US win four golds at World Indoors

The United States have clinched four golds on the final day of the World Indoor Athletics Championships, a fifth was removed when the men’s 4x400m relay team was stripped of gold.

The United States have clinched four golds on the final day of the World Indoor Athletics Championships, a fifth was removed when the men’s 4x400m relay team was stripped of gold.

This handed the title to Britain instead and it would have been six had Sanya Richards-Ross not left it late to try and overhaul Britain’s Perri Shakes-Drayton in the final leg of the women’s 4x400m relay final.

Drayton’s strength towards the line pulled her through, and earned Britain their second gold of the games.

Bernard Lagat represented his native Kenya once, but claimed 3000m gold in the colours of his long-time adopted USA by beating off Kenyan athletes Kiprono Choge and Cheruiyot Soi, with Britain’s Mo Farah in fourth.

Farah was temporarily elevated to the bronze medal position when Soi was disqualified for pushing, but a Kenyan counter-claim saw their man reinstated. Farah has more important things on his mind in 2012 certainly.

Lagat’s win was the second American gold claimed in the space of five minutes – a Championship record leap of 7.23m earned Brittany Reese the women’s long jump gold.

The States also won final day golds through Aries Merritt in the men’s 60 hurdles, and Will Claye in the triple jump.

Yelena Isinbayeva proved her mind is firmly back on athletics, by winning the world indoor pole vault title, securing gold with her very first vault.

The Russian athletics queen let the rest of field make their way up to 4.70m before emerging from her slumbers beneath a blanket, clearing 4.70 to earn a share of gold with French record-breaker Vanessa Boslak, and when Boslak failed three times at 4.80, Isinbayeva cleared to secure the title again.

Three attempts at a new world record of 5.02m were unsuccessful, but Isinbayeva – after a spell in the doldrums and uncertain through a loss of form – is back with a smile on her face.

She said: “It was a very difficult time for me, a time for changing Elena Isinbayeva. Today, she realised and understood everything about what she achieved in the past.

“So now I value more all my victories and world records, and realised how great I am!”

Jamaica could not go through a global athletics championship without winning a sprint gold – Veronica Campbell-Brown obliged by surging past Ivorian Murielle Ahoure on the line, after Ahoure had led for most of the race.

Kenya won their first golds of the Championship on the final day – Pamela Jelimo in the 800m, Hellen Obiri overpowering Ethiopian Meserat Defat in the final lap of the 3000 – meaning for the entire weekend no Kenyan man had won gold.

Greece will be celebrating too – Dimitrios Chondrokouskis won the men’s high jump, continuing their habit of winning regular medals in international athletics.

Will Downing, Istanbul

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