Bolt coasts into 200 final at world championship

AP, Friday 2 Sep 2011

Jamaican Usain Bolt cruises into the world championships 200 metres final on Friday

Usain Bolt

The defending champion put last week’s debacle of a false start in the 100 final behind him.

“Back to my normal self. I’m trying to enjoy the game as much as possible,” Bolt said after two dominant performances in which his slow starts gave way to powerful finishes. “I know I’m still the best, so I’m focused on it.”

And if he needed any guidance in the 200, there was two-time Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown fighting off 100 champion Carmelita Jeter and three-time defending champion Allyson Felix to clinch gold in the Jamaica-United States sprint rivalry.

The Americans still came out of Friday’s rush of six finals with two gold. They lead the medal standings with nine gold and 16 overall.

With a bib number 1111, American long jumper Dwight Phillips obliged, winning his fourth world title since 2003. With a leap of 27 feet, 8 3/4 inches, he beat Mitchell Watt of Australia and Ngonidzashe Makusha of Zimbabwe.

The American 4x400 relay team won its fourth straight gold, getting an amazing final kick from LaShawn Merritt to deny South Africa and Jamaica at the line.

Even though double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius was surprisingly left out of the lineup, he will still get a silver medal for running in the heats. Pistorius ran the leadoff leg that got his team into Friday’s race with a national record.

He just wished he could have earned it, too.

“Was really hard watching knowing I deserved to be part of it,” Pistorius said in a Twitter message after Friday’s race.

Another South African, defending 800 champion Caster Semenya, put a troubled season behind her with a powerful last lap to become the top qualifier for Sunday’s final ahead of the year’s best performer, Mariya Savinova of Russia.

A gender-test controversy caused her to miss last season, but Semenya came back strong in Daegu. She ran perhaps the best race of her season in 1:58.07, making her a medal contender after many thought she wouldn’t reach the final.

Bolt can still get a double if he wins the 200 and Jamaica also wins the sprint relay on Sunday. But Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya already got hers by winning the 5,000 to add to her 10,000 title last Sunday.

It was the fourth 1-2 finish for Kenya as the east African country continued to dominate middle and long-distance running. Kenya was second behind the United States with five gold and 12 medals overall.

David Storl of Germany broke an American stranglehold in the shot put with a toss of 71-5 1/2 , beating Dylan Armstrong of Canada and Andrei Mikhnevich of Belarus. U.S. shot putters were shut out of the medals for the first time in two decades.

Maria Abakumova of Russia flirted with the world record in the javelin but finished with a championship-record throw of 236-2 to win the javelin. World-record holder Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic took silver and Sunette Viljoen of South Africa earned bronze.

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