Bolt wins triple gold in World Athletics

BERLIN: Usain Bolt bagged his third gold medal of the World Athletics Championships here on Saturday when Jamaica stormed to the men''s 4x100m relay title.

Bolt has this week also shattered his own world records in winning the 100m (9.58sec) and 200m (19.19sec) to replicate his Beijing Olympics medal haul.

The Jamaican, who turned 23 on Friday, played down any suggestion that he was the "saviour" of athletics.

Steve Mullings, a 200m specialist, was the anchor man, handing on to Michael Frater, with former world record holder and current 100m bronze medallist Asafa Powell the sprinter entrusted with the final leg.

Bolt, however, failed to completely demonstrate his explosive power around the bend despite the roars of a packed Olympic Stadium, and his handover to Powell almost went awry when he just avoided running into his teammate.

The Jamaican foursome nevertheless set a championship record time of 37.31sec ahead of Trinidad and Tobago (37.62) with Britain claiming bronze (38.02).

In more glory for the Caribbean sprinters, Jamaica also won the women''s 4x100m relay title after the US team had crashed out in their heat. The result meant that the only sprint title the US have won here is the women''s 200m by Allyson Felix.

The Jamaican quartet, including individual 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser, timed 42.06 seconds to take gold ahead of Bahamas (42.29sec) while Germany took bronze (42.87sec).

Away from the world of sprinting, Kenya enjoyed an excellent day''s work with long distance arch-rivals Ethiopia emerging as the main losers.

Kenyan Abel Kirui won the men''s marathon with compatriot Emmanuel Mutai claiming silver ahead of Ethiopia''s Olympic bronze medallist Tsegay Kebede.

And in the absence of injured Ethiopian distance-running starlet Tirunesh Dibaba, Kenya''s Vivian Cheruiyot trumped defending champion Meseret Defar, also of Ethiopia, in a sprint to the line in the women''s 5000m.

As Defar eased off in the knowledge that she had been defeated, Cheruiyot''s compatriot Sylvia Kibet stole in for silver.

American Dwight Phillips, who was the 2004 Olympic champion and world champion in 2003 and 2005, regained his long jump title with a best of 8.54m after seeing defending champion and Olympic titleholder Irving Saladino fail to make it through to the final three jumps.

South African Godfrey Mokoena (8.47m) replicated his Beijing Games form with a silver and Australia''s Mitchell Watt took bronze (8.37m).

Australian Steve Hooker, the Olympic champion, overcame a groin injury to win the men''s pole vault, making just one clearance at 5.90m for victory over French duo Romain Mesnil (5.85m) and Renaud Lavillenie (5.80m).

Poland''s Anita Wlodarczyk set a new world record of 77.96m in winning the women''s hammer throw, Germany''s Betty Heidler claiming silver with a national record of 77.12m and Czech thrower Martina Hrasnova taking bronze with 74.79m.