London: It will be the end of an era for athletics as Jamaica’s Usain Bolt and Britain’s Mo Farah will race in their respective competition for the final time.
An era without the most marketable commodity athletics has ever had. The Jamaican is hoping to run away from the track having won his 20th global championship title, something he was denied last week when he finished third in the 100m behind American Justin Gatlin.
The Jamaican 4x100m relay team have been almost unbeatable since he arrived on the big stage, winning gold at the past seven Olympics and World Championships.
But there is a sense that the Bolt storyline may have one small twist in its tale in London. Both Bolt and his fellow double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson were dethroned in the 100m, while Jamaica did not have a single representative in the men’s 200m final. For the first time, there will be a real sense of fallibility about Bolt and his team-mates when they line up for the 4x100m final.
There will be a fair amount of emotion from the stands for Mo Farah as well, as will also run in his last track race – the 5,000 metres final in front of home crowd. The long-distance legend.
Mo Farah says he will take nothing for granted following Usain Bolt’s failure to win the world 100m gold medal as the pair prepare for their final major championship appearances on Saturday.
Farah, aged 34, will retire from the track this month to concentrate on marathons and other road races. “Those boys are coming for me they are hungry,” said Farah, aiming to defend his 5,000m title after winning 10,000m gold last week, and added, “You could see in the heat, they wanted to prove a point and show me.”
The Briton is aiming to complete an unprecedented World Championship triple-double. His 10,000m title on the first day was also the home nation’s only medal in this year’s Championship.
UP AND OVER
American Brittney Reese claimed her fourth world long jump title on Friday after a tense, tight contest in which only six centimetres separated the top four competitors.
Darya Klishina, competing as a neutral athlete after the Russian federation was banned over state-sponsored doping, took silver for her first medal at a major finals after jumping seven metres for the first time in six years.
Titleholder and Olympic champion Tianna Bartoletta won bronze, squeezing on to the podium with her last jump ahead of Serbia’s Ivana Spanovic who missed out on a medal at a global finals for the first time since 2013.
Reese won with a leap of 7.02 metres on her third attempt and had to endure a nerve-wracking finale after receiving a red flag on her next three jumps. The 30-year-old said it was an emotional moment after her grandfather passed away two weeks ago.
LEADING THE LINE
Reigning champion Asbel Kiprop led a powerful trio of Kenyans into Sunday’s 1,500 metres final at the World Athletics Championships, giving himself the chance of shooting for a fourth successive gold medal in the metric mile event.
The 28-year-old Kiprop, seeking to equal the record of four successive titles set by Morocco’s world record holder Hicham El Guerrouj, kept out of trouble on the wide outside before sprinting home a comfortable second in a robust heat on Friday.
He followed home his compatriot Elijah Manangoi, the fastest man in the world this year, who ran a controlled race to win the opening semi-final in 3 minutes 40.10 seconds, four-hundredths of a second clear of the onrushing Kiprop.
Timothy Cheruiyot, the second quickest metric miler of 2017, set the pace in the second semi-final to ensure that not just the first five would qualify automatically, but also the two fast losers from the heat. He controlled the race, only easing up at the finish in 3:38.24 with qualifi cation secure as Czech Jakub Holusa, the 2015 European indoor champion, came through to pip him for first in 3:38.05 and become the fastest qualifier for Sunday’s final.
Olympic champion Caster Semenya looked ominously comfortable in advancing to the women’s 800 metres final at the World Athletics Championships on Friday but a host of challengers also looked impressive and should push the South African all the way.
Semenya, who won bronze in the 1,500 on Monday, as usual looked as if she was out for a weekend jog while all around her were straining every sinew as she won the second of three heats in one minute 58.90 seconds.
Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba and powerful Kenyan Margaret Wambui, silver and bronze medallists in last year’s Olympics, went one-two again in the third heat to progress automatically.
Former Olympic 100 metres hurdles champion Sally Pearson continued her remarkable comeback from injury by qualifying fastest for the World Championship final as defending champion Danielle Williams failed to progress.
Australian Pearson has endured a frustrating two years, missing the 2015 championships in Beijing and the Olympics last year due to serious injuries.
However, the 30-year-old showed her determination to reclaim the title she first won in 2011 by destroying the field to win the opening heat in 12.53 seconds ahead of American Nia Ali.
American Christina Manning won the second heat in 12.71 ahead of Alina Talay of Belarus, who won bronze in 2015. But there was no place in the final for Jamaican Williams, who came fifth in her semi in 13.14, not even fast enough to go through via one of the non automatic places.