LONDON: Defending world champion Dafne Schippers eased into the 200 metres semi-finals of the IAAF World Championships in London last night with her morale further boosted by the withdrawal of newly-crowned 100m champion Tori Bowie.
Bowie, who took Olympic bronze in the 200m last year, won the 100m gold with a sensational dip at the line which saw the American tumble to the ground.
The US Athletics Federation confirmed: “Tori Bowie has withdrawn from the 200 metres as she continues to recover from her fall at the conclusion of the women’s 100m final.”
Schippers produced a blistering first 150 metres coming off the bend several lengths ahead of the rest of the field.
The 25-year-old – who took bronze in the 100m – eased up long before the line to time 22.63sec.
With Bowie gone Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou will also fancy her chances at winning the 200m title as consolation for being edged out of the 100m gold medal by the American.
Ta Lou – diminutive by comparison to Schippers – looked terrific in her heat coasting home to win easily.
However, despite Bowie’s absence both of them will have to be wary of Bahamas Shaunae Miller-Uibo, who like South African male star Wayde van Niekerk is trying to do the 200m/400m double.
Miller-Uibo – who will bid to add the world 400m title to her Olympic gold today against American great Allyson Felix – was also very impressive coming off the bend behind experienced Jamaican Simone Facey but upping a gear and effortlessly easing past her 32-year-old rival and cantered to the line glancing up at the big screen to reassure herself that none of her rivals were going to catch her.
In the absence of Bowie the United States chances of gold probably lie with American champion Deajah Stevens.
The 22-year-old Olympic finalist – of whom much is expected – powered home in her heat.