The Show­down II: Bolt and Gatlin reach 200m fi­nal at world cham­pi­onship

S. Africa’s Van Niek­erk blasts to 400m ti­tle


Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin set up the se­quel to their world cham­pi­onship sprint show­down on Wed­nes­day, both win­ning their semi­fi­nal heats in the 200 me­ters.

Af­ter Bolt edged the Amer­i­can by .01 sec­ond in Sun­day’s 100 fi­nal, he will be seek­ing his record 10th world ti­tle over­all on Thurs­day at the Bird’s Nest. Bolt was grin­ning widely af­ter cross­ing in 19.95 sec­onds, coast­ing for about 60 me­ters and check­ing the sta­dium screens high up in the stands to see if some­one could come close. As usual, none did. “You save as much energy as pos­si­ble, be­cause you’re go­ing to need it,” Bolt said.

In the pre­vi­ous semi­fi­nal heat, Gatlin, un­beaten over two years in the 200, ran 19.87 sec­onds but worked a lit­tle longer than Bolt be­fore eas­ing up. The two topped the qual­i­fy­ing times, with no one else break­ing the 20-sec­ond bar­rier.

On a night when javelin thrower Julius Yego and steeplechaser Hyvin Kiyeng Jep­ke­moi ex­tended the sur­pris­ing lead of the Kenyans in the medals ta­ble to six gold, two of their team­mates were pro­vi­sion­ally sus­pended fol­low­ing ini­tial pos­i­tive dop­ing tests. The IAAF said it tar­geted Joyce Zakary, a 400-me­ter run­ner, and hur­dler Koki Ma­nunga for test­ing af­ter com­pet­ing in Bei­jing.

Jep­ke­moi won a three- way sprint to the line to take the gold medal in the 3,000-me­ter steeplechase ahead of Habiba Ghibri of Tune­sia and Gesa Krause of Ger­many. Af­ter a tight last lap, all three fin­ished within .14 sec­onds of each other. On the field, Yego set the best javelin mark in 14 years with a throw of 92.72 me­ters, good enough for an African record on top of gold.

In the most com­pet­i­tive fi­nal in history with five throw­ers sur­pass­ing 87 me­ters, Ihab Ab­delrah­man El Sayed of Egypt took sil­ver with a throw of 88.99 and 2007 world cham­pion Tero Pitka­maki of Fin­land took bronze with 87.64.

South African Wayde van Niek­erk scorched to a re­mark­able vic­tory in the men’s 400 me­ters at the world cham­pi­onships in Bei­jing on Wed­nes­day.

Van Niek­erk be­came South Africa’s first world sprint cham­pion as he stormed around the one-lap race in 43.48 sec­onds, be­com­ing the fourth fastest ath­lete in the event and the quick­est non-Amer­i­can.

A loaded field saw de­fend­ing cham­pion Law­shawn Mer­ritt, who also won the world ti­tle in Ber­lin in 2009, timed a per­sonal best of 43.65 sec­onds for sil­ver, while Gre­nada’s Olympic cham­pion Ki­rani James claimed bronze in a sea­son’s best of 43.78 sec­onds. With Yaris­ley Silva of Cuba clear­ing 4.90 me­ters to win the pole vault ahead of Fabiana Murer of Brazil and Niko­leta Kyr­i­akopoulou of Greece, the Amer­i­cans were locked out of a medal. Jenn Suhr, the Olympic cham­pion, and Sandi Mor­ris fin­ished in a share of fourth place af­ter fail­ing to clear 4.80. Zuzana He­jnova of the Czech Re­pub­lic kept the United States from gold in the 400 hur­dles. Shamier Lit­tle of the United States got sil­ver.


South Africa’s Wayde Van Niek­erk is car­ried off the track af­ter win­ning the men’s 400 me­ters fi­nal at the World Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships at the Bird’s Nest sta­dium in Bei­jing, Wed­nes­day, Aug. 26.

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