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Felix, Wariner, Liu Highlight Action at Osaka World Athletics

  • David Byrd

Some of the marquee names in athletics take the track Friday night as competition continues at the World Athletics championships in Osaka, Japan. As VOA's David Byrd reports, Americans will try to win medals in at least three events.

Defending women's 200-meter champion Alyson Felix of the United States wants another gold medal. Felix, the top ranked runner in the 200-meters race the past two years, won her semifinal Thursday in 22.21 seconds.

World 100-meters champion Veronica Campbell of Jamaica finished second in the semifinal, and presents the major challenge to Felix defending her title. Felix said Thursday that with Campbell and American Sanya Richards in the field, fans can look for a quick time.

"It's going to be fast. I am really kind of anxious to get going with it. I am looking forward to it so we'll see," she said.

Veronica Campbell, who had complained of tiredness after winning the women's 100-meters title, said she will be ready to race Friday night.

"Should be a very competitive final tomorrow (Friday). So we will just have to wait and see what will happen. I feel much better than yesterday. After the - before the final, so I know I will be fine," she said.

Meanwhile, reigning world and Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner of the United States looks to break Michael Johnson's record of 43.18 seconds in the 400-meters race.

Wariner won his semifinal heat in 44.34 seconds after shutting down his pace in the last 50 meters Wednesday night. The American said he and teammates Angelo Taylor and LaShawn Merrit could sweep the event.

"It's possible. Angelo ran a good semi, so we'll just go from there," said Wariner.

Also Friday, world record holder and 2004 Olympic champion Xiang Liu of China goes for his first world title in the men's 110-meters hurdles. However, American David Payne - who arrived at the championships as a last-minute replacement on Tuesday - had the fastest qualifying time (13.19 seconds) and will challenge Liu for the crown.

Other gold medals to be awarded Friday night include the women's triple jump and the women's javelin throw.

In one event completed Friday morning, Olga Kaniskina led a Russian 1-2 finish in the women's 20-kilometer walk. Kaniskina won the gold in 1:30:09 hours.

Compatriot Tatyana Shemyakina won the silver, 33 seconds back (1:30:42). Spain's Maria Vasco earned the bronze (1:30:47).