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August 16, 2009

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Home » Sports » Athletics

Wang walks to silver as Russian triumphs

OLYMPIC champion Valeriy Borchin of Russia won the 20-kilometer walk yesterday, coming from behind to claim the first gold medal of the world championships.

Wang Hao of China took silver and Eder Sanchez of Mexico was third after 10 laps along a two-kilometer course on downtown Berlin's leafy Unter den Linden boulevard.

Borchin was chasing a breakaway trio for more than half the race before he made his move, winning in 1 hour, 18.41 minutes. Wang stayed with him until the final stages, but the Russian wore him down near the end.

"My coach was helping me a lot in every critical moment," Borchin said. "I was trying to prevent the other athletes from going far away from me. The most important thing was not to leave the group."

Borchin, who served a one-year suspension for doping that ended on May 31, 2006, beat Wang by 25 seconds. Sanchez was 41 seconds behind.

After becoming the youngest-ever Olympic champion last year, Borchin has added the world title at 22. "I have got a lot of experience with races like this one," he said.

Wang missed out on a medal at the Beijing Olympics, finishing fourth, but he got one this time.

"Tomorrow is my birthday," Wang said. "This is a nice birthday gift."

The race was held in sunny conditions through the center of Berlin and ended under the famous Brandenburg Gate.

Borchin ended the reign of three-time world champion Jefferson Perez of Ecuador who retired after finishing second to the Russian in Beijing.

Earlier, Usain Bolt and Tyson Gay safely negotiated the first heats of the 100 meters but former world record holder Asafa Powell had a real scare.

World record holder Bolt barely broke sweat in the morning sunshine to cruise home in 10.20 seconds while Gay, the fastest man in the world this year, posted the best time of the morning with 10.16.

Powell, who has become a peripheral figure alongside the "big two" despite a season's best of 9.88, eased up extravagantly at halfway then had to accelerate at the end to scrape home third in his heat and avoid elimination by 200th of a second.


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