Daegu, Korea - Yohan Blake is the new World 100m champion. Repeat – Yohan Blake.
The 21-year old Jamaican who trains with Usain Bolt profited from a catastrophic error of judgement by his senior partner, who, extraordinarily, false-started and was disqualified from the race.
A few seconds earlier, Bolt had japed to the crowd in his usual fashion with the camera on him, pointing to left and right and then shaking his head before pointing down his lane with both fingers and nodding. The crowd responded, looking forward to another performance along the lines they had witnessed in the semi-finals a little earlier when Bolt had qualified despite easing off with 30 metres to go.
But Bolt was to run no more than three or four strides down that lane in front of him, and he did so in the knowledge that he had make the biggest mistake of his athletics career in leaving his blocks early. It looked as if he might just have reacted to slight movement to his right – from Blake.
His face now carrying a grimace rather than a smile, the Olympic and former World champion ripped off his shirt and threw it to the ground before weaving aimlessly towards and beyond the start, a bundle of energy, talent and frustration.
He didn’t know what to do with himself. Meanwhile a swarm of photographers who had been expecting to take the victory shots at the other end were scurrying down the infield towards him.
Suddenly the man who loved to be the centre of attention just wanted the world to go away.
The noise in the stadium when Bolt blundered was extraordinary, mingling dismay and disbelief.
When the field returned to the blocks, with one yawning gap, the sense of anti-climax was palpable.
For about 40 metres, it seemed an incredible night was about to get even more unbelievable as Kim Collins, the 35-year-old World champion of 2003, who had earned himself the distinction of being the oldest ever World 100m finalist, floated off to a great start.
But Blake, as Bolt himself has said, is “a beast”, with a time of 9.80sec already to his name, and there was no denying him over the final 60 metres as he came through to win in a season’s best of 9.92.
Walter Dix, the double Olympic medallist from the United States, took silver in 10.08 with the man from St Kitts and Nevis holding on for a marvellous bronze in 10.09.
Christophe Lemaitre, France’s European champion, was fourth in 10.19.
Mike Rowbottom for the IAAF