Eighteen-year-old Kirani James stunned defending champion LaShawn Merritt to win the 400m gold and secure Grenada’s first medal at the World Championships.
James, who has run just a handful of senior races after many junior titles, surged past Merritt just before the line for a personal best of 44.60.
The 400m produced a classic finale as Olympic champion Merritt, recently back from a 21-month ban for doping, came round the final bend with what looked like a comfortable lead.
However James found a stirring finish leaving Merritt to settle for his second World Championship silver medal in 44.63 with Belgium’s Kevin Borlee, whose twin Jonathan was fifth, claiming bronze in 44.90.
David Rudisha, unbeaten since the 2009 Championships, won the 800m in one minute 43.91, Abubaker Kaki second. Fabiana Murer won the women’s pole vault, with Yelena Isinbayeva sixth. Two-time Olympic and double world champion Isinbayeva had looked in good form in the heats, albeit landing just one vault at 4.55m to qualify.
The 29-year-old, whose world record stands at 5.06m, came in at 4.65m and sailed over. Passing at 4.70m, she then bumped the bar off at 4.75, but rather than retrying at that height went up to 4.80. Her first attempt at 4.80 was no better, brushing the bar with her stomach, and a final attempt at the same height saw the livid Russian not even get close to the bar and she left the stadium muttering angrily to herself.
Brazilian Murer, who was fifth at the World Championships in Berlin two years ago, managed a best of 4.85m, with Germany’s Martina Strutz taking silver and Russian Svetlana Feofanova winning the bronze.
Jamaica’s Jermaine Gonzales could only finish fourth. Running from lane three Gonzales, produced his customary late kick in the home but his time of 44.99 seconds was not enough to overhaul Kévin Borlée of Belgium who took bronze in 44.90. James’ time of 44.60 was a personal best. Compatriot Rondell Bartholomew recorded a time of 45.45. Also representing the Caribbean, and the US Virgin Islands, Tabarie Henry finished seventh in 45.55.
2011 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS MEDALS TABLE (after day four)
USA 9 (4gold, 4silver, 1brz)
Kenya 8 (3gold, 2silver, 3brz)
Russia 8 (3gold, 2silver, 3brz)
Germany 4 (1gold, 2svr, 1br)
13th GB 3 (0gold, 2slvr, 1brz)
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