Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Gay joins exclusive three-gold club

Tyson Gay joined an exclusive club on Saturday in Osaka, Japan, by becoming only the third man ever to win three gold medals at a single world championships, overshadowing Meseret Defar’s 5 000m victory.

The unstoppable 25-year-old American sprinter beat fatigue to run the third leg and drive his team to the 4x100m relay title in 37,78 seconds, giving him a trio of golds following victories in the 100m and 200m.

Only fellow Americans Carl Lewis (1983 and 1987) and Maurice Greene (1999) have achieved the feat before. ”It feels great because I look up to the others guys [Lewis and Greene],” said Gay. ”I didn’t come to the championships thinking about three gold medals. At the same time I think that’s why I got it accomplished, because I came here to have a good time.”

Darvis Patton got them off to a flying start with Wallace Spearmon running second and Leroy Dixon powering them home ahead of Jamaica and Britain.

The American women — Lauryn Williams, Allyson Felix, Mikele Barber and Torri Edwards — matched the exploits of the men, storming across the line in 41,98 seconds in their relay. Once again, Jamaica came second with Belgium third.

Ethiopia’s world 5 000m record-holder Defar also timed her sprint perfectly, kicking away with 200m left to cross the line in a slow 14 minutes and 57,91 seconds ahead of Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya in 14:58,50. Another Kenyan, Priscah Jepleting Cherono, was third in 14:59,21.

Olympic champion Defar went into the race as overwhelming favourite after teammate and defending champion Tirunesh Dibaba opted not to run after winning a draining 10 000m.

”Finally I’m the world champion. My tactics were to wait until the last two laps and then start my finish,” Defar said. ”I am the champion and that’s great. In Beijing [Olympics] I will run the 5 000m and maybe in future I will try the 10 000m.”

Czech star Roman Sebrle became the first man since British great Daley Thompson to hold the Olympic, European and world decathlon titles simultaneously. The 32-year-old world record holder came roaring back in the final two events — javelin and 1 500m — to overhaul Jamaica’s Maurice Smith and take gold with 8 676 points.

Smith had to settle for silver with 8 644 followed by Dmitriy Karpov of Kazakhstan on 8 586.

”This is the toughest of all my titles and very emotional. I did not have the shape I expected after the training camp but as it proved, decathlon is finished only after the last event,” said Sebrle.

Earlier, the world’s top 50km race walker Nathan Deakes added to his glittering collection, breaking down in tears as he crossed the finish line in three hours, 43 minutes and 53 seconds to win the world title. France’s Yohan Diniz was second in 3:44:22 with Italian Alex Schwazer timing 3:44:38 for his second consecutive world bronze medal.

”It’s a great feeling, records are to be broken, but nobody can take the world champion title away from you,” said an emotional Deakes. ”I will remember forever the feeling when I came into the stadium and it was clear I’m the champion. It was quite emotional. I think it was my 10th 50km, so great jubilation.”

Deakes led from 35km to clock his best time this season, although it was outside his 2006 world record of 3:36:04 minutes.

In the women’s 4x400m relay heats, the United States qualified for the final fastest in 3:23,37, with Russia second and Belarus third.

The American men, minus 400m winner Jeremy Wariner and silver medallist LaShawn Merrit who were resting, won their heat but were only fifth fastest overall. The Bahamas quartet was quickest followed by Jamaica. — Sapa-AFP

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Martin Parry
Martin Parry
AFP News Editor for Australia/New Zealand/Pacific

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

Family wants clarity on SANDF soldier killed in friendly fire...

Corporal Simanga Khuselo join the peacekeeping mission in the DRC to save money to build his family a home

SA soldiers have been fighting in a distant land for...

Troops were sent to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2001 as part of the UN peacekeeping mission that became an offensive against rebels

More top stories

Despite inflation risks, the monetary policy committee keeps rates on...

Inflation rose well beyond the Reserve Bank’s midpoint target in August

Sasol commits to net zero ambition by 2050, triples 2030...

But Sasol shouldn’t rely on natural gas a transition fuel, say civil society organisations

ActionSA wants pro-poor, business-friendly metros

Branding itself as a corruption busting party, ActionSA said it will establish dedicated independent forensics units in each of its municipalities, with the mandate to investigate all potential corrupt activities

‘We are focused on the local government elections,’ ANC tells...

The organisation has sent another letter to staff members saying that salaries for July, August and September will not be paid on 25 September

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…