x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Olympics: Allyson Felix leads gold rush for US

After silver medals in 2004 and 2008 Allyson Felix will be taking home an individual gold in the 200-metre run.

United States' Allyson Felix, second from right, beats Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, right, to the gold in the women's 200m race.
United States' Allyson Felix, second from right, beats Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, right, to the gold in the women's 200m race.

LONDON // Allyson Felix has finally done it, leading a golden night for the United States in which they won three of the four gold medals on offer at the Olympic Stadium.

After having to settle for silver in the last two Games, the US sprinter won her first individual Olympic gold medal Wednesday night with a strong finish in the 200 metres, her signature event.

Felix held off Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Carmelita Jeter. Felix raised her hands in triumph soon after crossing the finish line, a big weight off her shoulders. She had come second to Veronica Campbell-Brown in both 2004 and 2008.

"This has been a long time coming. I am overjoyed. It was just about getting it done, and I never gave up," she said.

Felix's teammate Aries Merritt led a one-two finish for the US in the 110-metre hurdles, winning in 12.92 seconds Wednesday night. The defending champion Dayron Robles of Cuba pulled up midway through and clutched his right hamstring.

"I'm happy with the win. I trained for this, very intensely. I do some ridiculous things," Merritt said. "I was trying to treat this as much like a practice session as possible, where I have no pressure. I tried to relieve all pressure. The gold means everything - this is a dream come true."

Jason Richardson, the world champion, was second in 13.04. Hansle Parchment of Jamaica took the bronze in 13.12.

Robles, the world-record holder, began limping early and came to a stop after clearing the sixth hurdle, then shoved another barrier down to the track.

The world indoor and outdoor champion Brittney Reese capped the gold rush for the US, winning the women's long jump.

Reese, 25, only registered two of six jumps all night but her second attempt of 7.12 metres was good enough to take gold ahead of Elena Sokolova of Russia.

The first gold medal of the evening went to Russia's Natalya Antyukh in the 400m hurdles, the 31 year old just holding off America's Lashinda Demus at the finish.

Looking at Thursday's schedule, Usain Bolt is one victory away from becoming the first man to repeat as double Olympic sprint champion and reaching his ambition of becoming a "living legend" after he qualified for the 200 metre final.

Bolt joked as he got into the blocks, laughed when as he crouched into the blocks and then sped away for a controlled race which he finished by almost jogging across the line. His win exuded as much confidence as his victory in the 100 on Sunday.

This time, too, everything is set for a direct duel with his training partner Yohan Blake, the silver medallist in the 100. Blake had the fastest time with 20.01 seconds, compared with 20.18 for Bolt.

"It's the 200 metres and we are both full speed tomorrow," Blake said. "Anything can happen."

After Thursday night's 200 final, Bolt still has the weekend relays coming up and even before his race Wednesday, he already was practicing the baton hand-off with Blake, determined to get another trio of gold medals as he did at the 2008 Beijing Games.

The Olympic 10,000 metres champion Mo Farah again rode a wave of fervent home support, cranking his aching legs back into life to reach the 5,000m final.

Farah capped a golden night of track and field for Britain on Saturday with a memorable victory.

The Somali-born runner is bidding to join an illustrious group to secure the long-distance double at a Games, including Emil Zatopek (1952), Lasse Viren (1972 and 1976), Miruts Yifter (1980) and Kenenisa Bekele (2008).

Farah qualified third from the first of two heats but it was far from plain sailing for the 29 year old.

"I just kept tripping up, they kept catching me. It was pretty difficult. The 10k took more out of me than I thought," Farah said.

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