Jamaica clean sweep sprint

Beijing, August 21:

Veronica Campbell-Brown completed a sprint grand slam for Jamaica when she defended her Olympic 200 metres title gold on a day of heroes and villains on Thursday.

It gave Jamaica all four sprint titles after the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt sprinted into a class of his own taking the men’s 100m-200m double in world-record time and Shelly-Ann Fraser won the women’s 100m. For the first time since the boycotted 1980 Moscow Games the United States haven’t won at least one of the four glamour sprints.

Their miserable Games continued in the men’s and women’s 4x100 heats when both USA teams dropped the baton at the final change and failed to qualify. As Campbell-Brown became a Games star, so too did Dutch swimmer Maarten van der Weijden who beat life-threatening leukemia and fought back to win the gruelling swimming marathon.

Heptathlon silver medallist Lyudmila Blonska, meanwhile, looks set to be banned for life for a second doping offence and four riders were disqualified from the equestrian jumping final when their horses failed drugs tests. With torrential rain sweeping the Games city for much of the 14th day of the Games, the United States were on the verge of handing over their mantle of Olympic supremacy to China. The Games hosts have 45 gold medals to 27 for the USA, 17 for Great Britain and Russia on 16.

Campbell-Brown powered out of the blocks and had second placed American Allyson Felix covered by the halfway mark. She returned to the track 90 minutes later to anchor Jamaica as they qualified for the women’s 400m final. It was not all plaudits for Jamaica as Bolt drew a rebuke from IOC President Jacques Rogge who said he should show more respect for his rivals and shake hands at the finish.

Ukranian heptathlete Blonska, who failed her A sample, was removed from the women’s long jump final after her B sample was tested ahead of an International Olympic Committee (IOC) announcement on Friday. Blonska’s is the fifth drugs case involving athletes while four horses — from Brazil, Ireland, Germany and Norway — failed drugs tests.

While the USA had woes on the track their peerless women’s volleyball duo Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor beat China’s Tian Jia and Wang Jie 21-18, 21-18 in the final to register their 108th consecutive victory. China also took silver and bronze at the beach volleyball in their ever-expanding sporting prowess following ground-breaking golds in yachting, archery and fencing.

In the women’s football play-off, Germany won their third consecutive bronze medal beating Japan 2-0. Great Britain, enjoying their best Olympics since London in 1908, won their fourth yachting gold from 11 classes when Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson took the men’s Star title.