Tokyo 2020: Elaine Thompson-Herah cruises into women’s 200m final to keep sprint double hopes alive

The winner in Rio will attempt to defend her title

Vithushan Ehantharajah
Tokyo
Tuesday 03 August 2021 00:58
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Four of the 100m women’s final field will duke it out for the 200m crown after the expected favourites blitzed their respective semi-finals to set up another mouth-watering sprint clash in the Olympic Stadium.

Newly crowned 100m championElaine Thompson-Herah breezed through the second heat with a 21.66 that could have had a bit shaved off. She blitzed around the bend in lane nine and, with about 30m to go, had a good look across the line to see where the rest were at. Comfortably ahead, she turned down the jets and still managed to cross over to match her personal best and equal the sixth-fastest time in the world. She looks more than ready to have a dart at walking away with gold in both sprint competitions, with a new world record to boot on Tuesday evening.

Silver-medalist Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce was the first of the usual suspects to seal their spot in the final. Had Shericka Jackson not flunked in the morning heats when she strolled the last 20m to give up her top-two position and miss an opportunity as one of the two quickest losers, the entire 100m top four would have been reunited for one last showdown.

Cote D’Ivoire’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou, who finished outside the podium on Saturday, won the third heat, with Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas 0.03 seconds behind her. Switzerland’s Mujinga Kambundji - 6th in the 100m - followed them in third with 22.26. She, along with American Gabby Thomas (22.01), qualified as the two fastest losers.

There was also success for the Namibian pair of Beatrice Masilingi and Christine Mboma, who dipped under 22 seconds – 21.97 – to set a new world under-20 record. In turn, a new page has turned in what has been a tumultuous story for both in the last couple of months.

The pair found themselves in the midst of controversy beyond their control when they were ruled out of competing in the 400m because their natural testosterone levels were too high. They were deemed to have Differences of Sexual Development (DSD), but the decision to blacklist them from competing in the event at Tokyo was only made a few weeks ago after World Athletics subjected them to medical tests earlier this year. The DSD regulations have been imposed since the 2016 Games.

Mboma and Masilingi had run the third and fourth fastest 400m times this year. And though they will continue to protest the ruling, they will relish the chance to flex their wares in the shorter distance and possibly even cause an upset.

Then there was the Dina Asher Smith-shaped hole in the 200m field after she pulled out on Saturday. The hamstring rested for a potential shot at participating in the 4x100m at the end of this week. Hopes of British representation rested on the shoulders of Beth Dobbin after she finished second in her Monday morning heat with 22.78.

Unfortunately, she could only finish fifth in the second semi, ending Team GB’s participation in the individual sprint events.

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