Varnik sinks Finn’s dreams Estonian wins nation’s first ever gold


HELSINKI: Estonian Andrus Varnik denied Finland the world javelin gold medal it had craved on Wednesday during a rain-drenched evening in which local hero Tero Pitkamaki failed to even make the podium. 

In contrast to the 1983 Helsinki championships, when Tiina Lillak won the women's title with her final throw, Pitkamaki could manage only fourth. 

Estonia's Andrus Varnik celebrates winning the men's javelin gold. --APpic

“It feels like the end of the world, fourth place does not cheer me up at all,” Pitkamaki said. 

Varnik, the 2003 world silver medallist, took gold with his fourth round throw of 87.17 metres to give Estonia its first world title. 

Rain fell steadily throughout the afternoon after gale force winds in the morning had persuaded organisers to switch the women's pole vault final to Friday. 

“I felt like I was being blown backwards,” groaned four-times world high hurdles champion Allen Johnson. 

Rashid Ramzi of Bahrain reacts after he won the gold medal in the 1500m race. --AFPpic

“I thought I wasn't going to reach the next hurdle. I hope it changes tomorrow.” 

Johnson is likely to be disappointed with further cold, wet weather forecast for the World Championships after a violent thunderstorm interrupted competition for 90 minutes on Tuesday. 

The men's 1,500 final, staged without defending champion Hicham El Guerrouj or Olympic silver medallist Bernard Lagat, was won by pre-race favourite Rashid Ramzi to give Bahrain its first world medal. Rashid moved to Bahrain from Morocco in 2001 after failing to find work in his home country. 

American Bryan Clay was rewarded for a two-day slog through the wind and rain to win the decathlon ahead of Olympic champion Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic. 

Clay, the silver medallist at last year's Athens Games, scored 8,732 points in the 10-discipline event, setting personal bests in the shot put, 400 metres and javelin. 

Olympic gold medallist Tonique Williams-Darling won the first individual world track title for Bahamas by taking the women's 400 metres ahead of the American champion Sanya Richards. 

“To be able to pull off the Olympic title and then pull off the world championship title, it's an historic moment for me and the Bahamas,” she said. 

American teenager Tianna Madison took the world women's long jump gold medal with a personal best of 6.89 metres. 

France's defending champion Eunice Barber, who finished second in the heptathlon on Sunday, took the bronze medal. – Reuters 

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