Schippers retains 200m title as Reese pays tribute to grandfather
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There was unalloyed joy and triumph tinged with sadness on Friday night as Dafne Schippers retained her 200m title and long jumper Brittney Reese hailed her inspirational grandfather who died just before the championships.
Schippers became only the third woman in the event's history to retain her 200m title.
She clocked 22.05 seconds to finish just ahead of the Ivorian Marie-Josée Ta Lou. Shaunae Miller-Uibo compensated for her meltdown in the 400m final with the bronze.
“It was a close race,” said Schippers. “It was a final and I won. I’m very happy with this gold medal.”
Only Merlene Ottey from Jamaica and Allyson Felix can boast about retaining their 200m title.
"It was very important to win,” Schippers added. “I’ve worked so hard and last year was not the easiest for me. I changed everything and got a new coach, so I'm very happy.”
The 25-year-old will return to the Netherlands with a gold and bronze medal from the 200 and 100m. Hers was a double attempt that was submerged in the brouhaha over Wayde van Niekerk’s efforts to win both the men’s 200 and 400m. Ta Lou was also in the hunt for a 100/200m double and came out with second place in both finals.
“Another silver but I am so happy,” said Ta Lou. “I did all I could in the race. To get a silver medal is more than I could have asked for. I am so grateful for having a championships like this. It has been a special week for me.”
She added: “I am very proud of both medals. I hope I have inspired a lot of girls back in Cote d’Ivoire."
Schippers’ victory provided the Netherlands with their first gold medal of the championships. No such paucity for the United States. Reese and Emma Coburn took the Americans’ trove of gold medals to eight on Friday night with wins in the women’s long jump and women’s 3000m steeplechase respectively.
Reese, 30, dedicated her fourth world championship title to her grandfather, King Dunomes. During her lap of honour at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium, she displayed words written on the inside of her vest number: "RIP Paw Paw". “My grandfather is the reason I got into track and field,” she told RFI. “I was just seven years old when he started taking me to the little league games.”
She added: “This is the first time that I have been to a meeting and not been able to call him up and say something to him. It has been hard competing through the pain.”
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