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Records tumble on final day of World Indoor Championships 

BIRMINGHAM, England (Xinhua) -- Frenchman Renauld Lavillenie won his third world pole vault indoor title and Poland broke the men’s 4x400m world record in the final day’s competition of the World Indoor Championships here on Sunday.

Lavillenie secured the gold medal thanks to a superb second time clearance at 5.90m in the day’s final event, which lasted close to three hours.

The French world record holder edged out the outdoor world champion Sam Kendricks of the United States and Poland’s world silver medalist Piotr Lisek, both of whom cleared 5.85m.

A record 13 men got over 5.60m, including Chinese national champion Xue Changrui. Nine men cleared 5.70m and six exceeded 5.80m.

Olympic champion Thiago Braz of Brazil and 2011 world champion Pawel Wojciechowski of Poland were both stopped at 5.70m.  “I’m very, very happy,” Lavillenie said. “The competition was a real battle. The competition was very long and very intense as you can see with seven athletes trying to jump 5.90m.”

Jakub Krzewina, who ran the final leg of the 4x400m, helped Poland sweep past the United States in the final strides of the race to produce one of the biggest upsets in indoor competition history.  The US team led for the first three legs but 2016 relay gold medalist Vernon Norwood wasted a four-meter margin as Krzewina crossed the line first in 3:01.77, beating the world indoor record of 3:02.13 set by the US team in Sopot at the World Indoor Championships four years ago.

Young hurdler delights home-crowd

Andrew Pozzi earned the host country their second gold medal from the men’s 60m hurdles as he edged past American Jarret Eaton by just one hundredth of a second.

The 25-year-old, was the fastest qualifier for the final following an impressive 7.46 in the semi-finals earlier. He sent the home crowd into a frenzy with his first medal on a global stage.  The British team captain said, “To be a world champion in Birmingham makes the achievement tenfold. I’ve grown up here over the last decade - the first competition I ever watched was the trials here 15 years ago.”

Burundi’s defending champion Francine Niyonsaba set a world leading time of 1:58.31 to take the women’s 800m title following a tussle with Ajee Wilson of the United States. Britain’s Shelayna Oskan-Clarke ran clear of Ethiopia’s Habitam Alemu in the final 40 meters to take the bronze.

Serbia’s Ivana Spanovic, who won the silver two years ago in Portland, finally landed her first global title in the women’s long jump thanks to a 6.96m leap in the fourth round.

Long distance athletes put in strong showing

In the men’s 3,000m final, Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha, 20, successfully defended his title with an easy victory in 8:14.41. His compatriot, 18-year-old Selemon Barega, managed to sneak the silver medal in the closing metres while Kenya’s Bethwell Birgen took the bronze.

The men’s 1,500m gold also went to Ethiopia. 18-year-old Samuel Tefera won his country’s fourth gold medal at the championships in just his fourth ever indoor race. Poland’s Marcin Lewandowski won the silver and Morocco’s 2012 champion Abdelaati Iguider was third.

After four days’ competition, the United States topped the medal table with six gold, 10 silver and two bronze medals. Ethiopia was second with four gold and one silver while Poland finished third with two gold, two silver and one bronze.   

The next World Indoor Championships will be held in Nanjing, China, in 2020.



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