Ohuruogu wins, Jones mishap gifts Harper, Ramzi delight

Society Materials 19 August 2008 21:19 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Christine Ohuruogu won the first ever women's 400 metres gold medal for Britain at the Olympics on Tuesday, nine months after an arbitration panel allowed her to compete in Beijing.

Dawn Harper won 100m hurdles gold after leading favourite and fellow-American Lolo Jones clipped the penultimate hurdle and the 2005 world champion Rashid Ramzi the first ever athletics gold for Bahrain, in the 1,500m.

European champion Andrei Silnov of Russia claimed high-jump gold, Estonian Gerd Kanter raced down the home stretch in delight after his first discus gold and the eternal jogger Usain Bolt danced into the 200 metres final.

Ohuruogu had to serve a one-year ban for missed doping tests 2006/2007. Under British rules doping offenders are banned from future Olympics, but Ohuruogu successfully appealed last November.

On Tuesday, the 24-year-old stormed past long-time leader Sanya Richards of the US to take gold in 49.62 seconds, with Jamaica's Shericka Williams stealing silver in 49.69 and Richards having to settle for bronze in 49.93.

"It's not luck. I worked damn hard for this. I just knew I had to fight her from behind, always. I may not be fast but I fight," said the Briton whose personal best is almost one second slower than Richards'.

"I am so proud of myself. I know I can perform well when I need to."

Richards was devastated, claiming an injury had affected her run: "I just worked so hard for this. This is so devastating for me. The gold would have been mine (but) for a hamstring grab."

Harper was an unexpected hurdles winner as Jones suffered the same fate as Gail Devers in the 1992 final. While Devers clipped the 10th and final hurdle in Barcelona that year Jones' fate was sealed one hurdle earlier and she faded to seventh.

"You hit the hurdle twice a year. It is a shame it happens in the biggest race of my life. But you have to be over all 10 hurdles to be a champion," said the tearful Richards.

Harper said: "I knew something happened suddenly but I was aware I won. I just executed all the way to the finish. Unfortunately she hit a hurdle."

Harper won in a personal best 12.54 seconds and Sally McLellan of Australia won silver in a photo-finish against bronze Priscilla Lopes-Schliep of Canada, with both on 12.64 seconds. Only two hundredths separated second from sixth place.

The 2008 world leader Silnov cruised to his biggest career victory by clearing all heights up to the winning 2.36 metres on his first attempt. He then missed three times on a Russian record 2.42m, which is four centimetres higher than his personal best 2.38m.

Germaine Mason equalled his personal best 2.34m to win silver for Britain and the three-times world championship silver medallist Yaroslav Rybakov took his first Olympic medal, a bronze, also with 2.34m.

The 2004 winner Stefan Holm of Sweden had to settle for fourth as the Olympic high jump jinx continued - no-one has ever won back-to- back golds.

Ramzi was unbeatable on the home stretch to win in 3:32.94 minutes. Kenya's Asbel Kipruto Kiprop took silver with 3:33.11 and a strong finish gave New Zealand's Nicolas Willis bronze in 3:34.16.

Kanter won discus gold with 68.82m. Piotr Malachowski of Poland took silver with 67.82m while the 2000 and 2004 gold medallist Virgilijus Alekna of Lithuania had to settle for bronze with 67.79m.

Bolt continued his jogging training in the Bird's Nest with a 20.09 run for a place in the 200m final where the Jamaican is seeking a sprint double after winning 100m gold in a world record 9.69 seconds on Saturday even though he eased up with 20m remaining.

The Jamaican jostled for position with American Wallace Spearmon before beating him on the line and going through some fancy antics again.

"I was not psyching out anyone," he said in the mixed-zone after exchanging some friendly pushes and shoves with Spearmon. "I just enjoy it, you can't be too serious.

World and Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner strolled into the 400m final in 44.15 seconds and so did fellow-American rival LaShawn Merritt in 44.12.

Co-100m silver medallist Sherone Simpson of Jamaica led the women's 200m second round with 22.60 seconds. American world champion Allyson Felix also made the semis easily, and so did Asian champion Roqaya al-Gassra of Bahrain, who runs fully covered in accordance with Muslim tradition, wearing a long body suit and covering her head with a hood.

World record holder Dayron Robles made the 110m hurdles semi- finals in 13.19 seconds the day after the injury-related withdrawal of China hero Liu Xiang, the world and Olympic champion.

Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia advanced to the 5,000m final after already winning the 10,000m on Friday.

The men's 200m final tops a thin Wednesday programme, with the women's 400m hurdles and hammer the only other medal events.