Usain Bolt and his Jamaican team brought the curtain down on this year’s Worlds in high fashion by winning a predicted gold medal in men’s 4x100m relay with a new world record of 37.04 seconds on Sunday night.
|Usain Bolt of the Jamaican squad flashes through the final stretch of the men’s 4x100m relay for a world record finish at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu on Sunday. |
Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald
The closing ceremony was then held to round off nine action-packed days of trials and tribulations for the 1,945 athletes from 202 countries competing for 47 golds.
During the closing ceremony, some 1,500 athletes and volunteers led a march down the track, with beats that had the entire crowd on its feet.
“IAAF World Championships Daegu 2011, which has started with the greatest attendance of athletes and officials from member countries, finally comes to an end after the successful nine days of its big run,” said Daegu Mayor Kim Bum-il.
The IAAF flag, which flew throughout the championship was ceremonially lowered and handed over to the 2013 Moscow, Russia host Deputy Prime Minister and Local Organizing Committee president Alexander Zhukov.
The last day’s events had proved gripping, as demonstrated by Jamaica’s well-won gold in the 4x100m relay.
The French edged a battle with Saint Kitts and Nevis to take the silver medal in 38.20. The Saint Kitts and Nevis quartet took the bronze with 38.49. All-time favorite U.S. team did not finish the race as the third runner tumbled before handing the baton to the final team mate.
With the 100m world record holder Usain Bolt and new Worlds champion Yohan Blake in the race, the defending champion Jamaican quartet seemed almost impossible to beat.
The Jamaican started sluggishly in the first leg, falling behind France and Saint Kitts and Nevis. But third runner Blake gave the team a lead after receiving the baton from Michael Frater. Then came another fantastic performance from 25-year-old Jamaican star Bolt.
After taking over the baton from Blake, Bolt sprinted out immediately and ran with determination to set the first world record here in Daegu.
“I’m the world champion, we are the world champion. Jamaica is the No.1,” Bolt shouted to the cameras while celebrating his victory on the track.
His country faired less well in the women’s 4x100m relay with the U.S. squad dethroning Jamaica to take the championship title, winning in 41.56 seconds.
The Jamaican crew led by Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce looked strong through the first bend but the U.S.’s Allyson Felix quickly closed the gap and 100m champion Carmelita Jeter executed the final leg.
Following nearly a second behind the U.S. for bronze was the Ukrainian team.
The U.S. had looked good all day, breaking the record set by the Jamaican team earlier in the day even without star runners like Felix and Jeter in the semis.
During the women’s 800 meters, what looked largely like South African Caster Semenya’s gold was swiped by Russia’s Mariya Savinova in the last 50 meter stretch.
Savinova, 26, finished with a world-leading 1 minute, 55.87 seconds after following Semenya’s last 300 meter drive to briefly take the lead.
Coming in third was Kenya’s Janeth Jepkosgei, despite having held the lead through most of the race.
Great Britain’s Mohamed Farah took hold of the end game of the men’s 5,000m event to claim gold with 13 minutes, 23.36 seconds.
Largely following others in near last place during the first 2,000 meters of the race, Farah worked his way up and held pole position shortly after 4,000 meters, never letting go.
Challenging the 28-year-old Briton was the Ethiopian pack led by Imane Merga, who failed to execute during the last 70 meters of the track. Merga lost the silver to U.S.’s Bernard Lagat, and was later disqualified for a lane violation.
His compatriot Dejen Gebremeskel was later bumped up to bronze after the medal ceremony.
The men’s triple jump final was another exciting finish with all three top athletes, including defending champion Phillips Idowu of Great Britain and the 2009 bronze medalist Alexis Copello, competing for the title.
The night’s winner, however, was 21-year-old Christian Taylor, who jumped 17.96m to claim his first world title. Defending champion Idowu came second with his season best effort of 17.77m, while another American Will Claye took the bronze medal with a 17.50. Cuba’s Copello settled for fourth with a 17.47m.
The 32-year-old Idowu started brilliantly by jumping 17.56m in his first attempt and another brilliant effort of 17.77m in his fourth jump, but Taylor took over the lead after leaping a 17.96m in his fourth jump.
In other events, former world record holder Tatyana Lysenko of Russia beat the current record holder Betty Heidler of Germany to win the women’s hammer throw title.
The 27-year-old Russian threw her season best effort of 77.13m at her third attempt, while the German champion, who leads this year with a 79.42m, reached only 76.06m.
Asian record holder Zhang Wenxiu took the bronze with a first throw of 75.03m.
By Robert Lee and Oh Kyu-wook