World Champs 2017: Guliyev pits Van Niekerk to win 200m, Makwala sixth


Ramil Guliyev shocks Wayde van Niekerk and Isaac Makwala to win World Championships 200m final. / Internet photo

LONDON - Turkey's Ramil Guliyev wrecked the dreams of 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk and comeback kid Isaac Makwala to seize the 200m world title.

South African Van Niekerk had been hunting the first 200m-400m double since Michael Johnson 22 years ago, while Makwala of Botswana had run a solo time trial to get this far after his initial controversial exclusion on medical grounds.

But the 27-year-old Guliyev, who switched allegiance from his native Azerbaijan in 2011, held off Van Niekerk (20.11 seconds) and Trinidad and Tobago's Jereem Richards (20.11) to win Turkey's first gold medal at a World Championships in 20.09 and pull off another upset at an unpredictable London 2017.

"This is not a shock," said the champion. "But it does not feel real.

"I have shown my best throughout this competition. I delivered my best race at the right time. I'm so happy to be world champion. This is the best moment of my career."

Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake was 0.13 seconds off bronze in fourth, another close miss for Britain to go with the fourth places for Laura Muir in the 1500m, Kyle Langford in the 800m and Callum Hawkins in the marathon.

Mitchell-Blake told BBC Sport: "I am glad to come through healthy. I feel like I have let the nation down today. I know I had the calibre to get a medal. I wanted to win. That's all I thought about when I go out there."

Olympic 400m hurdles champion Dalilah Muhammad had earlier been dethroned by her USA team-mate Kori Carter, as Britain's team captain Eilidh Doyle came home eighth.

It has been a week where many of the big names have struggled, but one of the sport's great champions, double Olympic and world triple jump gold medallist Christian Taylor, once again excelled on the biggest stage as he held off fellow American Will Claye in a thrilling, seesaw final.

No fairytale finish for Makwala

Makwala had become the folk hero of London 2017 having been excluded from both the 400m and 200m heats when the IAAF medical commission placed him in 48-hour quarantine after deciding he showed symptoms of norovirus.

He then got through a time trial in sodden conditions on Wednesday evening to make the semi-finals, getting through those despite having only two hours recovery.

But those efforts may have taken their toll in the least preferred of his two events, and he tired down the home straight to finish sixth in 20.44, his slowest time all week.

He told BBC Sport: "The 400m was the one I put all my money on; the 200m I do sometimes for speed only. It's not like the 400m. I never use blocks, but I am happy I was in the final.

"I thought I could get a medal, but I ran yesterday two difficult races and it wasn't easy. "I will leave the championships with my heart broken."