- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 20, 2009

BERLIN | The Jamaicans aren’t done assuming track dominance from the Americans.

First it was the sprints. Now it’s the hurdles.

Brigitte Foster-Hylton captured the 100-meter hurdles title Wednesday, giving the island nation its first gold in the event at the world championships. Delloreen Ennis-London also won the bronze for Jamaica.

“We’re doing very good and we’re happy,” Ennis-London said.

The Americans, who’ve already lost two sprint races to Jamaica, were counting on gold. Instead, they ran into obstacles.

Ginnie Powell smashed a middle hurdle and finished sixth, and Olympic champion Dawn Harper clipped the second hurdle and took seventh.

“It’s kind of sad, a letdown day,” Powell said. “Two of America’s best hurdlers couldn’t medal.”

That seems to be the case these days when the Jamaicans are involved. Then again, the country with a population of 2.8 million does boast the best runner on the planet.

Usain Bolt will try for his second world record of the championships Thursday in the final of the 200.

He obliterated his own mark in the 100 on Sunday, blazing through the line in 9.58 seconds.

Shawn Crawford thinks he might have a way to neutralize Bolt’s burst - trip him.

Of course the American was only kidding, right?

“The cameras make it hard to do that,” Crawford said.

Bolt looked invulnerable in his semifinal heat of the 200, ambling down the track in 20.08 seconds.

And that was in easy mode.

In the final, he’ll turn it up to serious mode.

Bolt’s world record in the 200 stands at 19.30, a barrier that Crawford fully expects him to break in the finals.

“I really think 19.28, that’s what I think,” Crawford said. “My goal is to run 19.51. I’ll be happy with that.”

That almost sounds like an admission of defeat.

“I know Usain Bolt is an animal,” said Wallace Spearmon, who finished the semifinals with the second-best time at 20.14 seconds. “I’m going to have to have the best race of my life to try to beat him in the finals.”

Word that Crawford’s predicting a time of 19.28 made Spearmon’s eyes go wide in alarm.

“If they run [19.28] they can have it,” Spearmon said. “I’m not going to say I can’t run that fast, but that’s pretty quick. … My best is 19.65, and I know it’s going to take more than that to go out and compete with him.”

Unlike at the Beijing Olympics, Bernard Lagat’s trademark kick was there at the end.

He was just too far behind for it to be completely effective, settling for the bronze in the 1,500-meter run.

Lagat, who entered the race as the defending world champion, was bottled up and fading toward the back of the pack. Searching for an opening, he found a crack by going to the outside and made a mad dash for the front as the runners headed down the home stretch.

He tracked down everyone but gold medalist Yusuf Saad Kamel of Bahrain and Deresse Mekonnen of Ethiopia, who took silver.

It was a far cry from his performance in Beijing, when Lagat had no kick because of an aching Achilles tendon and failed to qualify for the final.

“It’s difficult to surrender the world title. But I proved that I still can run with the young guys,” said the 34-year-old Lagat.

In the women’s 800, South African teenager Caster Semenya ignored a gender-test controversy to win the event.

The world track and field federation requested the gender test on the 18-year-old Semenya about three weeks ago amid speculation she does not meet the requirements to compete as a woman.

Semenya’s improvement in times, along with her muscular build and deep voice, sparked speculation about her gender.

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