Guliyev stuns sprint­ing world to wreck Wayde’s dou­ble dream

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

LON­DON — Among the eight sprint­ers lined up at the start of the world 200 me­ters fi­nal and the 56,000 peo­ple in the crowd watching, only one man prob­a­bly thought Ramil Guliyev would be the win­ner, and that was the Azer­bai­jan­born Turk him­self.

His faith was fully jus­ti­fied as 20.09 sec­onds later he crossed the line ahead of a host of fa­vored ri­vals to take the gold medal that had been the prop­erty of Usain Bolt since 2009.

Wayde van Niek­erk, seek­ing a 400/200m dou­ble had to set­tle for sil­ver in 20.11, just a thou­sandth of a sec­ond ahead of Jereem Richards of Trinidad and Tobago.

The re­sult was uni­ver­sally ac­claimed as a shock but Guliyev, who be­came a Turk­ish ci­ti­zen in 2011 and was cleared to rep­re­sent his new coun­try in 2013, was hav­ing none of it.

“This is not a shock,” he said. “I have shown my best through­out this com­pe­ti­tion. I de­liv­ered my best race at the right time.

“I was com­pet­ing against some of the best ath­letes in the world, so it didn’t bother

“PHE has been work­ing closely with the Lon­don 2017 or­ga­niz­ers and venues to pro­vide in­fec­tion-con­trol ad­vice to limit the spread of ill­ness.”

Lon­don 2017, the cham­pi­onship or­ga­niz­ers, an­nounced on Mon­day that sev­eral com­peti­tors stay­ing at the same ho­tel had suf­fered gas­troen­teri­tis.

How­ever, a spokesper­son for the Tower Ho­tel on Tues­day in­sisted it was “not the source of the ill­ness”.

me that the at­ten­tion was on them. Maybe at the next com­pe­ti­tion ev­ery­one will look at me in­stead.”

They cer­tainly will and they prob­a­bly should have been look­ing a lit­tle closer this time.

When­ever peo­ple ques­tioned Bolt’s amaz­ing times his sup­port­ers pointed to his re­mark­able per­for­mances as a teenager, par­tic­u­larly his ju­nior 200m world record of 19.93.

It would have been a tough quiz ques­tion be­fore Thurs­day to name the sec­ond-fastest ju­nior ever, but it was Guliyev, who posted 20.04 as a 19-year-old when rep­re­sent­ing Azer­bai­jan.

Those lost years when he bat­tled with the sport’s of­fi­cials to al­low him to run for Turkey took him off the scene but when he came back he was not ex­actly tear­ing up trees.

A col­lec­tion of medals from the Mediter­ranean Games, the Sum­mer Univer­si­ade and the Is­lamic Solidarity Games did not mark him down for glory and even his sil­ver at last year’s Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships came when most of the con­ti­nent’s top tal­ent had skipped the event to con­cen­trate on the Rio Olympics.

How­ever, he reached last year’s Olympic fi­nal and has shown good form this sea­son, tak­ing gold at the Euro­pean Team Cham­pi­onships and beat­ing a de­cent field to win the Paris Di­a­mond League meet.

Per­haps peo­ple should have taken more no­tice of his im­pres­sive run to win his semi­fi­nal, but in­stead the fo­cus was on third-placed Van Niek­erk and how he had strug­gled be­cause of his 400m ex­er­tions, and on the re­mark­able ex­ploits of virushit Isaac Mak­wala.

Those two were the cen­ter of at­ten­tion on Thurs­day, with the ex­tra di­ver­sion for home fans of Netha­neel Mitchell-Blake in lane one.

How­ever, Guliyev ran his own race and earned the ul­ti­mate prize.

“I knew I came in the first three but wasn’t sure where,” he said, which was no sur­prise when just two hun­dredths of a sec­ond di­vided the medal­ists.

“It’s a dream for me and next it’s the Olympics, I hope that’s pos­si­ble.”

PHIL NO­BLE / REUTERS

Ramil Guliyev of Turkey wins the 200m world ti­tle on Thurs­day.

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