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Event Report - Men 100m Final

Gatlin Triumphant. Collins Bronze.

Justin Gatlin USA added the world title to his Olympic crown when he took the 100-metre final in devastating fashion in a season’s best 9.88sec here tonight. A surprise second was Michael Frater JAM, 10.05, who was not even on the radar going into these championships and third the defending champion Kim Collins SKN (10.05) who peaked at just the right time.

“It means I’ve really staked a claim to being a great champion because I always show up big in the big races,” said Gatlin. “My start wasn’t the greatest, but I’m a competitor, and that was probably the best last 40m of a race that I ever run. In fact I yelled half way through the race because I knew no one could match my stride.” When it was pointed out to him that it was the greatest winning margin in a world championships, the champion responded: “So I did get some kind of record then.”

In world record holder Asafa Powell’s absence, Gatlin was asked if he thought the result would have been different. “If he’d been in the race the world record would have been threatened but I would have still have won,” he insisted before adding, “He still needs to back it up with a championship performance.”

Gatlin was not fastest out of the blocks, that honour going to team-mate Leonard Scott who blasted from the gun to take an early lead that he was not to hold. “I rushed it and my whole race went out of the window,” said a disappointed Scott. As Gatlin powered past him, Scott went backwards to finish sixth as the medals were decided at the sharp end of the race.

Alongside Gatlin, Abdul Aziz Zakari GHA, a promising second to Gatlin in his semi in 10.00 into a headwind, was well away alongside Gatlin but as the champion got into top gear the Ghanaian fell dramatically back to finish last. In the meantime Collins was building his trademark workmanlike performance to hold second only to lose it as an inspired Frater forced his way through for silver.

As they crossed the line, Gatlin glanced to his left, saw the time and danced over the side to collect the American flag. Frater gave an astonished look as he realised the enormity of what he had done and Collins fell to the track in relief that once again he had confounded the pundits. “People had forgotten all about me,” said Collins. “But that’s the way I like it. It makes me come down the middle when no one is looking for me.” Explaining his up and down form in the qualifying rounds he said he had had calf problems, but in the final all caution was cast to the wind.

Frater, who has spent his season in the shadow of his more famous compatriot Powell, said: “I say that Jamaica lost gold because he was not able to run, but we won silver. Nobody expected us to take a medal here but I kept telling myself to believe it.”