Five athletes who lit up Beijing

Usain Bolt
Julius Yego
Dafne Schippers
Aston Eaton
Mo Farah

China's silver-medal winning quartet of Zhang Peiming, Mo Youxue, Xie Zhenye and Su Bingtian were not the only ones to make headlines at the world athletics championships in Beijing.

Here is a look at five other athletes who moved the spotlight away from doping during the Aug 22-30 event.

Usain Bolt (Jamaica)

The "Lightning Bolt" struck once again as the king of sprint stormed to yet another golden treble at the Bird's Nest, where he shot to fame at the 2008 Olympics. As allegations raged over widespread doping in athletics, Bolt gave the crisis-hit sport a morale boost by crushing two-time doping offender Justin Gatlin in the 100m and 200m, before anchoring Jamaica to gold in the 4x100m relay - giving him a record 11th world title.

Julius Yego (Kenya)

When he was a boy, he herded his father's cows, and was rejected as a runner by sports coaches. Now, the 26-year-old is a javelin world beater. He heaved a mighty 92.72m last week - the third longest throw of all time - to take the title. Not bad for someone who learnt the sport by watching videos on YouTube and could not even hit the 70m mark six years ago. His success also upset the accepted order as the Europeans have been dominating this event. Kenya's success has been based on their supreme distance running, but the longest throw in 14 years saw him become his country's first javelin world champion.

Dafne Schippers (Netherlands)

The Dutchwoman smashed a 36-year-old European record to capture the 200m gold, days after taking silver in the 100m in a breakout championships. She lunged for the line to beat Jamaican Elaine Thompson to the 200m title in 21.63sec, breaking the European mark set by Marita Koch in 1979 and matched by fellow East German Heike Drechsler in 1986. Only Americans Marion Jones and Florence Griffith-Joyner have run the 200m faster but their careers, like those of Koch and Drechsler, were plagued by doping suspicions. Schippers insisted she had nothing to hide, snapping: "I work very hard for it, I know I'm clean."

Aston Eaton (United States)

Just one world record fell in the Chinese capital and that breakthrough was made by decathlete Eaton. He retained his title with a lung-bursting last lap in the 1,500m as a packed crowd in Beijing rose to acclaim the American iron man. The Olympic champion finished with a total of 9,045 points to eclipse his previous world best by six points, helped in no small part by a decathlon best-ever 45.00sec in the 400m and a championship record 10.23sec in the 100m.

Mo Farah (Britain)

Farah roared to victory in the 5,000m and 10,000m to become the first man to complete a "triple-double" of distance titles at consecutive world championships and the London Olympics. The Somali-born Farah, whose Beijing preparations were disrupted by doping allegations made against his coach Alberto Salazar, ran an eye-popping last lap of 52.6sec in the 5,000m to pull off the feat after surviving a bruising 10,000m final.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 01, 2015, with the headline 'Five athletes who lit up Beijing'. Print Edition | Subscribe