American Felix sprints to women’s 200m victory

MONACO: Olympic women’s 5,000m champion Meseret Defar completed a 3,000m-5,000m double on Saturday with victory in the shorter event to finish the two-day World Athletics Final richer by US$60,000. 

Defar, who defeated fellow-Ethiopian and world champion Tirunesh Dibaba after a frenzied sprint finish in Friday’s 5,000m, led world junior cross country champion Gelete Burika across the line on Saturday. 

“The race wasn’t hard,” she said. “The time was a little slow. Because of the pace there was some jostling.” 

Russian Olympic and world women’s pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva showed the effects of a long season by failing with three attempts to better her own world record of 5.01m. 

Isinbayeva, who set a world indoor record in her first competition of the year, has collected eight world records this year, including the first clearance at 5m. 

A 19th career world record would have earned her an extra US$100,000 in the last major meeting of the year. 

Another Russian, world long jump champion Tatyana Lebedeva, narrowly failed to win the women’s triple jump after wining US$1mil for finishing first in the six Golden League meetings. Lebedeva was beaten into second place by Greek Olympic silver medallist Chrisopyi Devetzi. 

Ukrainian Ivan Heshko, who finished out of the medals in last month’s Helsinki World Championships, emerged from the pack in the finishing straight to win the men’s 1,500m ahead of Olympic silver medallist Bernard Lagat. 

Lagat, who was not eligible to compete at the World Championships because of a change of nationality to the United States, won the 3,000m on Saturday. 

“My body is tired from yesterday,” said Lagat. “I was struggling until I went all out in the last 150m.” 

American teenager Allyson Felix confirmed she is the currently the world’s best women’s 200m exponent by beating Olympic gold medallist Veronica Campbell of Jamaica. 

Felix, who captured the world title in Helsinki, clocked 22.27, a tenth of a second ahead of Campbell. France’s world bronze medallist Christine Arron was again in third place. 

World silver medallist Victor Moya of Cuba, managed by world record holder Javier Sotomayor, bettered his personal best twice to win the men’s high jump with 2.35m. 

Tero Pitkamaki, who disappointed home fans in Finland by finishing out of the medals at the World Championships, won the men’s javelin with a throw of 91.33m. 

“I will come back next year ready to win the gold medal at the European Championships,” he said. 

World champion Michelle Perry survived a false start to win the 100m hurdles in 12.54 and Allen Johnson, whose bid for a record fifth world track title in Helsinki was thwarted when he finished third, won the 110m hurdles in 13.09, with France’s world gold medallist Ladji Doucoure trailing in sixth place. 

American champion Sanya Richards, second in Helsinki, reversed the finishing order in Monaco by defeating world champion Tonique Williams-Darling in the women’s 400m. 

Richards surged in the finishing straight to overhaul the Bahamian and hold on for victory by two-hundredths of a second in 49.52. – Reuters 

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