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Athletics: Bolt wins seventh world gold on mixed night for Olympic champions

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Jamaican sprint legend Usain Bolt moved to within one title of equalling the all-time record of world championship gold medals as he easily retained his 200 metres crown at the World Athletics Championships on Saturday.

The 26-year-old, six-time Olympic gold medallist, took his world gold tally to seven and within one of the all-time haul shared by fellow legends Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson.

"I had to push myself to be the best," said a subdued Bolt, who can capture an eighth gold on Sunday's final day in the 4x100m relay.

"I'm really happy to get it done as the 200m is my favourite event.

"I knew it wouldn't be the fastest of races as when I came into the straight I felt slightly tired and I started to look around me."

It was a mixed night for athletes who a year ago, like Bolt, were celebrating Olymmpic gold.

Uganda's Stephen Kiprotich's day job of prison warden may be worlds apart from the riches that Bolt has accrued, but he put on as impressive a display, seeing off both the powerful Ethiopian and Kenyan teams, to add the marathon world title to his Olympic gold.

Meseret Defar of Ethiopia also added women's 5000m world gold -- regaining the title she won in 2007 -- to the Olympic title she won so impressively in London.

However, fellow Olympic champions, Australia's Sally Pearson and Anna Chicherova of Russia, came up short in the defence of their 100 metres hurdles and high jump titles respectively, ending with silver and bronze.

Pearson lost out to the impressive American Brianna Rollins, who gave herself the perfect birthday present a day early -- she turns 22 on Sunday -- the gold medal and the $100,000 winner's prize-money.

"I guess you can call that perfect timing!" she beamed.

If there was consolation for Chicherova it was that team-mate Svetlana Shkolina, whose proud parents were watching in the stands, was as inspired as she was lacklustre and took the high jump title, one of two golds for the host nation.

"Dreams do indeed come true. I deserve this title, I have worked hard for it and given a lot up for it. I am more than happy, I am insanely happy," she said.

The Russian women's 4x400m relay team showed no fear against a powerful American team and roared on by the partisan crowd held on for a memorable gold and denied the United States a fourth successive win in the event.

As if there was not enough pressure on him, men's javelin thrower Dmitri Tarabin had received a personal phone call from President Vladimir Putin just before his final.

"I received a call 3 1/2 hours before the final from President Putin," said a slightly shocked Tarabin.

"He said he believed in us (Tarabin and his wife Mariya Abakumova, the defending women's javelin champion) and expected medals.

"Before the last attempt I was thinking that he might be watching and waiting for the medal."

Tarabin did not disappoint him, producing his best throw of the final to take bronze (86.23mm).

The 21-year-old was some way off the winner, the Czech Republic's Vitezlav Vesely (87.17m) who overcame knee and stomach problems to "deliver what felt like a fourth gold" to his coach and still the world record-holder, three-time champion Jan Zelezny.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130817/athletics-bolt-wins-seventh-world-gold-mixed-night-olympic-champions