The two-point Athletics: Even Joshua Cheptegei’s silver was somewhat of a shock
considering what happened to him in March at the World Cross-Country Championships
They were billed as the final Games of the greatest sprinter of all time - Usain Bolt.
They were hyped all over London as the last Track and Field event for Mo Farah.
They were the 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships, the 16th edition which ended yesterday in London where two greats of sport were showcasing their majestic talent one last time.
Both athletics giants competed of course and received the grand applause their great careers fittingly deserved.
But their final races were shockers. Bolt limped out with injury to deny Jamaica a 4x100 medal - a bronze looked likeliest when his muscle gave way, as the greatest sprinter of all time departed the sport he elegantly lifted for nearly a decade with a whimper.
Earlier Farah had been beaten in a major 5000m race for the first time since Berlin 2009, Ethiopia’s Edris Muktar stunning 80,000 fans with a superb final lap to win gold.
Even Uganda’s lone medal was a surprise.
Given what happened to him at Kololo in March during the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, no one knew what to expect of Joshua Cheptegei.
But the 21-year-old showed he will be one of the names to reckon with on the post-Farah era by taking silver in the 10000m on the opening day of the Games.
Sally Pearson overcame an injury-ridden two years to win the women’s 110m hurdles, a result which would not have been unexpected two years ago. It is to her credit that she worked hard to believed in her capacity to bounce back.
Jamaica’s reign as sprint kings for men and women was finally ended by the USA with the hugely unpopular Justin Gatlin and Tori Bowie winning gold while in the 200m women’s favourite Dafne Schippers successfully defended her gold from Beijing.
With no Bolt in the 200m Turkey’s Ramil Guliyev stunned himself and his rivals by winning a close race, edging South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk in a photo-finish.
The Championships also marked the end of Kenya’s 3000m steeplechase legend Ezekiel Kemboi after he finished way out of the medal brackets. Teammate Conseslus Kipruto easily won gold.
Perhaps the not so shocking story was Uganda’s underwhelming performance after less than ideal preparations.
The only athletes who made it through the heats were Dorcus Ajok, Ronald Musagala and Halima Nakaayi but a big chasm remains between them and medal-winning promise.
The next World Championships will be hosted in Doha, Qatar in 2019.