American pair takes gold, silver

Updated: August 9, 2005, 4:58 PM ET
Associated Press

HELSINKI, Finland -- Felix Sanchez pulled up with an injured hamstring in the 400-meter hurdles Tuesday, and Bershawn Jackson led teammate James Carter in a 1-2 U.S. finish at the world championships.

Sanchez, the two-time defending champion from the Dominican Republic, stopped after one hurdle in a race that gave the United States another big victory following its wins in the men's and women's 100-meter finals.

Sanchez had been bothered by injury almost since winning the Olympic gold medal last year. The Dominican was intent on defending his world title despite not being in shape, and he paid a price. He clutched his right hamstring and fell to the wet track.

Jackson lived up to his nickname of Batman, flying past rivals and finishing in 47.30 seconds, an amazing time considering the rough conditions. Kerron Clement misjudged his last hurdle and squandered the chance for a U.S. triple, allowing Japan's Dai Tamesue to get the bronze.

Justin Gatlin, still sluggish from winning the 100 meters, reached the quarterfinals of the 200 to keep alive his bid for three gold medals at the worlds.

He looked lethargic on the bend and never got his famed acceleration going. Still, he advanced as the third and last assured qualifier from his heat.

"I feel a little sore, tired, like any person that runs fast,'' Gatlin said.

He caught a break when torrential rain storm forced organizers to delay his quarterfinal until Wednesday, giving him one more day to rest.

Running into a headwind, Gatlin was timed in 20.90 seconds. He was almost a second behind fellow American Tyson Gay.

Wallace Spearmon, the season's best performer, easily won his heat. Jamaican teenager Usain Bolt proved he will be a force, routing his opponents in his heat from the tight inside lane.

Gatlin is going for three golds and trying to become the dominant athlete of the championships. He has the 400 relays set for this weekend.

Spearmon, however wants to spread America's sprinting wealth.

"It is my job to make sure he doesn't get two golds,'' Spearmon said. "I want to take one home, too. He cannot be too greedy.''

In the women's 800, Cuba's Zulia Calatayud scored a big upset, winning in 1 minute, 58.82 seconds. Defending champion Maria Mutola, seeking her fourth title, finished fourth. Hasna Benhassi of Morocco was second in 1:59.42, followed by Tatyana Andrianova of Russia in 1:59.60.

Former Kenyan Saif Saaeed Shaheen of Qatar retained his world steeplechase title, frustrating Kenyan attempts to reclaim an event they consider their own. Before Shaheen's victory, Kenyans won six straight world titles and five Olympic golds.

Shaheen, formerly known as Stephen Cherono, extended his unbeaten streak to 22 races dating to 2002. He easily beat Kenyans Ezekiel Kemboi and Brimin Kipruto, then wrapped himself in the Qatar flag as he toured Olympic Stadium.

"I cannot tell you when I'll be beaten but is my main goal to be unbeaten,'' Shaheen said.

Kenya kept Shaheen out of the Athens Games last year because of his nationality change.

"It was a consolation for me because I missed the Olympics,'' he said.

In 400 qualifying, Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner easily advanced to the next round, cruising in his heat to finish in 45.24. In the pole vault, Olympic silver medalist Toby Stevenson of the United States pulled out with a sore hamstring during the warmups for qualifying.

A storm hit in early evening as runners in the second heat of the 100-meter hurdles lined up. The surface was quickly soaked, and the athletes rushed inside for cover. When lightning began flashing nearby about half the crowd of 40,000 left the stadium.

Apart from the 200-meter quarterfinals, organizers also delayed the women's discus final until Thursday, and men's triple jump qualifying until Wednesday.

More than blustery winds disturbed the athletes. One height-measuring device cracked off and jumping was briefly suspended. Pole vaulting great Sergei Bubka -- an IAAF Council member -- spoke to meet officials as they tried to figure out what to do. The qualifying height for the final was lowered to 18 feet, 4½ inches from 18-10½.

"I was just trying to help out,'' Bubka said. "It was unexpected and a decision had to be made quickly.''

In the decathlon, world and Olympic bronze medalist Dmitriy Karpov of Kazakhstan didn't even start the first of the 10-event competition, going out with a false start in his opening 100-meter heat.

Bryan Clay led Olympic champion and world record holder Roman Sebrle by a slim margin at the end of a first day. Clay ran a personal best in the 400-meter race over a sloshy track to bounce back into the lead ahead of the Czech star after half the 10 events were completed.The American has 4,527 points, 14 ahead of Sebrle.

Sebrle beat Clay to win the gold at the Athens Games and capture his first major title in the decathlon.

In Finland's national event, the javelin, Tero Pitkamaki drew the biggest cheer when he threw 269-8 and qualified for Wednesday's final on his first attempt.

"I just wanted to make sure I did it with my first throw,'' Pitkamaki said. "The conditions were challenging.''


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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