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MOSCOW, August 16 (R-Sport) – If the London 2012 Olympics had Super Saturday with a host of British triumphs on the opening athletics night a year ago, then Russia experienced Fantastic Friday with two memorable golds at the world championships in Moscow.
The highlight of the seventh day of action at Luzhniki Stadium was Alexander Menkov's monster long jump of 8.56 – the farthest by anybody in four years – to destroy the field and win the home nation its fifth gold of the championships.
Menkov had set a massive personal best and shattered the championship record as the next best challenger, Ignisious Gaisah, could only manage 8.29 for silver; though that in itself was a Dutch national record.
"It's all great, it's all ideal, I'm very happy that it worked out well for me," the 22-year-old Russian said. "I haven't realized all this yet. I even forgot that my back hurt."
Mexico's Luis Rivera, whose season-leading jump Menkov reset, claimed the bronze with 8.27.
Menkov's triumph came as the 30,000 fans at Luzhniki were still buzzing from Tatyana Lysenko's victory in the women's hammer throw barely half an hour earlier.
The defending champion and London 2012 gold medalist sent her home fans into raptures with a second world title in a breathtaking final: The 29-year-old came out on top in a tit-for-tat throw-off with the silver medalist from London, Anita Wlodarczyk, taking the Pole's championship record with 78.80 to defend her Daegu title.
"I competed at home, so I felt the support of the crowd," Lysenko said. "The competition itself and my attempts weren't as easy as they appeared to be, it was a hard competition."
Wlodarczyk's national record of 78.46 would have been enough to beat Lysenko a year ago but not on her home patch Friday.
"I am happy because of my new personal best and the national record," Wlodarczyk said. "The competition was very exciting. This is the second competition in a row that I've lost to Lysenko, so the third will be mine."
The bronze medal went to Zhang Wenxiu, who came fourth in London after claiming bronze at her home Beijing 2008 Games, with her fourth-round throw of 75.58, a season's best for her.
On the track, the main event of the night was the women's 200 meters, which saw Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce win convincingly in 22.17 to complete the Moscow sprint double. She would likely have been pushed harder if it weren't for the mid-race collapse of Allyson Felix of the United States, who had a leg injury and had to be carried off by her brother.
"I think it's the hand of God that has huge part to play in this victory," Fraser-Pryce said. "If you want something and you believe in yourself, you can achieve anything. And I wanted this, I trained really hard and I'm so excited that it actually paid off."
Reigning champion and fellow Jamaican Veronica Campbell-Brown was also absent, serving a suspension after testing positive for a banned substance.
Ivorian sprinter Murielle Ahoure won her second silver of the Moscow championships, edging Nigeria's Blessing Okagbare, the bronze medal winner. Both had official times of 22.32.
Elsewhere, British distance-running sensation Mo Farah capped a so-called double-double after adding the 5,000-meter gold medal to the 10,000 title he won earlier in the week. The first double was the same feat at the London Games.
After a race that was slow for the first 4,000 meters, Farah led from the front and turned up the heat, but his trademark spurt of pace on the final lap was less brutally effective than usual and he took gold by around a meter.
"It was a great win, something I've worked so hard on," he said. "I'm so proud to be British."
Farah won in a time of 13 minutes 24.98 seconds, around 16 second faster than his Olympic victory last year but still well off world record pace, as is usual for major finals. The Londoner then embarked on a victory lap, British flag held aloft.
The silver went to Ethiopia's Hagos Gebhriwet in a photo finish, with bronze for Isiah Kiplagat Koech of Kenya – both were clocked at the same time, 13:27.26.
Capping an unforgettable evening of competition, the United States men’s team ran a devastating 4-by-400-meter relay to claim a fifth-straight world championship gold in the event.
In cool conditions, the US led all the way before world 400-meter champion LaShawn Merritt blew the field away on the last lap to win in 2 minutes 58.71 seconds.
Silver went to Jamaica, more than a second off the pace, in a photo finish with host team Russia, which delighted the then-patchy Moscow crowd with bronze.
Saturday is the penultimate day of action, with medals on offer in the men's marathon, the women's high jump, the men's javelin, the women's 5,000 meters, the women's 100-meter hurdles, the women's 4-by-400-meter relay and the men's 200-meter sprint.
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