Boldon delivers but Ottey fails again

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The Independent Online
Ato Boldon finally matched his words with deeds last night as he ran away with the 200 metres final, writes Mike Rowbottom.

Two metres clear as the line approached, he was able to take a look either side before raising his arms to acclaim the victory which so many - and not least himself - had forecast would arrive in the 100m final.

The first man to run out and greet him as he sank to the track was his friend and training partner, Maurice Greene, who had come through to win the short sprint five days earlier.

In the absence of the defending champion, Michael Johnson, Boldon - who was hampered by cramp in the 100m final after recording 9.87sec in the second round - always said the 200m was his race. He recorded 20.04sec as he slowed before the line, with Frankie Fredericks taking yet another silver in 20.23, and the bronze going to Claudini da Silva, of Brazil, in 20.26.

Boldon was less manic afterwards than he has been of late and seemed genuinely moved at winning his first major title.

"This was probably my worst technical race of the season. But what you plan and what your body allows you to do are often different things. What this was all about was the placing," he said.

Boldon, a noted student of his event, added: "I am definitely the nerd of the sprints. After what I have done here, I'm somewhat disappointed because I will have to go home with the statistic that I was the slowest winner of this title."

That should not entirely ruin his sense of satisfaction.

Merlene Ottey's last chance of an individual medal at a global championships disappeared 40 metres from the line in last night's 200m final.

The withdrawal of the defending champion, Gwen Torrence and the Olympic champion, Marie-Jose Perec, appeared to have given Ottey an outstanding chance of signing off with a third consecutive 200m title. But despite being the clear leader as she turned into the final straight, the 37- year-old Jamaican came under challenge from Zhanna Pintussevich, the 100m silver medallist.

For a moment, the self-styled "grandmother of sprinting" strained to hold off the advance of the Ukrainian, as if she were holding off the advance of time itself. The crowd seemed to be willing her on. But it was not enough.

The Ukrainian, whose jubilation after the 100m had been cut short when she realised that Marion Jones had taken the gold, was able to celebrate freely this time after winning in 22.32sec, with Sri Lanka's Susanthika Jayasinghe taking silver in 22.39, 0.01sec ahead of the exhausted Ottey.