by Rebecca Bryan
EUGENE, Oregon, June 19 (AFP) - American ShawnCrawford set the tone for the upcoming US Olympicathletics trials, winning the men’s 100m at thePrefontaine Classic IAAF grand prix meeting in a year’sbest 9.88sec ahead of compatriots Maurice Greene andJohn Capel.
Greene, the former world record-holder who has hissights on retaining his Olympic title in Athens inAugust, clocked 9.93 and Capel 9.95 as Saturday’s raceproduced the top three times in the world this year.
I knew it was a stacked field,'' Crawford said.You had the former world record-holder, who’s beenrunning extremely well this year.
We just came out there and we wanted to execute likeI did all year. It's a boost of confidence.'' Crawford said the time was incidental. I used to run for times. Now I just execute,’’ hesaid. I felt like my start could have been better.’’
Greene said the runner-up finish didn’t indicate aproblem heading into the Olympic trials.
He ran a great race,'' Greene said of Crawford. Irushed my race, especially the middle part. What countsmost is in three weeks.’’
Reigning world record-holder Tim Montgomery, racing inthe shadow of the doping scandal that erupted in thewake of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative case,finished sixth in 10.17sec.
Marion Jones, embroiled in her own feud with the USAnti-Doping Agency, finished a disappointing fifth inthe women’s 100m, but bounced back with a victory in thelong jump with a leap of 6.93m.
The women’s 100m went to American Inger Miller in11.05sec. In a thrilling finish characteristic of thebalmy day at Hayward Field, veteran Gail Devers wassecond in the same time and Chryste Gaines third justone-hundredth of a second back in 11.06.
Miller was happy with her victory, and encouraged forthe US Olympic trials in Sacramento, California, inJuly.
At the end of the race I was kind of surprised at myturnover,'' Miller said. My legs were kind of deadafter being in Europe. Now I know I can do it attrials.’’
Gaines has been touched by the doping scandal hangingover US athletics as they head for the Olympic trials,and she, too, took the opportunity of the meeting todeclare her innocence and denounce USADA’s attempts toban athletes without positive drug tests.
It's kind of a shame they have to stoop to thoselengths,'' she said, adding that she hasn't issued anydenials of doping because there’s no charges againstme.’’
On the track, the fracas couldn’t obscure the day’ssparkling performances.
Japan’s Koji Murofushi started the day off in style,winning the hammer with a world-leading throw of 82.65m.The Japanese athlete third- and fourth-best throws of2004 with attempts of 82.28 and 82.26 as he easilyout-distanced runner-up James Parker of the Unitedstates (77.78).
Canadian Perdita Felician produced a world’s best12.46sec in winning the 100m hurdles, while in the 110m hurdles Larry Wade edgedAllen Johnson in a scintillating finish, both clockingthe same 13.14sec.
Maria Mutola of Mozambique, a crowd favorite in herformer residence of Eugene, posted a superb 1:57.78 inwinning the women’s 800m, and American Alan Webbelectrified the crowd in this middle-distance haven bywinning the mile in world leading 3:50.85. The top eightfinishers in the mile were under four minutes.