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Gatlin finishes fourth in 200m

September 10, 2005 15:55 IST

World 200 metres champion Justin Gatlin was relegated to fourth place on the opening day of the two-day world athletics final on Friday after his team mate Tyson Gay clocked 19.96 seconds into a strong headwind.

Gatlin, the Olympic 100 gold medallist, became only the second man after fellow-American Maurice Greene to win the 100-200 double at last month's Helsinki world championships.

Gay, who was fourth at the worlds behind team mates Wallace Spearmon and 2003 world champion John Capel, led Jamaican Christopher Williams and Spearmon across the line on Friday.

"It was a great race," Gay said. "After finishing fourth in Helsinki I was motivated to do much better."

Gatlin, the strong favourite to win the International Association of Athletics Federation's (IAAF) male athlete of the year award on Saturday, said he was not disappointed.

"It was a great season for me," he said. "I want to focus on quality races next year."

There was also an upset in the women's 5,000 where Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba, who is expected to win the women's athlete of the year award, was beaten into second after a frenzied sprint finish with team mate Meseret Defar, who was second in Helsinki.

Dibaba won the world long and short course cross country titles in France this year before becoming the first woman to win a 5,000-10,000 global double at the world championships.

Olympic 200 champion Veronica Campbell won the women's 100 by one-hundredth of a second from France's Christine Arron. Campbell, who took the 100 silver in Helsinki in front of Arron, clocked 10.92. Arron's time of 10.93 was her season's best.


Olympic 1,500 silver medallist Bernard Lagat, who was unable to compete in Helsinki while he completes a change of nationality from Kenya to the U.S., produced a searing final lap to win the men's 3,000 in seven minutes 38.00 seconds in front of Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge.

"I ran this 3,000 like a 1,500," said Lagat. "The finish was great."

Ethiopian-born Maryam Yusuf Jamal, who now competes for Bahrain, started her finishing sprint with 600 metres to go in the women's 1,500, and held on to win in front of Russia's world champion Tatyana Tomashova.

Docus Inzikuru, Uganda's first world champion, raced away from her opponents after one kilometre to win the women's 3,000 metres steeplechase in 9:21.80. The event was introduced in Helsinki for the first time at a major championship.

"I am so happy that I have finished the season successfully and without injury," she said. "I think that I can break the world record next season."

The season ended unhappily for American Olympic and world 400 metres champion Jeremy Wariner, who appeared to have his race under control when he slowed in the straight and hobbled across the line in last place clutching his right thigh.

Another American Tyree Washington finished first with Briton Tim Benjamin clocking a personal best of 44.56 to take second place.

American Lashinda Demus reversed the result of the Helsinki women's 400 metres hurdles by defeating Russian gold medallist world record holder Yuliya Pechonkina. Demus's team mate Sandra Glover finished third as she had in Finland.

In the field events, Lithuanian Virgilijus Alekna confirmed his supremacy in the men's discus with another victory over world silver medallist Gerd Kanter of Estonia.

Sweden's world champion Kajsa Bergqvist, competing with an injured ankle, won the women's high jump with 2.00 metres before making three unsuccessful attempts on the world record of 2.07 set at the 1987 Rome worlds by Bulgarian Stefka Kostadinova.

"My ankle is swollen after yesterday's injury," she said. "With a perfect jump I can break the world record."

John Mehaffey
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