LONDON: 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.
Bolt acknowledged that Yohan Blake would likely come in for the final, all the while praising his less-experienced relay teammates.
“The young runners in our team — it is just about executing and coming through the race for them,” he said.
“We have been training that relay, there were some camps. Still there were some mistakes. Yohan Blake coming in for the final is definitely good.”
Bolt’s bid to retain his 100m title went up in smoke as American Justin Gatlin won gold, with Christian Coleman taking silver.
No matter the result of the relay, organisers said Bolt will be afforded a dedicated lap of honour on Sunday (today) in tribute to his amazing track career. Gatlin ran the second leg for the US team, led off by Mike Rodgers, another dope cheat, BeeJay Lee and Coleman on anchor. They clocked 37.70 seconds to finish 0.06sec ahead of Britain.
Dutch sprinter Dafne Schippers held on to retain her world 200m title on Friday as the United States had another night to savour at the London Stadium and two experienced campaigners claimed more gold.
Schippers, who won bronze in the 100m, roared off the bend into the final straight and looked as if she would coast safely home.
But the Dutchwoman began to tie up and only a savage dip at the line that saw her clock 22.05 seconds edged her past Ivorian Marie-Josee Ta Lou by just three-hundredths of a second. It was Ta Lou’s second silver after her efforts in the 100m won by American Tori Bowie, absent from the 200.
Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas, who in the space of 20 metres fell from clear leader to finish fourth in the 400m, had the consolation of claiming bronze in 22.15sec.
For all the excitement of the sprint, the most dramatic race of the evening was the women’s 3000m steeplechase.
It had everything, from one of the four Kenyans actually running past the first water jump to a fall to smart tactical racing that had the crowd on their feet. Emma Coburn finished the final 150 metres strongly for a first American steeplechase gold in a championships record 9min 02.58sec, with team-mate Courtney Frerichs taking silver ahead of Kenya’s defending champion Hyvin Jepkemoi. —AFP