Guliyev pulls off up­set in the 200

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS -

LON­DON — It wasn’t Wayde van Niek­erk and it wasn’t Isaac Mak­wala.

In­stead, Ramil Guliyev of Turkey earned the up­set of the world cham­pi­onships on Thurs­day when he matched Van Niek­erk stride for stride and won the 200-me­ter ti­tle by lung­ing at the line just ahead of the fa­vored South African.

Jereem Richards of Trinidad and Tobago took bronze, while Mak­wala faded down the stretch and fin­ished sixth.

The 27-year-old Guliyev, a lit­tle-known sprinter who trans­ferred na­tion­al­ity from Azer­bai­jan six years ago, was not even among the top-10 per­form­ers this year be­fore he stunned his ri­vals and the 60,000-sell­out crowd at the Olympic Sta­dium, which had come to see Van Niek­erk and Mak­wala fight for gold.

“It didn’t bother me the at­ten­tion was on them,” Guliyev said. “Maybe at the next com­pe­ti­tion, ev­ery­one will look at me in­stead.”

Guliyev fin­ished in 20.09 sec­onds, .02 sec­onds ahead of both Van Niek­erk and Richards. The South African took sil­ver by .001 sec­onds.

Guliyev held his hands over his mouth in sheer dis­be­lief af­ter the slow race — the slow­est fi­nal since 2003.

“This is not a shock, but this does not feel real,” said Guliyev, whose best per­for­mance com­ing into the world cham­pi­onships was a sil­ver medal at the Euro­pean cham­pi­onships last year.

Van Niek­erk can only be dis­ap­pointed with gold and sil­ver. He fell just short of get­ting the first 200-400 dou­ble at the world cham­pi­onships since Michael John­son in 1995.

“Com­ing away with two medals — both a good color, gold and sil­ver. I think it’s great for my ca­reer,” the 400me­ter Olympic and world cham­pion said.

As shock­ing as the 200 turned out to be, the triple jump was pre­dictable — an­other great fight be­tween Amer­i­can team­mates Chris­tian Tay­lor and Will Claye.

As usual, Tay­lor came out on top. The two-time Olympic cham­pion won with a leap of 58 feet 43⁄4 inches. Claye, the run­ner-up be­hind Tay­lor at the last two Olympics, was sec­ond at 5710.

The Amer­i­cans also got a 1-2 fin­ish in the women’s 400 hur­dles. Kori Carter won in 53.07 sec­onds, 0.43 sec­onds ahead of Dalilah Muham­mad.

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