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Athletics: Bruised Bowie proves grandma right, now shoots for double

Athletics - World Athletics Championships - Women's 100 Metre Final – London Stadium, London, Britain - August 6, 2017. Tori Bowie of the U.S. celebrates winning gold. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Athletics - World Athletics Championships - Women's 100 Metre Final – London Stadium, London, Britain - August 6, 2017. Tori Bowie of the U.S. celebrates winning gold. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

By Ian Chadband

LONDON (Reuters) - In 2012, Tori Bowie sat at home in Sand Hill, Mississippi, when the Olympics were being held in London and watched the world's greatest sporting event race by without her.

As a 21-year-old long jumper who had missed the U.S trials with injury, she gazed at the 200 metres final on television that night and, in a Eureka moment, was moved to suggest to her grandmother: "I really think I can beat those ladies".

Five years on, in the very same stadium on Sunday night, Bowie, the long jumper turned sprinter, brought her prediction to life by becoming world 100 metres champion - and for her next trick, she is already thinking of a golden double.

Still, the 26-year-old could never have credited the dramatic fashion in which she was to win the title on Sunday night, chasing down Josee Ta Lou, of the Ivory Coast, dipping perfectly at the line before losing her balance and falling flat on her face.

Having done well to avoid what could have been a nasty injury, she rose to look faintly amazed that she had won in 10.85 seconds to join compatriot Justin Gatlin as a shock sprint winner as the U.S celebrated its first 100 metres double since 2005.

"The dive doesn't feel too good now," said Bowie. "But that has saved me at championships in the past. I never give up until I'm over the line.

"Ta Lou went away fast but she always does. It didn't bother me and I just kept pumping my legs and arms until the finish.

"I have a few cuts but I'll be ready for the 200m. I'm not afraid of what is to come."

Her opponents are increasingly learning to fear her, though.

This race was supposed to be all about the dominant Jamaican Elaine Thompson, who had comfortably defeated Bowie in their two previous meetings in last year's Olympic final and this summer's Diamond League race in Shanghai.

Yet while Thompson underperformed in a way she could not explain after a superb semi-final run, Bowie came on strong to underline the quality that she had also demonstrated in the Rio Games.

After winning silver in the 100m there and bronze in the 200m, she completed her set of medals with gold in the relay.

"Don't get me wrong," she said in an interview later. "I'm extremely content with my silver and bronze medals. But once I won the gold, I fell in love."

Now, she has her eyes trained on the 200m.

"In the U.S. trials, I ran four days in a row. I'm a little beaten up but at least I've got a couple of days rest here," she smiled.

Bowie loves the idea of gold now.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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