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No fairytale ending for Bolt as Justin Gatlin storms to 100m gold in London

The Jamaican finished third in the final individual race of his career.

USAIN BOLT WAS denied a fairytale ending to his glittering career as he finished third in a 100m World Championship final won by American Justin Gatlin in London this evening.

2017 IAAF World Championships - Day Two - London Stadium Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Gatlin, who served a doping ban between 2006-10 and won silvers behind Bolt at the last two World Championships, clocked 9.92 seconds, with teammate Christian Coleman winning silver in 9.94sec and Bolt in third in 9.95sec.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t end it on a winning note, but I want to thank you for your support,” said Bolt, who embraced Gatlin after the race.

“My start killed me. Normally I get better through the rounds but it didn’t come together. The fact I didn’t get it is why I lost.

“The support has been outstanding. They have stood behind me and pushed me and I really appreciate that.”

Gatlin was afforded the same rough reception as he had in the heats and semi-finals, loud boos and jeering ringing around the same stadium where in 2012 his rivalry with Bolt was presented as ‘good against evil’, given the American’s doping-tainted past.

But Gatlin has form as the last man to beat Bolt over 100m — by a hundredth of a second in Rome in 2013 — and at the age of 35, can still produce the goods, something he has in the past ironically credited with his four years of forced exile from the track.

Gatlin initially put his finger to his pursed lips as if to hush the crowd, before dropping to his knees to bow down to Bolt.

“The first thing he did was congratulate me and say that I didn’t deserve the boos. He is an inspiration,” he said of Bolt.

It wasn’t the result the 60,000 inside London’s Olympic Stadium expected or wanted as they were left stunned, with the curtain now drawn on Bolt’s legendary career.

2017 IAAF World Championships - Day Two - London Stadium Source: PA Wire/PA Images

He will race in the 4x100m for Jamaica next weekend but the 30-year-old will retire with seven individual World Championship golds and eight Olympic golds.

Stripped to a vest and tight shorts in the black, green and yellow of Jamaica, chants of “Usain Bolt” rang around in a surprisingly tense atmosphere pre-race.

Gatlin, on the other hand, was emotionless as loud jeers welcomed him.

Starting in lane four, Bolt was incredibly slow to react out of the blocks, the 100 and 200m world record holder behind Coleman in the lane outside from the off.

The crowd, on their feet, roared, and so Bolt responded as he has so many times before.

After 50 metres, he moved into his famed “drive phase”, head coming slowly up as part of the process that unleashes the full power from his long legs. But it was not quite enough.

Teeth gritted and eyes glued on the big screen of the Trevor Brooking Stand, Bolt streaked through the finish line but any fairytale individual finish to a startling career was dashed by Gatlin and young pretender Coleman.

With reporting from AFP.

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