The Jamaican was peerless beating Justin Gatlin to claim his 10th world gold medal in Beijing
Usain Bolt won an unprecedented fourth straight 200m and 10th World Championships gold medal as he washed away the field in Beijing.
The 200m has always been Bolt’s banker, and after his victory in the 100m there never felt any doubt in the result as he crossed the line, pumping his chest in 19.55 – a distance ahead of Gatlin in 19.74 and Anaso Jobodwana of South Africa in second and third.
The build-up hadn’t had the same furore as of the 100m just a few days earlier, and the race reflected that as the race was effectively sewn up when they entered the straight, with Gatlin struggling to stay within touching distance of the Jamaican.
Jobodwana took the bronze medal by mere thousandths of a second in 19.87 ahead of Alonso Edward while Britain’s Zharnel Hughes set another personal best in fifth place with 20.02.
After his win, Bolt said: “I am just happy. I told you guys that I would do it, there was no doubt.
“When it comes to the 200m I am a different person. My four World Championships gold medals in the 200m – this is a big deal, a great accomplishment.”
In the triple jump Christian Taylor produced the second furthest jump of all time to take gold for America in one of the best individual showdowns of the championships.
Both Taylor and Pichardo had world record designs heading into Beijing but it had looked well beyond their reach until the final round when Taylor flew out to 18.21m, just eight centimetres shy of Jonathan Edwards’ colossal world record, leaving the Brit briefly squirming in his commentary seat.
While the battle for gold was only ever a two-horse race, there was drama back in the bronze medal battle as 31-year-old Nelson Evora, the 2008 Olympic champion, jumped a season’s best of 17.50m with his final attempt to pip America’s Omar Craddock.
Pichardo enjoyed a narrow lead on count-back by the midway point as both he and Taylor had jumped out to 17.60m in their first three attempts.
Once the field was cut down Taylor took the initiative, showing the kind of consistency which marks his every competition, as the Olympic champion from 2012 stole the outright lead with a hop, step and jump out to 17.68m.
Taylor held on to the lead from then on, but extended it by 53cm in the last round just before Pichardo improved on his best out to 17.73m.
The 110m hurdles Olympic champion and world record-holder Aries Merritt is preparing for a kidney transplant after the championships, but his form looks to be peaking ahead of tomorrow’s final as the American took first place in his semi with a season’s best of 13.08 ahead of fellow medal contenders Omar McLeod and Pascal Martinot-Lagarde.
Merritt finished sixth in Moscow, and was soon after diagnosed with a congenital kidney disease which he has fought hard to come back from, and the athlete is happy to have the World Championships to distract him from his surgery next week.
Reigning champion David Oliver – one of only two competitors in Beijing to go under 13 seconds this season – came through his semi, being out-dipped by France’s Dimitri Bascou into second as the two comfortably led the field.
Oliver clattered through the first three hurdles, but his superior speed and strength carried him through to the line to run 13.17 behind Bascou’s 13.16 while Britain’s Lawrence Clarke finished seventh with a time of 13.53
Sergey Shubenkov reinforced his championship credentials with a clean run in the first semi as he clocked 13.09 ahead of Jamaican Hansle Parchment with 13.16.
The Russian is a regular on the global circuit will be looking to improve on his bronze in the event in the World Championships two years ago and the European title last summer in Zurich.
» See the September 3 edition of AW magazine for coverage of the final five days of World Championships action, while the August 27 edition includes reports, results, news, stats and more from the first four days