Alexa

Lagat wins 1,500 for the United States, Perry retains hurdles title

Lagat wins 1,500 for the United States, Perry retains hurdles title

A nearly man for Kenya became a world champion for the United States on his first attempt on Wednesday.
Bernard Lagat was still celebrating a mighty comeback win in the 1,500, when Michelle Perry stood atop the 100-hurdles victory podium ready to listen to Star Spangled Banner.
Once he heard it, the Kenyan-born Lagat interrupted his celebrations to turn to the flag, hold his hand to his heart and make it an impromptu double ceremony for the United States.
"This is for the American people," he said. "When you're carrying this flag, it means a lot."
Minutes earlier Lagat was in a seemingly bad position off the final bend but produced the kick of his life to end a career of minor-medal finishes for Kenya and become a world champion.
He overtook former countrymen and held off defending champion Rashid Ramzi of Bahrain in the final meters to finish in 3 minutes 34.77. Behind Ramzi, Kenya's Shedrack Kibet Korir took bronze.
"I really accelerated at the end, because I really wanted it for America," he said.
At 32, he wanted it for himself too. He had won bronze and silver at the Sydney and Athens Olympics and silver at the 2001 world championships. The big one, though, always eluded him, until Wednesday.
Now comes Beijing. "This gives me even more hope and confidence _ 32 is just a number," he said. "Next year I will be 33, that is a number, I will be running strong. This is the motivation now."
He has been living in the United States since 1996, became a citizen in 2004 and only became eligible to compete for his adopted country on the eve of these championships in Osaka.
Perry took her second straight world title in the 100-meter hurdles, 14 years after a freak accident forced her to quit soccer and go for track.
She had to dig deep for victory, making the difference only after the last hurdle with a desperate lunge at the line.
"It was amazing for the first 60 (meters) and a fight to the end," she said.
Her time of 12.46 seconds held off 2003 champion Perdita Felicien of Canada by .03 seconds. Delloreen Ennis-London of Jamaica was third in 12.50.
It continued her dominating season. Perry is one of three athletes still in the running for the US$1 million Golden League jackpot, rewarding the athletes who remain perfect in the world's six biggest one-day meets.
On an evening of career reversals, Christine Ohuruogu won the 400 only weeks after ending a one-year suspension for missing three doping tests. Ohuruogu came back stronger than ever, clawing back over the last 20 meters to sweep past Jamaican Novlene Williams and dragging Nicola Sanders in her wake to silver for a 1-2 British finish.
The British athletics federation said Ohuruogu's violation was due to forgetfulness. The 23-year-old is also appealing a British lifetime ban from the Olympics.
"At this time last year I was in complete turmoil. I didn't know what I was doing," Ohuruogu said. "It hasn't quite sunk in yet. I'm just happy that I've worked hard and everything has come together at the right time."
With Perry and Lagat's titles, the United States moved to five golds and 10 medals overall, keeping clear of Russia, which has 3 gold and 9 medals in total. Kenya is third with 3 gold and 8 overall.
The biggest upset of the evening came when Donald Thomas of Bahamas took gold in the high jump. The 23-year-old only started jumping 17 months ago and with an unorthodox style, he won with 2.35 after he had missed his opening jump at 2.21. Yaroslav Rybakov got the silver and Kyriakos Ioannou of Cyprus the bronze.
Jeremy Wariner proved the U.S. team can expect another gold from him. Barely one minute after starting his 400, he already was explaining to television crews how he had cruised in his semifinal to a 44.34-second time, jogging over the line.
Angelo Taylor and LaShawn Merritt joined him among the top three finishers, making a U.S. sweep on Friday a realistic possibility.
"It's very possible. We're deep, very deep and everybody is running fast," Taylor said.
And Tyson Gay remained on course for his sprinting double. With a comfortable ride through the 200 semifinal, he set the best time of the evening in 20 seconds flat. Jamaican Usain Bolt and Gay's teammate Wallace Spearman also advanced.
"Whatever I've got left in the tank, I am going to give it all I've got," Gay said.
He already beat Asafa Powell to take 100 gold and still has the 400 relay to come this weekend.
At 39, defending champion Franka Dietzsch gave Germany its first gold when she beat Russia's Darya Pishchalnikova and Cuba's Yarelis Barrios in the discus throw. Dietzsch also won the title in 1999.
Liu Xiang is Olympic champion and has the world record. Now he wants the 110 hurdles world title too.
The Chinese track star ran clean over the 10 hurdles to win his opening heat in 13.36 seconds, well off his world record of 12.88. Time was the least of his worries though.
"It was easy. I was not forced to show my best," Liu said.
American Terrence Trammell advanced in 13.40, while defending champion Ladji Doucoure of France had an early scare, qualifying in second behind Cuban Dayron Robles in his heat.


Updated : 2020-11-30 10:52 GMT+08:00