HELSINKI, Finland -- Felix Sanchez pulled up with an injured
hamstring in the 400-meter hurdles Tuesday, and Bershawn Jackson
led teammate James Carter in a 1-2 U.S. finish at the world
Sanchez, the two-time defending champion from the Dominican
Republic, stopped after one hurdle in a race that gave the United
States another big victory following its wins in the men's and
women's 100-meter finals.
Sanchez had been bothered by injury almost since winning the
Olympic gold medal last year. The Dominican was intent on defending
his world title despite not being in shape, and he paid a price. He
clutched his right hamstring and fell to the wet track.
Jackson lived up to his nickname of Batman, flying past rivals
and finishing in 47.30 seconds, an amazing time considering the
rough conditions. Kerron Clement misjudged his last hurdle and
squandered the chance for a U.S. triple, allowing Japan's Dai
Tamesue to get the bronze.
Justin Gatlin, still sluggish from winning the 100 meters,
reached the quarterfinals of the 200 to keep alive his bid for
three gold medals at the worlds.
He looked lethargic on the bend and never got his famed
acceleration going. Still, he advanced as the third and last
assured qualifier from his heat.
"I feel a little sore, tired, like any person that runs fast,''
He caught a break when torrential rain storm forced organizers
to delay his quarterfinal until Wednesday, giving him one more day
Running into a headwind, Gatlin was timed in 20.90 seconds. He
was almost a second behind fellow American Tyson Gay.
Wallace Spearmon, the season's best performer, easily won his
heat. Jamaican teenager Usain Bolt proved he will be a force,
routing his opponents in his heat from the tight inside lane.
Gatlin is going for three golds and trying to become the
dominant athlete of the championships. He has the 400 relays set
for this weekend.
Spearmon, however wants to spread America's sprinting wealth.
"It is my job to make sure he doesn't get two golds,'' Spearmon
said. "I want to take one home, too. He cannot be too greedy.''
In the women's 800, Cuba's Zulia Calatayud scored a big upset,
winning in 1 minute, 58.82 seconds. Defending champion Maria
Mutola, seeking her fourth title, finished fourth. Hasna Benhassi
of Morocco was second in 1:59.42, followed by Tatyana Andrianova of
Russia in 1:59.60.
Former Kenyan Saif Saaeed Shaheen of Qatar retained his world
steeplechase title, frustrating Kenyan attempts to reclaim an event
they consider their own. Before Shaheen's victory, Kenyans won six
straight world titles and five Olympic golds.
Shaheen, formerly known as Stephen Cherono, extended his
unbeaten streak to 22 races dating to 2002. He easily beat Kenyans
Ezekiel Kemboi and Brimin Kipruto, then wrapped himself in the
Qatar flag as he toured Olympic Stadium.
"I cannot tell you when I'll be beaten but is my main goal to
be unbeaten,'' Shaheen said.
Kenya kept Shaheen out of the Athens Games last year because of
his nationality change.
"It was a consolation for me because I missed the Olympics,''
In 400 qualifying, Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner easily
advanced to the next round, cruising in his heat to finish in
45.24. In the pole vault, Olympic silver medalist Toby Stevenson of
the United States pulled out with a sore hamstring during the
warmups for qualifying.
A storm hit in early evening as runners in the second heat of
the 100-meter hurdles lined up. The surface was quickly soaked, and
the athletes rushed inside for cover. When lightning began flashing
nearby about half the crowd of 40,000 left the stadium.
Apart from the 200-meter quarterfinals, organizers also delayed
the women's discus final until Thursday, and men's triple jump
qualifying until Wednesday.
More than blustery winds disturbed the athletes. One
height-measuring device cracked off and jumping was briefly
suspended. Pole vaulting great Sergei Bubka -- an IAAF Council
member -- spoke to meet officials as they tried to figure out what
to do. The qualifying height for the final was lowered to 18 feet,
4½ inches from 18-10½.
"I was just trying to help out,'' Bubka said. "It was
unexpected and a decision had to be made quickly.''
In the decathlon, world and Olympic bronze medalist Dmitriy
Karpov of Kazakhstan didn't even start the first of the 10-event
competition, going out with a false start in his opening 100-meter
Bryan Clay led Olympic champion and world record holder Roman
Sebrle by a slim margin at the end of a first day. Clay ran a
personal best in the 400-meter race over a sloshy track to bounce
back into the lead ahead of the Czech star after half the 10 events
were completed.The American has 4,527 points, 14 ahead of Sebrle.
Sebrle beat Clay to win the gold at the Athens Games and capture
his first major title in the decathlon.
In Finland's national event, the javelin, Tero Pitkamaki drew
the biggest cheer when he threw 269-8 and qualified for Wednesday's
final on his first attempt.
"I just wanted to make sure I did it with my first throw,''
Pitkamaki said. "The conditions were challenging.''