Sanya eases to 400M gold

Britains Idowu upsets Evora to emerge new triple jump champion

Sanya eases to 400M gold

American Sanya Richards exults after clinching the women’s 400M gold at the Olympic stadium in Berlin on Tuesday. AP

For all her talent, the American had little to show in terms of gold medals at major championships, and her defeat to Britain’s Christine Ohuruogu at the Olympic Games last year was a big blot on her career.

All those disappointments were wiped away in 49 seconds flat at the Olympic Stadium as a determined Richards delivered a power-packed performance on the fourth night of these championships. Right through the rounds, she had looked the one to beat she raised her level by another notch in the final for a most-cherished gold medal.

“To come here and to win, it means the world to me,” said Richards, flashing a smile that was brighter than the Olympic Stadium lights. “Finally I have won a major title. Finally, the hard work has paid off. Earlier, I had difficulty handling the pressure but now I am a better athlete,” added the 24-year-old who did a jig of delight after barely brushing hands with a dejected Ohuruougu. The British Olympic and defending champion, troubled by injuries this season, had ended fourth.

Richards, in lane three, had burned herself out after running a very fast first 200 metres in the Olympics final but on Tuesday, she adopted a more cautious approach and followed Jamaican Shericka Williams in lane four till the half-way mark. She then bolted away in serious fashion and coming past the bend, the American was the clear leader. There was a hint of weariness as approached the last thirty metres but a even a fast-finishing Williams could touch her as she leapt into the arms of victory, her time the best in the world this year.

Williams, the Olympic silver medallist, again went home with the silver, this time in a career best time of 49.32. Antonina Krivoshapka of Russia took the bronze in 49.71 while Ohuruogu ran her season’s best of 50.21.

Britain’s Phillips Idowu upstaged Olympic and defending champion Nelson Evora of Portugal for the triple jump gold. Evora threw down the gauntlet in the first round with a 17.54 leap but the Briton uncorked a world leading 17.73 in the third round to dethrone the Portuguese.

Athens Olympic champion Ezekiel Kemboi led the Kenyan gold medal hunt the 3000M steeplechase and succeeded in a championship record of 8:00.43. Silver winner in 2003, 2005 and 2007, Kemboi set a fast pace on the day and that pulled his compatriot Richard Kipkemboi Matelong to a personal best of 8:00.89 for the second spot. Frenchman Bouabdellah Tahri set a European record of 8:01.18 for the bronze.

Bolt returns

Meanwhile, Usain Bolt returned to the track on Tuesday after his world record exploits to set the stage for another Jamaican party on Thursday. Bolt won the first two rounds of the 200M to qualify for the semifinals, timing 20.70 in the first round and 20.41 in the second. Bolt looks set to win a double after his American rival Tyson Gay pulled out of the longer sprint due to a groin injury. Gay, however, is expected to line up for the 4x100M relay.

There was a scare in the morning for defending high jump champion Blanca Vlasic, who fell in her hotel and suffered a head injury, which needed six stitches. The Croatian showed plenty of guts to brush that aside and qualify for the final with a 1.95M clearance, along with German Ariane Friedrich.

DH News Service

Results: Men: 3000M steeplechase: Ezekiel Kemboi (Kenya) 8:00.43, 1; Richard Kipkemboi Mateelong (Kenya) 8:00.89, 2; Bouabdellah Tahri (France) 8:01.18, 3.
400M hurdles: Kerron Clement (USA) 47.91 seconds, 1; Javier Culson (Puerto Rico) 48.09, 2; Bershawn Jackson (USA) 48.23, 3.

Triple jump: Phillips Idowu (Britain) 17.73 metres, 1; Nelson Evora (Portugal) 17.55, 2; Alexis Copello (Cuba) 17.36, 3.

Women: 400M: Sanya Richards (USA) 49.00 seconds, 1; Shericka Williams (Jamaica) 49.32, 2; Antonina Krivoshapka (Russia) 49.71, 3.

Triple jump: Yargelis Savigne (Cuba) 14.95 metres 1; Mabel Gay (Cuba) 14.61, 2; Ann Pyatikh (Russia) 14.58, 3. Javelin throw:  Steffi Nerius (Germany) 67.30 metres, 1; Barbora Spotakova (Czech Republic) 66.42, 2; Maria Abakumova (Russia) 66.06, 3.

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