Americans Win Three More Golds To Close Out World Championships

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BERLIN (AP) -- On a brilliant gold-medal day for the United States, LaShawn Merritt, Kerron Clement, Allyson Felix and Sanya Richards won their second world titles in the 4x400 relay races, pushing their team clear in the medals table at the end of the championships.

In the women's relay, it was Jamaica which was giving the Americans the hardest time. But while the Jamaican yellow ruled the sprints, it was all American blue in 400 races, and huge margins in the relays underscored their power.

When 400 champion Richards took the baton home, she put the United States ahead of the Jamaicans for good in the overall standings.

"It was incredible, my teammates were phenomenal," Richards said.

Merritt, the 400 champion and Clement, the 400 hurdles gold medalist, followed it up in the men's team to victory.

"Championships are all about getting the medal," Merritt said after getting the same two golds as at the Beijing Olympics.

In the final medal standings, the United States had 10 golds and 22 overall, with Jamaica second with seven gold and 13 overall.

"We did an awesome job," Jamaican relay runner Novlene Williams-Mills said. "It's nice to bring Jamaica the last medal of the championships."

The United States also got a surprise individual gold from Brittney Reese in the woman's long jump. She beat defending champion Tatyana Lebedeva of Russia with a jump of 7.10 meters.

Reese's victory came one day after American teammate Dwight Phillips won the men's long jump.

As dominant as the American relay teams were Sunday, it was tough for Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia, who earned a second long-distance double in as many years by adding the 5,000-meter title to his 10,000 -- the same feat he accomplished at the Beijing Olympics.

The Ethiopian extended his reign after first containing a Kenyan challenge in mid-race before withstanding defending champion Bernard Lagat of the United States in a thrilling sprint to the line.

Rarely was Bekele as elated, slapping his chest with an open hand and showing a beaming smile as he made it clear that others may challenge, but not conquer.

"It was a very hard race," he said after becoming the first Ethiopian to win 5,000 world championship gold. "I'll never forget this race.

"I never made a double in the Olympics and world championships," Bekele said. "I'm so happy."

So was Lagat, who was running with four stitches in a numbed up left ankle after he was spiked in qualifying.

"I didn't know I was going to run," the American said. "It is a huge cut."

Bekele finished in a slow 13 minutes, 17.09 seconds, with Lagat .24 seconds behind. James Kwalia C'Kurui of Qatar took bronze in 13:17.78. Both silver and bronze medalists are Kenyan-born.

The first man running for Kenya to finish was 2003 champion Eliud Kipchoge, a fading fifth.

A win for Bekele partly salvaged the championships for Ethiopia, which saw its women's running team underperform while rival Kenya surged up the standings. Bekele's gold was Ethiopia's second, compared to Kenya's four.

Ethiopia could have added a third in the 1,500, but favorite Gelete Burka was pushed into the ground by Natalia Rodriguez of Spain in a hectic final 200 meters. The Spaniard crossed the line first but was disqualified, giving defending champion Maryam Jamal of Bahrain the gold medal.

Earlier on the closing day of the competition, Bai Xue shook off Yoshimi Ozaki of Japan in the latter stages of a sun-drenched women's marathon through the heart of the German capital to clinch China's first ever major title in the event.

And the world's most populous country with 1.3 billion people finally had a title to celebrate as Bai waved the red flag with five yellow stars around, with a few Chinese fans dancing wildly under the Brandenburg Gate.

Olympic champion Andreas Thorkildsen of Norway won his first javelin title at the world championships after finishing second twice. Thorkildsen won with a throw of 89.59 meters.

Guillermo Martinez of Cuba took silver and Yukifumi Murakami of Japan earned the bronze . Defending champion Tero Pitkamaki of Finland finished fifth.