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Tyson Gay blasts to 19.76 championships record and sprint double

30 August 2007

United States' Tyson Gay celebrates with his country's flag after crossing the finish line to win the gold medal in the Men's 200m final during the World Athletics Championships in Osaka, Japan. United States' Tyson Gay celebrates with his country's flag after crossing the finish line to win the gold medal in the Men's 200m final during the World Athletics Championships in Osaka, Japan.
American Tyson Gay became the third man in history to win the world championship sprint double with an emphatic victory in the 200-meter final on Thursday.

Gay surged home in a championship-record time of 19.76 seconds four days after his victory in the 100 meters to match the feat of compatriots Maurice Greene in 1999 and Justin Gatlin two years ago.

"It feels great ... I think this was the hardest race of my life," Gay told reporters. "Maurice Greene is one of my idols, and I am proud to do the double like him.

"I have two golds, and I want a third in the relay."

Jamaica's Usain Bolt finished second in 19.91, and Gay's training partner and compatriot Wallace Spearmon Jr. took bronze in 20.05.

"I tried hard, but for the moment, he is unbeatable," said Bolt. "Hey, I'm one of the best in the world, that's not a small thing."

It was the eighth race in six days for Gay in the sauna-like atmosphere of the Nagai Stadium, but he showed no sign of fatigue or of the hamstring problem that had troubled him in the heats.

After one false start by Spearmon, Gay got out of his blocks in the joint quickest time, but it was soon clear that his main rival would be Bolt in the lane outside him.

The big-striding 21-year-old had a slight lead at the corner, but Gay found another gear and powered ahead as the Jamaican faltered in the run-in.

"He gave me a run for my money," Gay said, adding that he was "nervous" to be in the unusual position of trailing at the corner of the home straight.

"It shocked me, I was slightly frightened, coming off the curb to see him winning, I'm not used to that."

After crossing the line, Gay raised his arm in the air with a single pointed finger skywards to indicate his now undisputed status in men's sprinting.

"What I did here was a lot of strength, hard work and prayer," he said.

Churandy Martina looked like he might snatch a first ever world-championship medal for the Netherlands Antilles in third place, but Spearmon and his compatriot Rodney Martin came through to battle for bronze.

Spearmon won the race to the line by one hundredth of a second to claim a second world-championship medal to add to the bronze he won behind Gatlin in 2005.

"I should be happy to get a medal but I'm not, I wanted to win," the 22-year-old said. "19.91 for second place; it hurts."

The victory made it an even better week for Tyson's coach Lance Brauman, who also coaches women's 100-meter champion Veronica Campbell and was released on Tuesday after spending more than nine months in a Texas prison for fraud.

Gay, who said he had received a congratulatory text message from Brauman, was also delighted to beat his "idol" Michael Johnson's 1995 world-championship record of 19.79 seconds.

"I believe it is possible to beat his world record, but I have to build up more strength," Gay said of his compatriot's 11-year-old mark of 19.32.

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