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Five years ago in Rio, Shaunae Miller-Uibo won Olympic 400m gold in desperate fashion, dramatically falling over the finish line a few hundredths of a second ahead of Allyson Felix.

This time there was no need for a desperate dip finish. Miller-Uibo was a class apart in Tokyo, winning by almost an entire second in a Bahamas record of 48.36.

Marileidy Paulino took silver in a Dominican Republic record of 49.20 while Felix earned bronze in 49.46 to take a record-breaking 10th Olympic medal.

No female track and field athlete has won more Olympic medals than the American, who returned from childbirth to compete in her fifth Games. What’s more, she has tied Carl Lewis’ record when it comes to the best medal tally at the Olympics by a US athlete.

In sixth place, Jodie Williams’ brilliant Olympics continued as the Briton equalled her 49.97 PB from the semi-final.

With her hair dyed in a striking cerise colour and with kinesio tape around her right knee of a matching colour, the tall Miller-Uibo cuts a distinctive figure. Unlike the World Championships in Doha two years ago, she did not have to deal with Salwa Eid Naser – the Bahrain athlete serving a ban for missing drugs tests – and in Naser’s absence Miller-Uibo was totally dominant.

“I’ve been bottling a whole bunch of injuries,” said Miller-Uibo, who had finished eighth in the 200m final earlier in the Games. “I just put my trust in God. Even this week I’ve had problems walking and have been in a lot of pain. And now I’m going home with a gold medal. This is my most valuable medal as I know how hard I had to work for it.”

Miller-Uibo had Williams and then Felix on her outside and after a controlled first 200m she powered around the final bend to forge a winning lead.

Behind, Paulino had too much to do to make up the deficit while Felix held her form and nerve to ease into a podium position.

Williams committed through the first half in bold fashion and later said: “I went for it, I risked it, went out strong and I just didn’t have the legs in the end. This is my first ever final, first year doing the event, I was close.”

The Briton, who only broke 51 seconds for the first time less than a month ago, added: “Right now I’m upset, but I think in hindsight I’ll be very proud of myself. Just making this final alone, in a new event, like I said before I’ve only run four 400s before this year, I stepped up this year and medalled indoors, and now I’m an Olympic finalist with two back-to-back 49s.”

The former teenage prodigy added: “I’ve pulled a performance out of the bag when it matters most every time, right now I’m just gutted that it wasn’t enough to get that medal that would have been just such a nice end to such a great season, but I really can’t be upset.”

Source: Jason Henderson

www.sports24ghana.com