DAEGU, South Korea, (Reuters) – Yohan Blake ended Usain Bolt’s three-year monopoly of short sprint titles yesterday when he won the world 100 metres final after the defending champion was dramatically disqualified for a false start.
World record holder and Olympic champion Bolt ripped off his vest as soon as the second gun went off to indicate the false start and was led disconsolately from the track in front of a stunned crowd at the Daegu Stadium.
However he refused to indulge in self-pity after watching his fellow-Jamaican take the title. “Looking for tears?,” he said. “That’s not going to happen.”
The 21-year-old Blake made the most of his training partner’s absence, spreading his arms out wide as he stormed home in 9.92 seconds to claim his first major title.
“It’s a wonderful feeling, I have been praying for this moment my whole life,” he said. “I just tell people anybody can do it, you just stay focused, pray to God.
“Now I have mixed feelings just — very sad for Usain Bolt but at the same time enjoying this moment very much. I had to focus and get the job done for Jamaica.”
American Walter Dix pipped Kim Collins to silver in 10.08 seconds, dipping over the line to leave the 2003 champion from St Kitts and Nevis with a third world championship bronze medal in 10.09. Dix’s silver was his first at the world championships although he won bronze in both sprints at the 2008 Beijing Olympics but he was disappointed with his poor start.
“It was definitely a tough race for me, Yohan got out of the blocks really well and I did the best I could,” he said.
“I definitely think I could have been more competitive than I was.”
The evergreen Collins, who belied his 35 years with a blistering start, said he had every intention of returning to compete at the next world championships in 2013 after becoming the oldest 100m medallist in the event.
“I am going to come back in Moscow and make it 10 and I don’t think anybody is going to go 10 world championships,” he said.
France’s European champion Christophe Lemaitre was fourth in 10.19 ahead of Antiguan Daniel Bailey (10.26). Another Frenchman, Jimmy Vicaut (10.27), finished sixth with Jamaican Nesta Carter last of the finishers in 10.95.
The field for the final had already been weakened by the absence through injury of Bolt’s most likely challengers, American former world champion Tyson Gay and former world record holder Asafa Powell.
Jamaican Steve Mullings and American Mike Rodgers, two other sprinters who have run faster than Bolt this year, missed the championships because of doping violations.
Bolt had been considered vulnerable after a less than stellar season by his own standards but had produced commanding performances in the heats and semi-finals.
The 24-year-old still has a chance to go home with an individual gold medal when he defends his 200 metres title later in the championships.
“This is one event, it really doesn’t change anything,” Dix said. “He had a blip today and that’s all it was.”
Collins said he expected the world governing body to look again at the automatic disqualification for athletes who false start which was introduced at the start of last year.
“In all fairness, he’s world and Olympic champion and world record holder and people all over the world want to see him tonight,” he said. “That didn’t happen and that’s really sad and maybe now you might look into things.”