Among the eight sprinters lined up at the start of the world 200 metres final and the 56,000 people in the crowd watching, only one man probably thought Ramil Guliyev would be the winner, and that was the Azerbaijani-born Turk himself.
His faith was fully justified as 20.09 seconds later he crossed the line ahead of a host of favoured rivals to take the gold medal that had been the property of Usain Bolt since 2009.
Wayde van Niekerk, seeking a 400/200m double had to settle for silver in 20.11, a thousandth of a second ahead of Jereem Richards of Trinidad and Tobago.
The result was universally acclaimed as a shock but Guliyev, who became a Turkish citizen in 2011 and was cleared to represent his new country in 2013, was having none of it.
“This is not a shock,” Ramil Guliyev said. “I have shown my best throughout this competition. I delivered my best race at the right time.
“I was competing against some of the best athletes in the world, so it didn’t bother me that the attention was on them. Maybe at the next competition everyone will look at me instead.”
It would have been a tough quiz question before Thursday to name the second-fastest junior ever, but it was Guliyev, who posted 20.04 as a 19-year-old when representing Azerbaijan.
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