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Walker adds to Jamaica's pride after Bolt
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Melaine Walker of Jamaica won the Beijing Olympic women's 400 meters hurdles, creating a new Olympic record of 52.64 seconds on Wednesday.

Sheena Tosta of the United States was left a far second in 53.70 seconds and the bronze medal went to Tasha Danvers from Britain in 53.84.

The former record of 52.77 was created by Fani Halkia of Greece in the Athens Games four years ago.

Walker, in her Olympic debut, added to Jamaca's pride minutes after her compatriot Usain Bolt claimed the men's 200m title in a world record time of 19.30.

"I was kind of expecting it," Walker said. "I've dreamed about it a million times. I wanted it to be a victorious one in this race."

The 25-year-old said that she was encouraged seeing Bolt's lightening performance of bettering the world record by 0.02 seconds just before her race.

"I'm glad to know that he's from Jamaica and that he's supernatural," she said.

"That is kind of a fire to see somebody else compete from your country. That kind of gives you an urge. I already told myself that the fire had to be inside of me, and that's exactly what I did."

Her win increased Jamaca's athletics medal tally to four golds, including men's one hundred meters title also by Bolt.

"I can't explain it," Walker said of the team success. "It all came from God. He gave us the talent. He gave us all the talent to do all that we did in the Olympics. We've got to be grateful."

"It is fantastic to win. We came here as a team, our performance is very good. It's a great blessing to all Jamaican people."

The hurdles final was wide open with world record-holder Yulia Pechonkina skipping the Olympics because of a heart problem, two-time world champion Jana Rawlinson out injured and reigning Olympic champion Fani Halkia expelled after testing positive for a steroid.

After a hot performance this season, Walker has rallied to go into the Beijing Olympic Games as one of the favorites and had an impressive time in the qualifying rounds. She reached the final by clocking 54.20, 0.13 seconds behind Tosta.

On Wednesday, their battle went on until the final straight where Walker pulled away from Tosta before finishing as a very comfortable winner.

The Jamaican national champion has remained undefeated at 400m hurdles this year.

(Xinhua News Agency August 21, 2008)

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