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Page last updated at 20:17 GMT, Thursday, 20 August 2009 21:17 UK

Walker storms to 400m hurdle gold

Venue: Olympic Stadium, Berlin Date: 15-23 August
Coverage: Watch the action live and highlights on BBC Two, BBC HD, Red Button, Radio 5 live and the BBC Sport website (video for UK users only)
Full BBC coverage details

Berlino the Bear and Melaine Walker

Berlino the Bear drops champion Walker

Olympic champion Melaine Walker set the second fastest time in history to win the women's 400m hurdles final at the World Championships in Berlin.

The Jamaican ran 52.42 seconds to power home ahead of Lashinda Demus of the United States.

Trinidad's Josanne Lucas took bronze in a national record of 53.20 secs.

Croatia's Blanka Vlasic retained her women's high jump title, Russia's Anna Chicherova and Germany's Ariane Friedrich taking the other medals.

Vlasic was the only athlete to clear 2.04m for a victory that goes some way to making up for the disappointment of missing out on gold at the Beijing Olympics last summer.

Blanka Vlasic

Highlights - Vlasic triumphs in high-jump

It was another tense battle between Vlasic and Friedrich on an electric night in Berlin.

With Chicherova, who claimed the bronze medal in Beijing, and then Vlasic both clearing 2.02m, Friedrich had to wait until her third attempt to stay in the fight for gold.

Vlasic piled the pressure on the others by clearing 2.04m at the second time of asking and Chicherova went out after failing with her attempts.

With everything hanging on her final jump, Friedrich had the bar raised to 2.06m and, with total silence in the stadium, looked to have cleared it until she clipped the bar with her heel.

Her mistake handed Vlasic the gold and the Croat then opted to jump 2.10m but could not break Stefka Kostadinova's 22-year-old world record of 2.09m.

Melaine Walker

Replay - Walker wins gold in 400m hurdles

Earlier, Walker had started the 400m hurdles quietly but she was on Demus' shoulder at the bend before making her move on the home stretch to claim a comprehensive win.

"I was not thinking, I was just running," the 26-year-old said of her closing 100m. "All I could do was focus on hurdling, one at a time, and I came out victorious.

"This is a fantastic time and a new championship record. Everything went perfect today. I have been looking forward to this race because this is the only time you can do it."

Demus, the 2005 world silver medallist who missed the 2007 worlds for the birth of her twin sons, just managed to stave off the late challenge of Lucas and admitted she was to blame for her defeat.

"This is totally my fault," she said. "I hit the ninth hurdle and that threw me off, even though, I still thought I had a chance.

"I'm so disappointed and at the same time I can't be too upset. I have to prove I can be a champion, who knows to win and who also knows to lose."


Meanwhile, Trey Hardee of the United States won his first major title with victory in the men's decathlon.

The 25-year-old posted 8,790 points, the best in the world this year, to finish ahead of Cuba's Leonel Suarez and Aleksandr Pogorelov of Russia.

Hardee was ahead after seven events and going into the final 1,500m he was so comfortable that he could afford to clock a time about six seconds outside his personal best and still capture the title.

see also
Awesome Bolt breaks 200m record
20 Aug 09 |  Athletics
Rutherford sets long jump record
20 Aug 09 |  Athletics
Bolt strolls through 200m semis
19 Aug 09 |  Athletics
Athletics on the BBC
21 Apr 11 |  Athletics

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