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Van Niekerk sails to win 400m, Spotakova takes javelin throw title (updated)
Last Updated: 2017-08-09 09:33 | Xinhua
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Two-time Olympic champion Barbora Spotakova of Czech Republic lifted her second world javelin throw title here on Tuesday while South African Wayde Van Niekerk was in a class of his own to claim the 400m title.

World and Olympic champion Van Niekerk finished well clear in 43.98 seconds. Steven Gardiner of Bahamas clocks 44.41 for the silver and was followed at heel by Abdalelah Haroun of Qatar in 44.48.

"It is amazing to win the world title. It is a blessing," said Van Niekerk. "I'm used to the lactic (acid in legs) but I need a few minutes to recover from that effort and I'll be fine.

"I've got a good team who will help me recover well for the 200m and I'm looking forward to that."

Isaac Makwala of Botswana who pulled out of the 200m heats Monday due to what he said was food poisoning did not start for tonight's 400m final.

The women's javelin throw saw a strong surge from seasoned veteran Spotakova, 36, while China reaped two medals through Li Lingwei and Lyu Huihui.

Spotakova, last winning the world title in 2007 in Osaka, set the winning mark of 66.76 meters in her second attempt.

"At this stadium, I am unbeatable. There must be something in the air about London. I cannot explain it but when I enter this stadium, I always feel so calm and relaxed. I believed I could really win it today, I was so focused and confident," said Spotakova who won two Olympic titles in Beijing 2008 and London 2012 and set the still-standing 72.28m world record.

"Whole day I was thinking about my last world title which was ten years ago in Osaka. Actually, it is also almost exacly five years since my Olympic title here in London. These facts made me feel very emotional and I could not believe it has been already such a long time ago. I do not even know if I deserve this title today, it felt so easy," she said.

China's Li Lingwei, a two-time Asian champion, produced her career best of 66.25 to take the silver while her teammate Lyu Huihui, who set a new Asian record in the qualification of 67.49 on Sunday, could not repeat her strong performance in the final, and settled for the bronze in 65.26.

For Li, 2008 junior world runner-up, the silver medal was a delightful surprise.

"I did well today. This year I have been bothered by injury and loose training, so I was not at the height of my fitness tonight," said Li, 28. "I had not expected to win the medal at all."

Among the 12 finalists, three are from China which Li considered a good sign for javelin throw to develop in China.

"We have three people in the final and won two medals. I think it is good for the sport in China, so I am very happy," she said.

Bronze medalist Lyu's qualification mark would have won her the gold medal if she had produced the result tonight. She admitted that she tried a bit too hard in the qualification.

"I competed so hard in the qualification and got brilliant result, which left me a little fatigued both physically and mentally," said the Beijing world championships silver medalist.

Xue Changrui had looked he could make an amazing breakthrough by winning China's first ever men's pole vault medal at the world championships as he led after four jumps. However, he failed to clear 5.89m and American Sam Kendricks, Rio Olympic bronze medalist claimed the title with 5.95 and Polish Piotr Lisek bagged a silver in 5.89. Rio Games runner-up Renaud Lavillenie of France finished third.

Olympic gold medalist Conseslus Kipruto finally came to a golden finish in the men's 3000m steeplechase at the world championships after two runner-up finishes at previous worlds as the Kenyan clocked 8:14.12 to continue his in-form performance in the event after the Rio Olympic Games last year.

Soufiane Elbakkali of Morocco finished runner-up at 8:14.49. The bronze medal went to Evan Jager of the United States, who completed the race at 8:15.53.

Pierre-Ambroise Bosse of France lifted his first world title in men's 800m as the Frenchman clocked a season best of 1:44.67.

The silver and bronze medal belonged to Adam Kszczot of Poland and Kipyegon Bett of Kenya respectively.

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