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Jones at the double in Brussels

By IAAF Staff / www.iaaf.org - real,- BERLIN-MARATHON thanks the IAAF for its

support

Four athletes, Hicham El Guerrouj (1500m), Felix Sanchez (400m hs), Marion

Jones (womens 100m) and Ana Guevara (womens 400m) entered Brussels King

Baudouin Stadium tonight in contention for the IAAF Golden League Jackpot of 50

kilos of gold. Three and half hours later all four had successfully clocked up

their sixth consecutive win of the seven meet series, which concludes next week

in Berlin.

Well, its becoming a closer and closer call for World 400m hurdles champion

Felix Sanchez who was the first of the four gold prospectors to compete. In

Zurich a fortnight ago and again tonight, the star from the Dominican Republic

didn come off the final bend of the 400m hurdles with his previously customary

lead. This evening it was Frances newly crowned European champion Stephane

Diagana who held the advantage, and even as late as the last barrier it looked

like Sanchezs Jackpot campaign was about to end prematurely.

However, 2002 seems to be Sanchezs year and as today was also his 25th

birthday, nothing was going to stop him breasting the tape in front of Diagana.

So the Frenchman was finally denied (2nd 48.05), and Sanchez (47.99) lives on

to stake his golden claim in Berlin next Friday.

USAs Marion Jones was next of the Jackpot contenders to start but was

decisively beaten out of the blocks by USA compatriot Chryste Gaines. The

manner of her start seemed to shock Jones and with only 40m left in the sprint

Jones remained headed by three of the women inside her 5th lane - Gaines, Tayna

Lawrence and Ukraines World champion Zhanna Pintusevich-Block.

Jones pick up at this point was more than impressive and within a stride or

two she was equal with the three and by the finish, was comfortably ahead of

all challengers. Jones finished in 10.88, ahead of Pintusevich 10.90, Lawrence

10.93 (PB) and Gaines (a seasons best) 10.94, in what was a high class sprint

(wind +1.0).

However, many of the women sprinters in particular Jones and Pintusevich,

had not yet finished their evenings work and within an hour and ten minutes

were back on the track for the 200m. The battle between American and the

Ukrainian was neck and neck until 20 metres from the line, when Jones managed

to first edge her vest and then her full chest in front, and securely took

Pintusevich just before the finish. 22.11 and a World seasons best was Jones

rich reward and Pintusevich can also go away happy, with a (seasons best) 22.24

clocking. Bahamas Debbie Ferguson was a well beaten third, 22.58.

Third of the Jackpot contenders to emerge on the track tonight, Mexican Ana

Guevaras performance was again assured but she probably paid a little for a

blisteringly quick first 300m. While comfortably ahead of both Lorraine Fenton

(50.17)and USAs Jearl Miles-Clark (50.70), the Mexican usually so strong in the

last 100m seemed to fade by comparison to her usually high standards but still

finished first in 49.69. However, Guevaras job was done successfully and she

can now move happily on to Berlin, still in the hunt for Jackpot gold.

Despite the Mexicans brilliance this summer, Hicham El Guerroujs win in the

mens 1500m was the most predictable of all the Jackpot contenders. It thus came

as a surprise that as the race entered the last 100 metres, the Moroccan World

record holder still had Kenyas World silver medallist Bernard Lagat on his

shoulder. Yet Guerrouj was only playing with his opponents, and with a smooth

change of gear pulled away for another assured win in 3:29.95. Lagat was second

(3:30.39) and Robert Rono was third in a personal best, 3:30.99.  In the

world of the imperial and metric mileing, El Guerrouj remains peerless.

Denmarks Wilson Kipketer, recently crowned European 800m champion, tonight

began to edge back into a top groove of racing which has eluded him since he

contracted malaria five years ago. The World record holder for the distance

produced a crushing last 400 metres to obliterate the opposition in a time of

1:42.74, a World seasons best.

In the womens 1000m, the World record bid of Mozambiques World and Olympic

champion Maria Mutola fell short of both the Svetlana Masterkovas time of

2:28.98 set at this meeting in 1996, and of Mutolas own personal best (and

former World record) of 2:29.34. Mutolas win was of course never in doubt and

her finishing time was 2:30.12. National records of 2:34.14 and 2:34.19 fell to

second placed Diane Cummins of USA and third placed Agnes Samaria of Namibia,

respectively.

Swedens Kajsa Bergqvist took what is now becoming a comfortable win in the

womens High Jump with a second attempt at 1.99m. With a personal best of 2.05m

and having exceeded two metres in all her competitions since winning the

European title in Munich, that barrier obviously holds little psychological

weight for the Swede, so tonight she passed at 2.01 and went straight on to

2.03. However, at least physically the height was beyond her and she had to

settle for her 1.99 clearance.

In the mens Triple Jump, USAs Walter Davis added to his increasing

reputation with a 17.40m last round win. The same round had brought Davis a win

in the London Grand Prix a week ago. European champion Christian Olsson was

second with 17.33m and Cubas Alexander Martinez was third with 17.30. World and

Olympic champion Jonathan Edwards was way back in 7th with a lowly 16.75

leap.

The mens 100m dash found another World Champion also in trouble. Maurice

Greene, not for the first time this year, was also found wanting for speed.

Unlike the occasional defeats Greene suffered in previous seasons, his poor run

of form this summer seems to be more serious. Only time will see if Greene can

stage a come back in 2003 but in terms of his present sprinting campaign, his

fortunes reached a new low tonight. Sixth in 10.11 and never in contention.

In the tussle at the head of the race Tim Montgomery, the World silver

medallist last summer, emerged as the clear winner in a seasons best of 9.91

(wind +0.3), exhibiting so much of the style which was previously only in

Greenes domain to produce. Second was Portugals Francis Obikwelu (10.01

national record) and Kim Collins of St. Kitts and Nevis was third 10.01.

Unlike the women, the mens 200m was principally left to the specialists on

the bend.  The exception to this was a third place run for Obikwelu

(20.22). In front of the Portuguese were the Americans, Darvis Patton (20.12)

and Coby Miller (20.07).

There was a brisk but equally fluent run of the 100m hurdles for Gail Devers

who won in 12.49, well clear of World champion Anjanette Kirkland (12.62) and

Jamaicas Brigitte Foster in third (12.65). Only Devers has run faster this

season and her win tonight will go a long way to restoring some much needed

confidence after a string of recent defeats.

With 3k passed in 8:01.79 and 5k in 13:23.58, a fast mens 10,000m boiled

down to a group of five in the second half with Kenyas Commonwealth 5000m

Champion Sammy Kipketer and John Korir pushing the pace in the last 3000 metres

(8000m 21:29.85) to set up a lively last lap sprint.

It was Kipketer, on the shoulder of Korir until just before the bell, who

stole a march on the rest of the leading pack and as much as the rest tried

they could not match Kipketers burst. Kenyas Richard Limo the World 5000m

champion (eventual third 26:50.20) came the nearest during the first 300m of

the lap, until in the finishing straight, Ethiopias OIympic bronze Assefa

Mezegebu started a drive to the line which took second place (26:49.90).

The final result brought sub 27 minutes clockings for the top five, all

personal bests. 14 personal bests were recorded in the race as a whole.

Kipketers winning time of 26:49.38 was a world seasons best. Back in 7th there

was a Tanzanian record for John Yoda (27:06.17), with a Dutch record of

27:26.29 for Kamiel Masse.

The longest track race on the womens card was the 3000m and if the mens 10km

had produced a good finish it was nothing to match the battle between the World

3000m record holder Gabriela Szabo of Romania and Ethiopias Berhane Adere who

last winter had stolen Szabos World indoor mark for the same distance. Szabo

after leading for the previous two laps was caught on the hop by Adere as the

bell for the last lap sounded. It looked like a comfortable victory for the

Ethiopian, even as late as when she entered the last 100m but then with an

explosive burst of acceleration, Szabo began her charge and swallowed up the

gap her opponent had opened. At the finish it was a dipping contest, with Adere

(8:26.14) the winner over Szabo (8:26.15). The race was so close to call that

Szabo was erroneously presented with the victors flowers and did a lap of

honour. The result was eventually only decided on the photo-finish.

Turkeys surprise womens European 1500m champion Sureyya Ayhan set a new

national record of 3:57.75, also a world seasons best, in the 1500m with a

marvellous front run win in similar style to her continental title gold in

Munich. No one else came close, in fact second (Aleysa Turova  4:00.76)

and third (Regina Jacobs 4:01.06) were so far behind that the race was more

like a time trial for Ayhan.

The mens 3000m was a quick affair (1000m 2:30.54; 2000m 5:04.43) but that

didn prevent nine runners - eight Kenyans and one Moroccan - from contending

the lead coming into the last 400m. For all the in-balance in national numbers,

it was Moroccos Abderrahim Goumri who triumphed over the large Kenyan division

with a time of 7:35.77. Abraham Chebii was second, 7:36.58 and Luke Kipkosgei,

third, 7:37.05.

However, Kenya got their 3000m win in the steeplechase in 8:06.65 by Ezekiel

Kemboi. Spains Luis Miguel Martin set a national record of 8:07.44 in second

and there was a 8:13.45 national best for Qatars Khamis Saifeldon in 5th.

The mens Pole Vault was taken with a first time clearance at 5.80m by

Israels European champion Aleksandr Averbukh, who followed with three failures

at 5.92m. In second on the same height was USAs Jeff Hartwig but he had needed

two attempts to clear 5.80.

A 63.25 metre release in the second round was enough to give Hungarys

Nikolett Szabo the European U23 champion a surprise win in the womens Javelin

over World champion and World Record holder Osleidys Menendez of Cuba. The

Hungarians seasons best up until today had been 61.93m. The mens spear was won

with a lowly 83.76m by Germanys Boris Henry.

 

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