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Marathon of Events on Penultimate Day of World Athletics

Another day of sunshine warmed the tenth World Athletics Championships in Finland. VOA's Jim Stevenson reports that made conditions excellent for the men's marathon.

Jaouad Gharib of Morocco broke from the pack Saturday at the 30-kilometer mark of the 42-kilometer race. The 2003 winner at the last world championships cruised into Olympic Stadium and crossed the line in two hours, 10 minutes, 11 seconds.

"I am very happy to become only the second athlete in the world to get the title for the second time (in a row)," Mr. Gharib said. "And I prepared very well. I got a little bit hurt in the stomach during the race. But I continued doing it (run). And I am very, very happy to get the world championship for the second time here in Helsinki after Paris."

Tirunesh Dibaba is the first athlete, man or woman, to win both the five-thousand and 10,000-meter titles at the world championships. The 19-year-old Ethiopian covered the shorter distance in 14 minutes, 39.59 seconds. Meseret Defar took silver (14:39.54) while Tirunesh's sister, Ejegayehu, won the bronze (14:42.47). Ethiopia claimed the top four spots, and Tirunesh Dibaba says that was the plan.

"The race was a little bit fast. We had been hoping to take first through fourth places. So that is what I had been thinking," Tirunesh Dibaba said.

American Dwight Phillips was the men's long jump champion. He became the fourth winner in world championship history to post the best distance in the first round, soaring 8.60 meters.

"After that jump, I just never felt pressured. And it was kind of difficult for me to jump far after that," he said.

Tommy Evilä of Finland excited the local crowd with a thrilling bronze medal performance (8.25). Ghanaian Ignisious Gaisah was the silver medalist (8.34).

The women's shot put title went to Bulgarian Nadezhda Ostapchuk with a 20.51 meter effort.

In relay events, France handed off the baton the fastest in the men's four-by-100 meter event in 38.08 seconds, followed by Trinidad and Tobago (38.10) and Great Britain (38.27). The U.S team, a gold medal favorite, was absent after a dropped baton in the qualifying heats.

But the American women were champions, taking gold in their version of the event with a time of 41.78 seconds. Jamaica (41.99) and Belarus (42.56) followed.

With one day remaining, the United States has a commanding lead in the overall standings with 13 gold, eight silver and three bronze. Russia is second with five of each medal. Ethiopia has three gold, three silver and two bronze.