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Richards finally claims first 400m gold medal

  • Story Highlights
  • American Sanya Richards claims first global women's 400 meters gold medal
  • Usain Bolt remains on course for a sprint double by reaching 200m semifinals
  • Phillips Idowu gets revenge on Olympic champion Nelson Evora in triple jump
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(CNN) -- American Sanya Richards finally claimed her first global women's 400 meters gold medal with victory in the World Championships in Berlin on Tuesday.

Sanya Richards celebrates finally breaking her 400m gold duck with World Championship victory in Berlin.

Sanya Richards celebrates finally breaking her 400m gold duck with World Championship victory in Berlin.

The 24-year-old clocked a time of 49.00 seconds -- the best in the world this season -- to come home ahead of Jamaica's Shericka Williams (49.32) with Russian Antonina Krivoshapka (49.71) taking the bronze.

Defending world and Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu of Great Britain --who has had a disrupted season -- failed to find her traditional finishing speed and finished fifth, although she did record a season's best time of 50.21 seconds.

Richards has dominated the event over the years but has failed to translate that form to gold-medal winning performances, earning a reputation of 'choking' when it came to major finals.

"To come here and to win means the world to me. Finally, I have a major title!," she told reporters.

"Finally the hard work has paid off and I also achieved the best time in the world this year. Before I had difficulty standing the pressure, but now I am a better athlete."

Meanwhile, Usain Bolt remains on track for his second gold medal after cruising into the semifinals of the men's 200 meters.

Lightning will strike again...and soon

The Jamaican, who is aiming to emulate his double sprint victory at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, won his heat in 20.41 seconds.

The 22-year-old told reporters that breaking his own 200m world record is not on the cards but, after his stunning world record of 9.58 seconds in the 100m on Sunday, nothing can be ruled out.

"I will get to the final and just execute," Bolt said. "I will be running hard. After six races I am feeling all right, a little tired but nothing a good night's rest won't cure."

Bolt's hopes of achieving the double were boosted when defending world champion and 100m silver medallist Tyson Gay withdrew from the heats because of injury.

There was more track joy for the American squad when Kerron Clement retained his men's 400 metres hurdles crown with a time of 47.91 seconds -- the fastest time this year.

The 24-year-old -- silver medalist at the Beijing Olympics -- beat Puerto Rico's Javier Culson (48.09secs) with another American, 2005 world champion Bershawn Jackson, taking bronze in 48.23 seconds.

Former two-time world champion Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic, the 2004 Olympic champion, could only finish eighth after failing to recover from hitting the first hurdle hard.

Briton Phillips Idowu, like Richards still searching for his first global gold despite years at the top of the men's triple jump, also ended his drought with a stunning leap of 17.73 meters -- the best this year.

The 30-year-old Olympic silver medalist turned the tables on defending champion and Beijing gold medallist Nelson Evora of Portugal, who recorded a distance of 17.55 meters. Alexis Copello of Cuba was third with 17.36m.

It was sweet revenge for Idowu who jumped his season's best for 2008 of 17.62m in Beijing, but still lost out to Evora's 17.67m leap.

"This moment is very emotional and I need five minutes to take a breath and to realise it," said the reigning Commonwealth champion.

"I managed to compete the whole season and stay injury-free. So I was very much on the way to achieving such a result.

Elsewhere, veteran German Steffi Nerius gave the home fans something to cheer after winning her first gold medal in the women's javelin.

The 37-year-old Nerius produced a huge throw of 67.30 meters on her first attempt after claiming bronze in the last three World Championships.

Defending champion Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic took the silver with 66.42m while Russian Maria Abakumova (66.06m) secured bronze.

Kenya continued their dominance of the men's 3,000m steeplechase as Ezekiel Kemboi added the world title to his 2004 Athens Olympics victory.

Kemboi, who has won three consecutive World Championship silver medals, ended his run of second places in a championship record time of eight minutes 00.43 seconds.

Compatriot Richard Mateelong produced a personal best to claim the silver but a Kenyan cleansweep of the podium, which happened at the Beijing Olympics, was averted when Athens bronze medallist Paul Koech eased up too soon on the line and was caught in third by France's Bob Tahri.

Defending world and Olympic champion Brimin Kipruto was never in contention and finally finished in seventh position.

Kenya have enjoy an unprecedented dominance in the event, having won seven consecutive Olympic titles dating back to the Los Angeles Games in 1984.

Qatar's Saif Shaheen, who formerly competed as Stephen Cherono for Kenya before changing allegiances, was 2003 and 2005 world champion and the last non-Kenyan born global champion was Italian Francesco Panetta in Rome in 1987.

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