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World record, four gold in Indoors

Ashton Eaton -  Istanbul, Turkey

Ashton Eaton - Istanbul, Turkey

Ashton Eaton easily bettered his own world record in the men’s heptathlon to lead a four-gold, three-bronze medal charge for Team USA as the 14th edition of the World Indoor Championships continued Saturday from the Atakoy Athletic Arena. Competition concludes the final session Sunday.

Along with Eaton, Sanya Richards-Ross (women’s 400m), Chaunte Lowe (women’s high jump) and Justin Gatlin (men’s 60m) all established themselves as 2012 world champions Saturday. When added to Ryan Whiting shot put gold medal from Friday, Team USA’s total of eight medals gives them the overall lead in the medal table ahead of Great Britain with four. Team USA won 17 medals at the 2010 World Indoor Championships and 12 finals are scheduled for Sunday.

Meanwhile, Team USA picked up bronze medals Saturday from Natasha Hastings (women’s 400m), Brad Walker (men’s pole vault) and Michelle Carter (women’s shot put).

When Eaton came to the line in the men’s 1000m he had to run within just seven seconds of his personal best of 2:32.67. Eaton responded by running 2:32.77 and left no doubt about extending his world record, which he initially set in 2010 of 6,499. Over the two day competition, Eaton won five of the seven events to finish well ahead of Oleksiy Kasyanov of the Ukraine (6,071).

Richards-Ross entered the 400m final with the goal of winning a gold medal and setting an American record in the process. Her winning time of 50.79 equalled her season best from the USA Indoor Championships and is easily the fastest time in the world this year. In her first indoor season since 2006, this is Richards-Ross first World Indoor Championships medal.

Lowe completed a two-week stretch that saw her set an American record, win the indoor Visa Championship Series and win a World Indoor Championships gold medal. In sixth position heading into what would be the winning height of 1.98m/6-6, Lowe cleared it on her first attempt as the rest of the field failed to do so. Lowe is also the American outdoor record holder.

Gatlin ran the same time of 6.46 Saturday to win the men’s 60m as he did to win the World Indoor title in 2003. The season best time for Gatlin left little doubt from the start as he finished well ahead of Jamaica’s Nesta Carter, who won the silver in 6.54. Trell Kimmons finished with the same time as Great Britain’s Dwain Chambers of 6.60, but finished in fourth place.

Hastings took a charge at Richards-Ross on the race’s final lap before finishing third in 51.82. It marks the first time in the history of the World Indoor Championships that Team USA has won two medals in the event.

Carter was able to best American indoor and outdoor record holder Jillian Camarena-Williams to win the bronze medal with a throw of 19.58/64-3. The 2004 World Junior champion, this is the first medal for Carter at the World Championships. Camarena-Williams placed fourth at 19.44m/63-9.5.

For the fifth time Walker claimed a medal at a World Championships with his vault of 5.80/19-0.25 to win the bronze. The 2006 World Indoor Championships gold medalist also won a World Indoor silver medal in 2008. The height he cleared Saturday was the same height he won the gold medal with in 2006. Scott Roth failed to record a mark.

Will Claye advanced into the finals in the men’s triple jump during Saturday’s morning session before finishing fourth in the long jump in the afternoon. Claye scratched three jumps including his final attempt to finish at 8.04m/26-4.25. Claye will be joined in the triple jump final by Christian Taylor, who jumped a season best of 17.39m/57-0.75 and the best mark of the day.

Matthew Centrowitz made a move for the leaders in the final laps of the men’s 1,500m final before fading to a seventh place finish. The 2011 World Outdoor Championships bronze medalist crossed the finish line in a time of 3:47.42.

Aries Merritt advanced past the first round of the 60m hurdles by winning his heat in a time of 7.66 and into Sunday’s semi-finals. Kevin Craddock was forced to withdraw from the race due to a hamstring injury.

Jesse Williams will lead a 10-man field into Sunday’s finals of the men’s high jump after clearing a height of 2.29m/7-6 while the men’s 4x400m team of Frankie Wright, Jamaal Torrance, Manteo Mitchell and Quentin Iglehart-Summers won the opening heat in a time of 3:07.47 to advance to the finals. The women’s 4x400m did not feature any preliminary action.

World-leader Tianna Madison and Barbara Pierre advanced into Sunday’s semi-final round of the women’s 60m by recording the same time of 7.24 while two-time USA Indoor Champion Janay DeLoach (6.90m/22-7.75) and two-time reigning World champion Brittney Reese (6.72m/22-0.75) advanced to the finals of the women’s long jump.

For continuing updates on the World Indoor Championships check www.usatf.org.

Lagat, Richards-Ross named team captains
At a team meeting Thursday prior to the 14th edition of the World Indoor Championships, Bernard Lagat and Sanya Richards-Ross were selected by their peers as Team USA captains. Two veterans of the sport, this is Lagat’s sixth time being a member of Team USA in World Championships and Olympic competition and the eighth time for Richards-Ross.

Lagat qualified for the team in hopes of defending his World Indoor 3,000m title. He advanced into the final Friday, which will be run Sunday. Lagat owns a total of seven indoor and outdoor American records and has won a pair of World Indoor Championships gold medals.

Competing in her first indoor season since 2006, Richards-Ross won a gold medal Saturday in the women’s 400m. The American outdoor record holder, she is also the 2009 World Outdoor gold medalist and the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist.

Team USA Medals
Gold (5)
Ryan Whiting, men’s shot put, 22.00m/72-2.25
Ashton Eaton, men’s heptathlon, 6,645 (WR)
Sanya Richards-Ross, women’s 400m, 50.79
Chaunte Lowe, women’s high jump, 1.98m/6-6
Justin Gatlin, men’s 60m, 6.46

Bronze (3)
Natasha Hastings, women’s 400m, 51.82
Brad Walker, men’s pole vault, 5.80m/19-0.25
Michelle Carter, women’s shot put,

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