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Silver in Beijing was nice; Gold in Rio would be better for Brazilian pole vaulter


BEIJING _(AP) The Latest from the world championships (all times local):

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7:35 p.m.

If pole vaulter Fabiana Murer thought winning a silver medal at world championships was cool, imagine what will happen if she wins a gold at the Olympics.

Murer is from Brazil, and the Olympics are in Rio de Janeiro next August.

After receiving her silver medal Thursday evening, she spent about a half-hour hanging around the Bird’s Nest taking pictures and sharing hugs with coaches and others from the Brazilian team.

The 34-year-old Murer, who will retire after the Olympics, said she’s enjoying this and is already thinking about what will be her last, and biggest, meet.

“It’ll be an amazing competition _ to compete for my country, and have my home crowd cheer for me,” Murer said. “I think it helps you, and can help the Brazilians win more medals.”

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7:25 p.m.

Olympic champion Aires Merritt qualified fastest for the 110-meter hurdles final at the world championships, winning his semifinal heat in a season-best 13.08 seconds.

Sergei Shubenkov of Russia won his semifinal heat in 13.09 to record the second-fastest time.

Defending champion David Oliver had the sixth-fastest time, placing second in his heat in and getting an automatic qualifier in 13.17.

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1 p.m.

The influence of Jesse Owens will extend to the world championships, where the daughter of the Olympic great will present the gold medal to the winning team in the men’s 4×100-meter relay on Sunday.

The relay could be a duel between modern great Usain Bolt and his Jamaican team and the U.S. squad.

Beverly Owens Prather is in Beijing representing The Jesse Owens Foundation, which will commemorate the signing of an agreement with the IAAF’s Social Responsibility program during the meet.

Owens, who won the 100, 200, long jump and 4×100-meter relay at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, will be featured in a film due for release in April.

In the film, Stephan James will play the role of Owens, who died in 1980.

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12:05 a.m.

The dancing hurdler, Michelle Jenneke, progressed to the semifinals at the world championships.

The 22-year-old Australian advanced alongside Dawn Harper-Nelson, who won the Olympic gold medal at the Bird’s Nest in 2008.

Jenneke’s warmup dance behind the starting blocks at the 2012 world junior championships was an internet hit. On the competitive side, she’s ranked No. 2 in Australia behind Olympic champion Sally Pearson, who is skipping the worlds because of injury.

On Thursday, Jenneke advanced with a time of 13.02 seconds running in the lane beside Harper-Nelson, who won their heat in 12.79.

Brianna Rollins qualified fastest in 12.67, followed by Tiffany Porter of Britain in 12.73 and Jamaican sisters Danielle and Shermaine Williams.

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12 p.m.

In the women’s long jump, an era came to an end.

Brittney Reese of the United States had won every global outdoor competition since the 2009 world championships, and at 28 the defending Olympic champion was seeking to extend that streak at the worlds in Beijing.

The three-time defending champion, however, has been struggling with a bad back at the Bird’s Nest and failed to make it through qualifying with a best jump of 6.39 metres, well short of the qualifying mark of 6.75.

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11:45 a.m.

Olympic champion Anna Chicherova of Russia and former world champion Blanka Vlasic of Croatia were among the favourites to qualify for the women’s high jump final at the world championships.

All 13 jumpers who advanced cleared the same height of 1.92 metres.

The 33-year-old Chicherova, who took gold at the 2012 London Olympics and bronze at the 2008 Beijing Games, has a world-leading mark of 2.03 metres this year.

Vlasic, who won silver at the 2008 Olympics, looked to be returning to her earlier form with a leap of 1.97 this year before injuries curtailed her preparations coming into the worlds.

Also moving through to the final was 36-year-old Ruth Beitia, who is competing in her seventh world championships. Beitia had planned to retire at the end of 2012, but changed her mind and won a bronze medal at the 2013 worlds in Moscow.

The Spaniard has cleared 2.0 metres this year.

Another veteran, 41-year-old Venelina Veneva-Mateeva of Bulgaria, failed to make the final in her ninth world championships. Chaunte Lowe, the only American in the field, also did not advance after failing to clear her opening height of 1.80.

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10:30 a.m.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson finally recorded a mark in the long jump pit at the world championships, four days after fouling out in the same discipline during the heptathlon while she was in second place.

Johnson-Thompson was up early in the qualifying round for the long jump on Thursday, and opened with a mark of 6.54 metres. Three fouls in the same pit last Sunday resulted in her slipping from gold-medal contention to out-of-contention in a heptathlon won by British teammate Jessica Ennis-Hill.

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10:10 a.m.

Two days after winning the 1,500 metres at the world championships, Genzebe Dibaba is through to the final of the 5,000 and looking for another Dibaba double at the Bird’s Nest.

Tirunesh Dibaba, Genzebe’s older sister, won a long-distance double at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and now the younger sibling is one victory away from a similar feat.

Under the morning sun at the Bird’s Nest and with five assured qualifiers from her heat, Dibaba was certain to go through when the lead pack had dwindled to only five runners on the final lap. Dibaba still put in a little kick for home to win the heat in 15 minutes, 20.82 seconds, more than a minute behind the world record of big sister Tirunesh.

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9:45 a.m.

Day 6 of the world championships will culminate with Usain Bolt’s bid for another sprint double when he runs in the final of the 200 metres.

Justin Gatlin, who wasn’t beaten in the 100 all season until he was edged by Bolt in Sunday’s final, will be there again among the contenders trying to stop the Jamaican dominance in the sprints.

That is one of four finals set for Thursday, with the others in the men’s triple jump and the women’s 400 and hammer throw.

Competition commenced in qualifying for the men’s discus and the women’s high jump and 5,000.

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