Jamaican sprint superstar Usain Bolt has been denied a fairytale ending to his glittering athletics career at the World Athletics Championship in London.
Team USA’s Justin Gatlin stormed ahead of the field to snatch world 100m gold from Bolt, who could only manage bronze in his final individual race. Gatlin’s teammate Christian Coleman made a USA one-two.
Gatlin, who has twice been banned for doping offences, came through the field almost unnoticed in lane seven in a time of 9.92 seconds – two hundredths of a second faster than compatriot Coleman who clocked a time of 9.94.
Despite question over fitness and form, Bolt had still been favourite to secure the 20th global gold of his career.
2015 was supposed to be Gatlin’s year, when the American went to the World Championships in Beijing on the back of a 28-race unbeaten run.
Bolt produced a miracle to beat him that night in the Bird’s Nest, but he couldn’t provide the perfect ending to such a stellar career in the stadium where he won his Olympic 100m title in 2012.
His doping past making his a cartoon villian in his sport, double Olympic champion at the Athens games in 2004 Gatlin had been booed every time he took to his blocks in these championships.
He avoided a life ban after a second positive test in 2006 after co-operating with the authorities, instead accepting an eight year suspension that was then reduced to four on appeal.
That left him free to return to the track and he was to have his revenge, standing tall and putting a finger to his lips as the win stunned the crowd inside the London Stadium to initial silence.
However, this was a deserved victory – a last hurrah for a man that many athletes and fans within the sport wished no longer had the chance to compete.
A disastrous start for Bolt meant he was chasing the field right from the start. He has never previously lost a 100m final in a World Championships with the only blemish on his otherwise impeccable record being the false start in Daegu in 2011.
Despite the 21-year-old Coleman holding him off, Gatlin powered through in the last 15 metres as the great champion was left powerless.
From a British perspective, 21-year-old Reece Prescod was seventh in his first major championship final. However, this night will be remembered as much for the one who failed to win as the one who did.
The action continues tomorrow.