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Richards doesn't choke, takes 400m gold

©

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-18

America's Sanya Richards secured her first gold in Berlin on Tuesday when she won the women's 400-metres world title at the world athletics championships in 49.00 seconds.

AFP - America's Sanya Richards secured her first global individual gold here on Tuesday when she won the women's 400 metres world title at the world athletics championships.
   
The 24-year-old timed 49.00secs - the best time in the world this season - to beat home Jamaica's Shericka Williams (49.32sec) while Russia's Antonina Krivoshapka (49.71sec) took the bronze.
   
Richards was understandably overcome with emotion after finally ending doubts, both personal and widely felt, that she could win a major title.
   
"To come here and to win the race, it means the world to me. Finally, I have a major title!," gasped Richards, who is engaged to New York Giants Super Bowl winning cornerback Aaron Ross.
   
"Finally the hard work has paid off and I also achieved the best time in the world this year. Before I had difficulty standing the pressure. But now I am a better athlete."
   
Her great rival, Great Britain's Olympic and defending world champion Christine Ohuruogu - they share a thinly veiled dislike of each other - failed to find her traditional finishing speed and finished fifth, though, in a season's best time of 50.21sec.
   
"I am very disappointed obviously, it wasn't how I like to go out at the start," confessed the Briton, who is a determined to make it through to the 2012 Olympics which is held in an area of London where she was brought up and lives.
   
"It was a very strong field. I don't want to take anything away from the girls who ran, I just couldn't match that today.
   
"It was a lack of races for me. Sanya Richards ran a splendid race. I didn't see her until she was in front of me."
   
For the Jamaican-born Richards - she left for the United States aged 12 - it finally gave her a title to go with her dominance of the event on the Grand Prix circuit over the past few years but which had somewhat unkindly earned her the tag of being a 'choker' when it came to major finals.
   
Unlike in the Olympic final Richards went out in more measured style, biding her time down the back stretch, and did not make her move until rounding the turn into the straight.
   
Once she pressed the accelerator there was nobody able to respond as Williams - who had taken silver in Beijing - and Krivoshapka failed to find any extra.
   
Ohuruogu found that even her traditional campaign of running far less races than her bitter opponent going into a championships was not enough this time as a season also hampered by injury told on her and she was left trailing in the outside lane.
   
Richards, who failed to win when heavily favoured in the 2005 final, as she was in the Olympic final, raised her arms in triumph and gave out a loud shriek of joy on crossing the line metres ahead of Williams.
   
Richards believed Ohuruogu should not have raced at the Olympics because she had missed three doping tests, and although under British Olympic Association (BOA) rules she should not have been in Beijing the Briton successfully challenged it in court.
   
After the American's triumph the traditional shaking of hands after many finals was a curt affair between the two rivals.
   
 

Date created : 2009-08-18

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