U.S. ends world indoors with record medal haul

Sun Mar 20, 2016 7:44pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

PORTLAND, Oregon (Reuters) - The United States closed out the world indoor athletics championships with another gold rush and a record medal haul on Sunday, while Ethiopia emerged from the doping shadows and into the spotlight by dominating the distance events.

Ethiopia's Genzebe Dibaba and Yomif Kejelcha interrupted the American assault on the podium, taking gold in the men's and women's 3,000 meters before the Portland party shifted into overdrive with the U.S. closing out the four day meeting with victories in the women's high jump, men's 1,500 meters and long jump and both 4x400m relays.

The United States finished as the runaway leader at the top of the medal table with 23, smashing the old mark of 19 while claiming 13 gold, as many as the rest of the world combined.

Ethiopia was a distant second with two gold and five medals. No other country had more than one gold.

The U.S. record may, however, come with an asterisk, because their chief rival Russia has been banned from international competition by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) after a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) investigation uncovered evidence of what it termed state sponsored doping.

Ethiopia also arrived at the championships under a doping cloud, the long distance powerhouse identified by the IAAF as one of five countries that are in critical care regarding their drug-testing systems.

The final day of competition began with Kejelcha holding off a hard-charging American Ryan Hill to take the men's 3,000m before Dibaba, indoor world record-holder in the 1500, mile, 3,000 and 5,000m, made it a clean sweep of the distance gold by leading a one-two Ethiopian finish in the women's event.

Burundi kept the African roll going with Francine Niyonsaba winning the women's 800m.   Continued...

Matthew Centrowitz of the U.S. celebrates with his country's flag after winning the men's 1500 meters final during the IAAF World Indoor Athletics Championships in Portland, Oregon March 20, 2016.  REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson