Gay lands historic sprint double

Tyson Gay romped to the 200m world title on Thursday, giving him a rare sprint double, as super mum Jana Rawlinson won Australia’s first medal of the World Athletics Championships in the 400m hurdles.

Gay (25) joined an exclusive club that includes fellow Americans Maurice Greene and the disgraced Justin Gatlin as the only men to win both the 100m and 200m crowns.

He never looked troubled as he raced to the line in 19,76 seconds ahead of Jamaica’s Usain Bolt in 19,91 and Wallace Spearmon of the United States in 20,05.

Fellow 100m winner Veronica Campbell of Jamaica will attempt to match Gay’s heroics in the women’s final on Friday after qualifying second fastest in 22,44. American defending champion Allyson Felix was quickest into the decider.

Rawlinson has been running superbly this season after bouncing back from giving birth to a baby boy in December

Her title had added kudos as she beat Russia’s defending champion and world record holder Yuliya Pechonkina.

The 24-year-old surged ahead halfway through and warded off the Russian’s last spurt on the home stretch to win in a season best 53,31 seconds.

Pechonkina, who set the world record of 52,34 four years ago, followed home at 53,50 with 2005 European Cup winner Anna Jesien third at 53,92.

“Tonight’s victory is sensational. It has been only eight months since the birth of my son,” said Rawlinson.

“There is some truth about them saying that mummys come back strong, as a mummy you can do anything.”

Rawlinson, formerly Pittman, married former number one British hurdler Chris Rawlinson last year.
She won the title in 2003 at the age of 20 to become the world’s youngest Olympic or world 400m hurdles champion.

The other two titles decided went to Germany’s Betty Heidler in the women’s hammer throw and Panama’s Irving Saladino in the men’s long jump.

Heidler threw 74,76m to edge former champion Yipsi Moreno of Cuba by just 2cm. Asian record holder Zhang Wenxiu got China’s first medal of the championships with a throw of 74,39m.

Saladino maintained his flawless record this year with a leap of 8,57m. Italy’s Andrew Howe was second in 8,47m with Dwight Phillips of the United States third in 8,30m.

China’s top medal hope Liu Xiang, who lowered the world record to 12,88 seconds last year, timed a modest 13,25 seconds as he eased into the 110m hurdles final.

Liu led until the last barrier but slowed at the line as Cuba’s Dayron Robles leaned over in 13,21. Liu was the fifth fastest qualifier for Friday’s final, while defending champion Ladji Doucoure crashed out.

“The race was easier than yesterday [Wednesday], but it’s tomorrow’s race that matters,” said Liu. “Now, I’ll be running the final to get a medal.”

In other heat action, title favourite Sileshi Sihine was a no-show in the 5 000m, leaving Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge to set the fastest pace going into the final.

Sihine was seen as a certain medallist but his endeavours in the 10 000m, where he finished runner-up to Ethiopian compatriot Kenenisa Bekele, may have proved his undoing.

Kipchoge crossed the line in 13 minutes 33,37 seconds ahead of another Ethiopian, Abraham Cherkos Feleke, in 13:33,62.

Defending champion Rashid Ramzi, still smarting from his defeat in the 1 500m to Bernard Lagat on Wednesday, turned out for his 800m heat after umming and aahing on whether to run.

He had refused to say whether he would take part in the race, which came just 24 hours after his demoralising loss to America’s Lagat.

But he turned up to qualify for the semifinals on Friday in 1:45,64 seconds.

Asian Games champion Yusuf Saad Kamel, a Kenyan who like Ramzi now competes for Bahrain, was fastest in 1:45,25.—AFP

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