Guliyev pulls off upset in the 200
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.