Sanya wins gold as Bolt rolls on

BERLIN: Sanya Richards of the United States claimed her first individual world 400m title on Tuesday as Jamaica’s Usain Bolt looked ahead to achieving a unique Olympic and world sprint double.

Having twice won 4x400m gold in both the Olympics and World Championships, this was the 24-year-old Richards’ first solo gold

as she avenged her defeat

at the Beijing Olympics to Britain’s Christine Ohuruogu. Richards clocked a season’s best of 49 seconds to beat home Jamaica’s Shericka Williams (49.32).

For the Jamaican-born Richards it finally gave her a title to match her 400m dominance on the Grand Prix circuit in recent years and provided her first individual major title. British woes were eased a little when Phillips Idowu won the men’s triple jump gold, beating defending Olympic and world champion Nelson Evora of Portugal. Idowu, the 30-year-old Olympic silver medalist, landed in the sand pit at 17.73 metres—the best in the world this season — while Evora (17.55) was second and Alexis Copello of Cuba (17.36) third.

Earlier, Olympic champion and world record-holder Bolt breezed through to the 200m semi-finals and remains on course to claim a world sprint double after coasting through to the semi-finals. The 22-year-old Jamaican, who set a new world record of 9.58sec in winning the 100m on Sunday, is seeking to emulate his triple Olympic gold medal haul achieved at the Beijing Games last year.

Kerron Clement retained men’s 400 metres hurdles by timing a world best for the year of 47.91seconds. The 24-year-old — silver medalist at the Olympics — beat Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson (48.09).

There was delight for the home crowd at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium when Steffi Nerius of Germany won the women’s javelin gold to end her frustrating run of three successive world bronzes. The 37-year-old threw a season’s best mark of 67.30 metres to beat defending and Olympic champion Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic (66.42m) while Maria Abakumova of Russia took the bronze (66.06m).

Nerius, who took Olympic silver in 2004 and bronze from the 2003, 2005 and 2007 world championships, set her marker out from the start with what turned out to be the winning effort. Kenyan Ezekiel Kemboi ended a six-year wait for world gold when he won the men’s 3000m steeplechase title.