Tokyo – On the fifth attempt Andre de Grasse abandons the role of luxury placed and becomes gold, erasing the charm that those who play magnificent semi-finals (in his case, an elegant 19 ”73 under braking), jams at the decisive moment. It is not so: nice curve, comeback on Noah Lyles, progressive fluid in the last forty meters. With 19 ”62 the Canadian with father from Barbados and mother from Trinidad, becomes the eighth in the history of the 200 and causes yet another disappointment to the American men’s team that goes from defeat to defeat, even in traditional fiefdoms: the successes of the USA ( 800, 400hs and disco) are all female.
Lyles, favored with low odds, also loses the second place which is by Kenny Bednarek in 19 ”68, curiously the same time that twenty-five years ago in Atlanta gave silver to Frankie Fredericks behind the roaring Michael Johnson. Lyles does not go slow, 19 “74, but time only serves to enrich the collection of those who have been able to go up to 19” 50. Erriyon Knighton, a 17 and a half year old prodigy boy and successor to Usain Bolt at the top of the youth categories, still seems tender for such clashes. However, he is fourth in 19 ”93, less than a tenth from the personal best, world record under 20 and under 18.
De Grasse, 26, born in Scarborough, Ontario, a sociology student at Southern California, came out of Rio with bronze in the 100 and 4×100 and silver in the 200 behind Bolt. Here, third in the 100 of Marcell Jacobs with a personal increased to 9 “89. The fifth medal is the good one. The heirs of the Lightning are they, Marcell and Andre.
Top quality and surprises in the hammer: Wojciech Nowicki, giant (1.97 by 131) from Byalistok offers a formidable series (the shortest 81.18, the longest 82.52) and deals a low blow to the other Pole Pavel Fajdek, four times world champion and suffering at the Olympics: out in qualifying in Rio and here, at least, third, finding himself only for 81.53 from the podium. Out of all predictions, the Norwegian Elvind Henriksen shoots a series of advances up to 81.58, a national record … hammered, and is second.
Uganda can celebrate the first women’s gold in its history: it belongs to Peruth Chemutai hedgerow who hunts down the brave American Courtney Frerichs to execute her in the final. Another disappointment for Kenya (third Hivin Kiyeng), moreover in the most loved and successful specialty. The shock comes at the bottom of a tactical 800 with a brace hit by Emmanuel Korir, coached by the magnificent Paul Ereng, gold in Seoul, and by Ferguson Rotich who has decided to baptize himself with the surname of the formidable manager of Manchester United. The surprises are the sinking of the Botswanian Nijel Amos and the third place of the Polish Patryk Dobek who left the 400hs for the fast middle distance. With success: after the European indoor title, here is the Olympic bronze.
The tireless Dutchman Sifan Hassan, with an increasingly drained physique, he even surpasses the semifinals of the 1500s: his plan, three victories in distances from the metric mile to 10,000, continues. He already has the 5,000 gold in his pocket. In the first of the two semifinals, a race at full speed (in five under 4 ‘, with a demonstration of strength by the outgoing champion, the little Kenyan Faith Kipyegon, 3’56 “80), Gaia Sabbatini continues its growth: a fall in the group makes her lose her rhythm but the Teramo reacts and in 4’02 ”25, marks two seconds of progress and above all the second best time ever, ahead of Paola Pigni, who passed away last month.
Great start for Damian Warner in the decathlon: the Canadian runs the 100 in 10 ”12 (time worthy of a semifinal) and lands in the long run at 8.24: he would have taken the bronze. The 9000-point chase is underway. The French Kevin Mayer is in trouble: the world record holder is behind by 200 points and is struggling with a creaking back.
The fastest time in the semi-finals of the 400 is the Dominican Mariteidy Paulino, 49 “39. The favorite, the Bahamian Shaunae Miler, 49 ”60, has some doubts about her physical efficiency while smiling Allyson Felix who at 35 and at the fifth Olympics finds the final by falling 11 cents under 50”. Is a tenth medal possible?
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