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Fallen giants make way for next generation

SURPRISE: T&T were the new kids on the block

AS WE waved goodbye to Usain Bolt and Sir Mo Farah, room was being made for the next generation of track and field superstars. And after what was a wonderful World Athletics Championships, some of those future heroes may well come from these shores.

On August 12 in the space it takes to run a 5,000m race, the Great Britain & Northern Ireland team doubled their medal tally.

The women’s and men’s 4x100m teams were responsible for those medals – with silver and gold respectively – and within those teams are talents that look likely to shine bright in the future.

All the members of those medal winning teams deserve high praise but in Netheneel Mitchell-Blake, Dina Asher- Smith and Daryll Neita there is enough talent to suggest that they could command their individual events.

Bolt lying prone on the track was no way for a superhero to bow out but his legacy is secure no matter the ignominy of that 4x100m relay blip. The same could be said of Sir Mo who had to do with silver after his last track run at the London Stadium.

The demise of the legendary pair just continues to confirm the glorious uncertainty of sport. It’s why we love it after all. Justin Gatlin may not have felt the love after dethroning King Bolt in the 100m final but the American has simply worked the system that allowed itself to be worked.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) now needs to say that those guilty of drugs violations are banned for life. There are far too many grey areas and the governing body needs to tie up loose ends. The football-like booing of Gatlin has no place in athletics.

The IAAF handled the Isaac Makwala affair with the subtlety of a flying discus and the Botswana runner deserved better. The thousands that poured into every session at the London Stadium certainly got their money’s worth.

Surprise winners gave the championships an unpredictability that kept everyone on their toes. Norway’s Karsten Warholm won the 400m hurdles while Ramil Guliyev of Turkey took the honours in the 200m, underpinning that there is a changing of the guard.

By Jamaica’s high standards this was an ordinary championships. They ended the action with just four medals only one was gold. But like the host nation, Jamaica will rise again. Intriguingly there were Jamaican competitors in the women’s 3000m steeplechase and ,men’s 5000m – times are changing.

But one thing that will not change for now is Africa’s dominance over distance. Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana provided me with my personal highlight. Her 10,000m win in just over 30 minutes was a glorious piece of distance running.

Add Faith Kipyegon’s dramatic 1500m success for Kenya and the continent remains a track and field super power.

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