London 2017: Ramil Guliyev takes shock 200m victory as cult hero Isaac Makwala misses out on a medal

Guliyev just edged Wayde van Niekerk on the finish line.

London 2017: Ramil Guliyev takes shock 200m victory as cult hero Isaac Makwala misses out on a medal
Guliyev celebrates after leaving Makwala behind (photo: Getty Images/Julian Finney)

Wayde van Niekerk was inches away from securing a double gold only to be edged out by surprise package Ramil Guliyev. Meanwhile, Issac Makwala concluded an emotional week with a disappointing sixth as the World Championships formulated another surprise result.

"Isaac Makwala Day" up for grabs

All of the build-up surrounded the Makwala - van Niekerk showdown, enhanced by a controversial set of events concerning the Botswanan's quest for medals.

With the London Stadium spectators finally getting the head-to-head they were desperate to see, the stakes were raised higher with Botswana's Sports Minister Thapelo Olopeng announcing "the President has set aside a certain day for him [Makwala]" if he won 200m gold.

Olopeng added, "it will be a public holiday for people to come and meet Makwala and all over the country there will be celebrations with music and dancing."

However, even a medal was not nailed on for the World Championships' cult figure, particularly as America's Isiah Young qualified with the fastest time of the semi-finals. Van Niekerk had only limped through behind Ramil Guliyev and Ameer Webb as a fastest loser, whilst heat two winner Jereem Richards presented himself as a good tip for a medal.

 

 

Guliyev stuns the World as fatigue compounds the favourites

The crowd had certainly taken to Makwala after an incredible week. The fastest man this year across 200m raised the roof as much as British hopeful Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake during the introduction announcements.

Richards got off to an excellent start but was soon dragged back in by Makwala as he made up the stagger. There was barely a stride length to choose between several medal contenders as van Niekerk, Guliyev and Makwala hit the front.

Webb appeared to be closing in on the leaders as Makwala began to full back, possibly feeling the fatigue after two races on the previous evening. Richards started to get himself back in contention as he shot into third but van Niekerk and Guliyev were beginning to pull away.

There was nothing to choose as the front pair closed in towards the finish line and eventually it was Turkey's Guliyev, originally of Azerbaijan, who took the gold with a late dip. Van Niekerk perhaps falling foul of too many races in a short period of time like Makwala.

Richards held on for bronze as Mitchell-Blake was just edged out and the hosts recorded another fourth place. Yet the night belonged to Guliyev, barely talked about throughout the qualification phases but earning a much-deserved surprise win.

 

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