Tuesday 27 September 2016

'It was a big deal' - Usain Bolt edges past Justin Gatlin in Beijing to win 100m showdown

Guy Aspin

Published 23/08/2015 | 14:32

Usain Bolt of Jamaica crosses the finish line first to win the men's 100 metres final at the 15th IAAF World Championships at the National Stadium in Beijing
Usain Bolt of Jamaica crosses the finish line first to win the men's 100 metres final at the 15th IAAF World Championships at the National Stadium in Beijing

Usain Bolt rode to the rescue of his beleaguered sport once again as he dashed Justin Gatlin's hopes of 100 metres gold at the World Championships in Beijing.

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The Jamaican lived up to his billing as the saviour of athletics as he held off the challenge of two-time drug cheat Gatlin to win in 9.79 seconds.

(L-R) Asafa Powell of Jamaica, Justin Gatlin of the United States, Tyson Gay of the United States, Usain Bolt of Jamaica and Mike Rodgers of the United States cross the finish line in the Men's 100 metres final during day two of the 15th IAAF World Athletics Championships Beijing 2015 at Beijing National Stadium on August 23, 2015 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
(L-R) Asafa Powell of Jamaica, Justin Gatlin of the United States, Tyson Gay of the United States, Usain Bolt of Jamaica and Mike Rodgers of the United States cross the finish line in the Men's 100 metres final during day two of the 15th IAAF World Athletics Championships Beijing 2015 at Beijing National Stadium on August 23, 2015 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
(L-R) USA's Justin Gatlin, USA's Tyson Gay and Jamaica's Usain Bolt compete in the final of the men's 100 metres athletics event at the 2015 IAAF World Championships at the "Bird's Nest" National Stadium in Beijing on August 23, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PEDRO UGARTEPEDRO UGARTE/AFP/Getty Images
(L-R) Canada's Andre De Grasse, Jamaica's Asafa Powell, USA's Justin Gatlin, USA's Tyson Gay, Jamaica's Usain Bolt, USA's Mike Rodgers and USA's Trayvon Bromell compete in the final of the men's 100 metres athletics event at the 2015 IAAF World Championships at the "Bird's Nest" National Stadium in Beijing on August 23, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PEDRO UGARTEPEDRO UGARTE/AFP/Getty Images
(L-R) USA's Justin Gatlin, USA's Tyson Gay, Jamaica's Usain Bolt, USA's Mike Rodgers and USA's Trayvon Bromell compete in the final of the men's 100 metres athletics event at the 2015 IAAF World Championships at the "Bird's Nest" National Stadium in Beijing on August 23, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PEDRO UGARTEPEDRO UGARTE/AFP/Getty Images
(L-R) Andre De Grasse of Canada, Asafa Powell of Jamaica, Justin Gatlin of the United States, Tyson Gay of the United States, Usain Bolt of Jamaica, Mike Rodgers of the United States, Trayvon Bromell of the United States, Bingtian Su of China and Jimmy Vicaut of France cross the finish line in the Men's 100 metres final during day two of the 15th IAAF World Athletics Championships Beijing 2015 at Beijing National Stadium on August 23, 2015 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
(L-R) Andre De Grasse of Canada, Asafa Powell of Jamaica, Justin Gatlin of the United States, Tyson Gay of the United States, Usain Bolt of Jamaica, Mike Rodgers of the United States, Trayvon Bromell of the United States, Bingtian Su of China and Jimmy Vicaut of France cross the finish line in the Men's 100 metres final during day two of the 15th IAAF World Athletics Championships Beijing 2015 at Beijing National Stadium on August 23, 2015 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Jamaica's Usain Bolt (R) crosses the finish line ahead of USA's Justin Gatlin (L) in the final of the men's 100 metres athletics event at the 2015 IAAF World Championships at the "Bird's Nest" National Stadium in Beijing on August 23, 2015. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

The 33-year-old American, the sport's number one villain, especially in the wake of the doping scandals of recent weeks, had to settle for silver in 9.80secs.

A Gatlin win in its blue-riband event was the result athletics feared and it looked likely after the semi-finals where Gatlin clocked 9.77s and Bolt only scraped a win after an awful start.

But the world record holder, the sport's leading man, the self-styled legend, knows how to deliver when the pressure is really on.

This was his fastest time of the year and the win took his tally of.individual global titles to 10.

Usain Bolt of Jamaica celebrates is congratulated by Justin Gatlin of the United States after winning gold in the Men's 100 metres final during day two of the 15th IAAF World Athletics Championships Beijing 2015 at Beijing National Stadium on August 23, 2015 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Usain Bolt of Jamaica celebrates is congratulated by Justin Gatlin of the United States after winning gold in the Men's 100 metres final during day two of the 15th IAAF World Athletics Championships Beijing 2015 at Beijing National Stadium on August 23, 2015 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Usain Bolt of Jamaica celebrates after winning gold in the Men's 100 metres final during day two of the 15th IAAF World Athletics Championships Beijing 2015 at Beijing National Stadium on August 23, 2015 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images for IAAF)
Usain Bolt of Jamaica celebrates after winning gold in the Men's 100 metres final during day two of the 15th IAAF World Athletics Championships Beijing 2015 at Beijing National Stadium on August 23, 2015 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images for IAAF)
Jamaica's Usain Bolt celebrates winning the final of the men's 100 metres athletics event at the 2015 IAAF World Championships at the "Bird's Nest" National Stadium in Beijing on August 23, 2015. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
Jamaica's Usain Bolt celebrates winning the final of the men's 100 metres athletics event at the 2015 IAAF World Championships at the "Bird's Nest" National Stadium in Beijing on August 23, 2015. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
Jamaica's Usain Bolt (C) competes in the final of the men's 100 metres athletics event at the 2015 IAAF World Championships at the "Bird's Nest" National Stadium in Beijing on August 23, 2015. AFP PHOTO / OLIVIER MORINOLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images
Trayvon Bromell of the United States celebrates after winning bronze in the Men's 100 metres final during day two of the 15th IAAF World Athletics Championships Beijing 2015 at Beijing National Stadium on August 23, 2015 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Usain Bolt of Jamaica celebrates after winning gold in the Men's 100 metres final during day two of the 15th IAAF World Athletics Championships Beijing 2015 at Beijing National Stadium on August 23, 2015 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

American Trayvon Bromell and Canada's Andre de Grasse each took a bronze after posting the same time - 9.911.

Gatlin's return to the top of athletics following a four-year drug ban which expired in 2010 has left many within the sport feeling at best uncomfortable and at worst outraged.

And at a time when its world governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations, is fighting off accusations it has not done enough to combat doping, a Gatlin win would have been one it was dreading.

The 2004 Olympic champion came into the championships at the top of the world rankings, having run 9.74.

Jamaica's Usain Bolt celebrates winning the final of the men's 100 metres athletics event at the 2015 IAAF World Championships at the
Jamaica's Usain Bolt celebrates winning the final of the men's 100 metres athletics event at the 2015 IAAF World Championships at the "Bird's Nest" National Stadium in Beijing on August 23, 2015. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
Jamaica's Usain Bolt celebrates winning the final of the men's 100 metres athletics event at the 2015 IAAF World Championships at the "Bird's Nest" National Stadium in Beijing on August 23, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PEDRO UGARTEPEDRO UGARTE/AFP/Getty Images
BEIJING, CHINA - AUGUST 23: Usain Bolt of Jamaica celebrates after winning gold in the Men's 100 metres final during day two of the 15th IAAF World Athletics Championships Beijing 2015 at Beijing National Stadium on August 23, 2015 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images for IAAF)
BEIJING, CHINA - AUGUST 23: Justin Gatlin of the United States reacts after winning silver in the Men's 100 metres final during day two of the 15th IAAF World Athletics Championships Beijing 2015 at Beijing National Stadium on August 23, 2015 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images for IAAF)
BEIJING, CHINA - AUGUST 23: Usain Bolt of Jamaica celebrates after winning gold in the Men's 100 metres final during day two of the 15th IAAF World Athletics Championships Beijing 2015 at Beijing National Stadium on August 23, 2015 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - AUGUST 23: Usain Bolt of Jamaica celebrates after winning gold in the Men's 100 metres final during day two of the 15th IAAF World Athletics Championships Beijing 2015 at Beijing National Stadium on August 23, 2015 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Silver medalist Justin Gatlin of the United States (L) and bronze medalist Trayvon Bromell of the United States embrace each other after the Men's 100 metres final during day two of the 15th IAAF World Athletics Championships Beijing 2015 at Beijing National Stadium on August 23, 2015 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Usain Bolt of Jamaica looks up after the men's 100 metres semi-final at the 15th IAAF World Championships at the National Stadium in Beijing, China August 23, 2015. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Bolt, in contrast, still had to answer questions about his fitness following a pelvic injury earlier in the summer.

He talked a good game last week, and, at the Bird's Nest on Sunday night, the scene of his first triple Olympic triumph, he delivered one.

Bolt told the BBC: "It definitely means a lot because I've been struggling all season.

"It took me a while to discover what was the problem. And it's all held together so I'm just happy.

"I stumbled a little (in the semi), but I had to get back in the rhythm. My coach (Glen Mills) told me to forget about it and that when it came to the right time, I'd get it right.

"It was a big deal."

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