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U.S. makes clean sweep of relays at IAAF junior worlds

2010-07-26 13:57:00 Xinhuanet

MONCTON, Canada, July 25 (Xinhua) -- The United States made a clean sweep at the 13th IAAF World Championship at this eastern Canadian city Sunday by winning both the men's and women's 4X400 meter relay events Sunday.

In the final day of competition, the U.S. men scored their fifth 4x400 gold medal in a row. Joshua Mance, Errol Nolan, David Verburg and Michael Berry controlled the race, winning with an impressive time of 3:04.76. Nigeria stayed in second place throughout the race with a time of 3:06.36, a new Nigerian national record, while Britain was third in 3:06.36.

Laura Roesler's outstanding performance on the third leg of the women's 4X400 meter event and Regina George's strong sprint at the end of the final lap saw the United States women also chalk up a fifth successive gold in this event. The women's teams from Nigeria and Jamaica placed second and third.

"I didn't want anyone to catch me," said George, who anchored the American team. "I thought I'm going to bring it home, I'm going to bring in the gold. They handed it to me first and I'm going to show them the respect I have for them and not lose this."

"And I'm so happy with my teammates, too. It means everything to us. We wanted it from the start. We prayed to God and he answered our prayers and gave us what we wanted, and I'm so thankful right now," George said.

The U.S. men had their sites set on a world record and were disappointed by their time. "We all know we didn't perform what we wanted, but we got the result we wanted," runner Joshua Mance said. "We went out and got the gold. We came in first. We couldn't have asked for much more than that. We didn't break the record, but we're still happy. We're happy with what we got."

Salihu Isah, who anchored the silver medal-winning Nigerian team, said he thought his team was doing very well at the start of the race and had a good shot at a gold medal.

"I knew Nigeria was going to place at the top," Isah said. "But as we were going, in the second leg, I don't know what happened, there was a bit of a slow-down, but he made it up when he finished. The third leg was going very smoothly, and I did the best that I could do."

As expected, Ethiopia's Tizita Bogale won the 1,500 meter final but Ciara Mageean of Ireland put in a spectacular performance, winning the silver medal ahead of Nancy Chepkwemoi of Kenya. Observers had expected African athletes to maintain their dominance of this event.

Bogale had a personal best time of 4:08.06. "This is my first time competing at the Championships and I'm delighted to have won it," Bogale said. "The race was very competitive. There was a fierce struggle for the win and I am happy to withstand all that."

Mageean was back in the pack two-thirds of the way into the race, but turned on a burst of speed that almost won her the race. Mageean's time of 4:09.51 is a new Irish national record.

"It's Ireland's first ever medal on the track," Mageean noted.

"I'm so bloody happy, I'm so proud," she said. "I just wanted to do it for everybody back home and to finish with an Irish record, I'm thrilled."

Pascal Martinot-Lagarde of France won the 110 meters hurdles title after struggling in his semi-final. Martinot-Lagarde became the first Frenchman ever to win the gold medal, beating out American runner Caleb Cross who led through most of the race. But Cross clipped the ninth hurdle and crashed into the last barrier. He recovered and managed to finish fifth.

Jack Meredith of Britain, the favorite to win the race, made a poor start and lost out on the silver medal in a photo finish to Norway's Vladimir Vukicevic.

"I have to be honest, I have some regrets because at the ninth hurdle there was contact between me and the American in lane seven - I think," said Martinot-Lagarde. "Up to the middle of the race he was ahead of me. I could really see his chances for the podium. I made him slow down and he made me slow."

Kenya's David Mutua used his powerful legs and long stride to fly past American rivals Casimir Loxsom and Robby Andrews in a thrilling victory in the 800 meters. The Kenyan poured it on down the home stretch and took the gold with a lifetime best of 1:46.41.

"It was not a very hard race," said Mutua. "When we started racing my body showed me I could win. When there was 110m left my body woke up and I knew I could win the race. I feel very good."

His victory followed the gold-medal performance of fellow Kenyan Jonathan Ndiku, who continued his country's dominance of the 3000 meter steeplechase. He defeated team members Albeert Yator and Jacob Araptany with time of 8:23.48.

He explained his country's dominance of track events by saying: "This race is our culture. It's a Kenyan race." (By Mark Bourrie)

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