AMERICANS win four athletics golds; Menendez smashes javelin mark

Wednesday, August 29th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BEIJING (AP) _ The United States and Japan made up some ground on the Chinese and Cuba's world champion Osleidys Menendez smashed the women's javelin record Wednesday, the heaviest day of competition at the World University Games.

With 30 gold medals up for grabs Wednesday, the Americans got four gold on the track and two in the pool _ including the last event on the swim program _ while Japan won the last three women's swimming finals.

China won the women's synchronized springboard to close in on a diving clean sweep and also picked up the women's doubles table tennis gold.

Menendez, who set the world record at 71.54 meters in July, threw 69.82 meters to eclipse the meet record of 60.76, which was set at Palma, Spain, in 1999, shortly after heavier javelins were introduced to international competition and made all previous records obsolete.

The Czech Republic's Nikola Tomeckova took silver, 7.62 meters behind Menendez.

Americans collected a 400-meter double when Andrew Pierce won the men's final in 45.34 seconds and Demetria Washington took the women's title in 51.22.

Pierce, an Ohio State aviation systems graduate, said he wanted to break the 45-seconds barrier but didn't have enough in reserve after racing in four rounds here and being at the tail end of his season.

``To be honest, I was spent,'' Pierce said. ``As far as College track athletes are concerned, it's hard to keep people performing late in the summer and doing times that they were trying to get four or five months ago.''

Washington, who beat Romania's Otilia Silvia Ruicu and American teammate Mikele Barber, said she expected the United States to top the athletics medal standings.

``I think we'll win a lot more gold,'' she said, predicting at least one more for herself in a relay.

Anthony Famiglletti led for most of the 3,000-meter steeplechase, surrendered the lead about 600 out and then overhauled Poland's Jakub Czaja going over the last barrier to win in 8 minutes, 21.97 seconds.

``With 200 to go I thought I was running for silver, but then (Czaja) stumbled at the last water jump,'' said the 22-year-old Famiglletti, of Knoxville, Tennessee. ``I knew I had a good kick over the last 100 but it took the slip by him for me to pick up and go.''

Czaja placed second in 8:23.00 and Switzerland's Christian Belz was third in 8:24.46.

Miguel Pate won the long jump with a leap of 8.07 meters, edging Namibian Stephan Louw and Botswana's Gable Garenamotse.

Pierce said he expected the gold rush to spark a revival for the U.S. squad, which has failed to dominate in 2001 like American teams have at the previous five Universiades.

China is approaching 40 gold medals and is a clear No. 1 at these games, while the Americans have 16 gold so far.

In other track finals, Sereyya Ayhan did a lap of honor with her coach after winning the women's 1,500 in 4:06.91 to secure Turkey's first track gold at a University Games.

``This is a first _ I think the whole of Turkey will celebrate,'' she said.

Aleksander Tammert got Estonia's first gold when he threw 65.19 to push Belorussians into second and third in the discus.

Spaniard Pedro Esteso won the men's 1,500 in 3:43.98, and Russia's Alexei Krovtsov got the high jump gold on a countback from Henadzi Maroz of Belarus with a best leap of 2.28 meters.

Italy's Lorenzo Cavillero won the 20-kilometer race walk in 1 hour, 24 minutes and 42 seconds and China's Gao Hongmiao won the women's 10-km walk in a meet record of 43:20 minutes.

Cori Enghausen scored 13 points as the U.S. women's basketball lineup rallied to an 82-62 win over Brazil and set up a semifinal against the winner of the subsequent Canada vs. Lithuania match.

Japanese swimmers won all three women's finals Wednesday: Yuko Nakanishi took the 200 butterfly in 2 minutes, 9.84 seconds, Reiko Nakamura clocked 2:11.88 in the 200 backstroke and Yuko Sakaguchi clinched the 200 breaststroke in 2:29.64.

Ukraine's Igor Chervynskiy won the 1,500 freestyle in 15 minutes, 14.43 seconds from Italian Luca Baldini and Ameican John Cole.

Clay Kirkland won the men's 200 freestyle in 1 minute, 50.03 seconds and his American teammates clinched the last race, the 400-meter medley relay, in 3:39.49.

In tennis finals, Mexico's Carlos Lozano and Juan Arredondo won the men's doubles with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win over Czech pair Pavel Kudrnak and Tomas Macharacek.

China's Li Ting and Li Na beat South Korea's Kim Eun-ha and Kim Mi-ok 6-4, 6-4 in women's doubles.

Team epee gold went to France, with Italy taking silver and Switzerland in bronze-medal position.