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US Reaps Golden Harvest at World Athletics


The United States has won the gold medals in the men's and women's relay while an American took the pole vault title at the World Athletics Championships in Osaka, Japan. VOA's David Byrd was trackside and has this report on the action.

Tyson Gay of the United States won his third world championship gold medal this week. Gay, who won the men's 100-meter and 200-meters titles, was the third runner in the U.S. 4x100 men's relay.

Along with teammates Wallace Spearmon, Darvis Patton and Leroy Dixon, Gay won gold in a world-leading time of 37.78 seconds. Gay said after the race that he did not come to Osaka to win three medals, but he is glad to have them.

"I think this was the most fun medal I got since I got to get this medal with these teammates of mine," he said. "A lot of people were saying they think I need to be on anchor. I thought that after the prelims, but when the coaching staff said that, if I ran the third leg and gave them the lead, then we would have no problem. And that's what really meant a lot to me because they believed in us."

Jamaica's team won the silver medal (37.89) and Britain won the bronze (37.90).

Also Saturday, the U.S. women's team of Lauryn Williams, Allyson Felix, Miki Barber and Torri Edwards won the 4x100 meters gold in 41.98 seconds. Williams said after the race that the U.S. women jelled at just the right time.

"We had great chemistry out there tonight, great chemistry overall in relay camp," she said. "I did not see any reason we should come out here and not get a gold medal because we worked really hard and we had good chemistry."

Jamaica won the silver (42.01) and Belgium won the bronze (42.75).

American Brad Walker won his country's first pole vault world championship by clearing 5.86 meters on his first attempt.

Romain Mesnil of France won the silver (5.86 meters in two attempts). Danny Ecker of Germany won the bronze, (5.81 meters).

World record holder Roman Seberle of the Czech Republic won the decathlon with a total of 8,676 points. Jamaica's Maurice Smith won the silver (8,644) and Dmitriy Karpov of Kazakhstan won the bronze (8,586).

In the women's 5,000-meters race, world record holder Meseret Defar of Ethiopia won her first world first championship in 14 minutes, 57.91 seconds.

After the race, Defar told VOA Sports that her victory is something she has waited for and worked for.

"I participated two times in Paris and in Helsinki," she said. "In Paris, I was disqualified and in Helsinki I am number two. In Osaka, I am champion and I am very happy."

Kenya's Vivian Cheruiyot won the silver medal, .59 of one second back. Her compatriot Priscah Jepleting Cherono won the bronze medal (14:59.21).

In the men's 50-kilometer race walk, Australia's Nathan Deakes won his first world championship. Deakes, the world record holder, finished in a season's best time of three hours, 43 minutes, 53 seconds.

Yohan Diniz of France won the silver medal (3:44:22). Alex Schwazer of Italy, the 2005 bronze medalist, also won bronze in Osaka (3:44:38).

With one day left in the competition, the United States leads the medals table, with 22 medals including 11 golds. Russia is second with 13 medals total, including four gold. Kenya is third with 10 medals including three golds.