07 MAR 2008 General News Valencia, Spain

A first for Africa as Fasuba wins 60m gold

Olusoji Fasuba stretches away from the rest of the field to win the men's 60m title (Getty Images)Olusoji Fasuba stretches away from the rest of the field to win the men's 60m title (Getty Images) © Copyright

Breaking from a tightlywound field just beyond the 40m point, Olusoji Fasuba sped to a dramatic 6.51 victory in the 60m, the first indoor short dash title for Nigeria and indeed for Africa.

It was the third 6.51 of the season for the 23-year-old, and the second on the day. Fittingly for the newly crowned World champion, nobody else in the world has run faster this year.

Feeling his calves cramping over the final stages, Fasuba fought on valiantly to hold off the closing charge of Briton Dwain Chambers and Kim Collins, who each were credited with a 6.54 and both awarded a joint silver medal.

“I felt very strong for this competition,” said Fasuba, who helped christen the Valencia track last month with another 6.51 performance. “The track was really good, I’m getting stronger and stronger and this is shown in my time today.”

Fasuba’s triumph, bringing him his first solo global medal of any colour, came at the conclusion of a day when he displayed the confident look of a champion, from his 6.64 in the opening round, to his commanding and extremely comfortable 6.51 in the semis.

Chambers’ runner-up finish came after a 6.55 in the semis, his second PB of the day, as Collins ran his fastest time of the season. The 2003 World 100m champion, was ecstatic with his medal – he claimed the silver already in 2003 – coming at the end of his first indoor season since 2005.

U.S. champion Michael Rodgers, who equalled his 6.54 PB in the semis, was just a few ticks slower, finishing fourth in 6.57 in his first international competition. A somewhat sluggish start might have cost him a medal.

Brazil’s Vicente de Lima was fifth (6.60) and Isaac Uche, Fasuba’s teammate, was a distant sixth in 6.63.

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF