Grenada teenager Kirani James has become the youngest 400m world champion in history
Scott Gullan in Daegu
August 31, 20117:21AM
Kirani James, 19, produced a personal best time of 44.60sec to mow down defending champion LaShawn Merritt in the 400m. Picture: Getty
GRENADA teenager Kirani James has become the youngest 400m world champion in history in thrilling circumstances.
James, who turns 19 tomorrow, produced a personal best time of 44.60sec to mow down defending champion LaShawn Merritt over the final couple of metres.
His stunning performance makes him the youngest to have a world championships gold medal in the 400m by more than two years, replacing 2005 champion Jeremy Wariner who was 21 when he saluted.
Merritt, the reigning Olympic and world champion who only recently returned from a 21-month drug ban, looked home at the top of the straight but started to climb stairs late, missing the gold by .03sec.
Belgium's Kevin Borlee took the bronze in 44.90sec.
In the 800m final, Kenyan superstar David Rudisha won his first major championships crown and extended his unbeaten streak to 32 races.
The world record holder hasn't lost a race since the semi-final at the 2009 world championships in Berlin and he made his intentions known from the start, taking over early and setting a cracking pace through the opening lap.
This gave his challengers an opportunity but Rudisha, 22, showed why he's been in a league of his own, extending over the final 50m to win in 1min43.91sec. Sudan's Abubaker Kaki took the silver in 1:44.41sec with Russia's Yuriy Borzakovskiy third (1:44.49sec).
The reign of Russia's pole vault world record holder Elena Isinbaeva looks to be officially over after she could only managed sixth place in the final behind Brazil's Fabiana Murer.
Murer cleared 4.85m to take the gold from Germany's Martina Strutz (4.80m) and Russia's Svetlana Feofanova (4.75m).