THE FINISH LINE: My top 10 memories of the 15th IAAF World Championships


Brent Stubbs


Senior Sports Reporter


IT’S not how you start, nor how you get there. Most importantly, it’s how you finish.

• The Finish Line, a weekly column, seeks to comment on the state of affairs in the local sports scene, highlighting the highs and the lows, the thrills and the spills and the successes and failures.



The 15th International Amateur Athletic Federation’s World Championships have come and gone. 

Team Bahamas picked up two medals, including a silver from Shaunae Miller in the women’s 400 metres in a personal best of 49.67 seconds and Jeffery Gibson got a bronze in the men’s 400m hurdles in a national record of 48.17. As a result of their performances, the Bahamas finished in a three-way tie for 22nd place in the standings with Trinidad & Tobago and Ukraine. 

And when you add a sixth place finish by Donald Thomas in the men’s high jump, the Bahamas climbed to 19th spot in the placing table. 

In summary, here’s how I view the top 10 memories of the nine days of competition.

1) The Bird’s Nest

The venue, created for the hosting of the 2008 Olympic Games, came alive once again as the championships was held August 22-30. The venue looked the same as it was seven years ago - massive in size. 

The track is considered to be one of the fastest in the world and it was quite evident by the five championship records, along with a world record by Ashton Eaton from the United States in the men’s decathlon. There were also 17 world leading performances turned in, 12 area records and about 89 national records posted, including two by Jeffery Gibson and one by the women’s 4 x400m relay team of Lanece Clarke, Christine Amertil, Katrina Seymour and Shaunae Miller.

The athletes certainly came out to perform and the performances were shown in the results.

2) The Chinese

Were Fantastic

As is the case with the hosting of any major global event, the success depends a whole lot on the support from the native people.

Everywhere you went there was tremendous support from the volunteers who spoke English fluently and in most cases went beyond the call of duty to make your stay an enjoyable one. Maybe because there were so many of them, you didn’t have to worry about anything. Everything made the trip so amazing.

3) Bolt Reigns Supreme

I have to admit that I was one of those who was sceptical of Jamaican Usain Bolt keeping his legacy in tact as the fastest man in the world, based on his fitness level and his performances leading up to the championships. But you have to admit that he knows how to step it up big time like a true champion.

Not only did he prove that he is indeed the fastest man on the planet, but he silenced a lot of critics who had switched gears and believed that this would have been the year of an upset with the way American Justin Gatlin looked. In both the 100 and 200m, Bolt made it look so easy as he powered his way to a pair of victories that included a world leading time of 19.55 in the 200m.

To cap off his performance, Bolt anchored the Reggae Boyz 4 x 100m relay team to a world leading time as well of 37.36 over the USA, anchored by Gatlin. It seemed as if Gatlin didn’t have any answers for the Jamaican speedster, who reiterated that he intends to remain the best until he retires.

4) Bolt Beaten

Out By Machine

There was nobody who came close to stopping Bolt from building on his legacy. But something eventually did.

Just as quickly as he sped down the home stretch to win three gold medals, Bolt was quick on his feet to avoid any further damage after he was tumbled by a Chinese employee of China’s CCTV on his Segway.

All during the championships, the Chinese cameramen were using the new machines to keep the television audience up close and personal with the winners of their respective events. But nobody expected what they saw when Song Tao and Bolt collided. Bolt was quick to respond after he fell, doing a summersault to get out of the way and avoid any serious injury.

To offer his apology, Tao presented he six-time Olympic champion with a red bracelet.

Maybe next time, Bolt will take on the challenge of competing against a machine to really test how fast he can run.

5) Christian Taylor MOP

There was a voting process going on outside of the IAAF Congress to select the most outstanding performance of the championship. When the ballets were tallied, the unanimous winner was Usain Bolt with three gold medals. But I felt two other persons should have been given the nod, one of which was Mo Farah of Great Britain for his double victory in the men’s 5,000 and 10,000 metres.

The other, whom I felt really should have been given the edge, was American Christian Taylor for his sterling performance in the men’s triple jump final. On his sixth and final jump as the last competitor, Taylor soared 18.21 metres to snatch the gold and posted not only the world leading jump this year but the second best ever, just a few centimetres shy of erasing Jonathan Edwards’ record.

What’s interesting to note about both of the triple jump feats was the fact that they came with some Bahamian participation. For Edwards, his feat was achieved with former national record holder Frank Rutherford in the line-up. Current national record holder Leevan ‘Superman’ Sands was making his comeback to the Bird’s Nest where he won his first Olympic medal with a bronze in 2008. 

Farah, on the other hand, was just as spectacular as Bolt in taking the pair of distance running titles to emerge as the king at the other spectrum on the track. However, he and Taylor were overshadowed by the king of track and field, one Usain Bolt.

6) Disqualified in

Relay, Safe in 200m

The men’s 4 x 400m relay team of Steven Gardiner, Michael Mathieu, Alonzo Russell and Ramon Miller’s disqualification after Mathieu stepped out of his lane during the second leg before he made the cross over at the stagger was a big blow for Team Bahamas.

The team had finished a close second behind Great Britain and with both Chris ‘Fireman’ Brown and LaToy Williams waiting for the possibility of running in the final on the closing night, Team Bahamas was right in contention for a medal.

But nobody expected Mathieu, the more experienced member of the quartet that ran, to have made that crucial mistake. As team manager Ralph McKinney so aptly put it: “This is the World Championships and you can’t afford to make any mistakes.”

A mistake was made by Jamaican Veronica Campbell-Brown, who literally ran out of her lane and into the lane of Margaret Adeoye of Great Britain in the heats of the women’s 200m.  Unfortunately, Campbell-Brown was too far ahead of Adeoye that she didn’t impede her performance and that allowed her to remain in the hunt.

Campbell-Brown went on to secure a bronze in the final behind Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands, who pulled off the gold ahead of Elaine Thompson of Jamaica.

7) Felix Blows Out Field

I don’t think anybody expected to see American Allyson Felix display the ‘old school style’ in winning the women’s 400m gold over Shaunae Miller. But instead of waiting for an all-out way war down the home stretch, Felix stunned the field when she surged from the crack of the gun and built an insurmountable lead that enabled Miller and everybody else to play catch up.

Miller had to work extra hard for her silver in a personal best of 49.67. She didn’t have the luxury as she did in the previous two rounds to surge ahead of the field and look back at them trying to catch her up. Felix did the opposite and she was left taking the tape in a world leading time of 49.26.

All season long, the anticipation was leaning towards the showdown and the fans got more than their money’s worth as the race turned out to be one of the marquee events of the championships.

8) Kenyans Were the

Cream of the Crop

When you see Kenya stepping all the way down to the 400 metres hurdles and winning the gold, you know that they were in for a fantastic championship. Yes, who expected Nicholas Bett to come out on top, especially running out of lane nine.

But the 23-year-old policeman Bett even surprised himself, considering the fact that at last year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasglow, Scotland, he failed to even make it out of the heats. This was no marathon or any of the distance races that covered more than four laps. This was just one lap clearing a series of 10 hurdles.

With a performance like that and having a teammate not too far behind in fifth place, many are wondering what is next. Can you expect to see the African nation drop down to the sprints and be successful too?

At least the Bahamas was right in the mix of the drama with Jeffery Gibson clinging to the bronze in his national record breaking time.

9) The Jamaicans Out

Number Everybody Else

Except for the home crowd, I don’t think that any other country had more people in attendance in the stands than Jamaica. Everywhere you turned, you could see patches of their green, yellow and black national flag colours in the stands.

It reminds me what I’ve seen with our fans who attend the CARIFTA Games. Our numbers are clearly demonstrated in the aquamarine, gold and black.

But there’s no doubt that the fans’ support in the stands made a huge difference for the Jamaican athletes as they went on to post one of their best showings by finishing second in the medal table with seven gold, two silver and three bronze for a total of 12 medals.

Of course, the surprise came from Kenya, who prevailed wiith seven gold, six silver and three bronze for a total of 6. The United States of America had more medals than everybody with 28, inclusive of six gold, six silver and six bronze, but that was only good enough for third place.

10) IAAF In Good


The IAAF went into the championships with a critical point with their Congress being staged two days before to elect a new executive board. With Lamine Diack declining another term in office, it came down to a two-way battle between former 800m world record holder Sebastian Coe and former world pole vault record holder Sergey Bubka for the top spot.

When all of the delegates, including the Bahamas, cast their votes, Coe was elected as the new president and got to usher in the new era on the final day of the championships. In one of his immediate duties, he quickly appointed Bubka as his senior vice president.

The IAAF is heading into a new direction and two Bahamians will be on board making their contribution as Pauline Davis-Thompson was returned as a council member and for the first time, Dennis Marshall got elected as a member of the Women’s Committee.

Now the real task of building on the success of Beijing 2015 begins.


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