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New stars light up the sky

Helsinki: ``Old stars fade, new stars light up the sky'' was how 110m hurdler Allen Johnson assessed athletics ahead of the World championships and he couldn't have been more correct.

The 34-year-old was to be an eye witness as he took bronze and not his fifth title he so desperately wanted behind two 22-year-olds in Ladji Doucoure of France and China's Olympic champion Liu Xiang.

A year after the Olympics can be a transitional time for any sport but if these championships were anything to go by then the old guard have been stood down for the new kids on the block.

While Johnson did at least come away with a medal, others of the golden generation discovered that the sands of time are running out.

Evergreen Mutola

The evergreen Maria Mutola finished fourth in the 800m and 38-year-old Lars Riedel made the discus final but no impression after that.

Instead it was the youngsters, led by American sprint king Justin Gatlin, who dominated.

While the 23-year-old Gatlin already had an Olympic crown in his locker he still had to come here and show that, in the absence of World record-holder Asafa Powell, he had what it took to replace Maurice Greene as the dominant World sprinter.

And he didn't disappoint as the young American destroyed his rival in the 100m and 200m.

``Double gold means I'm king of the sprints. It shows I'm the best sprinter around,'' said Gatlin, who would probably have emulated Greene in 1999 and won three titles had not the US dropped the baton in the heats of the 4100m relay.

There were other Americans to take up Gatlin's rallying cry in the form of 21-year olds Lauryn Williams winning the 100m and 4x100m relay, and Jeremy Wariner in the men's 400m.

They were supported by 19-year-old Tianna Madison, who secured the long jump title in her first major final, and 22-year-old Bershawn Jackson.

The results (finals):

Women's 1,500m: 1. Tatyana Tomashova (Rus — 4:00.35); 2. Yuliya Chizhenko (Rus — 4:00.93); 3. Olga Yegorova (Rus — 4:01.46).

Women's javelin: 1. Osleidys Menendez (Cub — 71.70m World record); 2. Christina Obergfoll (Ger — 70.03); 3. Steffi Nerius (Ger — 65.96).

Women's 4x400m relay: 1. Russia (3:20.95); 2. Jamaica (3:23.29); 3. Britain (3:24.44).

Men's 800m: 1. Rashid Ramzi (Bah — 1:44.24); 2, Yuriy Borzakovskiy (Rus — 1:44.51); 3, William Yiampoy (Ken — 1:44.55).

Men's High Jump: Yuriy Krymarenko (Ukr — 2.32m); 2. Victor Moya (Cub — 2.29); 2. Yaroslav Rybakov (Rus — 2.29).

Men's 5,000m: 1. Benjamin Limo (Ken — 13:32.55); 2. Sileshi Sihine (Eth — 13:32.81); 3. Craig Mottram (Aus — 13:32.96).

Men's 4x400m relay: 1. U.S. (2:56.91); 2. The Bahamas (2:57.32); 3. Jamaica (2:58.07). — Agencies

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