Sprint star Usain Bolt rebounded from his 100m disqualification to scorch to 200m gold yesterday, while Asbel Kiprop won a first-ever men’s 1,500m title for Kenya.
The 25-year-old Jamaican defending champion and world record holder crushed the field in the 200m, winning in the fourth fastest time ever run — 19.4 seconds.
Only Bolt, twice, and American track legend Michael Johnson have run faster.
He may have been slowest out of his blocks, but Bolt wasted no time in making up ground on American Walter Dix outside him.
Coming into the home stretch, Bolt, teeth clenched and muscular arms pumping, gave one glance across the lanes and then pinned his eyes on the trackside clock at the finish and went for it.
“I feel great. I’m still the best,” Bolt said. “I made a mistake in the 100m, but I would have won it.”
Dix claimed silver in a season’s best 19.7 seconds, with Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre coming through strong at the end to take bronze in a national record 19.8 seconds.
“I wanted to bring the USA the gold, but it wasn’t to be, I had to console myself with silver. He was just too strong,” Dix said of Bolt.
Earlier in the evening, a masterclass in middle-distance running saw Kiprop add the world 1,500m title to his Olympic crown.
The 22-year-old Kenyan stood firm in the sprint for home, compatriot Silas Kiplagat taking silver and American Matthew Centrowitz bronze.
Remarkably, it was the first time a Kenyan has won the 1,500m event at the worlds, although Kenyan-born Bahraini Yusuf Kamel and American Bernard Lagat (2007) are holders of the past two world titles.
“It makes me happy to be the first Kenyan to win the 1,500m,” Kiprop said. “Running with Kiplagat and others gives me motivation to run next year in the London Olympics.”
Asbel and Kiplagat’s medal showings further confirmed the east African country’s status as the dominant nation in middle-distance and long-distance running.
“I’m happy with the medal haul,” Kiprop said. “We’ve been trying to balance up the medals table, to win the same amount as the girls.”
Sally Pearson handed Australia a first gold, winning the 100m hurdles in a new championship record of 12.28 seconds, American Danielle Carruthers winning silver in a photo finish from compatriot Dawn Harper.
“I have worked so hard to get here to this,” Pearson said. “I’ve got faith in my coach and with my training I could not be happier, so I’m not surprised by this win.”
However, there was heartbreak for two defending champions, Blanka Vlasic of Croatia and Norway’s Andreas Thorkildsen.
Injury-hit Vlasic was denied a unique title hat-trick when Russian Anna Chicherova won the high jump on countback (2.03m).
Thorkildsen was pushed into silver spot by Matthias de Zordo in the men’s javelin, the German tyro nailing 86.27m.
After winning silver in the 400m and bronze in the 200m, Allyson Felix eventually got a gold running the second leg of the US women’s triumphant 4x400m relay team.
The morning session saw Sergey Bakulin lead Russia to a 1-2 finish in the world men’s 50km race walk to further confirm the country’s top ranking in the grueling discipline.