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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Usain Bolt denied a fairytale ending by Justin Gatlin in his final 100m

The Jamaican lost to the controversial Justin Gatlin, an American who has served two lengthy drug bans

Usain Bolt was beaten into bronze medal position in the 100m World Championship final in London
Usain Bolt was beaten into bronze medal position in the 100m World Championship final in London

Usain Bolt was denied the fairytale ending to his career that hundreds of millions of people around the world wanted when he was beaten into third place in the 100m final at the World Championships in London by long-time rival Justin Gatlin.

In a race that upset the script that had seemed to be written for the Jamaican’s swansong, Bolt had a sluggish start while Christian Coleman of the United States made the early running in lane five, just next to the 13-time gold medal winner.

Bolt seemed to be pushing forward as the race went on but was held off by the 21-year-old, who seemed to be nailed on for victory as the race progressed.

However, his compatriot Gatlin surged through in the last third of the race and dipped to take the race in 9.92sec. Coleman took silver in 9.94seconds.

Gatlin, who has twice served drugs bans, had been booed by spectators before the heat and semi-final; immediately that he had won the race he roared with delight and gestured to shush the crowd.

He was then congratulated by Bolt before he sank to the ground in supplication amid further jeering while Bolt embarked on his final lap of honour, receiving the cheers of the fiercely partisan London crowd.

Bolt had not looked up to speed in his two previous races, earlier in the evening and on Friday night, and had only come second in his semi-final. This final race had always seemed somewhat of a gamble, as he had been struggling with injury during the months running up to it.

“I was sad that I couldn’t come out and deliver for the crowd but this is what it is,” he told the BBC after the race. “Normally I get better through the rounds and it didn’t come together this time and it kills me. But it’s just one of those things.”

The race brings the curtain down on an incredible 10-year run of major championships, during which Bolt has won 13 individual golds and a silver in the 100m and 200m, as well as tonight’s bronze, a rare metal for him. He also picked up six relay golds.

Ever the showman, Bolt remained on the track for an age after the race, taking the cheers from the stadium and pulling off his trademark ‘Lightning Bolt’ for one last time.

Also read:

Tetchy Gatlin defends his 100m win at worlds

Bolt says he has no regrets after London finale