Gatlin, Marion Win NY

By Larry Fine
NEW YORK, June 3 - Americans Marion Jones and Justin Gatlin ruled the sprints today with emphatic wins in their respective 100 metre races, and Meseret Defar of Ethiopia capped off New York’s rousing grand prix meeting with a world record in the women’s 5,000 metres.

Former Olympic sprint champion Jones showed she is still a force by beating a world-class field in her third race back after an 11-month absence from competition due to injuries.

Jones, 30, powered her way to victory in 11.06 seconds ahead of world championship silver medallist Veronica Campbell of Jamaica, who clocked 11.11, and 2003 world champion Torri Edwards of the US in 11.23.

World champion Lauryn Williams of the US finished fifth in 11.44.

Gatlin, the Olympic and world champion and co-world record holder, streaked to victory in 9.87 seconds in his first 100m race run in his native New York.

Tyson Gay was a distant second in 10.04 followed by Leonard Scott in the all-American race.

Olympic champion Defar put a grand finishing touch on the meeting held on a wet track at Icahn Stadium by winning the 5,000 in 14 minutes 24.53 seconds to break the previous record of 14:24.68 set by Elvan Abeylegesse of Turkey in 2004.

The 22-year-old Defar ran the final 400 meters in a blazing 61 seconds, and was greeted to loud cheers when she crossed the line. ``New York, New York’’ started blaring on the public address system.

``I was very confident when I saw the time with a lap to go that I could break the record,’’ Defar said.

Jones, who won three golds at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and five medals in all, has swept all three of her races this year. She won her first race in an altitude-assisted 11.06 seconds in Mexico and triumphed last Sunday in the Netherlands in 11:16.

I felt pretty strong. I felt powerful,'' Jones said after the race. A win is a win. I would have liked it to be faster, but conditions were difficult. Still, it’s great to get a win against such a strong field.’’

``It builds the confidence a little more. It’s been a bit low the last two years.’’

The 24-year-old Gatlin, who last month tied the 100m world record of 9.77 set by Asafa Powell of Jamaica, said he was disappointed in the wet, cool conditions but happy to prevail in front of more than 30 family and friends.

It turned out to be similar to Prefontaine,'' Gatlin said about his 9.88 time last week in rainy Oregon. I felt some pressure before the race to do well in front of my family. I wanted to make sure I got hugs and pats on the back.’’

Gatlin said he will be take some time off and had no other meets planned before the US nationals in three weeks’ time where he will concentrate on the 100.

In other events, American Wallace Spearmon streaked to victory in the men’s 200m, raising his right arm and easing up as he hit the tape in 20:09 seconds, the third fastest time this year.

Abraham Chebii of Kenya launched a devastating kick from 250 metres out to win the men’s 5,000m in 13:04.56, the fastest time ever run in the US Chebii, the 2005 world cross country silver medallist, ran away from compatriots Micah Kogo and Benjamin Limo as he bettered the former US all-comers record of 13:05.59 set by Said Aouita of Morocco at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

Kogo was second in 13:06, followed by world champion Limo in 13:07.14.

tyson gay in the 100m,
He was tight for the first 60 meters,
then he relaxed focused on the race,
and edged out leonard scott.
It was a beautiful race by tyson gay. lol

NEW YORK, June 3, 2006 - A world record 5,000m performance by Ethiopian Olympic champion Meseret Defar Saturday stole the spotlight from US sprinters Justin Gatlin and Marion Jones at the New York Grand Prix athletics meeting.
Co-world record-holder Gatlin had already won the 100m in 9.87sec and Jones had continued her comeback with a victory in the women’s 100m when Defar took the track in the last event of the night.
Some fans were already headed for the exits as a light rain resumed, but the 22-year-old Defar was undaunted, clocking 14min 24.53sec to improve on the previous world record of 14:24.68 set by Elvan Abeylegesse of Turkey at Bergen, Norway, on June 11, 2004.
After pacemakers stepped off the track at 2,000 meters Defar, who won the 2004 Olympic 5,000m gold in 14:29.98, was on her own with only runners about to be lapped ahead of her.
She mustered a sprint finish to set the record.
Even with the rain, the cold and the slippery track, I knew I could do it,'' she said. This was wonderful, of course, but it still can’t compare to winning the Olympics.’’
Ethiopian countrywoman Workitu Ayanu ran a distant second with America’s Sara Slattery third in 15:24.01.
US athletics fans watching the meeting on TV missed her feat, since the live broadcast ended minutes before the women’s 5,000m.
But they saw Gatlin post the fastest time ever achieved by an American runner in a US race.
And Jones, a five-time Olympic medallist battling back after two seasons marred by doping insinuations, subdued a top-class field, winning in 11.06sec.
Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell, ranked number one in the world for the 100m last year by Track and Field News, was second in 11.11. American Torri Edwards, continuing her own strong comeback after a suspension, took third in 11.23. American Lauryn Williams, the 2005 World champion, was just fifth in 11.44.
This is just the beginning,'' promised Jones, who'll run one race in Europe before returning for the USA National Championships June 21-25 in Indianapolis. She made a strong start, took an early lead and held off Campbell over the final half of the race to win in her first US race in nearly a year. I want to compete against the best,’’ said Jones, who was greeted by a mix of cheers and boos when her name was announced. This is what I love. I have a passion for it. I love this sport. Nobody is chasing me away.'' Gatlin's pursuers had solid credentials, too - but couldn't come close. None broke 10 seconds. Tyson Gay was second in 10.04, world indoor 60-meter champion Leonard Scott was third in 10.07 in the eight-man, all-USA race. I felt great and the crowd was great, too,’’ said the Brooklyn-born Gatlin, who matched Jamaican Asafa Powell’s 100m world record of 9.77 in Doha on May 12, is looking ahead to an eventual showdown with Powell later this year as well as a run at taking the world mark all to himself.
It's virtual warfare,'' Gatlin said. You want to put your best show on and intimidate your opponent.
``Mother Nature pulled a loop on me. I thought it was going to be warm and sunny, but I came out and did what I had to do.’’
The fastest men’s 5,000 meters ever run in the United States - a 13:05.59 performance by Said Aouita of Morocco - had endured in the books since the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.
But Kenya’s Abraham Chebli eclipsed it with a loudly-cheered 13:04.56 decision over three countrymen - Micah Kogo, Benjamin Limo and Jones Cheruiyot.
Bahrain’s Rashid Ramzi, double Helsinki gold medalist, left a strong international field far back as he won the mile in 3:53.55.
Nine other men, led by New Zealand’s Nick Willis (3:55.56) joined him in dipping under the four-minute mark.
Jamaica’s Danny McFarlane, a 2004 Olympic silver medallist, won the 400-meter hurdles in 49.27. Sarah Jamieson, the Commonwealth Games silver medalist for Australia, unleashed a devastating burst off the final turn and carried it all the way to the tape for a victory in the women’s 1,500m
Other men’s winners, all of them Americans, included Wallace Spearmon in the 200m. He won in 20.09, easily outclassing Jamaica’s Usain Bolt (20.25).
World and Olympic champion Tonique Darling of Bahamas pulled up and did not finish in the 400m final won by American Monique Henderson in 50.51.

Spearmon beats Bolt in NYC 2006

Check those guns

Meseret Defar runs 5000m World Record in New York - 14:24.53
Saturday 3 June 2006
New York, USA - With a scorching 61-second last lap, Ethiopia’s Meseret Defar shaved 0.15 seconds from Turkish Elvan Abeylegesse’s World 5000m record of 14:24.68 when she ran 14:24.53** tonight, at New York City’s Icahn Stadium.

No uncertainties for Olympic champion

With a view of the Manhattan skyline from the stadium on Randall’s Island in the East River, Defar was paced by Irina Vashchuk and U.S. miler Christin Wurth-Thomas. The conditions were overcast and cool, and barely a trace of rain after several showers before the meet; while the sprinters were grumbling about the cool temperatures, the distance runners thrived.

Wurth-Thomas led though 2000m in 5:47.7 (unofficially,) and 3000m in 8:42.8, before sending Defar on her way. Defar maintained a steady pace of 70-second laps until she began picking up her turnover with two remaining.

At the bell, many observers thought the record attempt might be lost, but Defar had no such uncertainties. “I was very confident when I saw the one-lap-to-go split,” she said afterward.

Defar credited another Ethiopian star with the confidence to make the record attempt. “I was in Hengelo with Haile Gebrselassie last week,” she said. "He encouraged me; he said, 'Go to New York, and I know you can break the world record.”

Aims for IAAF Golden League Jackpot

Defar, who already is the fastest ever over 5K on the road (14:46), admitted that tonight’s World record was not as exciting as her Olympic title in 2004. “I will try to break the record even faster,” she said. “I will run five Golden League meets, at 5000m and 3000m., and I hope to win all of them.”

Chebii sets 5000m all-comers record

Kenyan Abraham Chebii stuck to a pack of six runners in the men’s 5,000m and pulled away in the last 200m to win in 13:04.56, the U.S. all-comers record for the distance. Chebii, who already had the 10,000m all- comers record from 2002, took just over a second off Moroccan Said Aouita’s 13:05.59 from the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

“I was not sure I was going to make that time,” said Chebii afterward. “Some of the guys were talking about the time yesterday, but I knew it would take a fast race.” The leaders passed the first 1000m mark in 2:34.11 before relaxing, and Chebii admitted, “Starting so fast sometimes is the end of the record.” With 12:10.1 on the clock as the bell rang, Chebii delivered a 54-second last lap for the victory. “I work on my finishing speed,” he admitted. “I think that is where the race is won, in the last 300m.”

‘Beat up’ Gatlin still scorches to 9.87

Justin Gatlin took the 100m in 9.87, yet another sub-9.90 clocking for the defending World and Olympic champion. While the cool and damp conditions might have been good for the distance runners, the sprinters found them less attractive. “I’m a little beat up” from running consecutive sub-10s, Gatlin admitted. He plans to make this his last race before the U.S. championships in Indianapolis, three weeks from now, but announced that there he would renew his campaign to make the World record entirely his.

Gatlin pointed back to Leroy Burrell’s 9.90 on the same site in 1991, saying, “My time here tonight can’t compare to [Burrell’s] 9.90. There was a lot of pressure on him just to run 9.90. We work very hard now, and we try to make 9.90 look easy, but when he did it, nobody had ever done it before.”

Jones - “I wouldn’t say I’m back”

Marion Jones also looked back to the 1991 U.S. championships held on Randall’s Island, pointing out that it was her first big meet at fifteen years of age. “It was the first time I’d run against Evelyn Ashford,” she said. Today, she won in 11.06 over Veronica Campbell (11.11), and while she was pleased with the result, she cautioned reporters against overplaying it. “I wouldn’t say I’m back,” she said. “But I’m very pleased to be able to compete against the best in the world and pull out a win.” Jones expects significant competition in Indianapolis, particularly from Lauryn Williams, fifth here in 11.44. “It’s a very tough field.”

Spearmon 20.09

Wallace Spearmon took the men’s 200m in 20.09 from Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, 2nd in 20.25. “Coach told me it was a good first 100m,” said Spearmon afterward. “I think that means I’m in trouble when I get home.” Spearmon observed that Bolt would likely be stronger later in the season, but also pointed to his training partner, Tyson Gay, who ran 10.04 behind Gatlin, as one who might be even stronger later in the summer.

Ramzi 3:53.55

Bahrain’s Rashid Ramzi ran away with the Mile in 3:53.55, following a brisk early pace which strung out the field and left only Commonwealth Games medallists Nick Willis (NZL) and Mark Fountain (AUS) in contact with the World champion. When Fountain tumbled in front of Willis at the beginning of the final lap, Ramzi’s victory was essentially sealed.

Cantwell’s 21.68 takes the Shot

In a brilliant men’s Shot Put in which the top-3 all broke 21m, Christian Cantwell took the win with a release of 21.68m, from Dan Taylor (21.59m) and reigning World Indoor champion Reese Hoffa (21.05m). Vince Mosca, also impressed with a 20.66m best for fourth.

Parker Morse for the IAAF

**World record subject to the usual ratification process