Athletics: Bolt regains 100m gold

By Andrew Alderson in Moscow

As thunder struck Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Usain Bolt struck his version of lightning through the heart of the 100m field to secure a second world championship title in the event. Usainity prevailed.

The consequent rain meant the 26-year-old was never going to threaten his 2009 world record of 9.58s in Berlin, but it didn't matter. He won what has been simplified into the "good versus evil" battle against former drugs cheat Justin Gatlin, finishing 0.08s ahead in a time of 9.77s.

It also put right Bolt's infamous disqualification in 2011, the only blight in a career of cometh the hour-type victories at world championship and Olympic level.

The drug issues for key rival Tyson Gay (100m best 9.69s) and former world record-holder and fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell (100m best 9.72s) placed a further onus on Bolt to keep proving he is the real deal. The microscope is on Jamaica and the country's sprinting figurehead delivered.

No current athlete transcends sport more, nor has a greater responsibility to perform clean to fans. Whoever is 'fastest man on the planet' always commands such revered sporting status. Bolt has extended and enhanced his lease through charisma and the capability of backing bravado with performance.

Yet his victory celebration seemed relatively subdued. He produced a trademark lightning bolt stance and lapped the track but it was bereft of customary out-and-out pomp.

Perhaps the stoush against Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic 100m gold medallist, and the subsequent drugs debate after Powell and Gay's positive tests has taken some lustre off. Maybe it was the poor crowd which failed to get anywhere near capacity.

Gatlin was unable to replicate his June victory in Rome which saw Bolt beaten for just the fifth time over the 100m distance. IAAF track and field chiefs, television networks and sponsors must have been dreading an American triumph. They can rest easy for now.

Elsewhere New Zealand Val Adams qualified for the shot put final with the best throw of 19.89m, 13cm ahead of nearest rival, American Michelle Carter. The final starts at 4.25am tomorrow New Zealand time.

Decathlete Brent Newdick finished 23rd, compiling 7744 points, but was only able to get a personal best in the high jump with 2.02m. He credited being up to five kilograms lighter after four months of recovery to a pubis bone injury as the reason. Newdick said he only managed to get in about four weeks' full training before the event.

- Herald on Sunday

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