By Mitch Phillips
LONDON (Reuters) – Dutch powerhouse Dafne Schippers led from gun to tape to retain her world 200 meters title on Friday, holding off a spirited charge from Ivorian Marie-Josee Ta Lou, who had to settle for another near-miss silver.
With Olympic champion Elaine Thompson opting not to race the 200 and Tori Bowie pulling out after winning the 100, things had looked easier for Schippers, who took bronze in the 100, but she had to use every inch of her strength to hold off Ta Lou and win in 22.05 seconds.
“I fought for that,” Schippers said. “I have worked so hard this year so I am so happy. Two times in a row is very special.”
She now joins American Gwen Torrence (1991-93) and Jamaican Merlene Ottey (1987-95) as the only women to medal in both 100m and 200m at successive world championships.
“This last year was not the easiest for me. I changed everything and got a new coach, so I’m very happy,” Schippers added.
“My secret is enjoying the sport and enjoying my racing. I feel a little bit nervous starting out, but I’m a final runner and I’m grateful for the experience now it’s over.”
Ta Lou had lost the 100m final by one hundredth of a second after failing to dip on the line and though she did lean this time she was just behind Schippers in 22.08, still a national record.
Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo, who stumbled in sight of gold and slipped to fifth in the 400m final, this time trailed badly coming off the bend but produced a barnstorming last 30 meters to overhaul 21-year-old home hope Dina Asher-Smith in 22.15.
“Another silver but I am so happy,” said Ta Lou. “At the camp before these championships I felt a problem in my legs but I didn’t want to tell my coach. I prayed that I would be ok and I have been.
“I did all I could in that race. To get a silver medal is more than I could have asked for. I am so grateful for having a championships like this. It has been a special week for me.”
Asher-Smith, who missed a large chunk of the year with a broken foot, ran a season’s best 22.22 to chalk up yet another fourth place for the host nation, still waiting for a second medal to add to Mo Farah’s gold in the 10,000m on the opening night.
American duo Deajah Stevens and Kimberlyn Duncan finished fifth and sixth as the U.S. failed to medal in the event for the third successive world championships.
With no Jamaicans making the final it also marked the first time the Caribbean sprint powerhouse has failed to take a gold in either the men’s or women’s 100 or 200 meters finals since 2005 and the first time since 2003 the country’s women did not take any medal in those events.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)