Bahamian superstar Shaunae Miller-Uibo underlined her favourites tag with another mindboggling display in the women’s 400m that set tongues wagging inside the Khalifa International Stadium on 1 October.
Miller-Uibo, responding to main rival Salwa Eid Naser’s eye-catching 49.79secs run in semi-final one, allowed Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson to share the stage with her until the 300m mark before deciding enough is enough.
She blew by Jackson and jogged the rest of the way in the home straight stopping the clock at 49.66 seconds. “It was a really good run, I have to give thanks and praise for staying healthy and getting through the rounds safe and sound,” said Miller-Uibo.
“I’m excited to see what I can do in the final.”
American Wadeline Jonathas came through on the inside to pass Jackson to clinch the runner-up spot in a lifetime best of 50.07. Jackson was 0.03 behind with Barbadian Sada Williams claiming fourth in a personal best of 51.31 seconds.
Jamaica’s Stephenie-Ann McPherson won the third semi-final in a season’s best of 50.70 seconds. “I need to go and work on my second 100m as I did not pick up as I should,” said McPherson, who looks to be in sub-50 shape. “After 320m, I glanced on the screen and saw that I was in front and could relax a bit and keep my knees up.”
Bahamian Tynia Gaither was the only Caribbean woman to make the 200m final. The diminutive sprinter clocked a season’s best 22.57 seconds for a hard-fought second-place finish ahead of Bulgaria’s Ivet Lalova-Collie who registered 22.58.
Jamaica’s woes continued in the 200m, as the country will not have a representative in the women’s final. This comes on the heel of the previous night’s results where all three men failed to advance to the final.
In heat one, Shashalee Forbes found the pace too hot to handle and had to embrace eight-place finish in 23.14 seconds. Double sprint Olympic champion Elaine Thompson did not face the starter in heat two. A Twitter post from her MVP Club read, “The health and welfare of our athletes are among the primary considerations in determining whether or not they compete. Long term.”
Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith looked a class apart in the third semi-final and would have to fall in a hole to be denied her first individual global title. As the starter’s pistol went, Asher-Smith flew around the curve and had a comfortable two-metre lead coming into the home straight. American Dezerea Bryant challenged briefly with 80m to go; however, Asher-Smith proved too strong brushing her aside and widening the gap eventually bursting the tape at 22.16 (+0.5 m/s). Bryant came a distant second in 22.56 seconds. Trinidad & Tobago”s Kamaria Durant (23.44) and Bahamian Anthonique Strachan (25.44), who pulled up, brought up the rear finishing seventh and eight respectively.
Jamaica’s national champion, Rushell Clayton scored a good win in the women’s 400m hurdles heats in 55.23 seconds. Nineteen-year-old Shian Salmon, the World U20 silver medallist, joined Clayton in the semi-finals after registering a 55.20 personal best for third in the first heat. Salmon’s training partner Rhonda Whyte was not able to find her rhythm finishing sixth, in 56.37 seconds.
In the men’s high jump, Bahamian Damion Thomas failed to advance from Group B after his best clearance of 2.22m was only good enough for 10th position.
Donavan Brazier produced one of the greatest displays of 800m running, destroying the field after kicking at the 250m mark on the final lap to win by daylight in a new championship and American record of 1.42.34. “I didn’t even make the finals in 2017,” said Brazier. “Being able to gather myself and being coached by Pete Julian this year has certainly paid off.”
Noah Lyles continued his stellar season claiming his first world championship title after a storming run in the men’s 200m. Lyles, who found himself slightly behind coming off the curve, dug deep and engaged his top-end speed to come through for a fantastic win in 19.83 seconds (+0.3 m/s). “I’ve been saying all year, this is my year to win the world championships,” said Lyles. “My coach said let’s light it up, and I’ve been waiting all year to hear those words, and so it was really letting it all go in my last race of the year.”
Canada’s Andre DeGrasse, who missed the London World Championships, collected the silver medal in 19.95. “It feels great,” said DeGrasse. “It’s my first 200m final at a world championship, and I was excited to get back on the podium.”
Trinidad & Tobago’s NACAC champion Kyle Greaux had carried Caribbean hopes going into the final. However, he could finish no higher than eight-position in 20.39 seconds.