Usain Bolt beaten by Justin Gatlin in World Championship 100m final
Last Updated: 06/08/17 12:53am
Justin Gatlin stunned the world to claim the 100m World Championship title and leave Usain Bolt trailing in third place in his final individual race before retirement.
Despite a low-key season, Bolt was expected to claim a fourth 100m World Championship title but instead was left with a bronze medal, that will sit alongside his 2011 disqualification in Daegu rather than the jaw-dropping 9.58 world record of his 2009 success.
Instead it was the controversial Gatlin, twice banned for doping offences, who claimed a second World Championship title, 12 years after his only other 100m World Championship gold in Helsinki to go with his 2004 Olympic title.
Gatlin took advantage of a below-par Bolt to come home in a season-best time of 9.92secs with the Jamaican sprint legend equalling his best time of the year (9.95) only to come behind an American 1-2 with Christian Coleman taking second place (9.94).
Bolt usually overpowers his opponents down the final 40m but with a grimace rather than his trademark smile etched across his face, he was unable to chase down Coleman who led until Gatlin snuck up on the field from lane seven to claim the title.
Britain's Reece Prescod came seventh in his first major final, having been only one of three Brits to progress from the semi-finals but, rather than Bolt's glorious farewell, Gatlin's controversial past will ensure a sport that must move on beyond the brilliance of Bolt will have to deal with more awkward questions.
Gatlin, whose co-operation with the authorities after his second positive test in 2006 ensured he avoided a lifetime ban, bowed down to Bolt having crossed the line ahead of the Jamaican.
But as the result flashed up on the stadium screen, the London crowd that was in awe of Bolt in 2012 let their feelings be known on the 2017 champion who had stolen Bolt's thunder and celebrated by holding a finger to his lips to silence those in attendance.
Bolt embraced Gatlin before taking a lap of farewell of his own but a stunned stadium were struggling to believe what they had just seen.
Bolt's past successes, including three Olympics golds on the same London track in 2012, will ensure he has the world in his corner when he returns to the stadium for the 4x100m relay next Saturday and the gold-tinted farewell his career deserves.
Having opted not to defend the 200m title he has won at the last four World Championships, the defeat means he leaves the individual stage with three 100m World Championship titles and three 100m Olympic gold medals, as well the world record he blazed to in Germany almost a decade ago.
Alongside his 200m and 4x100m titles and records, the wait for global title number 20 will go on until next weekend when Bolt takes to the stage for his final farewell alongside his team-mates in the 4x100m relay.
Despite heading into Saturday's race as favourite, the signs had been evident that all was not well in the Bolt camp and not just after a disappointing season.
Friday's victory in his 100m heat had been greeted with a grimace and a complaint about his start as well as the blocks and he followed that up by trailing Coleman in second in their semi-final earlier in the evening - the first time he had suffered defeat in four years.
The wait for the next was not as long and when the final field returned shortly after 9.30pm for the final with dramatic individual entrances, it was Bolt who was cheered to the rafters and Gatlin who was booed.
Less that 10 seconds later the same response greeted Gatlin's victory, although Bolt refused to be downbeat, celebrating with fans before treating the London crowd to his trademark lightning bolt celebration.
While the sprint legend put a brave face on, the disappointment from the crowd was obvious as their hero saw his hopes of a perfect finish ended by the one man in the field no one in attendance had expected to win.
Other gold medals won on the second night of the World Championships came for South Africa's Luvo Manyonga in the men's long jump with a leap of 8.48m, while Lithuania's Andrius Gudzius claimed gold in the men's discus and Ethiopia's Almaz Ayana won the women's 10,000m.
The news wasn't so great for Britain's Katarina Johnson Thompson in the women's heptathlon - she sits fourth in the standings after the opening day of competition.
A fine 200m brought the Brit back into contention after a nightmare in the high-jump that saw her foul out after three failed attempts at 1.86m
However she is 67 points off third place and almost 200 points behind the leader, Germany's Carolin Schafer, heading into Sunday's final three events.
Laura Muir and Laura Weightman fared better in the 1500m semi-finals, booking their place in Monday night's final but Bolt's defeat as much as Gatlin's victory ensured there was only one story making the headlines on Saturday night.