What's New
(Daegu Athletics) Bolt strikes gold, hurdler beats curse as upsets abound on field
By Yoo Jee-ho
DAEGU, Sept. 3 (Yonhap) -- This time, there was no false start or no jogging toward the line: just sheer brilliance from start to finish for Usain Bolt who won the men's 200 meters at the World Championships in Athletics on Saturday.

   The Jamaican defended his world 200-meter crown with 19.40 seconds, the best time by anyone this season. More than anything else, the victory redeemed himself for the false start that disqualified him in the 100-meter final last week.

   Bolt was the slowest out of the blocks, but after the bend, there was little doubt who was going to win. American Walter Dix tried to challenge Bolt over the final stretch but the lanky Jamaican pulled away to beat him by three-tenths of a second. And even with the win in his hand, Bolt never slowed and instead gritted his teeth until the end.

   Entering the 200-meter event, Bolt had insisted he'd put the disappointment of the false start behind and was ready to show he was still the man to beat on the track.

   "I feel great. I'm still the best," Bolt said. "I made a mistake in the 100 but I would have won it."

   He was as relaxed as ever before the start, appearing well in his element preening for the cameras and raising his index and middle fingers to indicate he would win the 200 meters. The victory was sprinkled with his signature, flamboyant dance moves that delighted some 40,000 fans at Daegu Stadium.

   "I was running hard just to say to fans sorry about the 100 meters," Bolt said. "It is a good time. I am not in my best shape, but it is all about fun and enjoyment. I am happy with my time, and I look forward to the last two races of the season."

Usain Bolt celebrates his 200-meter gold medal on Sept. 3 at the World Championships in Athletics in Daegu. (Yonhap)

On the action-packed night, Sally Pearson, a diminutive hurdler from Australia, took the women's 100-meter hurdles with a new championship record of 12.28 seconds, beating in the process an ever-growing curse of the official championships program book.

   The 166-centimeter (5-foot-5) dynamo exploded out of the blocks soon after the start, and her win was never in doubt after about 20 meters. Danielle Carruthers and Dawn Harper, both of the U.S., crossed the line at 12.47 seconds, but Carruthers won the silver in a photo finish.

   In a lighter moment, Pearson stomped on the championships' official program thrown toward her while she was jogging around the stadium in celebration. For six of the first seven days here, athletes on the programs' cover had failed to win gold medals, giving birth to the curse of the program.

   Pearson was on the cover Saturday, the eighth day, but she put any concerns to rest with the resounding win.

   "I have worked so hard to get here to this," Pearson said. "I've got faith in my coach and with my training I could not be happier, so I'm not surprised by this win."

Sally Pearson of Australia shows off the offical program book of the World Championships in Athletics, bearing her image on the cover, on Sept. 3, after winning the 100-meter hurdles. (Yonhap)

There were upsets on the field. In women's high jump, Anna Chicherova of Russia snatched the gold at 2.03 meters, edging two-time defending champion Blanka Vlasic of Croatia.

   Both cleared the same height, but the Russian did so in one fewer attempt for the title. They both failed in three attempts to jump 2.05 meters.

   Vlasic, battling left hamstring injury, was looking to become the first three-time world champion in high jump, men or women. Chicherova finally got the better of Vlasic after finishing in second behind the Croatian in the last two worlds.

   In the men's javelin throw, German Matthias de Zordo stunned the defending champ Andreas Thorkildsen of Norway.

   De Zordo threw 86.27 meters to take the lead after his first throw, and it stood as the gold medal distance. Thorkildsen, the only man to have gone beyond 90 meters this year, couldn't even get to 81 meters in his first three tries, but salvaged the silver with 84.78 meters in the fourth try.

   The German champ said he didn't want to waste any time charging out in front.

   "My coach told me to hit it hard on the first attempt and I am glad I was able to do so," de Zordo said. "I am really happy that it was enough to win. I do not know what was wrong with Andreas Thorkildsen, why he was not able to attack."

   Elsewhere on track, Kenya ended perhaps the most improbable drought in athletics and finally got its first world title in men's 1,500 meters.

   Asbel Kiprop did the job for Kenya in 3:35.69, and fellow Kenyan Silas Kiplagat picked up the silver at just 0.23 seconds back.

   "It makes me happy to be the first Kenyan to win the 1,500 meters," said Kiprop. "Running with Kiplagat and others gives me motivation to run next year in the London Olympics."

   The U.S. women's 4x400-meter relay team edged the rival Jamaicans to win in 3:18.09, the fastest time this year. Sanya Richards-Ross, Allyson Felix, Jessica Beard and Francena McCorory gave the U.S. its third straight gold in the event. Felix has been on all three teams.

   In the men's 50-kilometer race walk earlier Saturday, Sergey Bakulin of Russia took the gold at 3:41:24, followed by fellow Russian Denis Nizhegorodov at 3:42:45.

   Park Chil-sung set a South Korean record of 3:47:13 to finish seventh. It was the third Korean record established at these championships so far.

   With one day left in the championships, the U.S. continues to lead the medal table with 10 golds and 21 medals overall, followed by Russia with seven golds and Kenya with six golds.