World indoor athletics: US win two gold, Nigeria one

March 8th, 2008 - 2:04 pm ICT by admin  

Valencia, March 8 (Xinhua) The US have won two gold medals while Nigeria took the other one on the opening day of the 12th International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) World Indoor Championships here. American Christian Cantwell won the first gold Friday, taking the men’s shot put title after beating defending champion and compatriot Reese Hoffa to the second place.

Cantwell, the world indoor champion in 2004, won with a throw of 21.77 metres, 57 cm more than Hoffa’s 21.20 metres.

Tomasz Majewski of Poland won the bronze medal with a throw of 20.93 metres, setting a new national record.

In women’s 60 meters, American Angela Williams captured the gold medal in 7.06 seconds, bettering this year’s previous best result of 7.09 metres held jointly by Nigerian Ene Franca Idoko and Russia’s Yevgenia Polyakova.

Jeanette Kwakye of Britain finished in 7.08 seconds to collect the silver medal, while Tahesia Harrigan from the British Virgin Islands took the bronze with 7.09 seconds.

Nigerian Olusoji A. Fasuba foiled the US attempt to sweep all the three gold medals of the night, winning his first world indoor title in men’s 60 metres with the world’s best time this year.

Fasuba clocked in 6.51 seconds, ahead of Briton Dwain Chambers and Kim Collins from Saint Kitts and Nevis, who finished jointly second with an identical time of 6.54 seconds.

“This was my third try (at the world indoor championships). I worked very hard for it. I’m very happy,” Fasuba said at the Palau Velodromo Luis Puig Stadium.

The 23-year-old was fifth in 60 metres at the last World Indoor Championships in 2006 in Moscow, and fourth in 100 metres at the outdoor World Championships in Osaka, Japan, last year. He also won the silver medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

The silver-medal performance was quite special for Briton Dwain Chambers, who is on his second comeback following his drugs ban.

He has been banned from the August Beijing Olympic Games by the British sports authorities and, according to the world’s leading promoters, will not be invited to the major Grand Prix events around the globe.

Chambers has said he would fight for his right to the Olympics and a medal in Valencia would be crucial for his bid.

In qualification sessions Friday, two-time defending champion Yelena Isinbaeva of Russia easily sailed into the final of women’s pole vault.

Isinbaeva finished first with a clearance of 4.55 metres in the qualification with only one attempt. Her major rival and compatriot Svetlana Feofanova and American Jennifer Stuczynski also safely went through to the final.

“I feel great. I did a good jump, and I’m feeling in a really good shape. Tomorrow I will do my best,” said Isinbaeva.

The Russian broke her own world indoor record with 4.95 metres in Donetsk, Ukraine, this Feb 16. However, Feofanova halted Isinbaeva’s 23-competition unbeaten streak in Bydgoszcz, Poland, recently.

It would be no easy task for the Russian Olympic champion as both Feofanova and Stuczynski have the same personal best of 4.88 metres and the same season best of 4.71 metres.

Meanwhile, seven-time champion Maria de Lurdes Mutola of Mozambique was safely through to the semi-finals of women’s 800 metres after finishing first in her heat at the qualification session.

Mutola, 35, who is also a three-time outdoor world champion and Olympic champion in Sydney, clocked 2:04.82 seconds to be placed 11th overall from the heats. The top 12 finishers from the heats competition entered the semi-finals.

Mutola, the four-time defending indoor world champion, is expected to announce retirement before the end of 2008.

Tetiana Petlyuk of Ukraine came in first after finishing with 2:00.40 sec, followed by Jennifer Meadows of Britain with 2:00.60 sec, and Romanian Mihaela Neascu with 2:00.79 sec.

The semi-finals of the event will be held Saturday afternoon with the final scheduled for Sunday.

The competition opened Friday and will conclude Sunday. A total of 646 athletes from 157 countries and regions are participating in what is the last major athletics event before the Olympic Games in Beijing starts Aug 8.

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