August 15, 2009

Bolt, Gay head for 100-meter showdown

Usain Bolt and Tyson Gay coasted into the 100-meter semifinals Saturday and Christian Cantwell won the first American gold at the World Track Championships.

Linet Masai of Kenya also won a dramatic women's 10,000-meter and Russia's Valeriy Borchin added the 20-kilometer walk title to his Olympic gold medal from last year.

Bolt became a track superstar in Beijing, winning the 100- and 200-meter dashes in world record time and then anchoring the Jamaican sprint relay team to another world mark.

He won his first-round 100-meter heat Saturday in Berlin in 10.20 and appeared to simply trot to a second-place finish in the quarterfinals with a time of 10.03.

Gay, who won the world title for the United States two years ago but who was injured for last year's Olympics, turned in times of 10.16 and 9.98 in his two heats.

The semifinals and finals will be Sunday, with Bolt's world record of 9.69 in jeopardy.

Cantwell finished second to Poland's Tomasz Majewski in the shot put at Beijing, but they switched places Saturday. Cantwell won with a throw of 72 feet, 3 inches. Ralf Bartels took the bronze medal.

Borchin won the first gold medal awarded at the championships with a clocking of 1:18.41 in the 20-kilometer walk. Borchin defeated Hao Wang of China by 25 seconds. Eder Sanchez of Mexico finished third.

Masai came from behind in the final strides to pass two Ethopian rivals and win the world 10,000 gold at age 19. Masai defeated Meselech Melkamu of Ethopia by a tenth of a second and Eude Ayalew of Ethopia was third.

Favorite Meseret Defar of Ethopia had the lead in the final straight, but became so exhausted that four runners passed her in the last 20 yards.