Cuban hurdler Dayron Robles was stripped of gold and glory at the world championships yesterday in a twist every bit as dramatic as Usain Bolt’s disqualification from the blue riband 100m sprint the night before.
The muscular world record-holder was disqualified after a physical tussle in the 110m hurdles final with China’s Liu Xiang.
Robles bumped Liu in an epic race between the three fastest hurdlers of all time — David Oliver of the US finished fifth — and crossed the line first ahead of Jason Richardson.
The Chinese protested, however, and though the IAAF did not rule out the race being re-run, Richardson has gold as it stands with Liu in silver and Britain’s Andy Turner lifted to bronze.
“Robles hit me twice, at the ninth hurdle he pulled at me, but it wasn’t intentional,” former Olympic champion Liu told reporters. “If not for the incident, I would be gold medalist.”
Richardson said: “I wish that under different circumstances he could keep the medal, but rules are rules.”
The floodlit drama was exactly what the 13th world championships needed to dispel a gloom which, like the ever-present mist on Daegu’s mountains, had lingered around the stadium after the shock of Bolt losing his 100m crown.
Bolt was disqualified on Sunday night for a false start and Yohan Blake was crowned champion.
Allyson Felix will also need to move on as her dreams of completing an unprecedented women’s 200m and 400m double at a worlds disappeared when she was beaten in the 400m final by Amantle Montsho.
Montsho could not wipe the smile from her face after landing Botswana’s first gold at a world championships.
“I know Allyson is a good athlete and she is fast ... I felt when she was coming, but I managed to hold on,” Montsho said.
Carmelita Jeter put a smile back on the faces of the US team in the night’s last final, racing to gold in the women’s 100m.
She finished in 10.90 seconds, beating Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica by 0.07 seconds, with Trinidad’s Kelly-Ann Baptiste third.
Japan’s Koji Murofushi won gold in the men’s hammer with a throw of 81.24m, with Krisztian Pars of Hungary taking silver and Slovenia’s Primoz Kozmus the bronze.
Poland’s Pawel Wojciechowski took gold in the men’s pole vault after clearing 5.90m ahead of Cuba’s Lazaro Borges and Renaud Lavillenie of France.
In the women’s shot put, New Zealand’s Valerie Adams took gold with a throw of 21.24m, while Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus settled for silver and Jillian Camarena-Williams of the US took the bronze.
Additional reporting by staff writer