BEIJING (Reuters) - Usain Bolt secured a sweep of the sprint golds at a world championships for the third time on Saturday when, aided by a U.S. disqualification, he anchored Jamaica to the 4x100 meters relay title.
The 29-year-old, who had already won the 100 and 200 meters events at the Bird’s Nest Stadium, stormed across the line in 37.36 seconds to give his country a fourth straight world title in the event.
The United States team featuring Justin Gatlin, who won silver behind Bolt in both individual sprints, botched their final handover between Tyson Gay and Mike Rodgers and were disqualified after crossing the line second.
That elevated hosts China to a hugely popular silver medal in 38.01 with Canada taking the bronze in 38.13.
It was a record-extending 11th world gold for Bolt, who also won three sprint titles at the 2009 and 2013 world championships.
“I told you I was coming here and do my best as always. I was coming here to achieve gold medals and that’s what I did,” Bolt told reporters.
“It’s called pressure,” the Jamaican added of the American disqualification. “When there’s a lot of pressure to come out here and perform at your best. And we saw what happened.”
Jamaica have now won the sprint relay at six straight major global championships, including the last two Olympics, but for the first 200m it did not like they were going to extend their dominance.
While Nesta Carter and former world record holder Asafa Powell did not get Jamaica off to the best of starts, the Americans were flying with Trayvon Bromell and Gatlin tearing up the track.
Nickel Ashmeade, who won bronze behind Bolt and Gatlin in the 100 meters, gained ground on Gay coming round the final bend but the Americans were looking in good shape to repeat their victory over the Jamaicans at this year’s world relays.
On the final handover, however, Gay was initially unable to get the baton to Rodgers and by the time he did, the anchorman was outside the exchange zone.
Bolt already had the Jamaican baton safely in his hand and sprinted to victory down a track on which he has now won six major global championship gold medals.
“It’s unfortunate,” Gay said. “We tried to do the best we could, but unfortunately we didn’t get the stick in the exchange zone and that’s what it was.”
Rodgers was unsure what had gone on.
“Did he feel something was wrong?” he said. “I didn’t have the stick, so I had to slow down to get it in the zone. I knew it was close.”
China’s silver — their first medal in the sprint relay — was a particularly timely gift for Su Bingtian, whose 26th birthday was celebrated in song by a delighted crowd.
“I was moved when everybody was singing happy birthday to me,” he said. “This is an historic medal for us. We have trained a lot and worked very hard. This progress is the result.”
Britain failed to finish after a calamitous final handover between James Ellington and Chijindu Ujah cost them a likely medal.
“We were easily in the running for a bronze medal. I don’t know what went on on the last change,” said lead-off runner Richard Kilty.
“It’s probably the fastest team on paper we’ve ever had out. It’s just heart-breaking knowing that we set the race up so well and we messed up on the last change. Just absolutely gutted.”
Editing by Ed Osmond