BEIJING • Usain Bolt capped a memorable world championships by winning a third gold medal yesterday as the anchor of the Jamaican 4x100m relay team, while hosts China celebrated a historic silver.
Bolt ran a blistering final leg at a packed Bird's Nest stadium, hurtling across the line in 37.36sec after team-mates Nesta Carter, Asafa Powell and Nickel Ashmeade had successfully got the baton around.
The victory gave Bolt a record-extending 11th gold medal in a major competition.
The US quartet of 100m bronze and silver medallists Trayvon Bromell and Justin Gatlin, and fellow finalists Tyson Gay and Mike Rodgers, were initially awarded silver (37.77) before being disqualified over a botched final handover which strayed beyond the change-over limit.
China delighted the home crowd when they were upgraded to silver in 38.01, while Canada moved up to bronze (38.13).
"I had never thought of winning a silver medal," said Su Bingtian, who was serenaded for his birthday by the 80,000-strong crowd as he turned 26 yesterday.
"We have been training very hard to make four people as one. We practised baton exchange every day since this May. This is the moment of my life," added the first Chinese to reach the men's 100m world final after going sub-10sec.
It was the first podium finish for China in this event at the world championships, and the country's first appearance in the final since 1987.
It ensured a day to remember for Su, Zhang Peimeng, Xie Zhenye and Mo Youxue, who set an Asian record in the heats. Then, they finished fourth in 37.92, shaving 0.07 off their previous continental best set at last year's Asian Games.
The final, however, was one to forget for the Americans. Racing in Lane Four, Carter's opening leg for Jamaica saw him slip slightly down on Bromell. Powell ran his second leg in full chase of Gatlin, silver medallist behind Bolt in the 100m and 200m, in Lane Six.
Ashmeade took up the chase for Jamaica around the back bend, but Gay was in control and it looked as if Bolt would not have a genuine chance of catching the Americans.
But there was a disaster for the Americans as Gay's handover to Rodgers misfired and went outside the baton-passing area, leading to their disqualification.
Ashmeade had no such problem with his own baton pass to Bolt, and suddenly the towering Jamaican had a clear run at the line.
Straight into the lead with Rodgers searching in thin air for the baton behind him, Bolt opened up all cylinders to race through for victory at what could be his last world championships.
Not only has Bolt won 11 individual world or Olympic sprint titles from a possible 12 since the 2008 Olympics, but the 29-year-old has also been a key part of the relay team, with the Jamaicans winning all world and Olympic sprint titles since the 2008 Beijing Games.
There was also joy for Jamaica in the women's 4x100m yesterday.
Anchored by Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, they clocked a meet record and the second-fastest time in history to retain their title.
Veronica Campbell-Brown, Natasha Morrison and Elaine Thompson ensured Fraser-Pryce had a good lead when she took the baton and the 100m champion stormed across the line in 41.07.
Only the 40.82 recorded by the Americans to win gold at the 2012 London Olympics was faster than yesterday's time.
The United States' class of 2015 clocked 41.68 to finish second.
Trinidad and Tobago won the bronze in 42.03.
In the decathlon, Olympic champion Ashton Eaton broke his own world record to retain his world title. The American clocked 4min 17.52sec in the 1,500m - the 10th and final event - to finish with 9,045 points, eclipsing his previous mark by six points.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, XINHUA
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