- As Okagbare led Nigeria’s relay team flop
From: George Aluo
Jamaica’s Usain BOLT has become the most successful track athlete since World War II when he secured his ninth gold medal in the 4x100m relay at the Olympic Stadium early this morning.
BOLT brought his team of Asafa POWELL (JAM), Yohan BLAKE (JAM) and Nickel ASHMEADE (JAM) home in 37.27 seconds ahead of silver medallists Japan and bronze medallists Canada to equal the best gold medal tally of a track athlete in the 120-year history of the modern Games.
Finland’s Paavo NURMI, one of the first stars of the sport, is the only athlete to win nine track titles – in a wide range of distance events between 1920 and 1928. Given the global nature of athletics now compared to the 1920s, many will see BOLT’s achievement as more difficult and will label him as the greatest-ever athlete at the Olympic Games.
Carl LEWIS (USA) won nine golds and one silver between 1984 and 1996, but four of his titles were in the long jump.
The USA team, with individual 100m silver medallist Justin GATLIN (USA) in their quartet, were disqualified from the sprint relay after initially finishing third.
On a night of history-making, US sprinter Allyson FELIX (USA) became the first female to win five gold medals in athletics when she helped steer her team to victory in the women’s 4x100m relay final.
FELIX and teammates Tianna BARTOLETTA (USA), English GARDNER (USA) and Tori BOWIE. (USA) reached the final following an unusual re-run against the clock after FELIX was judged to have been impeded by a Brazilian opponent during a baton handover in the heats.
On Friday, FELIX ran a powerful second leg before BOWIE anchored to win in 41.01 seconds, ahead of Jamaica and bronze medallists Great Britain.
Ethiopia’s Almaz AYANA, who smashed the 22-year-old 10,000m world record on the Rio 2016 track programme’s opening day, was unable to complete a distance double despite some powerful front-running in the 5000m final.
AYANA broke away from the rest of the field after 2000m but was caught with 700m to go by Kenyan gold medallist Vivian Jepkemoi CHERUIYOT and silver medallist Hellen Onsando OBIRI (KEN). CHERUIYOT, the silver medallist in the 10,000m, clocked 14 minutes, 26.17 seconds – an Olympic record – with AYANA third.
London 2012 champion Jennifer SUHR (USA) was unable to get in the medals in the women’s pole vault as Greece’s Ekaterini STEFANIDI just grabbed the gold on the countback from Sandi MORRIS (USA) after both athletes cleared 4.85m. Eliza McCARTNEY (NZL) took the bronze with 4.80m.
In the men’s hammer, Dilshod NAZAROV (TJK) won the first Olympic gold medal for the central Asian National Olympic Committee of Tajikistan. NAZAROV threw 78.68m to take the gold ahead of Ivan TSIKHAN (BLR) with 77.79m and Wojciech NOWICKI(POL) third with 77.73m.
Meanwhile, Team Nigeria continued her poor run here I Rio as the Blessing Okagbare led 4x 100 relay team failed to win a medal. The Nigerian girls came last in the final as USA beat Jamaica to the gold.