Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in the womens 200m Final at the IAAF World Athletics Championships Moscow 2013 (© Getty Images)
The familiar sounds of Bob Marley rang around the Luzhniki Stadium in honour of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce after the brilliant Jamaican secured the sprint double in a dramatic final in which the three-time former champion Allyson Felix crashed out with a hamstring tear.
Fraser-Pryce was never challenged, clocking 22.17 into a slight headwind of -0.3m/s to add to the 100m title she had won so emphatically on Monday, confirming her standing as the world’s leading female sprinter on the planet.
With Felix out of the medal equation, Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast edged a photo-finish by six thousandths of a second from Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare after both were awarded a time of 22.32.
For Ahoure she added 200m silver to the same colour medal she won in the 100m earlier in the championships. Okagbare completed her gruelling schedule with more precious metal. She has also won Long Jump silver and placed sixth in the 100m here in Moscow.
There was heartache for Felix, who was bidding to take a ninth Wold gold medal which would have put her out on her own – one clear of Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson – as the most successful athlete in the 30-year history of the championships. She left the track carried by her brother and agent, Wes, with any hope of bettering their tally here in Moscow over.
Felix had started sluggishly and after her leg appearing to visibly twitch in pain she dramatically pulled up and crashed to the track in a heap around the 60m mark.
Fraser-Pryce had got away to her trademark blistering start and was already closing up on Okagbare on her immediate outside. Ahoure from lane seven was also making good early headway to suggest she would be a factor.
Entering the home stretch, Fraser-Pryce, with her arms pumping at great speed and head slightly rocking, held a three-metre lead.
Ahoure was her nearest pursuer with Okagabare drawing upon her considerable strength starting to come into the picture.
Midway down the home straight the African duo started to close, and for a moment it seemed that Fraser-Pryce would be threatened. However, she responded and with her pink hair extensions flowing behind her she let out a wide-eyed scream of joy as she crossed the line to secure the first women’s 100m and 200m sprint double at the World Championships for 22 years.
Behind, Ahoure and the powerful Okagbare were locked in their own private duel and as they both flashed across the line, the naked eye could not separate them. As it transpired, the Ivorian edged it. Both can be proud of their performance as they claimed Africa’s first two World Championship medals in this event.
There was a sizeable gap to fourth as teenager Shaunae Miller, the youngest ever World Championships finalist in a women’s 200m, drew upon the strength she has shown as a former World youth and World junior 400m champion to finish strongly in 22.74.
For the first time since 1997, the USA failed to pick up a medal in this event at a World Championships with their top-ranked athletes Jeneba Tarmoh (22.78) and ChaRonda Williams (22.81) placing fifth and sixth. European champion Mariya Ryemyen of Ukraine finished seventh in 22.84.
Steve Landells for the IAAF