it. Staring down the American record, he is exactly where he wants to be.


Unrepentant Gatlin Rejects "Bad Boy" Label

Justin Gatlin insisted his pariah status was undeserved as the least popular world 100 metres champion in history still refused to see his triumph over Usain Bolt as a setback for the sport.

The two-time drug cheat's victory on Saturday night in 9.92 seconds was greeted by a cacophony of boos, as his every appearance at the London Stadium has been.

There is no hiding from the embarrassment that the unrepentant American's victory will cause to a sport still struggling to regain credibility in the wake of repeated doping scandals.

The retiring Bolt, cast as the 'saviour' of athletics in his battles with Gatlin, had his goodbye gatecrashed - and by the one man almost no one wanted to spoil the party.

Gatlin was effusive and gracious in his praise of bronze medallist Bolt after the race, bowing down to him on the track and lauding him in interviews, but for the 35-year-old sorry still seems to be the hardest word.

His first ban in 2001 he blamed on an amphetamine contained in attention deficit disorder medication. The second in 2006, which resulted in a four-year suspension, reduced from eight on appeal, he attributed to a testosterone massage cream applied to his body without his knowledge.

Remorse has not been forthcoming - and still, at least publicly, is not.

Asked if he could understand why his victory was seen as a disaster for the sport, he said: "I really don't need to understand.

"I can understand the rivalry that I have with Usain, but it's not a bitter rivalry. I respect the man and every time we come across the line I've shaken his hand, given him a hug and told him congratulations and that's all the really matters for me.

"I'm just a runner, I'm back in the sport, I've done my time.

"I've come back, did community service, I talked to kids and inspired kids about the right path. That's all I can do.

"Society does that for people who have made mistakes and I hope track and field can understand that to. That's why I'm back in the sport and that's why I'm still running."

Gatlin has Bolt's backing - "he deserves to be here, because he's done his time," said the Jamaican - and he is of course far from alone in having a doping past.

Plenty of athletes have returned from bans and won medals and received far warmer receptions.

Asked about his "bad boy" reputation, Gatlin said: "What do I do that makes me a bad boy?

"Do I talk bad about anybody? Do I give bad gestures? I don't. I shake every athlete's hand. I congratulate them, I tell them good luck. That doesn't sound like a bad boy to me.

"It seems like the media want to sensationalise it and make me a bad boy because Usain is the hero. That's fine, I know you've got to have a black hat and a white hat, but guys, come on.

"I keep it classy and I never talk bad. I try to inspire other athletes. I don't see where the bad boy comes from."

"I'm just a runner, I'm back in the sport, I've done my time."
The fact is, though, that the 100m is the blue riband event and has been particularly beset by drug problems.

Of the 30 best 100m times in history, 21 have been achieved by athletes who have served drug bans - with the other nine all coming from Bolt.

It is grovelling rather than winning that Gatlin has to focus on if he wants to silence the boos.

There will inevitably be more when he returns to the stadium on Sunday to take to the top of the podium, a ceremony that has been brought forward from 8.00pm to 6.50pm.

And, after landing the 100m crown 12 years after his last global title, Gatlin looks set to be around for some time yet.

While Bolt, at 30, has run his last individual race and will hang up his spikes after Saturday's 4x100m relay final, Gatlin has no retirement plans. Indeed, he indicated the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 could be a goal.

"One millisecond when I crossed the line, I was like, 'I'm retiring'," he said.

"My son wants (me) to go to Tokyo 2020, so I'm just going to take it year by year, race by race, and work hard."