Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Melaine Walker of Jamaica celebrates another brilliant performance on Thursday, one year after her Olympic win in Beijing. (Anja Niedringhaus/Associated Press)
Melaine Walker ran a blistering 400-metre hurdle final on Thursday at Olympic Stadium in Berlin to capture world championship gold.
Walker ran 52.42 seconds, a time second only to Yuliya Pechonkina's world record of 52.34 six years ago.
Walker fought off a strong early challenge for LaShinda Demus of the U.S., who came across in 52.96 seconds.
Her victory comes exactly one year after she captured Olympic gold in Beijing.
Josanne Lucas of Trinidad and Tobago took bronze ahead of the likes of Kaliese Spencer of Jamaica and American Tiffany Williams.
Pechonkina has missed the Beijing Games and the Berlin championships due to sinusitis.
Women's 200 semifinal
Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie, the 2001 world champion, ran the fastest time on Thursday to qualify for the 200 metre final.
The Bahamian veteran ran 22.24 seconds, with defending world champion Veronica Campbell-Brown also advancing in the heat.
Allyson Felix of the United States also had little trouble advancing, winning her heat comfortably ahead of Anneisha McLaughlin of Jamaica.
American Muna Lee and Simone Facey of Jamaica topped the third and final heat, with the remaining spots in Friday's final to be taken by Emily Freeman of Great Britain and Eleni Artymata of Cyprus.
Most observers expect Felix and Campbell-Brown to be pitted in another battle for gold.
Campbell-Brown and Felix have finished 1-2 in the last three biggest events at the 200. The Jamaican was the Olympic champion in 2004 and 2008, with Felix taking the world championship in 2007.
Felix was also the 2005 champion, with Campbell-Brown fourth on that occasion.