After struggling in his semi-final, Usain Bolt came good when it mattered most to beat Justin Gatlin to World Championship 100 metres glory.
Usain Bolt reaffirmed his status as athletics' biggest superstar by beating Justin Gatlin in Beijing to claim a third World Championships 100 metres title.
In a showdown billed by many as good versus bad, given Gatlin has served two doping bans, it was the six-time Olympic champion who proved he is still the fastest man in the world.
Bolt stumbled at the start of another unconvincing run in the semi-finals, but rose to the occasion when it mattered most at the Bird"s Nest Stadium on Sunday to win in 9.79 seconds.
Gatlin, backed by many to dethrone the legendary Jamaican, had to settle for silver as he clocked 9.80secs - a slower time than he had managed in his semi-final earlier in the day.
Questions had been raised over whether Bolt could win yet another title in China due to injury problems and a lack of form in 2015, but two days after turning 29 he put on another masterclass to deny Gatlin a first major championship title since he claimed a sprint double in Helsinki a decade ago.
There was nothing to choose between the two big rivals until Bolt, in lane five, came up with another blistering finish to edge out the 33-year-old American in lane seven, with American Trayvon Bromell and Canada's Andre De Grasse both clocking 9.92secs to share bronze.
Bolt joins Carl Lewis and Maurice Greene as the only men to win three 100m World Championship titles and will aim to complete yet another sprint double in the 200m on Thursday.
While Bolt has endured so many highs in his astonishing career, this must rank up there with one of his finest hours given the build-up to the blue riband event on day two of the World Championships, which saw him cast as a potential saviour of athletics in the face of so much talk of drugs cheats giving the sport a bad name.
As Gatlin eased into the finals with two impressive runs, Bolt looked in danger of falling after a poor start in his semi-final before steadying himself and claiming a narrow victory.
The usually laid back and jovial Bolt had looked more nervy than usual, but showed his class after an air of tension descended on the stadium where he won three Olympic golds seven years ago.
On the evidence of this performance it would be difficult to see any of Bolt's rivals denying him more Olympic glory in Rio next year.