Bolt seals golden treble, historic double for Dibaba

Beijing, August 22:

Usain Bolt completed an unprecedented world-record breaking golden treble at the Beijing Olympics on Friday, as Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba claimed a landmark long-distance running double.

Bolt, who set world records of 9.69 and 19.30 seconds to win the men’s 100m and 200m, ran the third leg of the Jamaican 4x100m relay squad that won a maiden gold in the event in 37.10sec, breaking the United States’ 15-year-old record.

“It’s wonderful. Three world records, three gold medals,” said the 22-year-old Bolt. “What I did out there I did for myself, my fans and my country. I was just trying to have fun out there and doing what I do.”

Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, Bolt and anchor leg Asafa Powell coasted to victory ahead of Trinidad and Tobago, aided by the absence of a US team that failed to advance to the final after dropping the baton in qualifying. “It’s a great feeling. I was really excited to go out there and give Usain his third world record,” said Powell.

In other medal events, long jumper Maurren Maggi landed Brazil their first ever Olympic track and field medal, American Bryan Clay won the decathlon and Australian Steve Hooker claimed

the men’s pole vault crown.

Dibaba, 23, who last week won the 10,000m crown, produced a scintillating final lap of 59.54sec to win the women’s 5000m gold 15min 41.40sec. Turkey’s Ethiopian-born Elvan Abeylegesse claimed silver in 15:42.74, with defending champion and current world champion Meseret Defar finishing with bronze at 15:44.12.

Dibaba’s double is a landmark for women runners and the first since male compatriot Miruts Yifter’s feat over the same events at the 1980 Moscow Games. “I am very happy,” said Dibaba. “I will remember the Beijing Games forever because I won two gold medals here.

“It’s a big achievement for me.

When I came from my country, I didn’t think I’d win both titles. I just thought I’d be a good competitor in both events.” In the 10-discipline event of the decathlon, Clay finished with 8791 points to add to the silver he won in Athens in 2004, a massive 240pts ahead of Belarussian Andrey Krauchanka, with Cuba’s Leonel Suarez third on 8527. Injury-hampered reigning world and 2004 Olympic champion Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic finished sixth on 8,241 points, weeping and pounding his fist on the track after the concluding 1,500m race.

In the field, the 32-year-old Maggi, who served a two year drugs ban in 2003, won the long jump with a best first effort of 7.04m, 1cm further than defending champion Tatiana Lebedeva of Russia. Nigerian Blessing Okagbare — who was only competing because Ukrainian finalist Lyudmila Blonska was thrown out for doping — was third with a best of 6.91m.

Earlier Sweden’s 2004 heptathlon Olympic champion Carolina Kluft failed to make the cut for the final three jumps, jumping a best of 6.49m for ninth place. The men’s pole vault saw Australian Hooker win gold with an Olympic record of 5.96m ahead of Russian Evgeny Lukyanenko (5.85m) and Ukraine’s Denys Yurchenko (5.70m).

Back on the track, Russia won the women’s 4x100m relay title as favourites Jamaica failed to finish after botching the handoff between the third and fourth legs.

The Russians, who settled for Olympic silver in 2004, broke through with Evgeniya Polyakova, Aleksandra Fedoriva, Yulia Gushchina and anchor Yuliya Chermoshanskaya winning in 42.31 secconds. Belgium, third at last year’s worlds, were second in 42.54 with Nigeria claiming bronze in 43.04.

Alex Schwazer of Italy won the men’s 50 kilometres race walk to deny Russia a cleansweep of the Olympic walk titles. The 23-year-old two time world medallist broke the 20-year-old Olympic record as he timed 3:37.9 to take gold ahead of 20km bronze medallist Jared Tallent of Australia. Russia’s silver medallist from 2004, Denis Nizhegorodov, won the bronze in 3hr 40.14.