Schippers claims Dutch gold with third fastest time in history
Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands became the third fastest woman of all time over 200m at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing yesterday. The 23-year-old came from behind to win her first world title in 21.63 seconds.
“I hoped coming here for the gold medal and a time under 22 seconds,” she said. “What a race, what a championships for me.”
Schippers came off the bend only third, but powered home over the last 50 metres to edge out Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson, who ran 21.66 in second.
“My start was not very good,” Schippers admitted . “I tried to relax on the curve but I gave a lot of energy in the straight because I knew I had to win. I stayed relaxed in the last 30 or 40 metres and that is why I won.”
Schippers lay on the ground for some time following her championship record run and also required medical attention.
“I didn’t feel good after. It is always like that when it is warm and I run these times,” she added.
Only two athletes have now run the 200m faster than Schippers: world record holder Florence-Griffith Joyner and Marion Jones.
While Griffith-Joyner never failed a drugs test, her 100m and 200m world records are viewed with suspicion, while Jones admitted to using steroids and was stripped of her titles from the 2000 Olympic Games.
With both of their performances largely discredited, Schippers was asked afterwards if she believed her performance should have been the rightful 200m world record and whether people can believe in her performance.
“I know that I am clean and I can’t say any more than that,” she said. “I do all the dope controls.”
Russia’s Sergey Shubenkov restored some national pride last night in the wake of several doping scandals by taking victory in the men’s 110m hurdles in 12.98 seconds ahead of Jamaica’s Hansle Parchment (13.03) and Aries Merritt (13.04).
“This is the best day of my life,” said Shubenkov, who lives and trains in Siberia. “It’s not every day a Russian hurdler wins gold. I’m super proud of myself and for my coach. Our hard work all these years has paid off.”
Bronze medallist Merritt produced a memorable comeback to reach the podium, just four days before undergoing kidney transplant surgery. The American hurdler has battled a rare disease all year, leaving him unable to train or eat properly and with less than 20pc function in both kidneys.
“I feel like bronze is gold,” said Merritt. “It’s been a struggle. I’m six pounds under the weight I was when I set the world record, but this shows I’m mentally tough and have the heart of a champion.”
In the women’s 100m hurdles final, there was a huge upset as unheralded Jamaican Danielle Williams took gold in 12.57 seconds. Germany’s Cindy Roleder took silver with 12.59 while Belarus’s Alina Talay ran a national record of 12.66 to take bronze.
“I am sure when I came in nobody knew who I was,” said Williams, whose sister Shermaine finished seventh in the final. “I came here just to get to the final, but once you stand on the start line, anything can happen. I have to thank my sister who has guided me. It was so special we were together in the final.”
Tianna Bartoletta bagged her second world title in the women’s long jump with a huge leap of 7.14m in the final round.
Irish in action today
Rob Heffernan, Brendan Boyce, Alex Wright, Men’s 50K race walk, 12.30am
Men’s 4x400m relay, heats, 3.40am