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renadian teenager Kirani James won his country’s first ever World Championship medal yesterday when he captured the men’s 400 metres on the fourth day of the showpiece here. James, who turns 19 tomorrow, produced a late surge to upset defending champion LaShawn Merritt of the United States in a time of 44.63 seconds. Merritt claimed silver in 44.63 while Belgium’s Kévin Borlée was third in 44.90. Meanwhile, Yelena Isinbayeva extended her string of failures at major events yesterday, going under the pole vault bar on her final attempt while trailing five of her rivals for gold at the world championships. When the Russian was packing up her bag, Fabiana Murer of Brazil added the outdoor world title to the indoor championship only one year before the London Olympics.
Murer set a South American record of 4.85 metres to beat Martina Strutz, who set a German record of 4.80 metres. Svetlana Feofanova gave Russia bronze with a height of 4.75 metres. In the 800 metres, world-record holder David Rudisha of Kenya beat rival Abubaker Kaki of Sudan to win his first world title with yet another dominating performance. It was the 32nd straight race he has won in the last two years.
When she used to go into a huddle, covered by blankets or towels to concentrate, her competitors used to fail. Now, oblivious to the reclining former world champion, they went higher and higher, leaving the Russian behind. After Isinbayeva first missed at 4.75 metres, her rivals kept scaling the bar, forcing her into two attempts at 4.80 metres to even have a shot at the title. She failed.
Along with Chernova, Yuliya Zaripova put some balm on Russia’s wound by winning the steeplechase ahead of Habiba Ghribi of Tunisia. In the heptathlon, Chernova made the difference in the javelin early in the day, when the Russian’s season best throw of 52.95 metres contrasted sharply with Ennis’ 39.95.
In the concluding 800, Chernova knew she could lose nine seconds to the Briton, but with a great finishing kick almost beat the hard-charging Ennis at the tape. It left the Russian with a total of 6,880 points, compared to 6,751 for Ennis. Jennifer Oeser of Germany took bronze with 6,572. Over the past two years, Ennis won gold in the multi-event indoor and outdoor world championships and at the European championships. She was counting on another outstanding performance for a boost of confidence ahead of her home Olympics in London next year. Instead, it was the 23-year-old Chernova who won her first major title. At the halfway mark in the competition, the United States leads the medal standings with four gold and eight overall, ahead of Kenya and Russia with three gold among their eight medals.