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World Athletics Championships Continue in Poor Weather


Unusually cool, windy and wet weather gave athletes at the World Athletics Championships an extra hurdle to clear as the competition continued Wednesday in Finland.

Meet organizers delayed the women's pole vault final scheduled for Wednesday, mostly because of swirling winds. World record holder Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia will have to wait until Friday to complete her quest for her first title at the world championships.

But four other finals and the men's decathlon were decided despite the return of heavier rain. Tianna Madison of the United States covered 6.89 meters in her next to last attempt to win the women's long jump.

"There were no conditions in my mind. I mean everyone had the same thing. And I do not focus on so much what I cannot control, only what I can control," she said.

The title of "world's greatest athlete" went to American Bryan Clay, who overcame the weather and 16 other finishers to win the decathlon with 8,732 points.

"Conditions were unbelievable," he said. "There was at no point could you let your guard down and say 'ok, now things are going to be ok.' It was a mental battle the entire time."

Olympic decathlon champion Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic could not keep pace as Clay pulled away in the demanding two-day, ten-event competition.

"The first day it was a very good competition between us," he noted. "The second day I hurt very bad. And Bryan had a really, really good [day] and was in a better shape. And that is the sport."

Tonique Williams-Darling clocked 49.5 seconds in women's 400 meters to capture the special pride of winning the first individual gold medal ever for the Bahamas at the world championships.

"I do not think it has ever been done in the history of the Bahamas. And so right now this is just really a historical event for me personally as an athlete. And just for us as a country," she said.

Local fans will hear a familiar tune in Olympic Stadium when Andrus Varnik of Estonia receives his gold medal in men's javelin. Estonia and Finland share the same music for their national anthems. Varnik's winning toss soared 87.17 meters.

The men's 1,500-meter field was wide open with the absence of quadruple champion Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco. And it was Moroccan-born Rashid Ramzi of Bahrain who crossed the line first in 37.8 seconds.

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