Everyone knew exactly where to find Christian Coleman this time. The 23-year-old American, who faced a suspension because he couldn't be located for drug testing, burst out of the blocks and blew away his opposition in the 100m final at the world championships in Doha yesterday.
Coleman clocked a season's best time of 9.76s to win by a body length from 37-year-old countryman Justin Gatlin, while Canadian Andre De Grasse, a triple medallist at the Rio Olympics, took bronze in 9.90s.
Coleman had been silver medallist to Gatlin two years ago in London but yesterday's win in the air-conditioned stadium left little doubt about who will be chased and who will do the chasing in a reworked track landscape without the retired Usain Bolt.
"World champion, it sounds incredible, too good to be true. For me to make it here and come out with a gold is incredible," Coleman said.
Just weeks ago, Coleman had looked in danger of missing the world championships when the US Anti-Doping Agency filed — and later withdrew — a whereabouts violation charge that could have resulted in a one or two-year sanction.
His case involved three "whereabouts failures" between June 6, 2018, and April 26, 2019. Three failures in a 12-month span can trigger an anti-doping violation.
However, the first violation was subsequently backdated, taking it out of the 12-month window and compelling USADA to drop the case.
Coleman, who has been subject to more than 20 doping tests in the past two years and has never tested positive, posted a long YouTube video to explain the situation.
"I'm not spending much time trying to explain things to people who aren't interested in the truth," he said. "But at this point, I'm over it."
●Distance runner Camille Buscomb and race walker Quentin Rew gave New Zealand two top-12 finishes at the world championships yesterday.
Buscomb ran a personal best of 31m 13.20s to place 12th in the 10,000m final. Her time was good enough to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
In his fifth successive world championships 50km walk, Rew used his usual tactic of moving through the field over the second half of the race.
In 24th place after 5km, he improved to 18th at the halfway mark and 11th at the finish in 4h 15m 54s, almost 11m outside the medals.
Rew overcame a late-night start and oppressive heat and humidity to secure his third successive top-16 finish in the 50km event at the worlds.
On day one of the worlds on Saturday, Edward Osei-Nketia and Julia Ratcliffe just missed out on progressing in the 100m and hammer respectively.
Running between Gatlin and De Grasse, 18-year-old Osei-Nketia clocked 10.24s to finish fifth in his heat and 26th overall, missing out on a place among the 24 semifinalists by just 0.01s.
Ratcliffe, in only her second competition since winning gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, threw 70.45m to finish 14th in qualifying, 90cm off claiming a place among the 12 finalists.