lightning bolt

BERLIN - Jamaica's Usain Bolt dominated the World Athletics Championships in Germany in the same way he did the Beijing Olympics, winning triple gold and shattering the world records for the 100m and 200m.

BERLIN - Jamaica's Usain Bolt dominated the World Athletics Championships in Germany in the same way he did the Beijing Olympics, winning triple gold and shattering the world records for the 100m and 200m.

Bolt, whose razzmatazz and light-heartedness have offered a much-needed breath of fresh air to the world of athletics, beat American defending champion and arch-rival Tyson Gay into second in the 100m, running an astonishing 9,58 seconds.

But any further duels between the sprinters were cut short when Gay was ruled out injured after winning silver in 9,71sec in the 100m.

"Winning three gold medals in Berlin is wonderful I am proud of myself," said Bolt. "It's been a great championships. I have got my two records so it doesn't matter if I don't get one," he said after the Jamaica 4x100m relay team failed to better the world record they set in Beijing.

Lamine Diack, president of the IAAF - world athletics' governing body - went as far as saying that Bolt "may now be the most famous sportsman in the world, not just in athletics".

It was, however, the United States that again headed the medals table with 10 gold, six silver and six bronze medals for a total haul of 22 at the championships, which featured 1984 athletes from 201 territories.

Jamaica were in second place on 13 (7, 4, 2), Kenya third on 11 (4, 5, 2) and Russia fourth with 13 (4, 3, 6).

Bolt spearheaded the Jamaican team to sprint glory, the only title missing from their haul being the women's 200m, won by American Allyson Felix for an unprecedented third time.

Bolt's individual sprint double was emulated by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, who reinforced his credentials as arguably the best distance runner ever when he won gold in both the 5000 and 10000m, repeating his Beijing Games double. His victory in the 10000m was the fourth in succession and matched the record set by former mentor Haile Gebrselassie.

Despite Bekele's best efforts it was not all good news for Ethiopia as double women's Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba was ruled out of both the 5000 and 10000m, allowing Kenyans Vivian Cheruiyot and Linet Masai in for gold.

Both the men's and women's 800m races were won by South Africans, but the victory by Mbulaeni Mulaudzi paled into comparison with that of Caster Semenya in the women's equivalent.

Semenya, 18, thrashed the field in her race but she was also asked by the IAAF to undergo a gender test given her recent startling improvement on the track, with her boyish looks also attracting some unsavoury speculation.

But she is guaranteed a heroine's welcome when she returns home, with the South African ruling party and its youth and women's wings claiming that the testing, the results of which will not be known for months, smacked of racism and sexism. Arguably the biggest shock of the championships was the failure of Russian Yelena Isinbayeva to win a third successive pole-vault crown. - Sapa-AFP

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