Daegu: Amantle Montsho held off Allyson Felix on the line to win a dramatic women`s 400 metres final on Monday, earning Botswana its first gold medal at the world athletics championships.
With Felix breathing down her neck, Montsho charged to victory in a time of 49.56 seconds with the American just three-hundredths of a second behind. Anastasiya Kapachinskaya claimed bronze for Russia.
Three-times world 200 gold medalist Felix had been looking to become the first woman to win both the 200 and 400 at a single world championships, and with another 10 metres to spare she might have snatched the title from Montsho.
"I know Allyson is a good athlete and she is fast. I felt when she was coming, but I managed to hold on," said Montsho, who had five Diamond League wins this season including an eye-catching victory over Felix and Sanya Richards-Ross at the Prefontaine Classic in June.
"I am happy to give the first gold to Botswana. Everybody must be happy at home now and I want to celebrate with them."
Montsho established an early lead on the blue Daegu track but Felix started to reel her in down the straight. The American had almost caught Montsho as the pair crossed the line but came up just short.
Defending champion Richards-Ross, who barely squeezed into the final, never got going in lane one and finished seventh.
Felix, who had never run the event in a major championship before South Korea, has two days to recover before she goes in search of her fourth consecutive 200 world title.
Then she could run in the 4x100 metres and 4x400 metres relays. Her six gold medals are already a record for a female athlete.
"On the home straight I definitely felt I still had a chance," Felix said.
"I gave it all and tried to move my arms. I cannot be too disappointed with my silver medal. I still have the 200 metres and the relays coming up."