Usain Bolt’s World Championship disqualification left those who claimed podium places in his absence from the 100m final in Daegu feeling their medals were tarnished.
Triple-Olympic champion and 100m world record holder Bolt saw his quest to become an athletics legend wrecked when he was disqualified from yesterday’s final for literally jumping the gun.
A false start meant the end of the world for defending champion Bolt — who had looked in brilliant form in the heats and semi-final, ironically feeling all the hard work he had done on his start had finally paid off.
The 25-year-old Jamaican star got it all wrong in spectacular fashion, springing from his blocks well before the gun (his reaction time was -0.104 seconds) and pulling his running vest off in despair, instantly realising he would be disqualified.
Bolt’s 21-year-old compatriot Yohan Blake took full advantage as he powered to the title in 9.92 seconds, with American Walter Dix taking silver and veteran Kim Collins the bronze, but his celebrations were muted.
“I can't find words to explain it,” said Blake. “I feel like I want to cry. I've been praying for this moment for my whole life.
“I felt sorry for Usain, my training partner. I had to take it out in the race for him.
“I knew I would challenge Bolt one day, but I did not expect it today. I am traumatised and have mixed feelings, I am very sad for Usain Bolt, but at the same time I am enjoying this very much.”
Collins said: “As much as I want to be on the podium, tonight is a sad night for athletics.”
Rule 162.7, which was introduced for the 2010 season, states that: “An athlete, after assuming a full and final set position, shall not commence his start until after receiving the report of the gun. If, in the judgement of the starter or recallers, he does so any earlier, it shall be deemed a false start. Except in combined events, any athlete responsible for a false start shall be disqualified.”
Remarkably, Bolt was the second sprinter to get disqualified in the 100m. Earlier Britain's Dwain Chambers committed a false start in the first semi-final.
|“It hasn't really sunk in yet, but I've got to keep my frustrations to myself at the moment,” said Chambers. “Obviously the gun went and I moved. It's a bit unfortunate. The rules are the rules and I false started.”
While Chambers was left deflated, his fellow Briton Mo Farah was celebrating after claiming a place in history — even if he felt he could have come away with more than a silver medal.
Farah became the first male British athlete ever to claim a medal in the 10,000 metres in a World Championship — but admitted he was disappointed to collect silver rather than the anticipated gold.
Farah came into the event ranked number one in the world over 10,000 and 5,000m and on the back of a 10-race unbeaten run this year over distances ranging from 3,000m to his debut over the half-marathon.
The 28-year-old had glory in his sights when he hit the front with 650 metres to go and kicked for home at the bell, opening up a healthy gap over Ethiopia's Ibrahim Jeilan.
However, Jeilan refused to throw in the towel and gradually reduced his deficit, overhauling Farah around 35 metres from the line to win in 27 minutes 13.81 seconds. Farah was just 0.26secs behind, with Ethiopia's Imane Merga claiming bronze.
Farah said: “I saw at 100 metres to go that he (Jeilan) was there. Unfortunately my legs just couldn't give me any more. I am disappointed to finish second.
“It would have been nice to win the World Championship, but all along I said I can run a fast time but championships are completely different. And it was completely different.
“It's not always the guys who have run the fast times. The championships are always very tactical.
“It means a lot winning a major medal. It would have been nicer with a gold but the better man won on the day and fair credit to him. I'll see how I go from here, hopefully see what I can do in the 5k.”