Tokyo Olympics: De Grasse succeeds Bolt as McLaughlin breaks new ground

By Sports Desk August 04, 2021

Andre De Grasse succeeded Usain Bolt as the men's 200 metres Olympic champion on a day Sydney McLaughlin broke new ground at Tokyo 2020.

Five years on from being tipped as the Jamaican legend's heir apparent after claiming silver over the same distance at Rio 2016, De Grasse went one better to clinch a first Olympic gold of his career.

Elsewhere there was a Kenya one-two in the men's 800m final, while Wojciech Nowicki celebrated success in the hammer.

Here's a round-up of the action from the athletics on Wednesday.

DE GRASSE MAKES GOOD ON RIO PROMISE

After pushing Bolt all the way in the 200m at Rio 2016, big things were expected of De Grasse but several injury woes in the intervening years stifled his progress a little.

But he has peaked at just the right time and has ultimately lived up to the billing. World champion Noah Lyles was electric out of the blocks, yet it was De Grasse who was lightning quick driving out of the bend.

With a time of 19.62 seconds, De Grasse ultimately held off the charge of Kenny Bednarek, who took silver for the United States ahead of countryman Lyles.

At the finish line there was a nice message from De Grasse, who told Lyles: "You push me man, you motivate me."

MCLAUGHLIN FOLLOWS WARHOLM LED

Just a day on from Karsten Warholm sensationally smashing the men's 400m hurdles world record, McLaughlin followed suit in the women's race.

Defending champion Dalilah Muhammad, who also ran under the previous WR time, was leading but was overtaken by McLaughlin on the finish straight – the American clocking a hugely impressive 51.46s.

"I saw Dalilah ahead of me with one to go. I just thought 'run your race'. The race doesn't really start until hurdle seven," she said.

In the women's 3000m steeplechase, Uganda's Peruth Chemutai claimed gold in a time of 9:01.45.

Courtney Frerichs had opened up a sizeable lead but Chemutai was closing by the final lap and passed her American rival on the back straight, safely negotiated the final obstacle and coasted over the line unchallenged with Frerichs taking second.

KORIR TAKES 800M GLORY, NOWICKI'S LIFETIME BEST DELIVERS GOLD

It was a Kenya one-two in the men's 800m, with Emmanuel Korir coming home in a time of 1:45.06 ahead of countryman Ferguson Rotich.

Peter Bol had taken on the pace but Korir made his move around the final bend. Bol ended up outside of the medal places with Poland's Patryk Dobek third.

In the men's hammer, Nowicki threw a whopping 82.52m to win the men's hammer. He followed up with three more throws over 81m.

The Pole had won bronze at the past four global championships and was third place at Rio 2016.

His compatriot Pawel Fajdek – a four-time world champion – finished third in his first Olympic final with an 81.53, with Norwegian Eivind Henriksen throwing a national record 81.58m to earn silver.

ELSEWHERE…

Grant Holloway, the overwhelming favourite in the men's 110m hurdles, qualified fastest for the final in 13.13, while Sifan Hassan – aiming to complete a 1500, 5000 and 10,000m treble at Tokyo 2020 – qualified for the final of the former event, having already won 5000m gold.

Dutchwoman Anouk Vetter leads the women's heptathlon through four events, although world champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson had to withdraw after injuring her calf when running the 200m, and in the men's decathlon Canada's Damian Warner is in the gold-medal position after five.

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    The past student of Morant Bay High and Kingston College was also third at the Diamond League final in Zurich.

    His teammate Ronald Levy, who was the runner-up for the Sportsman of the Year Award, took home the bronze medal in Tokyo.

    Other major awards given out on the day include the Chairman's Award to veteran journalist Lance Whittaker; the People's Choice "Performance of the Year Award" to Fraser McConnell; the VM Group Y.O.U.T.H Award to sprinter Tina Clayton and the Gleaner Newspaper Iconic Award to Michael Holding.

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    Zverev will presumably be a little more attentive to any silverware he claims in Melbourne this year, with the 24-year-old still chasing his first major.

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