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Last Updated: Friday, 31 August 2007, 14:29 GMT 15:29 UK
Wariner eases to second 400m gold
Wariner
Wariner has not lost a championship race since 2004
Jeremy Wariner produced a peerless run to claim a second straight 400m title at the World Championships in Japan.

The American clocked a personal best of 43.45 seconds to lead home team-mates LaShawn Merritt and Angelo Taylor.

There were also glorious victories for Allyson Felix, as she won the 200m title, and China's Liu Xiang, who won his first world 110m hurdles title.

Britain's male 4x100m relay squad reached Saturday's final but Michael Rimmer failed to make the 800m final.

The British quartet of Christian Malcolm, Craig Pickering, Marlon Devonish and Mark Lewis-Francis were second fastest in their heat in 38.33, behind Brazil - but that time was only good enough for them to qualify fifth fastest overall.

Jamaica, led home by Asafa Powell, set a world-leading time of 38.02, while the Americans, even without double sprint champion Tyson Gay, looked dangerous as they set a season's best mark of 38.10.

606: DEBATE

Devonish said: "It was very comfortable, we didn't do anything stupid and now we can just try and take care of business in the final."

But Malcolm added: "We are pretty confident, but it's not going to be easy."

Jeremy Wariner went into the 400m as an almost unstoppable force but he was toe-to-toe with Merritt off the final bend, before pulling away to run the last 100m clear.

The 23-year-old Texan edged closer to his mentor Michael Johnson's world record of 43.18 but could not quite find the final kick in Japan, though he did become the only other athlete apart from Johnson to win back-to-back world crowns.

"Next year it is to defend my Olympic title," Wariner said, "The world record, it will come when it should come."

American Allyson Felix made the defence of her 200m title look incredibly easy as she pulled clear of the field to win gold by over half a second in 21.81.

Felix, the youngest athlete to claim a sprint world title as a 19-year-old in Helsinki two years ago, matched Jamaican Marlene Ottey in winning back-to-back world championship 200m golds.

Liu Xiang wins the 110m hurdles
Xiang is now China's first male world champion on the track

Jamaica's Veronica Campbell, who had been chasing the sprint double in Osaka, took silver while Sri Lanka's 31-year-old Susanthika Jayasinghe finished strongly to snatch bronze.

"I've been waiting for so long to run under 22 seconds. It has not been an easy road, but finally I managed it," said Felix.

Liu Xiang set himself up nicely for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where he will undoubtedly be the pin-up of the Games, by winning his first world title with a dominant hurdling display.

The 24-year-old Olympic champion surged clear of American duo Terrence Trammell and David Payne with three barriers to go to win in 12.95.

Payne's bronze came even though he only arrived in Osaka on Tuesday as a late replacement in the US team.

Defending decathlon champion Bryan Clay pulled out of the championships after sustaining an injury in his third event.

The American, who had been in second place after strong performances in the 100m and long jump, pulled his right quadricep muscle during the high jump, his manager Paul Doyle confirmed.

As soon as I hit the front I was running scared and these guys can smell that on you

Michael Rimmer

Jamaican Maurice Smith leads at the half-way stage with 4525 points, ahead of Dmitry Karpov of Kazakhstan (4439) and Czech Olympic champion Roman Sebrle (4434).

Britons Abby Westley and Lisa Dobriskey failed to make it through to the women's 1500m final.

Dobriskey finished 10th in her heat after being forced to run the last 600m without her shoe, which had came off during a tangle on the second lap.

Michael Rimmer's gamble failed to pay off as the 800m runner missed out on a place in Sunday's final.

The Liverpool athlete found himself out on his own, and held at 10m lead at the bell, but the 21-year-old was reeled in by the pack as he faded down the home straight.

"I wanted to go out super quick and it turned out that I was in the lead," said Rimmer.

"As soon as I hit the front I was running scared and these guys can smell that on you.

"I had half an eye behind me and you can't do that. I should have concentrated on my own race and I've learned a lot."

Mark Lewis-Francis
Mark Lewis-Francis (right) anchors Britain into the final

Barbara Spotakova of the Czech Republic won the women's javelin title after launching 67.07m with Christina Obergfoll of Germany claiming her second consecutive world silver.

Cuba's Yargelis Savigne claimed the women's triple jump title with 15.28 metres on her first attempt, depriving Russian Tatyana Lebedeva of an unprecedented long jump and triple jump double.

Olga Kaniskina led home a Russian one-two in the women's 20k walk. Compatriot Tatyana Shemyakina won silver ahead of Spain's Maria Vasco.

Britain's Johanna Jackson finished 25th overall, nine-and-a-half minutes behind the winner.



SEE ALSO
Michael Johnson column
31 Aug 07 |  Athletics
Gay sprints to second Worlds gold
30 Aug 07 |  Athletics


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