Relay win completes Bolt’s golden hat-trick

JAMAICA obliterated the field in the men’s 4x100 metres relay as Usain Bolt claimed his third gold medal and world record of the Beijing Games.

The quartet of Bolt, Nesta Carter, Michael Frater and Asafa Powell roared around the Bird’s Nest Stadium to shave three-tenths of a second off the 15-year-old mark with a blistering time of 37.10 seconds.

Bolt, the individual 100m and 200m gold medallist, was instrumental in the victory after running a sizzling third leg as the team finished well clear of Trinidad and Tobago and Japan.

“You can’t explain the feeling. It’s a great feeling, it’s wonderful and you can’t really explain the feeling after the greatest Olympics ever, so I’m happy,” insisted Bolt.

Bolt is adamant he will not change his demeanour after criticism from president of the International Olympic Committee Jacques Rogge.

“It’s a great thing and people love this and it really doesn’t matter what people think or comment because I know it pleases the fans,” added Bolt.

“The fans love it when I do it, I do it for myself, the country and the fans. I’m showing them my personality.”

Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba became the first woman to complete the 5,000 and 10,000 metre double with victory in the 5,000m.

With two laps to go Elvan Abeylegesse of Turkey stepped up the pace, but Dibaba stayed on her heels and as the 23-year-old hit the bell she pulled away to finish in a time of 15 minutes, 41.40 seconds, just over a second clear of Abeylegesse. Dibaba’s compatriot Meseret Defar took the bronze.

Dibaba said: “It’s a big achievement for me. When I came from my country I didn’t think I’d win both. I just thought I’d be a good competitor in both events. Now that I have it I’m quite satisfied.”

Maurren Maggi’s opening jump of 7.04 metres was enough to take gold in the women’s long jump. The Brazilian failed to register another jump but she had already done enough.

Russian Tatyana Lebedeva, who claimed silver in the triple jump, had to settle for second again by just a centimetre.

Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare, who only made the final after Lyudmila Blonska was excluded for a failed drugs test, took bronze with a personal best of 6.91m.

Maggi became the first Brazilian athlete to win gold in a field event and she said: “I just wanted a medal, I didn’t care what colour it was.

“I was so moved to hear the music of the Brazilian national anthem on the podium. I’d like to share this medal with people who helped me a lot, especially my family, my friends and my daughter.”

Hot favourites Jamaica threw away the women’s 4x100m relay gold when they dropped the baton on the penultimate changeover. It was a rare moment of misfortune for Jamaica’s sprinters, who have enjoyed a fruitful week.

Great Britain also failed to finish the race as they stepped outside the handover box at the same changeover, and both teams were left spectators as Russia went on to win ahead of Belgium and Nigeria.

The Russians, who claimed the title for the first time, clocked 42.31, while Belgium posted a national record of 42.54 with Nigeria third in 43.04sec.

Jamaican Kerron Stewart said: “I’m not going to look at the race as a disappointment. We gave it our best shot and it didn’t work out.”

Russian Aleksandra Fedoriva revealed the gold medal was beyond their dreams: “We would have been happy with a silver medal but we got the gold.”

Bryan Clay took gold in the men’s decathlon after dominating the competition, finishing well clear of the field with a score of 8791 points.

Andrei Krauchanka of Belarus took silver with 8551pts, bronze going to Leonel Suarez, who set a Cuban record of 8527pts.

Steve Hooper of Australia won pole vault gold with a new Olympic record of 5.96m. Evgeny Lukyanenko claimed silver with a vault of 5.85 and Denys Yurchenko won bronze on countback from a height of 5.70.

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