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August 20, 2009

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Richards, Clement cheer US

SANYA Richards won the women's 400 meters in convincing style at the Berlin world championships and Kerron Clement took the men's 400 hurdles gold.

The victories gave a timely lift to the US team in its track duel with Jamaica after the victories of Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser in the 100 meters. Bolt looks set to add the 200 after qualifying easily for the semifinals on Tuesday.

"I'm feeling alright, a little bit tired, but nothing a good night's rest won't cure," the 22-year-old said.

There only ever seems to be one nation in the hunt when it comes to the 3,000 steeplechase and Ezekiel Kemboi made it 10 world titles in a row for athletes from, or born in, Kenya.

Steffi Nerius nearly lifted the roof off the Olympic Stadium when the 37-year-old German won the javelin while Briton Phillips Idowu produced a lifetime best of 17.73 meters to win the men's triple jump.

Richards, third in Beijing, has been the form one-lapper this season and kept her discipline after Russian Antonina Krivoshapka had started strongly. The American took control coming into the final bend to win in 40.00 seconds, holding off Jamaica's Olympic silver medallist Shericka Williams (49.32) with Krivoshapka third.

"It's better than good," Richards said. "I'm overwhelmed and excited to be finally standing top of the podium. Finally the work has paid off. It's the best feeling in the world."

Clement's chances of retaining his title suffered a setback when he clattered the first barrier but it seemed to spur him on as he rocketed clear and just had enough left to win in 47.91.

Javier Culson took silver for Puerto Rico in 48.09 with 2005 champion Bershawn Jackson of the US third in 48.23.

Kenyan-born athletes had won the previous nine world steeplechase titles, though Stephen Cherono took two of them as Saif Saaeed Shaheen after switching to Qatar.

Kemboi finished second in the previous three editions but finally took gold after out-kicking compatriot Richard Mateelong over the last 200 to win in 8.00.43.

Nerius picked the perfect time and place to end her run of three successive world bronzes. Her opening throw of 67.30 meters did the damage and Olympic and defending champion and world record holder Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic could manage only 66.42 in response for silver.


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