Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt run a season’s best 9.79secs time to beat Justin Gatlin to the 100m title at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China on Sunday.
The USA’s Trayvon Bromell and Canada’s Andre de Grasse came joint-third (9.911secs) in a star-studded line-up which included sixth and seventh-placed Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell respectively.
Bolt had difficulties reaching Sunday’s final following another trademark slow start and, even stumbling, in the semi-finals Heat One at the Bird Nest Stadium, but the 29-year-old proved he always delivers when it matters with another impressive sprint.
He has now won the 100m title at the World Championships three times- ninth medal at the showpiece event- and will be looking to complete the sprint double later on in the week in the 200m.
Gatlin came into the race with a 28-race unbeaten record, but actually had to wait until the Worlds’ showdown to go head-to-head with Bolt.
He had been favourite for the title after running 9.77secs in the semi-finals, but just could not command his A game after it all.
“I feel good,” the 33-year-old American said after the defeat. “Over the last five metres I kind of stumbled a little bit, but it felt good to come out here, run and represent my country.
“Of course, everybody wants to come out here and win, but I came out here, got nibbed at the line by great Usain (Bolt). Hopefully, I have more great races to come.”
Returning to the same venue where he won two Olympic gold medals and set two world records seven years ago had offered Bolt fund memories to cherish, but right from the Heats until the deciding moment, his performances failed to silence the season-long chit-chat regarding his questionable form and a possible end to his reign as the world’s fastest man.
Though he could not replicate his world record time in this one, the poise and composure with which the defending 100m and 200m Olympic champion dashed to victory at the death was, nonetheless, another reassuring performance- eventually edging Gatlin- who has twice failed dope test- by 1 hundredth of a second.
“My aim is to be the number one until I retire,” said Bolt. “And therefore I am pushing myself and pushing myself. It is all about running the race and getting it done. You can call that race rusty.
“I could have run faster. This title means a lot to me,” continued the Jamaican, who has not been spared of fitness challenges this year with his best time coming into the final being a 9.87secs finish in London in July. “It has been a long season. Me coming back from injury.”