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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 September 2007, 13:45 GMT 14:45 UK
Britain claim sprint relay bronze
Mark Lewis-Francis, Christian Malcolm, Marlon Devonish and Craig Pickering celebrate their bronze
The British quartet matched their 2005 feat by winning bronze
Great Britain's men's 4x100m team secured bronze in a thrilling final at the World Championships in Japan.

Christian Malcolm, Craig Pickering, Marlon Devonish and Mark Lewis-Francis clocked a time of 37.90 seconds - third fastest on the UK all-time list.

The race was won by the United States in 37.78 while Jamaica's Asafa Powell pipped Lewis-Francis for silver.

Britain's women's team finished fourth in their 4x100m final, a race also won by the US with Jamaica second.

The British men's bronze equalled their performance of two years ago in Helsinki, with Pickering coming in to replace retiring training partner Jason Gardener.

The quartet's efforts at a relay camp on the eve of the championships paid off as a string of safe handovers saw Lewis-Francis come off the final bend in second.

Lewis-Francis, 24, gritted his teeth but could not fend off world record holder Powell at the death.

We worked hard and it's a nice way to end the championships

Marlon Devonish

"I could feel Asafa Powell breathing down my neck," Lewis-Francis told BBC Sport. "Our coach just told us to dig in and focus on our race.

"I just thought 'carry on running down the home straight and try and hold them off'. I was getting a bit tight but the big chest helped in the end."

Devonish, who finished sixth in the men's 100m final, added: "It's gone smoothly, we worked hard and it's a nice way to end the championships."

The Americans' victory saw Tyson Gay collect his third world championship gold to add to his 100m and 200m titles.

Jamaica also set a new national record of 37.89 in second despite some untidy baton changes.

Britain's female sprint team of Laura Turner, Montell Douglas, Emily Freeman and Joice Maduaka also battled bravely.

The quartet clocked a time of 42.87 seconds and just missed out on a medal place.

The United States won the race in a time of 41.98 with Jamaica second in 42.01 and Belgium third.

The British team were happy with their performance despite failing to claim a medal and are confident they can perform at next year's Olympics.

"We are a world-class team and we have worked really hard," said Maduaka. "This will inspire us for Beijing.

Roman Sebrle clinches the decathlon in the 1500m
Sebrle finally claims an elusive world title at his sixth attempt

"We will work on our flat speed and our baton skills and we will come back stronger."

In the 4x400m relay, GB's men's and women's teams both qualified for Sunday's finals.

The women's team, without rested 400m world champion Christine Ohuruogu, booked a place in the final after qualifying second behind the United States in their heat.

Silver 400m medallist Nicola Sanders, Lee McConnell, Donna Fraser and 800m runner Marilyn Okoro clocked a time of 3:25.45.

Ohuruogu was part of the quartet who won bronze in 2005 and will return for the final.

The men's quartet of Andrew Steele, Rob Tobin, Richard Buck and Martyn Rooney finished fourth in their heat, just outside the automatic qualifications.

But their time of three minutes, 01.22 seconds was enough for them to book a place in the final as one of the fastest losers.

Tim Benjamin missed the heats and is a doubt for the final as he is suffering with a virus.

606: DEBATE
MR

Away from the relays, Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic secured his first world decathlon gold after a perfectly-judged run in the final event, the 1500m.

Sebrle went into the 1500m leading Jamaican Maurice Smith by just 44 points after winning the javelin with a personal-best throw of 71.18m.

And in the 1500m, Sebrle made sure he finished right behind fourth-placed Smith to seal victory with a total of 8,676 points.

Smith, who clocked 13.91 seconds in the hurdles and was the only athlete to throw beyond 50m in the discus, landing 52.36m, had led from the third event until the ninth before Sebrle's javelin win.

Smith took silver with 8,644 points and Dmitriy Kaprov of Kazakhstan got bronze with 8,586.

Defending champion Bryan Clay pulled out after four events because of a thigh injury.

Sebrle, who now has the Olympic title, two European golds, the world record and the world title, said: "It was an up-and-down competition but I'm very happy. The set is now complete."

Ethiopia's Meseret Defar also claimed her first world title over 5,000m, in what Britain's Jo Pavey described as "a race too many".

Jo Pavey (right) cannot keep up with winner Meseret Defar
Another tough race for Pavey (right) who can't keep up with winner Defar

The Briton, who finished fourth in the 10,000m, came home ninth in a season's best 15 minutes 04.77 seconds.

Pavey told BBC Sport: "I am disappointed but maybe it was a race too many. From the gun, I thought 'this isn't quite right.'

"But it is a world championship final. If I hadn't tried I would have been left thinking 'what if' for the rest of my life."

Defar, the Olympic champion and world record holder, kicked for home down the back straight to cross the line in 14:57.91 ahead of Kenyan duo Vivian Cheruiyot and Priscah Jepleting Cherono.

Brad Walker of the United States claimed gold in the pole vault with a mark of 5.86m, edging out France's Romain Mesnil.

Mesnil also finished with 5.86m, but cleared it on his second attempt while Walker got over on his first while German Danny Ecker took bronze after clearing 5.81m.

Australian Nathan Deakes survived the hot and humid conditions to claim the men's 50km walk gold in three hours 43 minutes and 53 seconds.

European champion Yohan Diniz of France was second nearly half a minute behind while Italian Alex Schwazer took bronze as he did two years ago in Helsinki.



SEE ALSO
Sotherton wins heptathlon bronze
26 Aug 07 |  Athletics
Ohuruogu claims gold for Britain
29 Aug 07 |  Athletics
British pair miss out on medals
01 Sep 07 |  Disability Sport


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