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August 5, 2021

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De Grasse, McLaughlin lit up track

Andre de Grasse upstaged Noah Lyles to claim the first men’s 200 meters gold of the post-Usain Bolt era yesterday, as Sydney McLaughlin obliterated her own world record to claim a thrilling victory in the women’s 400 hurdles.

The stage for the 200 final at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium had been set up by McLaughlin’s epic duel with American teammate Dalilah Muhammad.

McLaughlin, 21, surged past Muhammad just meters from the line in a baking hot morning session to win in 51.46 seconds, slicing a whopping 0.44 seconds off her previous mark of 51.90 set at the US trials in June.

“It’s just iron sharpening iron,” McLaughlin said. “You need somebody who’s going to push you to your best and that’s what we do so well. Every time we step on the track it’s always something fast.”

De Grasse had set the fastest qualifying time for the 200, an event recently dominated by Jamaican sprint legend Bolt, who had won golds in Beijing, London and Rio between 2008-16.

And the 26-year-old Canadian finally came good on the promise he has shown on the track, having won 200 silver and 100 bronze in Rio before laying out his store in Tokyo with a second bronze in Sunday’s blue riband track event.

De Grasse was fast out of his blocks and drove through to the line, clocking a national record of 19.62 seconds for gold.

“I have been waiting for this moment, been training hard for this moment,” he said. “I went back after the 100m and I felt disappointed. I said to myself ‘I just got to go and get it (gold)’.”

American Lyles, long touted as Bolt’s most likely successor, had to be happy with bronze in 19.74 as teammate Kenny Bednarek claimed silver in a personal best of 19.68.

The third US runner in the field, 17-year-old Erriyon Knighton, came in fourth (19.93).

Emmanuel Korir ensured Kenya’s grip on the men’s 800 continued by leading Ferguson Rotich home for a 1-2 finish for the east African powerhouse.

Korir, who succeeds injured two-time champion David Rudisha as gold medalist in the event, timed 1 minutes, 45.06 seconds, Rotich taking silver ahead of Poland’s Patryk Dobek.

There was glory, and another bronze, for Poland in the men’s hammer as Wojciech Nowicki’s 82.52 meters secured gold.

Norway’s Eivind Henriksen claimed silver, with four-time world champion Pawel Fajdek taking bronze.

Elsewhere on the track, there was a first ever Olympic gold for an Ugandan woman as Peruth Chemutai outstripped the field to win the 3,000 steeplechase.

The 22-year-old timed 9:01.45, with American Courtney Frerichs claiming silver and Kenyan Hyvin Kiyeng bronze.

“After my fifth place at the world championships in Doha, I knew a medal would be possible if I run a good race,” said Chemutai.


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