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Australians grab gold, leave Phelps stunned

Australia stunned the United States in the men’s 4x100m relay on Sunday, ending a run of three straight wins and handing Michael Phelps a slow start to his last world championships.
By Agencies | Agencies, Shanghai
UPDATED ON JUL 24, 2011 11:16 PM IST

Australia stunned the United States in the men’s 4x100m relay on Sunday, ending a run of three straight wins and handing Michael Phelps a slow start to his last world championships.

The much-vaunted US team saw their seven-year winning streak in world championships and Olympic Games ended as they finished a disappointing third in the showpiece race.

James Magnussen had the better of Phelps in the first leg and Australia’s Matthew Targett, Matthew Abood and Eamon Sullivan held off France to finish it in 3min 11.00sec.

It was a resounding finish to the first day of pool competition after China sealed the first 10-title diving sweep and South Korea’s Park Tae-Hwan won his 400m freestyle duel with Chinese ace Sun Yang.

The Netherlands successfully defended their women’s 4x100m crown and Italy’s Federica Pellegrini sealed her second successive 400m freestyle world title.

Stealing the show
But it was Australia, gunning to improve on their disappointing performance in Rome in 2009, who stole the show and gave 14-time Olympic gold medallist Phelps a bitter start to his final year in the sport.“It’s tough,” said Phelps, who will retire after the London Olympics.

Earlier, Shanghai’s purpose-built Oriental Sports Centre witnessed the final act in China’s magnificent 10-out-of-10 diving performance.

Qiu Bo epitomised China’s diving mastery as he collected 585.45 points in the final.

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