Athletics: Fraser-Pryce makes history, Bolt equals record

Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce reacts after winning the women's 4x100-meter relay final at the World Athletics Championships in the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Aug. 18, 2013.
Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce reacts after winning the women's 4x100-meter relay final at the World Athletics Championships in the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Aug. 18, 2013.

MOSCOW (AFP) - Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Usain Bolt ensured they and Jamaica bowed out of the World Athletics Championships on a high on Sunday, powering their respective 4x100 metres relay teams to gold.

Both were landmark victories.

Fraser-Pryce became the first woman to win the treble of 100m, 200m and relay golds while Bolt's eighth world title took him level on the all-time list with three Americans - Michael Johnson, Carl Lewis and Allyson Felix.

Fraser-Pryce, who achieved what Silke Gladisch just failed to do in 1987 when East Germany won relay silver, and Katrin Krabbe in 1991, when the now unified German team won bronze in the relay, had the simplest of tasks.

A disastrous second handover by defending champions the United States between Alexandria Anderson and 100m finalist English Gardner took them out of title contention and they ended with bronze.

They later moved up to silver after the French were disqualified for a baton handover taking place outside the permitted area while the British got bronze.

While Fraser-Pryce said she would cherish her unique achievement, she was hoping that this would serve a bigger purpose and raise the profile of women's sprinting.

"Sometime yes, I definitely get peeved," said Fraser-Pryce, also the two-time Olympic 100m gold medallist.

"Women's sprinting is something the sport should appreciate more. I'm glad it's taking the course it is." Bolt's path to his record equalling gold was also eased by a fluffed handover by the United States between Rakieem Salaam and anchorman Justin Gatlin, the 100m silver medallist's right foot straying five times into the Jamaican lane as he struggled to take control of the baton.

That error handed Bolt, who had had a smooth handover from Ashmeade, just the space he needed to unfold his towering frame into an explosive final leg.

Despite equalling a record held by such stellar names, Bolt refused to be drawn on comparisons especially with Lewis, who the Jamaican slammed last year at the Olympics saying he had no respect for the American who had questioned his and his team-mates performances.

"I really can't say who is better than who. I just get on and do what I do," said 26-year-old Bolt.

While Jamaica were maintaining their all-powerful grip on the sprints Kenyan Asbel Kiprop restamped his authority on the men's 1500m.

Only 12th in the Olympics, the 24-year-old had no problems retaining his world title with a magnificent display of controlled running.

"I'm really happy to defend my title that I won two years ago," said Kiprop. "It was my goal as I was under pressure over these last two years.

"Luckily I managed to survive it and win." There was more gold for Kenya as unheralded Eunice Sum won the women's 800m denying Russia's best hope of a gold on the final day, defending and Olympic champion Mariya Savinova.

Savinova's compatriot Maria Abakumova failed to retain her javelin title, not even a phone call from President Vladimir Putin to her and her husband Dmitri Tarabin on Saturday proving sufficient.

Tarabin finished in third in Saturday's men's javelin final but Abakumova insisted that the unexpected phone call, when the country's leader had told them they were expected to win medals, had not added pressure to them.

"The phone call was out of the blue and surprised Dmitri as he was only hours away from competing," said Abakumova, who was embraced by her husband after the final.

"I talked to him (Putin) and it was unbelievable, very inspiring." The other final on Sunday was the men's triple jump with France finally getting a gold when Teddy Tamgho jumped a best of 18.04 metres.

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