The first gold medals of the International Association of Athletics Federation's world championships have been handed out with Ecuador's Jefferson Perez winning the men's 20-kilometer walk event in Helsinki, Finland.

Perez finished the course in a season's best time of 1:18:35.  Spain's Francisco Fernandez was second (1:19:36) while Juan Molina of Spain won the bronze medal with a time of 1:19:44.

Tirunesh Dibaba led an Ethiopian sweep of the medals in the women's 10,000 meters, taking the gold with a time of 0:30:24.02.  Defending champion Berhane Adere was second at 1.39 seconds back with Ejegayehu Dibaba third 0:30:26.

In the men's shot put, American Adam nelson won the gold medal with a toss of 21.73 meters.  Rutger Smith of the Netherlands was second  at 21.29 meters with Ralf Bartels of Germany third at 20.99 meters. Three-time champion John Godina of the United States failed to qualify after fighting injuries and illness.

Earlier, Olympic champion Yelena Slesarenko aggravated an ankle injury in warm-ups and had to withdraw from the women's high jump. Slesarenko captured the Olympic gold medal last year in Athens by clearing 2.06 meters.

Olympic women's triple jump champion Francoise Mbango Etone of Cameroon pulled out of her event before it started.  Etone has been struggling all season with poor form.

Some information for this story provided by AP and AFP.