World Indoors: Americans dominate on final day

American athletes won gold in the men's and women's 4x400m relays, the men's 1,500m, the men's long jump and women's high jump as the first major championships since Russia was banned from track and field came to a close.

United States' Vashti Cunningham poses after she won the women's high jump final.   -  AP

The United States won five gold medals as the host nation dominated the final day of the World Indoor Athletics Championships on Sunday to complete their best ever showing in the event.

American athletes won gold in the men's and women's 4x400m relays, the men's 1,500m, the men's long jump and women's high jump as the first major championships since Russia was banned from track and field came to a close.

The four-day event wrapped up before a sell-out crowd of 7,191 at the Oregon Convention Center, with the host nation finishing on top of the medal table with 13 golds, six silver and four bronze.

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Ethiopia — whose athletics federation was warned earlier this month they could be banned unless they improve its anti-doping regime — finished second in the medal after winning two golds on the final day.

Ethiopian star Genzebe Dibaba successfully defended her 3,000m crown, a third consecutive gold medal at the world indoor championships after her victories in the 1,500m in 2012 and 3,000m two years ago in Sopot, Poland.

Dibaba powered home around 50 meters clear of her nearest rival, compatriot Meseret Defar, clocking a time of 8min 47.43sec, with Shannon Rowbury of the United States taking bronze.

Earlier, Dibaba's compatriot Yomif Kejelcha won the men's 3,000m, coming home in 7:57.21 to deny Ryan Hill of the United States, who took silver. Kenya's Augustine Choge won bronze.

'Doping no good'

Dibaba meanwhile frowned when asked about the drugs scourge swirling around track and field since revelations of systemic doping in Russia which led to the country's suspension.

"Doping is not good news for our sport, doping is no good for athletes," said Dibaba, before reflecting on her win.

"I'm so happy, it's my third world indoor medal already. It was easy for me because the field was not that strong."

Sunday's action also confirmed the emergence of a rising star in track and field, with American teenager Vashti Cunningham taking gold in the women's high jump.

Cunningham, still only 18, won gold with a leap of 1.96m ahead of Ruth Beitia of Spain in second place and Poland's Kamila Licwinko in third.

Cunningham — the daughter of legendary Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Randall Cunningham — only competed in Portland after receiving a special invitation from track and field's governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

However the high school student showed no signs of being overawed by the occasion as she comfortably cleared the first four heights with her first attempt on each.

"I did not think that I would be here right now at 18 years old," Cunningham said. "It means a lot to be the world champion this young."

American distance runner Matthew Centrowitz, a silver medallist at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, drew one of the biggest cheers of the day with victory in the 1,500m, winning in 3:44.22 ahead of Czech Jakub Holusa and Nicholas Willis of New Zealand.

"It's my first gold medal on any championship stage, so I'm very excited about it," Centrowitz said. "Then to not only have it on US soil, but my home city, it's kind of a double-whammy."

IAAF officials meanwhile reported a total attendance of 39,283 over four days of competition, with several sessions selling out.

IAAF President Sebastian Coe said the attendances showed athletics was on the road to recovery after months of scandal.

"Nobody is denying the challenges that lie ahead to regain trust but this has been a pretty good start," Coe told AFP.

Reflecting on the absence of Russian athletes, Coe added: "It's a sad moment for our sport ... but it hasn't stopped this from being a fantastic athletic experience for spectators and athletes alike. It shows you that the sport is still very strong."