Dafne Schippers mid-season resurgence of form paid off at the World Athletics Championships on Friday night, with the Dutchwoman successfully defending her 200-meter title.
The Dutchwoman, whose winning time two years ago made her the third-fastest woman in history, struggled early on in the season though finished third in the 100-meter final, and ran a solid race to go two better here, winning gold in a time of 22.05. Closely behind her was Marie-Josee Ta Lou, who took her second silver medal of the championships in a time of 22.08, whilst Shaunae-Miller Uibo made up for her disappointment to take the bronze medal in a time of 22.15 seconds.
Dina Asher-Smith of Britain secured an impressive fourth place finish in front of her home crowd, with America’s Deajah Stevens and Kimberley Duncan in fifth and sixth respectively. Crystal Emmanuel of Canada finished in seventh, with Tynia Gaither of the Bahamas in eighth.
Schippers impresses as she defends title
With Olympic champion Elaine Thompson choosing not to enter, there was undoubtedly an opportunity here for someone, and it was Schippers who took it in her fastest race of the season.
The Dutchwoman unsurprisingly didn’t get off to a good start, with Asher-Smith out in lane eight and Ta-Lou in lane four leaving much of the field behind in the opening 50m, particularly Miller-Uibo who did not get out of the blocks quickly at all. However, Schippers worked herself way back into the race with a strong bend, and was just ahead of the Ivorian and the Brit, heading into the final 100m.
Ta Lou narrowly missed out on gold in the 100m and would not let this slip away from her in the same way, pushing the Dutchwoman down the final straight, though Schippers remained strong as she pipped the Ivorian to the gold medal by just three one-hundredths of a second. Behind those two, it was Miller-Uibo, left so disappointed after her terrible finish in the 400m final, who had by the far the best final 75m of the race, overhauling Asher-Smith to take the bronze medal.
The fact that Schippers even medaled was historic, with the Dutchwoman becoming only the third women, after Gwen Torrence and Merlene Ottey, to medal in both sprint events at two consecutive championships.