Jamaica's Veronica Campbell edges Williams in photo finish

OSAKA, Japan &

It took 11.01 seconds to finish the race to decide the fastest woman at the world championships.

For Veronica Campbell of Jamaica it seemed an eternity before she was declared the winner in a photo finish over defending 100-meter world champion Lauryn Williams of the United States.

In one of the closest finishes in championship history, Carmelita Jeter of the United States took bronze, one hundredth of a second behind the leading duo.

A third American, 2003 world champion Torri Edwards, took fourth place in 11.05.

Unlike Sunday's men's 100 final, when Tyson Gay came from behind to beat world record holder Asafa Powell, it was the Jamaican catching up with the American to take gold this time.

In confusing scenes, Edwards' name was first flashed onto a stadium screen in gold-medal position. Then Williams was given the same time. To make it worse, Campbell was suddenly given top place before the screen went blank, leaving all runners in suspense.

"I was just hoping. I did a lot of praying in those few minutes in hoping that God would shine down on me and I could be a gold medalist again," Williams said. "I wasn't sure what happened. I was watching the replay. I couldn't decide for myself who I thought had won."

Only when Campbell's name flashed up again on the screen was she confident enough to take the flag and start celebrating.

"It was a very tight race, very competitive. It was one of my closest finishes ever," Campbell said of her first 100 world title.

It was the second classic final in as many days. Campbell was slow out of the blocks but caught the leaders who converged together in a blur of flying legs, arms and hair at the finish line.

"I cannot be upset," Williams said. "I should not have leaned so early.

"It was a very close race, and they kept playing it back and I know they go off your shoulders. The experts have a way of figuring it out &

I'm sure they put their best foot forward to make sure no one got cheated."

Spokesman Nick Davies of world track's governing body, the IAAF, said American team officials had been shown an enlarged image of the photo finish and accepted the results.

In 1993, American Gail Devers beat Merlene Ottey by .001 seconds to take the 100 world title, the closest previous finish.

comparison Monday, the longest race was the most predictable, with Kenenisa Bekele winning his third straight world title and the seventh of the past eight for Ethiopia.

He is unbeaten over the distance and made it a double for his country after Tirunesh Dibaba won the women's title on Saturday.

He finished in 27 minutes 5.90 seconds, almost a minute off his world record. Credit the stifling heat of 80 degrees and suffocating humidity. The result left him one title short of his compatriot Haile Gebrselassie.

This time though, he was pushed hard by compatriot Sileshi Sihine up to the last bend before his outstanding final kick made the difference.

Kenya's Martin Mathathi took bronze.

The victory left Ethiopia tied with the United States with two golds apiece, ahead of eight nations with one title. Overall the U.S. team leads with seven medals, ahead of Ethiopia, Belarus and Kenya.

In a major surprise, Portugal's 23-year-old Nelson Evora came from obscurity to upset favorite Jadel Gregorio of Brazil and win the triple jump with his sixth national record in two years &

58 feet, 21/2 inches. Gregorio placed second with 57-81/2 and defending champion Walter Davis of the United States settled for bronze at 56-10 1-4.

While the United States dominated the opening weekend, Russia final got on the medals table with a 1-2 finish in the women's steeple chase.

Yekaterina Volkova was already waving to the crowds with 80 meters to go and she finished in a championship record 9 minutes 6.57 seconds. The silver medalist from 2005 held a margin of 2.62 seconds over Tatyana Petrova. Kenya's Eunice Jepkorir took bronze.

In a tactical team race, world record holder Gulnara Samitova-Galkina sacrificed her chances by setting the early pace before fading to seventh.

Japan's big medal hopes faded with Olympic hammer throw champion Koji Murofushi's sixth-place finish.

Ivan Tikhon of Belarus claimed his third straight title with a world leading throw of 274-4 on his last attempt. Primoz Kozmus of Slovenia took silver ahead of Slovakia's Libor Charfreitag.

Japan's best chance to medal now comes in the women's marathon on Sunday's closing day.

In the men's 1,500 semifinals, Bernard Lagat of the United States won a wild heat to reach Wednesday's final, escaping the pushing and shoving which resulted in European champion Mehdi Baala of France being disqualified for obstructing Moroccan Youssef Baba in the finishing straight. Baba was given a place in the final.

The year's best performer, Alan Webb of the United States, only qualified as last from his heat. Defending champion Rashid Ramzi of Bahrain had the top time.

In the women's long jump, 2003 champion Eunice Barber failed to qualify for the finals. With a jump of 21 feet, 4 1-4 inches, she was 3.1 inches off the qualifying limit.

Barber has been troubled by a knee injury all season. "Maybe I should not have come to Osaka at all," she said.

Defending champion Tianna Madison of the United States was luckier, the last jumper to make it in the final with 21-71/2. Portugal's Naide Gomes was the top qualifier with 22-10, just ahead of favorite Tatyana Lebedeva of Russia, who is seeking a long jump-triple jump double in Osaka.

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