In a thrilling women’s 400m final, Bahamian Shaunae Miller beat the USA’s Allysson Felix to gold with a last-gasp dive over the finish line.
Miller pipped four-time Olympic gold medallist Felix to the finish by the slimmest of margins in an excruciatingly tight race, and a reversal of the result at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing. After crossing the line horizontally in a personal best time of 49.44, the 22-year-old Bahamian lay on the track, shaken up and exhausted, as she waited for the scoreboard to confirm her first major title.
Miller started off strong, exploding out of the blocks in lane seven, her long stride enabling her to establish a good lead on the back straight. She attempted to pull away in the final bend, as Felix surged about 50 metres from the line. The pair were neck-and-neck until the Bahamian's gold medal-winning dive.
“I didn't see anyone until the last 20 metres and the only thing I was thinking was that I must get that gold medal,” explained Miller. “I think the dive was just a reaction, my mind went blank, the next thing I knew I was lying on the ground. I’ve got a few cuts and bruises but I’m okay. This is the moment I have been waiting for, I just gave it my all. I am just so happy, so grateful, such emotions I just can't say. Everyone at home will all be celebrating right now.”
Felix, who finished in 49.51, was also on the floor after finishing. “I wasn't quite sure who'd won, you never are when it's that close. It is always hard after a 400 and I was physically and emotionally drained,” admitted the American. “It's been a tough one and I really hoped it would come together tonight. I just gave it all I had, I don't think I had anything left to give. I really wanted it, it's painful.”
Jamaica's Shericka Jackson took bronze in 49.85. The 22-year-old said: “It was a great final, the best I've ever been in. At the age of 22 I'm an Olympic medalist, so I can't complain. It means a lot to me.”