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August 17, 2009

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Liu walks to bronze in Berlin

WITH the men's 100 meters final the talk of the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, the women sprinters briefly stepped into the limelight yesterday and all the main contenders safely negotiated the first-round heats.

The night's semifinals and final of the men's event remained the biggest draw of the world championships when Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell were hoping to challenge favorite Usain Bolt for gold.

The women's title looks more open with half a dozen contenders, though all of them also come from the United States and the Caribbean.

American champion Carmelita Jeter, enjoying an Indian summer of a career for a sprinter at 29, led the way with a smooth-run 11.22 seconds.

Jamaican Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser and compatriots world champion Veronica Campbell-Brown, Beijing silver medalist Kerron Stewart and Aleen Bailey also cruised through.

The first medals of the day were awarded in the women's 20-kilometer walk, held in the city center and ending at Brandenburg Gate, with Olympic and world champion Olga Kaniskina totally dominating.

She broke clear after six kilometers and was never troubled to win in 1:28:10. Ireland's Olive Loughnane took the silver, 49 seconds behind but just ahead of China's Liu Hong.

Kaniskina's win means Russian women have won the last five 20K world walk golds and completed a Berlin double after Valeriy Borchin's victory in the men's race on Saturday, where China's Wang Hao took the silver.

Gold medals

Also on Saturday, there were gold medals for Kenyan Linet Masai in the women's 10,000 and American Christian Cantwell in the men's shot put.

Britain's Jessica Ennis remains on course for gold in the heptathlon after the long jump yesterday, the fifth of the seven disciplines, despite having her overnight lead of 307 points trimmed to 269.

Ennis won three of the four events on Saturday and managed a personal best in the other, the shot put, but was only ninth in the long jump.

Olympic champion Nataliya Dobrynska and Germany's Jennifer Oeser both finished ahead of her and are both on 4,795 points to Ennis's 5,064.

"That gold medal keeps creeping into my head but I want to focus on each event," Ennis said ahead of the concluding javelin and 800 meters.

Kenyan Janeth Jepkosgei's defense of her 800 title ended in the first heat when she tripped on the final bend and failed to qualify for the semifinals.


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