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Young Turk Guliyev wins 200m; denies Niekerk

Saturday, August 12, 2017

London: Australia's 2012 Olympic champion Sally Pearson's bid to put behind her two years of injury hell got off to a good start on Friday as she coasted into the 100 metres hurdles semi-finals.

The 30-year-old -- the 2011 world champion -- missed both the 2015 world championships and 2016 Olympics because of serious injuries, losing out on the former after suffering a "bone explosion" in her wrist in a terrible fall at a meet.

 The perils of this event were evident in the heats when Trinidadian Deborah John crashed into the fifth obstacle requiring medical attention for over 10 minutes before being fitted with a neck brace and stretchered off the track.

Pearson looked in determined mood right from the outset, dominating her heat to take it in 12.71sec from America's 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson.

Pearson will reappear later on Friday for the semi-finals where she will face stiffer opposition and be able to measure herself against American world record holder Kendra Harrison.Harrison looked good in her heat as she flew from the blocks and was never challenged, crossing the line in 12.60sec with Belarus 2015 world bronze medallist Alina Talay edging Jamaica's former world youth champion Yanique Thompson for second. Defending champion Danielle Williams looked silky smooth in her heat, the Jamaican gliding over the hurdles to win in 12.66sec ahead of promising German champion Pamela Dutkiewicz.

Jamaica -- who have had a below-par championships -- look to have a strong hand in the event and their national champion Megan Simmonds impressed in leading from the gun to ease home in 12.78sec ahead of America's Olympic silver medallist Nia Ali.

Ramil Guliyev earned the latest surprise victory of a World Championships that have produced more than their fair share of unheralded winners as he took the men’s 200m title in 20.09 to deny Wayde Van Niekerk’s ambition of completing a 200/400 double in London.

The 27-year-old Turkish runner – who transferred allegiance in 2011 from his native Azerbaijan – held his form as South Africa’s poster boy challenged him on the run-in to the line, finishing 0.02 ahead to become his adopted country’s first world gold medallist.

Van Niekerk, who only reached this final as the second and last non-automatic qualifier a day after retaining his 400m title, gave everything over the closing stages but was narrowly unable to match the double feat achieved by Michael Johnson of the United States at the Gothenburg World Championships of 1995.

Silver was his by a margin of just one thousandth of a second as he clocked 20.106 to the 20.107 achieved by 23-year-old Jereem Richards of Trinidad and Tobago.

Guliyev reacts after edging home in the 200 metres race.

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