Just when the whole world was focused on Usain Bolt retiring as a champion, USA’s Justin Gatlin stunned the field to win the men’s 100m in 9.92s on Day 2 of the London World Championships.
Not many gave the American a chance as he had to endure the boos ringing out from the whole stadium each time his name was mentioned, which could have spurred him to victory in the final many spectators around the world stayed up to watch.
Bolt will not be getting the sort of farewell he would have wished for as he settled for 3rd in 9.95s, behind young Christian Coleman who even finished ahead of the Jamaican in 2nd with a time of 9.94s.
A happy Gatlin after the race said: “It’s just so surreal right now – I jumped in the crowd and went wild. Usain has accomplished so much in our sport and inspired others like Coleman to come out and compete in the championships.
“Usain said: ‘Congratulations, you deserve it.’ And that’s from the man himself. He knows how hard I work. Tonight was all about the W (win) and I managed to sneak it.”
Two years ago when many expected Gatlin to beat Bolt, he floundered just before the line leaving Bolt to edge it past him by 0.01s. However the American seemed to have avenged that loss with victory in what would be Bolt’s last ever 100m race.
Coleman who was the world leader coming into the championships gave a good account of himself, when he even rattled Bolt in the semis, setting the tone for what was to come in the final.
“It’s an historic moment. He’s (Bolt) a man who has taken the sport to a whole new level. He’s been an icon of mine as I’ve grown up. It’s an honour to toe the line with him,” the 21-year old American said.
“I’ve had a fair bit of attention this year after setting some good times, so I don’t think I have been overlooked.
“I had to stay composed because I knew the atmosphere was going to be electric. Both of us (Gatlin) have done well to come out here and get the win. I’m really happy for him to get the gold and I’m delighted with silver,” Coleman added.
For Bolt who was losing his first race in a major championships 10 years, he blames his loss on his start: “It is just one of those things. Thank you to London for all your love and appreciation.
“My start is killing me. Normally it gets better during the rounds but it didn’t come together. And that is what killed me. I felt it was there.
“It was rough. A little bit stressed. But I came out like at any other championships and I did my best. Thanks for the support. I could never expect this from any other crowd. They are what pushed me to do my best” Bolt added