Schippers back on top of the world

  • world athletics championships
- Agence France-Presse, LONDON

Aug 13, 2017-Dafne Schippers joined illustrious company when she retained her world 200 metres title and the frown of last year was replaced by the return of the broad grin of 2015. 

There may have been no Elaine Thompson, her bete noire of last year who won both the Olympic 100m and 200m with Schippers taking silver in the latter, or America’s 100m world champion Tori Bowie but it mattered not a jot to the statuesque 25-year-old Dutchwoman. For Schippers’ thrilling victory over the diminutive Ivorian Marie-Josee Ta Lou — taking silver as she did in the 100m — placed her name among the goddesses of the event Jamaican Merlene Ottey and Allyson Felix of the United States in winning the 200m world title more than once. 

For Schippers it was a case of showing she was not a flash in the pan and that her decision to change her coach — from her old heptathlon to a sprint expert — had been justified. “It was very important to win. I worked so hard in the last years and last year was not the easiest for me,” said Schippers, whose family were in the stadium watching. “I changed everything and got a new coach, so I’m very happy. I fought for that.” 

Meanwhile, Usain Bolt’s bid to bring the curtain down on his glittering career with a 15th world gold medal remained on track as Jamaica qualified for the final of the 4x100m relay. Bolt took the unusual step of racing the relay heats, something usually reserved for the more unheralded members of the squad. Tyquendo Tracey, Julian Forte and Michael Campbell safely negotiated the first three legs before Bolt steered his team home in a winning, season’s best of 37.95 seconds. 

“It’s been brilliant. The energy in the stadium is outstanding,” Bolt said, hailing the deafening support in the packed-out London Stadium “not just for me but the whole championships”. Bolt said his emotions were still in check at the thought of bowing out of track and field. 

“For me it’s hard to be sad because the energy I’m getting from the crowd is brilliant, I’m just happy. There are no words to describe how I am feeling.” 

Bolt’s bid to retain his 100m title went up in smoke as American Justin Gatlin won gold, with Christian Coleman taking silver. It was the first time Bolt had been beaten at a major championships since the 4x100m relay at the 2007 worlds in Osaka. The 100 and 200m world record holder, who also anchored the Jamaican squad to a world record in the relay of 36.84sec at the London Olympics, will be back for the final. Bolt has eight Olympic golds and 14 world medals, 11 of which are gold, the Jamaican having won two silvers in 2007 before his 100m bronze in London.

Published: 13-08-2017 08:40

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