World 100 metres champion Tori Bowie abandoned her bid to add the 200 metres gold when she withdrew from the heats of the longer event at the World Championships on Tuesday.
The 26-year-old American had suffered cuts and bruises in winning the 100 metres title after tumbling headlong on to the track following her dip to claim victory.
She could have joined Katrin Krabbe and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce as the only women to have completed the 100/200m double in the same world championships but had admitted to feeling “beaten up” after her fall.
Now, she faces a battle to be fit for the 4×100 metres relay.
“Tori Bowie has withdrawn from the 200 metres as she continues to recover from her fall at the conclusion of the women’s 100-metre final Sunday evening,” the US team said in a statement.
“Her condition will continue to be evaluated to assess her readiness for the 4×100 relay.”
The news that Bowie would not be competing caused a shock when it was announced just before her heat as she had been favourite to take the gold medal.
The fastest competitor in the world this year, having clocked 21.77 seconds, her absence threw the event, which had already looked tight to call, even more wide open.
It meant good news for the other leading contenders, though, headed by defending champion Dafne Schippers, who was the fastest qualifier from the heats, and another heat winner, 100 metres silver medallist Marie-Josee Ta Lou.
“It’s sad that she (Bowie) isn’t in this event because I like to compete against the strongest field possible,” Ta Lou said.
Schippers, who took bronze in the 100 metres after a poor start, was happy to be on more comfortable territory in the half-lap event, striding out to an emphatic heat win in 22.63.
“The medal in the 100 was a boost for me. I’ve recovered well from that race an was looking forward to this one, it’s my favourite event,” the Dutchwoman said.
Ta Lou, who lost out on the gold to Bowie in the 100 by one-hundredth of a second before receiving congratulations from Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara, progressed to Thursday’s semifinals in 22.70, the third fastest of the night.
Olympic 400 metres champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo, who like Wayde van Niekerk in the men’s sprints is seeking a 400/200m double, had already booked her place in Wednesday’s one-lap final.
Yet even when trying to conserve as much energy as possible, the Bahamas sprinter still strode out to the easiest heat win in 22.69 to be the second fastest.
In Bowie’s absence, the US still have two formidable contenders in heat winners Kimberlyn Duncan (22.74 seconds) and Deajah Stevens (22.90 seconds).