Sunday 8 May 2005

Several World-leading performances highlighted the second Jamaica
International Track & Field Invitational, Saturday evening (7 May) at
Kingston's National Stadium. Under the theme 'Athens Recreated,' the
North and Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Area Permit Meet
featured 50 Olympians, including 20 medallists and 12 finalists from
the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad.
It was a terrific night for the youngsters, the sprints in particular
reflecting the recent successes of many of these competitors at World
Junior Championships. The six sprint races included three World
leading times, and the oldest of the six winners is not yet 23 years
old, whilst the youngest is still well short of his 19th birthday.
Jamaicans lead the World
Jamaican Olympian Asafa Powell is the first man under 10 seconds for
the men's 100m in 2005. The 22-year-old led a Jamaican sweep with a
new national record 9.84 seconds, the fastest time on the planet, with
a trailing wind of 1.8 metres per second. The young Jamaican was
number one in the 2004 IAAF World Rankings, and currently holds top
spot in the 2005 Rankings.
Going into Kingston, the fastest time in the world was Maurice
Greene's 10.03, precisely one week earlier (30 April) in Fort de
France, Martinique. Powell's performance is jointly the third best
ever. Canada's Donovan Bailey and Bruny Surin have also run 9.84. Only
Americans Maurice Greene (9.79) and World record holder Tim Montgomery
(9.78) have run faster.
Delighted as the large Jamaican crowd would have been to see Asafa
better the 9.87 he clocked last year at National Trials, they were
ecstatic to see Jamaicans command all three podium places. Dwight
Thomas was second in 10.05, Michael Frater third in 10.09 - Trinidad &
Tobago's Darrel Brown (10.12) was fourth, Great Britain's Mark
Lewis-Francis (10.13) fifth.
Jamaicans also secured the top two places in the women's 100m. Sherone
Simpson was just short of her personal record, the 20-year-old
clocking 11.03 for the win, with a trailing wind of 0.8 m/s. Aleen
Bailey (11.07) was second. Olympic silver medallist Lauryn Williams
(11.08) was third, with fellow Americans Muna Lee (11.30) and Inger
Miller (11.46) fourth and fifth.
Half-lap heroics
There was further delight for the Jamaicans in the 200m races. Just
over a week shy of her 23rd birthday, Olympic champion Veronica
Campbell won the women's half-lap in 22.53 - second fastest time of
2005 -, ahead of Lee (23.02) and Lashauntea Moore (23.25) of the USA.
Jamaica's Sherika Williams (23.38) was fourth, with 35-year-old
compatriot Beverly McDonald (23.47) fifth.
World junior record holder Usain Bolt stopped the clock in 20.14 to
win the 200m. Still just 18 years old, the tall, elegant Jamaican
smashed the meet record of 20.53, leaving the American duo of Leo
Bookman (20.34) and defending champion Coby Miller (20.51) in his
wake. Jamaicans Chris Williams (20.65) and Ainsley Waugh (20.83) were
fourth and fifth.
Young Americans shine
Americans won both quarter-mile races. World junior champion Lashawn
Merritt improved on his fine start to 2005, the 18-year-old crossing
the line in a personal best 44.66 to win from Andrew Rock (44.75),
also of the USA. Merritt's and Rock's 2005 World leading times put
Jamaica's Sanjay Ayre (45.26) and Michael Blackwood (45.32) into third
and fourth.
Sanya Richards won the women's one-lap race in 49.96, the first woman
this year to go under 50 seconds. Monique Hennagan (50.83, not to be
confused with the younger Monique Henderson, also of the USA) was
second. Jamaica's Lorraine Fenton (51.78), Novlene Williams (52.07)
and Sandie Richards (52.07) trailed the American duo.
Kipkurui, Sinclair conquer
Kenya's Benjamin Kipkurui ran 1:46.86 to win the men's 800m run,
upstaging Athens silver medallist Bernard Lagat (1:47.07) of the USA.
Kipkurui, the World junior record holder for the men's 1000m run, is
making something of a comeback at the age of 24. Americans Derrick
Peterson (1:47.44) and Elliott Blount (1:48.17) followed Lagat in
Jamaica's own 24-year-old, Kenia Sinclair, took a relatively easy win
in the women's 800. Her previous fastest time of 2:02.80 was the
fastest in the world, but her 2:00.05 in Kingston handily eclipsed
that. Hazel Clark (2:01.17) was second. The 27-year-old American was
followed across the line by Marian Burnett (2:02.13), Guyana's former
NCAA indoor champion.
Felicien improves World lead 
Arguably the most anticipated race of the evening was the women's 100m
Hurdles, with Olympic champion and IAAF World Ranked number one Joanna
Hayes (USA), World champion Perdita Felicien (CAN), Olympic silver
medallist Melissa Morrison (USA), Jamaica national record holder
Brigitte Ann Foster-Hylton, and Jamaicans Delloreen Ennis-London,
Vonette Dixon and Lacena Golding-Clarke.
At the end of the day, it was the Caribbean-born Felicien who stopped
the clock in 12.67 seconds - world season's lead - to beat
Golding-Clarke (12.72) and Ennis-London (12.78) with a good trailing
wind of 1.5 m/s. Jamaican veteran Michelle Freeman (12.84) continued
her comeback from injury. Hayes (12.88) was a disappointing fifth.
Americans David Payne (13.41) and Aubrey Herring (13.71) were the top
two men in the 110m Hurdles. Maurice Wignall (13.79) the Jamaica
national record holder, was third, with American decathlete Brian clay
fourth. Jamaica's Chris Pinnock (15.50) was fifth, stumbling over the
last hurdle and affecting Wignall. The wind for the men's sprint
Hurdles was 1.1 m/s.
Jamaica's Olympic silver medallist and Sportsman of the Year Danny
McFarlane delighted the home crowd by winning the 400m hurdles in
49.01, beating American Ricky Harris (49.21) and defending champion
LaBronze Garrett (49.55) of the USA. A third American, Fred Sharpe
(49.74) was fourth, and Jamaica's Dinsdale Morgan (50.24) ended in
Jumps produce good results
Adam Shunk was a High Jump silver medallist with 2.22m in Martinique
last week. The 25-year-old American improved by eight centimetres in
Kingston. His 2.28m placed him ahead of compatriots Matt Hemmingway,
Jamie Nieto and Terrance Woods, all of whom were out at 2.20m.
Jamaica's Claxton Bernard (2.10m) was fourth, with Brian Clay (1.95m)
Three of the Long Jump competitors who disappointed in Martinique led
the competition in Kingston. Jamaica national record holder James
Beckford (7.95m) won with a trailing wind of 1.6 m/s. Walter Davis of
the USA cleared 7.92m, albeit with a trailing wind of 2.7 m/s.
Compatriot John Moffitt cleared 7.90m with a wind of 1.6 m/s.
Jamaica national record holder Trecia Smith won the women's Triple
Jump. The 29-year-old produced one of the top five performances for
2005, clearing 14.33m with a wind of 1.7 m/s. Not far off the pace was
Sudan's Yamile Aldama (14.15m), with Jamaica's Suzette Lee (13.89m)
occupying third place, ahead of Taneeisha Scanlon (13.23m) of Ireland.
After a decent inaugural meeting in 2004, this year's Jamaica
International has raised the bar in a big way, with many of the
hometown athletes hopefully setting the benchmark for the 2005 season.
With the performances of this past weekend as a base, this certainly
looks as though it will be a fantastic year for Jamaican athletics.

Terry Finisterre for the IAAF

 Lewis-Francis fifth in quick race

Mark Lewis-Francis had to settle for fifth place after easing up on
the line in a high-quality 100m race in Jamaica.

The Briton still clocked a good time of 10.13 seconds in a very fast
contest won by Jamaica's world number one Asafa Powell in a new
national best of 9.84.

Powell's countrymen Dwight Thomas and Michael Frater made it clean
sweep for the host nation, clocking 10.05 and 10.09 respectively in

Until suddenly slowing at the end, it seemed Lewis-Francis would claim third.

Other highlights of the inaugural meeting saw Olympic champion
Veronica Campbell delighting the home fans with victory in the 200m in
22.55, while Sanya Richards of the United States won over 400m in

LaShawn Merritt, another American, was also quick off the mark,
winning his 400m in 44.66, while Usain Bolt of Jamaica clocked 20.14
to win the 200m on the track he claimed the world junior title on
three years ago.

 Gatlin breezes to Japan victory

Olympic 100m champion Justin Gatlin clocked 10.15 seconds as he won
his first Grand Prix race of the season.

Gatlin beat fellow American Brian Lewis in the Nagai Stadium in Japan,
with Obadele Thompson of Barbados in third.

"There was a strong headwind and I had a bit of jet lag. I felt a
twinge in my right hamstring but other than that I was pleased," said

In the women's 100m, American Allyson Felix of the United States
clocked 11.30 seconds ahead of Angela Daigle.


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