Shericka Jackson produced the second fastest women’s 200m time in history to destroy a top-class field and retain her world title in Budapest on Friday. The 29-year-old Jamaican’s victory was never in doubt as she ran a superb bend to enter the straight with a clear lead and finished in a stunning 21.41sec. USA’s Olympic bronze medallist Gabby Thomas took silver in 21.81sec while her compatriot Sha’Carri Richardson ran a personal best of 21.92sec to add a bronze medal to the gold she impressively won in the 100m.
It was sweet revenge for Jackson after she had to settle for silver behind Richardson in the 100m.
Her time was just seven hundredths of a second slower than the world record set by the late Florence Griffith-Joyner in 1988, suggesting she could break the mark one day.
“As an athlete you have to bounce back from what you would probably call a disappointment,” Jackson told the BBC.
“One of my main goals this season was to win both 100 and 200. It didn’t happen. I said ‘it’s not supposed to happen’.
“I think I did pretty good tonight. Ah, 21.41, I’m getting there, I’m getting to where I want to be and tonight was a living testimony of never give up.
“I’m pretty proud, especially for my community. I know my Mum was going on bad (excited).”
She looked surprised when informed she was the first Jamaican to defend the 200m title since Merlene Ottey, who followed up her win in 1993 with gold two years later.
Griffith-Joyner’s record has long been clouded by suspicions it was fuelled by doping but Jackson said she would not cast aspersions. “Firstly, and I said this last year, if a person never failed a test I cannot comment on any world record. I am not the world record holder.”
The Jamaican, who moved up from the 400m in 2021 after winning Olympic and world bronze, burst from her blocks and swallowed up both Thomas and Richardson outside her. Thomas could make no impression as they powered down the straight while Richardson rallied slightly to pass Julien Alfred.
“My goal was to end up in the final of both events so doing that was already mission accomplished for me,” said 23-year-old Richardson, who is the first American woman since Carmelita Jeter in the 2011 championships, in Daegu, to win world medals in both sprints.
“But being able to win the 100m and get a medal in the 200m, that’s a dream come true. After not qualifying for the team at all last year, to get the podium in both of my races here is amazing.
“My talent is beyond measure.”
Thomas admitted she was stunned when she saw her race and Jackson’s stellar time on the big screen.
“I couldn’t believe it when I looked at the screen afterwards. I ran my race and I stayed composed so I am happy to come out with a silver,” the American said.
Thomas said she still hoped to run in both the 4x100m relay final on Saturday and then the 4x400m relay on Sunday.
The Harvard graduate said it was “an amazing feeling” to have come back and an won a medal after missing last year’s worlds due to a hamstring injury. “It is an amazing feeling,” she said.
“To medal again in a global final is terrific. I came here both physically and mentally in the right place and silver is good.”
Britain’s 2019 champion Dina Asher-Smith could only finish seventh with Ivory Coast’s Ta Lou was eighth. It extends the USA women’s 200m title drought that dates back to Alysson Felix’s third successive title in Berlin in 2009.
Jackson and Richardson will clash for a third time at these championships in Saturday’s 4x100m relay.