USA’s secondday successes at the World Athletics Final continued when Sanya Richards won a thrilling women’s 400m by just two hundredths of a second from World champion Tonique Williams-Darling in 49.52.
The whole season has been a battle between these two athletes and while the Bahamian came out on top in Helsinki it’s the 20 year-old American whose had the most victories. She owed this one to a well-timed attack and the fact that Williams-Darling ran out of a steam after a blistering first 200.
The Bahamian, in lane five, went off hard from the start and caught Richards, in six, as they passed the 200m mark. Richards responded round the top bend and entered the home straight just a stride and a half behind. From there it was a battle of strength as Williams-Darling tried to hold on.
She almost did, but Richards had timed her effort perfectly and sneaked ahead in the last two strides of the race.
“I missed the victory on the line,” said the rueful Williams-Darling afterwards. “I’m tired but it was a good race. The back straight was great and I have second place.”
Behind them, USA’s DeeDee Trotter won the fight for minor places as she finished third in 50.64.