Mexico: Good Matchups

MEXICO, June 8 - Olympic 100 metres champion Justin Gatlin is set for a cracking head to head with world record holder Tim Montgomery here at the athletics Grand Prix on Saturday.
While Montgomery’s career has been under a cloud Gatlin reached the summit last year in Athens with a dominant performance in the 100m.
A strong field will also include 2003 world outdoor silver medallist Darrel Brown from Trinidad and Tobago and the 2000 Olympic bronze medallist Obadele Thompson from Barbados.

Marion Jones, Montgomery’s girlfriend, mother of his child, takes to the track against pint-sized Olympic 100m silver medallist Lauryn Williams and Jones’ former training partner the experienced Bahamian Chandra Sturrup, who beat her twice in a row in Europe recently.

The home crowd, though, will be most enthusiastic about the rematch between their darling the 2003 world champion over 400m Ana Guevara and the astonishing Bahamian Tonya Williams-Darling, whose dramatic improvement last season saw it climax with gold in Athens while Guevara had to make do with silver.

Guevara meets Williams-Darling at the Banamex Galatlética in Monterrey

Thursday 9 June 2005

Monterrey - Mexico’s 2003 World champion Ana Gabriela Guevara and Bahamas’ 2004 Olympic gold medallist Tonique Williams-Darling, will clash for the first time this year on Saturday, 11 June, at the 2005 Banamex Galatlética at the Estadio Tecnológico in this northern Mexican city.

The women’s 400m race will be the climax of the 12-event meet, which has attracted 18 World and Olympic medallists in its entry list.

Guevara, 28, made her season debut on 21 May with a convincing win (50.55) at the 2005 Banamex Galatlética in Hermosillo, where Williams-Darling was third in the 200m.

Last Saturday, the Caribbean sprinter posted the season’s fastest time with a 49.95-second win at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene.

Guevara is finishing her high-altitude training period in Mexico City before starting her European campaign in Paris, on 1 July.

Olympic heroes Gatlin and Felix headline sprint races

The sprints feature USA’s five-time Olympic medallist Marion Jones, Lauryn Williams and Allyson Felix, the 100m and 200m silver medallists at the 2004 Olympics, respectively.

The men’s list is headed by USA’s 2004 Olympic 100m champion Justin Gatlin and World 100m record holder Tim Montgomery.

Gatlin proved he is in great shape following his close win over Jamaica’s World season leader Asafa Powell at the Prefontaine Classic with a wind-aided 9.84-second clocking.

Also in the 100m, Trinidad and Tobago’s 2003 World Championships runner-up Darrel Brown and Barbados’ 2000 Olympic bronze medallist Obadele Thompson expect to run well in Monterrey.

In the field, USA’s 2004 Olympic silver medallist Toby Stevenson is the top favourite to dominate the Pole Vault, as Jamaica’s Elva Goulborne is in the women’s Long Jump and Dominican Republic’s Juana Arrendel in the High Jump.

USA’s Bershawn Jackson, one of the revelations of the year, will arrive in this city with the fastest 400m Hurdles time of the year (47.62).

The African contingent is led by Kenya’s Charles Kamathi, the 10,000m World champion in 2003, who will start as the number 1 favourite to win the 5000m.

Other Mexicans chasing Helsinki standards

Apart from Guevara, Mexico will be represented by a large number of athletes who are preparing for the Central American and Caribbean Championships in Nassau, in July, and the World Championships in Helsinki, August 6-14.

The entry list also includes 200m Olympic semi-finalist Juan Pedro Toledo, High Jumper Romary Rifka, long distance runners Madaí Pérez and Juan Luis Barrios, who won the 3000m at the 2005 Banamex Galatlética in Hermosillo. Giovanni Lanaro will attempt to improve the Mexican record in the Pole Vault.

Five athletes will start as defending champions: Darrel Brown (100m), USA’s Joshua J. Johnson (200m), Grenada’s 2004 World Indoor champion Alleyne Francique, Cuba’s Libania Grenot (400m) and Elva Goulborne (Long Jump). Allyson Felix and Guevara won the 2003 Banamex Grand Prix in Mexico City.

The meet, held in its first two years in the Mexican capital, now moved to Monterrey and is viewed as an important tune-up less than two months from the World Champs in Helsinki.

In total, athletes from 15 countries are registered to contest in 12 events: the men’s 100m, 200m, 400m, 5.000m, 400m Hurdles and Pole Vault. Women will run 100m, 200m, 400m, 3000m, High Jump and Long Jump.

Javier Clavelo Robinson for the IAAF