Bolt and Farah’s farewell party falls flat

New Straits Times - - Sport -

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 team­mate 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 Sally.

“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. AFP


Ja­maica’s Usain Bolt falls af­ter suf­fer­ing a ham­string in­jury dur­ing the 4x100m event at the World Cham­pi­onships on Satur­day.

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