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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bubka Beats Odds To Take 6th Gold

ATHENS, Greece -- Six for six. And still counting.


The amazing Sergei Bubka has won gold in the pole vault at all six World Championships, an unprecedented streak that dates back to 1983.


His sixth title, which came Sunday night on the final night of the 10-day championships, may have been the most dramatic of all.


The 33-year-old Ukrainian star, written off by many people after a career-threatening injury kept him out of the Atlanta Olympics, produced a magical performance in a compelling duel with Russian rival Maksim Tarasov and U.S. upstart Dean Starkey.


Bubka, who underwent surgery on his torn right Achilles tendon in December, had competed only twice this year and failed to go higher than 5.7 meters.


But Sunday he clinched victory by clearing 6.01 meters, a championship record and best performance in the world this year.


Tarasov took the silver with a best jump of 5.96 meters, while Starkey cleared 5.91 meters for the bronze.


The closest to Bubka's six victories is Lars Riedel of Germany, who won his fourth consecutive world title Sunday in the men's discus with a throw of 68.54 meters.


In the final event of the 10-day championships, the United States won gold in the 1,600-meter relay.


Without injured stars Michael Johnson and Butch Reynolds, the patchwork quartet of Jerome Young, Antonio Pettigrew, Chris Jones and Tyree Washington beat rival Britain in a season's best time of 2 minutes, 56.47 seconds.


The championships finished without a world record for the first time since 1987, when the only record -- Ben Johnson's in the 100 meters -- later was annulled after his admitted drug use.


Canada produced a world-leading time of 37.86 in the men's 400-meter relay, as Donovan Bailey ran a sparkling anchor leg, easily overcoming a slight disadvantage to Nigeria's Davidson Ezinwa and winning by three meters.


The relay was without a U.S. team, with the Americans failing to reach the final after a botched baton handoff in the first round.


Germany won the women's 1,600-meter relay, as Grit Breuer overcame Jearl Miles-Clark of the United States in the closing strides.


In other finals Sunday, Olympic champion Ludmila Engquist of Sweden swept past Jamaica's Michelle Freeman over the final barrier to win the women's 100-meter hurdles in 12.50, and Kenya's Daniel Komen, the world record-holder at two miles and 3,000 meters, took the men's 5,000 in 13:07.38.


Norway's Hanne Haugland took the women's high jump at 1.99 meters, while Spaniard Abel Anton finished first in the men's marathon, winning in 2:13:16.


On Friday, Wilson Kipketer, the Kenyan-born star who lives in Denmark captured the gold in the 800 meters, while Zhanna Pintussevich of Ukraine placed first in the 200 meters. Ato Boldon of Trinidad and Tobago won the men's 200, Morocco's Nehza Bidouane the 400-meter hurdles and Cuba's Yoelvis Quesada the triple jump.


All of Saturday's finals were women's events. Hiromi Suzuki of Japan took first place in the marathon, while defending champion Ana Quirot of Cuba won in the 800 meters. Lyudmila Galkina of Russia took gold in the long jump, Norway's Trine Hattestad regained the javelin title she won in 1993, and Gabriela Szabo of Romania took the 5,000-meter title. The United States team of Chryste Gaines, Marion Jones, Inger Miller and Gail Devers won the 400-meter relay.