Richards' US 400 record 48.70 at World Cup

Richards takes down 22-year-old record - IAAF World Cup in Athletics, DAY ONE
Saturday 16 September 2006

Athens, Greece - Sanya Richards was looking forward to running in lane seven in the Athens Olympic stadium at today’s opening session of the 10th IAAF World Cup in Athletics.

“Lane seven? That means nice big turns and hopefully I can do something special,” the 21-year-old American said yesterday.

LaShawn Merritt - 400m victory in Athens
(Getty Images)

So what is “something special”, when you have compiled an undefeated season, when you lead the world list, when you have won the World Athletic Final by almost 10 metres in a canter?

What about a personal best, fastest time in the world this year, national record, area record, with all that moving Richards to seventh fastest on the all-time list. Will that do it? Yes, I think so. There was no argument from the crowd of approximately 30,000 in the stadium.

Richards clocked 48.70 seconds, taking 0.13 off the USA and North American records held by Valerie Brisco-Hooks since the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. She moved past Brisco-Hooks and Ana Guevara on the all-time list. Cathy Freeman, at 48.63, is her next target.

Yet another commanding victory for Tirunesh Dibaba - 2006 World Cup
(Getty Images)

Marita Koch’s World, and World Cup record of 47.60 seconds may remain distant, but on day two Richards can emulate what Koch did in Canberra in 1985. She will be competing in the 200 metres and the 4x400 relay; winning both would match Koch’s achievements in the Australian capital 21 years ago.

At the half-way point of the women’s competition, The Americas shared the lead with Russia (65pts each). A multi-event star of their own, Jamaica’s Sherone Simpson, won the individual 100 metres and anchored the winning 4x100 metres relay to have the continental team locked with the favourite, Russia, with 10 events to go. Europe is in third (60pts).

Click here for Day One Standings

Kerron Clement en route to World Cup gold in Athens
(Getty Images)

The US seems out of it, whatever Richards does, a disqualification in the sprint relay the killer blow. NB. A protest by both European and USA teams regarding the second leg change over was later rejected by the Jury of Appeal.

Gay dominant but USA still down 2pts overall overnight

Tyson Gay won the 100m and ran the third leg of the relay for the USA men’s team which trailed Europe by just two points after the first day (76 to 74pts). Africa, bidding for a fifth straight team win, had plenty of work to do 15 points off the lead in third place.

Gay did not have World record holder Asafa Powell to run against in the 100 metres, but the American sprinter produced a run of high class to win anyway.

Koji Murofushi after spinning to victory in Athens
(Getty Images)

Gay, whose 19.68 200 metres in the World Athletic Final took him to equal-third performer all-time in that event, powered up the straight here to a 9.88 seconds performance. His best is the 9.84 behind Powell’s equal World record 9.77 in Zurich. The margin to second-placed Francis Obikwelu of Europe, was a Powell-like 0.21 seconds, two full metres.

Marc Burns of Trinidad and Tobago, running for the Americas team in place of Powell, took third in 10.14.

Ralf Bartels celebrates in Athens
(Getty Images)

Powell did not even get a run in the relay, the world record holder left stranded at the final change as his teammates failed to get the baton round.

Murofushi, Osaka 2007 favourite but Athens is his ‘home town’

Kobe, Japan might be home, but Koji Murofushi calls Athens “my favourite town.’’ An Olympic champion here in 2004, a world championships representative in 1997, Murofushi got Asia off to a wining start with a season’s best in the Hammer Throw.

Saif Saaeed Shaheen wins the 5000m in Athens
(AFP / Getty Images)

The hammer men went to work a full 100 minutes ahead of anyone else. Murofushi clearly doesn’t mind an early start. A 79.70-metre effort took the first round lead, then he successively upped that to 81.30 and 82.01 before closing with 81.82.

The closest response was double World champion Ivan Tikhon’s 80.00 in round three, the Belarus man overcoming a mediocre start - 69.58 metres - to give Europe second place. Ilya Konovalov took third for Russia (77.14).

But there was no denying Murofushi. Japan has superb men’s and women’s marathon depth, but the giant veteran stands out as his country’s best hope for an in-stadium gold medal at next year’s World championships in Athletics in Osaka. He looks as if he can take the pressure.

Lebedeva denies Greek crowd an early celebration

Olympic 400 metres Hurdles gold medallist Fani Halkia was only fifth in the flat 400, but 2004 silver medallist Hrysopiyi Devetzi went within a handspan of providing Greece with a home victory.

Devetzi leapt 15.04 metres in the first round of the women’s Triple Jump to put the pressure firmly on the favourite, Tatyana Lebedeva of Russia.

Lebedeva, who finished third in the Olympics behind Francoise Mbango Etone of Cameroon and Devetzi, responded like a true champion. Her second jump of 15.13 turned out to be the winner and she followed that with a 14.98 in the third round.

Devetzi, roared on and willed on by an adoring crowd, had narrow fouls in rounds two and three, then got out to 15.02 with her last effort.

Len Johnson (The Age) for the IAAF

Click here to read Reports of ALL (20) Events contested today in Athens at the 10th IAAF World Cup in Athletics

Richards crushes AR at World Cup; U.S. men poised in second

Jill Geer
Director of Communications
USA Track & Field

ATHENS - She had knocked on the door of the American record all season. Yet at the end of a long year, it was listening to her father’s advice that helped 21-year-old Sanya Richards (Austin, Texas) crush the American record in the women’s 400 meters on Saturday at the 10th IAAF World Cup in Athens’ Olympic Stadium.

Richards’ time of 48.70 seconds obliterated Valerie Brisco’s American record of 48.83, set at the 1984 Olympic Games, where Brisco won three gold medals. It also gave Richards a victory in Athens by nearly 2.5 seconds - Vania Stambolova of Bulgaria was a distant second in 50.09 - and put her #7 on the all-time world list.

“Before the race today, I talked to my dad [Archie]. He said, you’re in lane seven, so there is nobody in front of you and you can focus on running your own race,” said Richards, who will also compete in the 200 meters and 4x400m relay on Sunday. “So I focused, got into my blocks and said, ‘I can break the American record.’ … My dad kept telling me I was watching the clock all year during races and that was slowing me down, so I didn’t look at the clock today. Everything he said came true.”

At the end of the first day of competition in Athens, Team USA’s men were second in team scoring with 74 points, just behind Europe with 76. Team USA’s women were fifth with 49 points, behind the Americas’ 65. A points-based format of team competition, the World Cup pits Team USA against continental squads from Asia, Africa, the Americas, Europe and Oceania. Greece, Russia, Poland’s women and France’s men also field teams. Team points are awarded ranging from nine points for a first-place finish down to one point.

Winning on the oval

Team USA enjoyed strong finishes across the board at Olympic Stadium, literally and figuratively, led by double winner Tyson Gay (Fayetteville, Ark.).The former NCAA champion ran a brilliant final 60 meters in the 100 to win the race in 9.88, well clear of Olympic silver medalist Francis Obikwelu (POR) of Team Europe, who was second in 10.09. Gay then ran third leg on the 4x100m relay team of Kaaron Conwright, Wallace Spearmon and Jason Smoots on anchor. The quartet ran a championship record of 37.59 seconds, the fastest time by an American team since winning the 1999 World Championships (also 37.59), the fifth-fastest time in history, and well ahead of Team Europe in second (38.45).

In the men’s 400 meters, LaShawn Merritt (Portsmouth, Va.) took the track immediately after Richards. Running out of lane 1, Merritt came off the final curve and ran down Gary Kikaya [Congo] of Team Africa. Looking as if he were running a form drill, Merritt moved ahead to win in 44.54, with Kikaya second in 44.66.

Kerron Clement (Gainesville, Fla.) likewise used a strong stretch run to take the men’s 400-meter hurdles. The world record holder indoors at 400 meters, Clement was in a dead head with L.J. Van Zyl (RSA) of Team Africa in the final stretch. Clement’s superior speed came through in the end, giving him the win in 48.12 to Van Zyl’s 48.35.

A few surprises

While those victories came as no surprise, several athletes turned in better-than-expected performances. Capping off a tremendous season, Matt Tegenkamp (Madison, Wis.) did what few Americans are known for in distance races: the 2005 University of Wisconsin grad took the lead in the men’s 5,000 meters with 1,000m to go, leading Said Saeed Shaheen (QAT) of Africa and Mike Kipruto Kigen (KEN) of Africa until they surged ahead with 500 meters remaining. Tegenkamp stayed on Kigen’s shoulder and nearly passed him in the final straight, finishing third (13:36.83) behind Shaheen (13:35.30) and Kigen (13:36.19).

Kara Goucher (Portland, Ore.), who of late considers herself to be a 10,000-meter runner, ran with the lead pack throughout the women’s 3,000 meters, then kicked from fifth to third place and posted a huge personal best of 8:44.42. Tirunesh Dibaba (ETH) of Africa broke the meet record with her win in 8:33.78. Also on the women’s side, team captain Aretha Thurmond (Seattle, Wash.) placed a strong second in the women’s discus with a best mark of 61.83m/202-10 on her second throw of the competition.

Competing in a Team USA jersey for the first time since winning the 2003 world title, Torri Edwards turned a mishap into a runner-up finish in the women’s 100 meters. Running neck-and-neck with Via Anim (GHA) of Africa in lanes 5 and 6, respectively, the two bumped arms just a few strides from the finish. Anim’s arm gave Edwards a bit of a push, propelling her to second place in 11.19 behind Sherone Simpson (JAM) of the Americas (10.97). Anim finished third in 11.21.

More top finishes

The world indoor champion, Reese Hoffa (Athens, Ga.) led the men’s shot put competition from the second round on with his throw of 20.60m, but in the fourth and final round, Ralf Bartels (GER) of Europe popped the winning throw of 20.67m/67-9.75.

Lashinda Demus was less than pleased with her runner-up finish in the women’s 400m hurdles. The 2006 world leader with a best time of 53.05, Demus ran out of lane 1. Despite running tight turns, she still led the race until the ninth hurdle, when she clipped the barrier. World record holder Yuliana Pechonkina of Russia went on to win in 53.88, with Demus second in 54.06.

National champion Tora Harris (Chula Vista, Calif.) hit the medal stand with a third-place finish in the men’s high jump. His second-attempt clearance at 2.24m/7-4.24 put him in third due to his first-attempt miss; also a near miss was his final attempt at 2.28m/7-5.75.

A.G. Kruger (Ashland, Ohio) capped off his season with a solid fourth-place finish in the men’s hammer throw. His best toss of 75.53m/247-7 came on his fourth and final attempt, vaulting him from seventh into fourth.

The men’s 1,500 and women’s 800 followed similar game plans as both races had very slow starts. In the men’s 1,500 the lead pack, which included American Gabe Jennings (Mendocino, Calif.), hit the bell lap in a leisurely 3:02. In an all-out sprint for the finish, Jennings placed fourth in 3:55.09 as Alex Kipchirchir (KEN) of Africa won in 3:52.60. The women’s 800 cruised through 400 in 62 seconds, a tactic which worked to Hazel Clark’s disadvantage. In a sprinter’s race, Clark was sixth in 2:01.83, with Zulia Calatayud (CUB) of the Americas first in 2:00.06.

In other field events, Brian Johnson (Baton Rouge, La.) was seventh in the men’s long jump (7.88m/25-10.75), Shani Marks (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) was seventh in the women’s triple jump (13.79m/45-3), Kim Kreiner (Fresno, Calif.) was eighth in the women’s javelin (54.34m/178-3), and Jenn Stuczynski (Churchville, N.Y.) did not clear a height in the women’s pole vault. The women’s 4x100m relay team was disqualified for a lane violation, but a protest was quickly filed and was pending.

Competition in the 10th IAAF World Cup in Athletics concludes Sunday. For complete results and event reports, visit


Sanya Richards (women’s 400): “Before the race today, I talked to my dad [Archie]. He said, you’re in lane seven, so there is nobody in front of you and you can focus on running your own race. So I focused, got into my blocks and said, ‘I can break the American record.’ And that’s what I did … I usually come out before the race and put marks on the track, but we didn’t get to do that here, so I had no idea how fast I was going. I was hoping I could go 48.80, so to go 48.70, I’m overwhelmed. … My dad kept telling me I was watching the clock all year during races and that was slowing me down, so I didn’t look at the clock today. Everything he said came true.”

Tyson Gay: (men’s 100) The track was definitely fast. I really didn’t expect to run that fast. I was feeling sluggish before the race, and once I got to 60 meters, my body felt better, and I just ran to the line. I eased up a little bit, but I felt it was a great time.

(on the 4 x 100)–The second to third leg (Wallace Spearmon Jr to Gay) is something we’ve been doing for the last three years (at the University of Arkansas), and I got confidence that he’s going to bring the stick in first, and that’s what he did. I knew our first leg got out good, and once I brought the stick into Jason Smoots, I didn’t think we’d be caught.

Kerron Clement (men’s 400m hurdles: “I was just trying to get my steps down because that has been my biggest problem this season. I wasn’t not really worked that he was close to me. I was relaxed the first 200 and I kicked it in the last 150.”

LaShawn Merritt (men’s 400m): “I did a little work on the backstretch because the curves are so tight [in lane 1] and I’m not a curve runner. I’ve been working on my form all season. The worst part of my race is coming home, so I just kept my composure. I knew if I got off the curve, I had the best foot speed.”

Aretha Thurmond (discus): “I knew that I could throw farther because I felt really good today, but I had some problems with my technique. But, it is fine for me and I am very satisfied with my performance here in the World Cup. It was an amazing crowd!”

Torri Edwards (women’s 100m): “I got a horrible start, and I had to catch up in the middle. I said, ‘you have to get second to get points for the team.’ It feels really good to be running for Team USA again. Coming into this year, I wasn’t expecting to get that opportunity.”

Lashinda Demus (women’s 400 hurdles): “It went fine until I stumbled over the ninth hurdle. That’s why I’m upset, and that’s why I lost the race. Lane 1 was not a problem. I was in the lead and I was supposed to win. I haven’t run 54 seconds all year. It was a slow race.”

Reese Hoffa (men’s shot put): “It’s been a long season. I’ve had lots of ups and downs this year. I knew I had to throw near 21 meters to win. I think I just threw too much this year. I wanted first, but I still consider it a very successful season.”

Kara Goucher (women’s 3,000m): “I don’t run the 3k that often. I ran a 1,500 three weeks ago. I felt strong because I run the 10,000 now, but I have speed and made the World A standard in the 1,500. With 800 to go in the race I started to feel bad for myself, because I was tired and it was a long year. Then I caught a couple of people and felt great. This is a huge PR.”

Matt Tegenkamp (men’s 5,000m): “It was hard to tell what was going to happen. I really didn’t have a game plan going in. I just wanted to compete. It was a great race. I wish I could have passed [Kigen] at the end. … I noticed a [pace] pick-up on lap 7. Nobody was able to go with it except me. I knew if I took the lead, only the other two guys would be able to keep up.”

Tora Harris (men’s high jump): “When I’m in San Diego training, the wind is always at my back. So I was always far back from the bar today. But I’m pretty proud with what I’ve done. I did much better than I did at the Olympics. The first jump, I was just super-duper nervous.”

Gabe Jennings (men’s 1,500m): “The race went perfect for me in terms of going out slow. I’ve been training to sprint, but I just didn’t have the courage today. I built the race up in my mind so much that I put pressure on myself. When the time came to pull the trigger, I just didn’t have it. I got crazy yesterday and pulled a couple of 23-second 200s. I should have saved that for today.”

A.G. Kruger (men’s hammer throw): “I wish I could have done it [had his best throw] a little earlier. It’s kind of hard in a four-throw competition. You try to go a little harder, and that can throw you off. I’m still getting used to it. I’m OK with fourth place. I was hoping to get third, but in an international competition, the last meet of the year, I’ll take it.”

Kim Kreiner (women’s javelin):“I didn’t do so well. I’ve been nursing an injury from having so many meets and throwing so hard. It’s been a long season. At least all my body parts are attached, but my (right) foot is really sore, and I couldn’t quite get through the pain. Every time that foot comes down, it’s shooting pain. I tried to manage it the best I could, but I just couldn’t pull it out.”

Shani Marks (women’s triple jump): My left knee is hurt, but I felt pretty good. It was really exciting. It was an amazing experience."

Brian Johnson (men’s long jump): “My run was fine, I just wasn’t staying on top of my form. I got on the board, but just couldn’t pop off.”

by Phil Minshull
ATHENS, Sept 16 AFP - American Sanya Richards continued a dream year tonight by producing the fastest women’s 400m run since Cathy Freeman’s duel with Marie-Jose Perec at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Richards clocked 48.70 seconds to win at the World Cup meet in Athens but was still 0.05s shy of Freeman’s time to claim the silver medal behind Perec (48.25) in Atlanta.
Richards’ run was also a US national record, breaking a mark which had stood since Valerie Brisco-Hooks won the 1984 Olympic gold medal.
I was told by my father, who coaches me, that I spend too much time looking at the clock during races and it was slowing me down so I made a point of not doing that,'' said the Jamaican-born 21-year-old. Everything he told me came true.’’

Richards is unbeaten in 15 400m outings this summer and will also run in the 200m tomorrow.
One more race and then it will be some time for holidays,'' added Richards, who is $US30,000 ($A39,827) richer after her victory. The best performance in the men's events also came from an American track star. Tyson Gay, who last Saturday produced the equal-third fastest 200m ever, dropped down distance to replace the disgraced Olympic and world champion Justin Gatlin in the United States team at 100m. Gatlin, who won the US 100m title in June before it was revealed he had failed a drug test two months earlier, wasn't missed as Gay shot down the track in 9.88s. Portugal's Francis Obikwelu, the reigning European 100m champion and Olympic silver medallist on the same track two years ago, was second again but this time in a distant 10.09. Apart from Gay, it was the women who generally grabbed the spotlight on the first of the two-day competition which continues tomorrow. Cup records were set by Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba, who won the women's 3000m in 8min 33.78s and Russia's Yelena Isinbayeva in the pole vault with a clearance of 4.60m. Russia's Tatayana Lebedeva continued her unbeaten season in the triple jump by bounding out to 15.13m for another Cup record. I was a bit tired after the World Athletics Final (in Stuttgart last weekend) but I told myself that I will never give up and I never want to lose,’’ said Lebedeva, who has gone over the world class barrier of 15 metres in six of her nine competitions this summer.
The World Cup brings together representative teams of five continents as well as the United States, hosts Greece and the two leading European nations who qualified from the European Cup in June.
Team Europe lead the men’s competition at the end of the first day with 76 points, two ahead of the United States.
The women’s competition after 10 of 20 events was being lead by Team Americas with 65 points, helped considerably by a win in the last of the first day’s events, the 4x100m relay.
The quartet, composed exclusively of Caribbean sprinters including Jamaica’s 100m winner Sherone Simpson, won in 42.26s, the best time in the world this year.
In addition to Simpson, who won the 100m in 10.97s, Cuba’s Zulia Calatayud won the 800m in 2:00.60 for Team Americas.
Russia, who are defending their women’s World Cup title, also have 65 points and had three winners but are behind Team Americas on account of their number of second place finishers.