RIO DE JANEIRO: Elaine Thompson captured a magnificent Olympic sprint double for Jamaica on Wednesday as Brianna Rollins led a first ever clean sweep of medals for the United States in the 100m hurdles. Thompson, who sprinted to gold in the 100m on Saturday, stunned Dutch world champion Dafne Schippers to win the 200m in 21.78sec. Schippers, who stumbled dramatically as she crossed the line, took silver in 21.88 while Tori Bowie of the United States won bronze. The victory was the latest golden night for Jamaica, who 24 hours earlier had been celebrating Omar McLeod’s 110m hurdles victory.
Thompson, 24, dedicated her victory to the trailblazing Jamaican stars who had won Olympic gold over the past years. “It is very special for me to win,” she said. “I spent my childhood growing up watching Veronica Campbell-Brown and then Shelley-Ann Fraser-Pryce.” It was a first Olympic women’s sprint double since American world record holder Florence Griffith Joyner’s at the Seoul Games in 1988. Thompson’s gold also avenged her loss to Schippers in the World Championships in Beijing last year. “I knew she had a strong finish, so I knew I had to get out there as soon as possible,” Thompson said of her Dutch rival.
Elsewhere Wednesday, Tianna Bartoletta of the United States upset defending champion and team-mate Brittney Reese to take the long jump gold. Bartoletta, a 2005 world champion who gave up the sport as she struggled to regain her fitness, secured victory with her penultimate leap of 7.17m to knock Reese out of the gold medal standings. Reese, who could only manage 7.15 on her final jump, had to settle for silver. “It’s just a great feeling to have pulled that off,” said Bartoletta. “It’s been a good night for sure.” But it was a disappointing long jump final for Darya Klishina.
The only Russian athlete allowed to compete in the track and field competition following her country’s doping scandal bowed out midway through the final. “Ten or 15 years ago I couldn’t imagine that my first Olympic Games would be like this,” a disappointed Klishina said. In the day’s other final, Conseslus Kipruto of Kenya won gold in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase. Evan Jager of the United States won silver, while Mahiedine Mekhissi of France was awarded bronze after Kenya’s Ezekiel Kemboi, who had crossed the line in third place, was disqualified. —AFP