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Bolt blasts and Rollins rolls in Moscow

Usain Bolt of Jamaica looks on before his men's 200 metrers heats during the IAAF World Athletics Championships at the Luzhniki stadium in M
Usain Bolt of Jamaica looks on before his men's 200 metrers heats during the IAAF World Athletics Championships at the Luzhniki stadium in M

By Justin Palmer

MOSCOW (Reuters) - His swag of gold growing with every meticulously executed global final, Usain Bolt cantered to more sprint glory on Saturday as American Brianna Rollins, bursting with raw power, announced herself as the new hurdling queen.

Bolt led home a Jamaican one-two in securing an unprecedented third world 200 meters title in 19.66 seconds, the fastest time this year, before he and silver medalist Warren Weir celebrated by gyrating to Bob Marley.

Rollins, resplendent in a red, white and blue headband, dethroned Australian Sally Pearson in the 100m hurdles, following in the illustrious strides of compatriots and multiple world title winners Gail Devers and Michelle Perry.

The penultimate night of the championships also belonged to the hosts, who secured two golds in the matter of a few fast and furious minutes in the women's 4x400m relay and high jump, both at the expense of the United States.

With six more titles to be decided on Sunday, Russia edged ahead in the medal table by seven golds to six, although the U.S. have won 20 of all colors to Russia's 15.

Ethiopia's Meseret Defar, in her sixth world championships, was an uncomplicated winner of the women's 5,000 meters and Czech Vitezslav Vesely claimed men's javelin gold.

Earlier, Uganda's Olympic champion Stephen Kiprotich showed he was no one-hit wonder by breaking Kenya's stranglehold on the men's marathon.


Bolt again led the seven men lining up alongside him a merry dance, toying with his underlings down the home straight in conditions in stark contrast to the rain, thunder and lightning that greeted his 100 meters victory on Sunday.

"The 100 is for the fans and for the show and the fastest man in the world and all that, but for me it means more to come here and defend my 200 title," Bolt said.

"When I entered the straight, I felt tired, my legs felt a little heavy. And my coach told me not to push too hard if it was possible, so I backed off a little."

Weir went one better than the Olympic final in London, following Bolt home in 19.79 with American Curtis Mitchell denying Jamaica a podium sweep by edging Nickel Ashmeade for bronze by one hundredth of a second.

With Pearson not at her best in a season hampered by injury, Rollins, 21, served notice that she was ready to fire when she equaled the fourth fastest 100 meters hurdles ever run in June.

She looked composed and assured in heat and semi-final and, belying her inexperience, recovered from being last out of the blocks to produce a near-flawless hurdling display to win in 12.44.

"It was great year for me," she said. "I have a huge respect for Sally Pearson, it was great to compete with her today."

Pearson took silver in 12.50 and Britain's Tiffany Porter bronze in 12.55.


An almost full house inside the Luzhniki roared their approval as Russian anchor leg runner Antonina Krivoshapka kept pulling out more to hold off a sustained challenge from American Francena McCorory at the climax of a thrilling 4x400 relay.

It was Russia's first track gold of these championships and first in a women's world 4x400 final since 2005 after an unbroken period of U.S. domination.

Barely had the cheers subsided when the unheralded Svetlana Shkolina upstaged compatriot and defending champion Anna Chicherova in the high jump.

Shkolina was the only competitor to clear 2.03, a personal best, the Russian scarcely believing she had won after American Brigetta Barrett fluffed her third attempt.

Chicherova shared bronze with Spaniard Ruth Beitia and all the Russian women - Shkolina, Chicherova and the relay quartet took their lap of honor together.

Swede Emma Green-Tregaro took part in the final with her nails painted red after being warned she would break the sport's code of conduct if she repeated her gesture of support for Russia's gay community when she sported rainbow colors during the qualifying round.


In an exclusive interview with Reuters [ID:nLN0GI040], International Association of Athletics Federation president Lamine Diack said he remained unperturbed by the backdrop of Russia's controversial gay propaganda law.

"Russia has its laws that need to be respected. We come here for athletics and each can do what he wants in his private life," he said.

Ethiopia's men were outshone by Briton Mo Farah in both long distance events but first Tirunesh Dibaba, and then Defar on Saturday, proved the African nation's women have few track equals over 10 and 5k.

Twice Olympic 5,000 meters champion Defar added a second world title to her first from Osaka six years ago. Making her decisive move 250m from home she quickly put the race to bed to win in 14:50.19.

In the marathon, Kiprotich built on last year's London success with victory in two hours nine minutes 51 seconds on Saturday.

He became the first non-Kenyan to win the title since 2005, with Ethiopians Lelisa Desisa and Tadese Tola taking the minor medals.

Czech Vesely added the javelin world gold to his European title with a winning effort of 87.17m, 10cm ahead of Finland's Tero Pitkamaki with Russian Dmitri Tarabin securing bronze with 86.23

(Editing by Alison Wildey)