| Eunice Jepkoech Sum of Kenya after winning the 800m gold, on Sunday. (Getty Images) |
Moscow: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce completed the hat-trick, just like compatriot Usain Bolt, in the World Championships here on Sunday. Jamaica won the women’s 4x100 relay in the second-fastest time ever, giving them all six sprint gold in Moscow to bring the Caribbean island out of the doping cloud that surrounded it before the build-up to Moscow.
Fraser-Pryce became the first woman in World Championships history to sweep the sprint events, anchoring Jamaica to gold in the 4x100 relay on Sunday.
Fraser-Pryce got the baton with a big lead. With her pink hair extensions swaying behind her, she kept on increasing the lead to post a championship record of 41.29 seconds.
Lost in the excitement and a string of upsets was that the United States failed to lead the gold medal standings for the first time since the inaugural World Championships in Helsinki 30 years ago.
Instead, Russia topped the table with seven gold, edging the United States and Jamaica with six. In the overall standings, the US team dominated with 25, holding a wide lead over the host nation with 17.
With a middle distance double on Sunday, Kenya secured African domination over neighbour and rival Ethiopia. Asbel Kiprop of Kenya successfully defended his 1,500 title, trailing teammate Nixon Chepseba for most of the race before emerging into the finishing straight with a devastating kick no one could match. Matthew Centrowitz of the US took silver in the hectic sprint finish, just ahead of Johan Cronje of South Africa.
Kenyan Eunice Sum spoilt the Russian party on the final day of the World Championships with a late burst through the middle to deny home favourite Mariya Savinova back-to-back 800 m titles on Sunday.
Unheralded Sum, the Kenyan trials winner, powered past the Russian Olympic champion on the home straight and threw her arms into the air as she crossed the line in a personal best time of one minute 57.38 seconds.
Savinova was second in 1:57.80 and American Brenda Martinez snatched bronze (1:57.91) from her compatriot and long-time race leader Alysia Johnson Montano who threw herself over the line before dissolving into tears.
Montano, fastest in the semi-finals, pulled away from the start and led by 10 metres at the bell but was clearly tying up as the athletes rounded the home bend and had nothing left to give in the dash for the line.
Russia hoped they would win another gold in the women’s javelin, but defending champion Maria Abakumova disappointed with bronze. Instead, Christina Obergfoell of Germany won her first major javelin title at 31, beating Kimberley Mickle of Australia.
The string of upsets continued in the men’s triple jump, where Olympic and defending champion Christian Taylor of the US finished only fourth. Teddy Tamgho of France edged Pedro Pichardo of Cuba for gold.
Tamgho and Pichardo were even at 17.68m late in the contest but Tamgho made the difference on his last jump when he leapt 18.04 for his first world title.
In the women’s 4x100, America's women got it horribly wrong, although they managed a super-human recovery to claim bronze. English Gardner had come to a complete standstill by the time she finally collected the baton for the third leg, but a brilliant bend and an astounding last leg by Octavious Freeman took them through half the field for bronze behind France.
By then Jamaica’s quartet of Carrie Russell, Kerron Stewart, Schillonie Calvert and Fraser-Pryce were celebrating their win in 41.29, second only to America’s 40.82 set at last year’s Olympics and inside the drug-fuelled 41.37 of East Germany that stood for 27 years.
Having become the fourth-fastest 1,500m runner of all time last month, Kiprop started hot favourite and nobody could live with his long-striding acceleration over the last 200 metres as he triumphed in 3:36.28.
Sum’s victory was much less expected as her late burst denied Russia’s Mariya Savinova back-to-back 800m titles. She took gold in 1:57.38, ahead of Savinova (1:57.80). Brenda Martinez grabbed third as she overhauled compatriot Alysia Johnson Montano, who had run a brave front-running race but ended fourth, flat on the track and sobbing uncontrollably.
After years of agonising near misses, an emotional Obergfoell took her first major javelin title at the age of 31 after throwing a season's best 69.05 metres. Defending champion Maria Abakumova could only manage 65.09 behind surprise Australian runner-up Kimberly Mickle (66.60), to match the bronze her husband Dmitri Tarabin won in the men’s final.