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ATHLETICS

Bolt seeks revenge in Stockholm sprint

Usain Bolt returns to action in the Diamond League meeting in Stockholm on Friday hoping to erase bad memories of last year's defeat.

Bolt seeks revenge in Stockholm sprint

Twelve months ago, the Jamaican, who is the reigning world and Olympic champion as well as world record holder at 100m and 200m, suffered a shock defeat in the 100m at the hands of the American Tyson Gay.

However, he has been lured back to the Swedish capital for the 11th stop on the Diamond League circuit — his appearance fee is two million kronor ($310,000) according to local media — and will feature this time in the 200m, which he considers his better distance.

“I will be back — and I will not lose,” said Bolt, who is gearing up not just for next month’s world championships in Daegu, South Korea but for next year’s London Olympics.

His biggest competition on Friday is likely to come from Panama’s Alonso Edward, who collected silver behind Bolt at the 2009 world championships, and Norway’s Jaysuma Saidy Ndure, both of whom have run under 20 seconds.

While some may shudder at the amount of appearance money being paid out to

Bolt, the Swedish organisers rate it as good value.

“He was worth it last year, and I think he’ll be worth it this year too,” said competition director Rajne Söderberg. “That’s what I hope, at least.”

The second fastest sprinter in women’s history Carmelita Jeter admits that she has her eyes firmly set on winning herself a 1-carat diamond, valued at $10,000 which the organisers award to anyone who breaks a stadium record.

“I would love to get a diamond,” said the American who will run the 100m.”Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.”

The stadium 100m record currently belongs to Irina Privalova who ran 10.90 in 1994, a time that is well within Jeter’s best of 10.64.

She will be up against Jamaican Kerron Stewart, the world’s seventh fastest woman with 10.75 and a season best of 10.87, as well as the evergreen 35-year-old Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie of the Bahamas.

Yelena Isinbayeva will continue her comeback in the pole vault after a lengthy self-imposed 11-month lay-off.

The Russian, who won in Belgium last week with a height of 4.60m, still a long way short of her world record of 5.06m, will be hoping that a wrist injury suffered last week will not affect her progress towards the world championships.

Another woman on the comeback trail is the women’s 800m world champion Caster Semenya. The 20 year-old South African won in Paris, finished second in Eugene and third in Oslo, her 1:58.61 seasons best coming in the Norwegian capital.

A field that boasts 10 runners who have clocked under 1:59.00 this season, including season leader Moroccos Halima Hachlaf, should give her a decent test.

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ATHLETICS

Sweden’s Bahta denies Hassan to claim gold

Sweden's Meraf Bahta held off a late challenge from hot favourite Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands to win the 5,000m final at the European Athletic Championships in Zurich on Saturday.

Sweden's Bahta denies Hassan to claim gold
Photo: TT

The promise of Dutch delight turned to despair – and ultimately silver and bronze consolation – in the dramatic closing stages of the women's 5,000m final on the penultimate day of the European Athletics Championships in Zurich.

"With 100m to go I knew that nobody could beat me," said Bahta.

"I was never afraid to lose the duel with Hassan. This is my first time running for Sweden. It is great for me to hear the anthem for the first time."

Less than 24 hours after winning the 1500m final (on a night when Dafne Schippers completed a 100m sprint double), Sifan Hassan was closing on what would have been a famous double of her own and a record-equalling fourth for the Netherlands as she surged from seventh at the bell to the shoulder of Sweden's Meraf Bahta coming into the home straight.

A similar tactic had won the 21-year-old Ethiopian-born woman her metric mile crown in convincing fashion but this time she came up against an unyielding rival in Bahta.

The Eritrean refugee had pushed the pace from two laps out and dug deep to hold on for victory in 15min 31.39sec.

Hassan had to be content with silver, finishing 0.40sec, with her Dutch team-mate Susan Kuijken coming through for bronze and Jo Pavey, the 40-year-old 10,000m winner from Great Britain, down in sevent

The battle for first place in the medal table edged marginally in favour of France after wins for Renaud Lavillenie in the men's pole vault and Christelle Daunay in the women's marathon.

They have seven golds now, the same tally as Britain, but with 18 medals in all, three more than their rivals.

Lavillenie has been untouchable in 2014 and the Olympic champion extended his winning streak to a 20th competition with just two vaults.

After entering at 5.65m and clearing that at the first attempt, the Frenchman just needed a second time success at 5.90 to claim the gold.

He did, however, attempt to achieve his first 6m-plus vault of the outdoor season but registered three failures at  6.01m – 15cm shy of the world record he set indoors in Donetsk in February.

Daunay is not quite a member of the Fortysomething club – she turns 40 in December – but the French marathon runner maintained the gold standard for the older guard in Zurich, pulling clear after halfway to win the 26.2 mile event in 2 hr 25min 14sec – 13 seconds ahead of the 38-year-old Italian Valeria Straneo.

Farther down the field, there was a race within the race to become the first finisher between 28-year-old triplets from Estonia. It was won by Liina Luik, 29th in 2:41:18. Leila Luik was 43rd and Lily Luik 47th.

The seventh British gold came in the women's 400m hurdles. Favourite Eilidh Child held on for victory in 54.48sec, 0.08sec ahead of the fast-finishing Ukrainian Anna Titimets.

However, Child's fellow Scottish Commonwealth Games silver medallist Lynsey Sharp was unable to hang on after going our hard and fast in a bold defence of her 800m title.

She was caught and passed 80m from the line by Maryna Arzamasova, the Belarus athlete prevailing in 1 min 58.15sec. The consolation for Sharp was not just the silver but also a Scottish record: 1:58.80.

In the women's discus Croatia's Sandra Perkovic, the reigning world and Olympic champion, claimed gold with a 71.08m world lead and national record in the fifth round.

The men's hammer was a dramatic affair, Olympic champion Krisztian Parrs requiring a world leading throw of 82.69m in the final round to retain his title.

In the women's triple jump Ukraine's Olha Saladukha completed a hat-trick of titles, a second round effort of 14.73m edging out Russian Yekaterina Koneva by just 4cm.

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