Murer wins pole vault, Merritt of US 2nd in 400

Daegu: Yelena Isinbayeva extended her string of disappointments at major events on Tuesday, going under the pole vault bar on her final attempt while trailing five of her rivals for gold at the world championships

When the Russian was packing up her bag, Fabiana Murer of Brazil added the outdoor world title to the indoor championship one year before the London Olympics. Murer set a South American record of 15 feet, 11 inches to beat Martina Strutz, who set a German record of 15-9. Svetlana Feofanova of Russia earned bronze at 15-7.

"I lost again. But it`s OK and I`m optimistic for next year," Isinbayeva said. "The Olympic year is more important. I was just unlucky."

In the men`s 400 final, Kirani James of Grenada rallied past favorite LaShawn Merritt of the United States in a lunge at the line to finish in a personal-best 44.60 seconds. It was Grenada`s first world championship medal.

Merritt finished in 44.63 for silver and Kevin Borlee of Belgium took bronze in 44.90.

At the halfway mark in the competition, the United States leads the medal standings with four gold and eight overall, ahead of Kenya and Russia with three gold among their eight medals.

Tatyana Chernova ended the reign of Jessica Ennis in the heptathlon, rallying to take gold from the defending champion.

In the 800 meters, world-record holder David Rudisha of Kenya earned his first world title, winning his 32nd straight race in the last two years. Defending champion Robert Harting of Germany won the discus with a throw of 226 feet, 3 inches.

In front of 40,000 fans at Daegu Stadium, nothing could match another implosion by Isinbayeva.

The two-time Olympic champion managed a height of 15-3, the only mark she would clear and only a slight improvement over her no-height performance at the worlds in Berlin two years ago. That started a spiral of decline, and she took a one-year break after losing to Murer at last year`s indoor championships, hoping to come back stronger in Daegu.

"Everything was ready for a victory, but I do not know what went wrong," Isinbayeva said.

When she used to go into a huddle, covered by blankets or towels to concentrate, her competitors used to fail. Now, oblivious to the former world champion, they went higher and higher, leaving the Russian behind.

After Isinbayeva first missed at 15-7, her rivals kept scaling the bar, forcing her into two attempts at 15-9 to even have a shot at the title. She failed at that height as well.

It left her without a medal for three straight global championships after a run of seven straight golds in Olympics and world outdoor and indoor competitions.

"I will delete everything in my memory before I go to the Olympics," Isinbayeva said.

Yuliya Zaripova of Russia won the steeplechase ahead of Habiba Ghribi of Tunisia.

In the heptathlon, Chernova had a season-best javelin throw of 173-8 to greatly outdistance Ennis` 131-1, helping the 23-year-old Russian win her first major title.

In the 800, the final event, Chernova had a strong finishing kick that almost beat the hard-charging Ennis at the tape. It left the Russian with a total of 6,880 points, compared to 6,751 for Ennis. Jennifer Oeser of Germany took bronze with 6,572.

"It was so easy for me. It was a great end of the year and will help me prepare for the Olympics with the sense that I am a winner," Chernova said. "It strengthened the spirit and, if I can win over Jessica here, it can give me confidence for the future."

Over the past two years, Ennis won gold in the multi-event indoor and outdoor world championships and at the European championships. She was counting on another outstanding performance for a boost of confidence ahead of her home Olympics in London next year.

"It was always going to be tough this year and will be tougher next year," Ennis said.

Earlier, 10,000 champion Vivian Cheruiyot coasted in the 5,000 heats to qualify for the final.

Bureau Report

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