By Nick Mulvenney
Jamaica’s Usain Bolt ran the fastest time of the year in 19.55 seconds to win a record fourth straight world 200 metres title and sweep the individual sprints at a major global championships for a fifth time yesterday.
Five days after beating Justin Gatlin to win the 100 metres, the 29-year-old Olympic champion and world record holder again proved too strong for in-form American, who finished second in 19.74.
Anasco Jobodwana took bronze in 19.87 for South Africa ahead of Panama’s Alonso Edward, who was awarded the same time but lost out on a medal by two 1,000ths of a second. Jobodwana’s time was 19.861 and Edward 19.863.
The victory gave Bolt a record-extending 10th world championship gold medal and he could yet win an 11th as part of Jamaica’s 4×100 metre relay team on Saturday.
Bolt, who had only run one race at the distance coming into the championships after an injury disrupted season, once again produced the goods when it really mattered.
The 29-year-old got out of the blocks quicker than Gatlin on his inside and was already in front at the bend, where the American picked up speed and looked like he might threaten the champion.
Puffing his cheeks out and swinging his arms high, though, Bolt pounded down the home straight to victory, thumping his chest with his fist as he crossed the line.
Bolt and Gatlin had only faced each other once before in a 200 metres race, at the 2005 world championships in Helsinki where the American claimed his first world title in the event and teenager Bolt finished last.
That was the year before Gatlin, having just matched the world record, tested positive for a banned substance for a second time and was suspended for four years.
Gatlin, 33, had gone unbeaten since 2013 in both sprints coming to Beijing and his was the world leading time that Bolt bettered to take the title.
“Usain Bolt’s a legend, man,” said Britain’s Zharnel Hughes, who finished fifth in a personal best time of 20.02 at his first major championships.
“Even myself, I even doubted him a bit. But Bolt is phenonmenal. He knows what to do when it comes to major championships. All credit to him.”
Speaking to the BBC, Bolt said: “I’m happy to be a 10-time world championship gold medallist, especially when people have been saying I would lose.
“I had the utmost confidence. As long as my coach is confident, I’m super confident.
“The British people give me a lot of love and I will continue running fast.”