Mon, Aug 27, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Gay upstages Powell to win gold

UNPRECEDENTED TREBLE While the men's 100m was tough to call, nothing was easier than backing Sweden's Carolina Kluft for a third straight heptathlon gold medal

AGENCIES, OSAKA, Japan

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Tyson Gay of the US surged past Jamaica's Asafa Powell to win gold in the men's 100m at the world championships yesterday.

Gay caught world record holder Powell at the mid-point of the race and clocked a time of 9.85 seconds, with Derrick Atkins of the Bahamas coming through to take silver in 9.91 seconds.

Powell trailed home in 9.96 seconds to claim the bronze.

Neither Gay nor Powell had previously won a world title, Powell missing the 2005 championships in Helsinki through injury and Gay finishing fourth in the 200m.

In the three heats leading up the final, the last race last night, Jamaica's Powell did not have to push once to reach the showdown with Gay.

Not to be outdone, Gay had his first decent start of the weekend in the semi-final. The American hit his stride and coasted to the best qualifying time, 10.00 seconds.

Both were focused on winning their first global title, and bragging rights going into next year's Beijing Olympics.

While the 100m was tough to predict, nothing was easier than tipping Carolina Kluft for an unprecedented third straight heptathlon title. And the 24-year-old Swede did it with a European record, becoming the second best heptathlete of all time after Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

Kluft easily stretched her five-year unbeaten streak and, with a total of 7032, she beat the 18-year old European record of Russian Nikitina Larisa by 25 points.

Immediately after setting the record, she led all competitors hand in hand around the Nagai stadium, the gesture as much the essence of Kluft as the outstanding performances.

Ukraine's Lyudmila Blonska and Britain's Kelly Sotherton won the silver and bronze medals in the seven-discipline event.

In a tense shot put final, New Zealander Valerie Vili overtook defending champion Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus with her last attempt, 20.54m. Ostapchuk, who held the lead from the opening throw, had one attempt to go but was stranded just 6cm short. Olympic silver medalist Nadine Kleinert of Germany took bronze with 19.77m.

In the women's 100m second-round heats, Veronica Campbell cruised into the semi-finals with a time of 11.08 seconds, hardly breaking a sweat in temperatures which soared into the thirties late in the evening.

Her main rival for the title, US champion Torri Edwards, won her heat in 11.13 seconds, easing up at the finish.

"I feel confident I can take this thing, the track is fast," she said. "It's hot, but sprinters like the hot weather."

Defending champion Lauryn Williams was second in her heat, advancing in 11.16 seconds.

Ecuador's Jefferson Perez became the first man to win three successive 20km walk titles, enough to make him a star in his native Ecuador. Together with the 1996 Olympic title, the 33-year-old became a quadruple gold medalist at major competitions.

"I knew I could be the first with three consecutive golds but shortly after the start I forgot about this -- I needed to concentrate," he said. "One more medal is not that important."

Spain's Francisco Javier Fernandez was reinstated to silver in the walk after being originally being disqualified for lifting.

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