Usain Bolt completed his hat-trick of sprint titles at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin as he helped the all-conquering Jamaican side power to victory in the men’s 4x100m relay final.
Bolt ran the third leg, handing off to individual bronze medallist Asafa Powell, as Olympic champions Jamaica took gold in a new championship record of 37.31 seconds. Jamaica had rested Bolt and Powell in the heats and were always red-hot favorites to win. “I wasn’t really thinking about getting three gold medals because I could be in better shape,” Bolt, who broke his own world records in the 100 and 200m with times of 9.58 and 19.19 respectively, told trackside reporters. Trinidad, who chased Jamaica home in Beijing last year, again took silver with Great Britain claiming the bronze medal. The United States were disqualified on Friday for an illegal baton change despite winning their semifinal. Jamiaca’s victory, their seventh gold medal of the games, ensured the nation won both sprint relays after their women claimed gold in the women’s 4x100m relay earlier on Saturday. Individual 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser led the team to victory in a time of 42.06 seconds to take gold ahead of the Bahamas, while Germany pulled off a surprise to claim third place.
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Defending champions the United States failed to reach the final when Muna Lee struggled to get hold of the baton on the second handover from Alexandria Anderson and stumbled before pulling up with a hamstring injury. The U.S. relay performances in Berlin’s have been a carbon copy of last year’s Olympics where neither team reached the final or finished their heat. Elsewhere, Kenya’s Abel Kirui comfortably won the men’s marathon with a well-timed break in the last four miles of the race. Kirui produced a sustained burst to pull clear of team-mate Emmanuel Mutai and win gold in a championship record time of two hours six minutes and 54 seconds. Mutai finished 54 seconds behind in second position while Ethiopia’s Olympic bronze medallist Tsegaye Kebede again took third place. Kenya were celebrating again when Vivian Cheruiyot outsprinted defending champion Meseret Defar of Ethiopia to win the women’s 5,000 meters. Cheruiyot, a Sydney Olympic Games finalist at 16, who won silver in the last worlds in Osaka in 2007, had led for much of the race but was overtaken by Defar with 150 metres to go to the finish. It looked like Defar would be celebrating an Ethiopian gold in the absence of injured team-mate and Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba, but Cheruiyot produced a stunning fightback to cross first in 14 minutes 57.98 seconds. As Defar eased off in the knowledge that she had been beaten, Cheruiyot’s compatriot Sylvia Kibet stole in for silver in 14:58.33, for the second one-two podium finish for Kenya following the men’s marathon. The result was a blow to Ethiopia, for whom Olympic champion and world recorder holder Dibaba was injured but would have been pre-race favorite if fit. In the field events, Olympic champion Steven Hooker of Australia added the men’s pole vault title to his Beijing crown by clearing 5.90 meters. The 27-year-old, whose personal best of 6.06m makes him the second highest vaulter in history, showed his confidence by sitting out the early rounds and only came in at 5.85m which he failed to clear. But he opted to raise the bar and nailed 5.90m at his first attempt which was enough to give him the gold medal with Frenchmen Romain Mesnil and Renaud Lavillenie claiming silver and bronze. American Dwight Phillips regained his men’s long jump title to fulfill his dream of winning in the same stadium and same event where Jesse Owens triumphed at the 1936 Olympic Games. The 31-year-old, the 2004 Olympic champion and 2003 and 2005 world champion, won gold with 8.54 meters to beat South Africa’s Olympic silver medalist Godfrey Mokoena (8.47m) while Australia’s Mitchell Watt took bronze (8.37m). Poland’s Anita Wlodarczyk won the women’s hammer with a new world record throw of 77.96 meters. The 24-year-old beat defending champion Betty Heidler of Germany, who took silver with a national record of 77.12m, while Martina Hrasnova of Slovakia won the bronze with a throw of 74.79m.