Montgomery dashes to victory in 100m heats
by Greg Heakes
PALO ALTO, California, June 19 (AFP) - The world’sfastest man Tim Montgomery got off to a flying start atthe US Outdoor Track and Field Championships, postingthe best time in the 100 metre heats on Thursday.
Montgomery, who set the world record of 9.78 secondsin September, won his heat in a time of 10.04 to advanceto the semi-finals. Bernard Williams was second in theheats in 10.06 while Joshua Johnson had the thirdfastest time of 10.10.
I am very pleased,'' said Montgomery. I wasn’tsurprised I ran 10.04 in the first round. I look forwardto Friday (final).’’
The top three finishers in the four heats, and thefour remaining fastest times, advanced to Friday’ssemi-finals.
The nationals are being used as the qualifying eventfor the world championships this summer in Paris.
Montgomery said he should have no trouble going under10 seconds in the final.
I feel great. I am looking to the future, and I amready to go,'' said Montgomery. Montgomery, who admitted Wednesday he is starting tofeel the pressure as the world record holder, has run10.04 three times this season. He scoffed at a suggestion by sprint rival MauriceGreene, who predicted Wednesday that the 100m winnerhere wouldn't go under 10 seconds. Maurice Greene needs to get in the lottery picksbecause he knows so much,’’ Montgomery said.
Greene is guaranteed a berth for the worlds in Augustas the reigning 100m champion and so decided to raceonly the 200m at the US championships.
On the women’s side, Gail Devers beat 2001 US championChryste Gaines to win her heat and move on to the nextround. Devers, who was running her first 100m in over two years, clocked 11.15.
She is hoping to double at the worlds in the 100 andher specialty the 110m hurdles.
Having Gail compete in the 100 is like a treat,''said Gaines. One of the biggest surprises of the day came whenJustin Gatlin failed to advance in the 100 metres. Gatlin, who has been heralded as the future ofAmerican male sprinting, is recovering from a hamstringinjury. He finished fourth in the first heat in a timeof 10.32. One leg feels stronger than the other,’’ saidGatlin, 21. ``I am a rookie. Everyone makes mistakes.’’
Alan Culpepper won the men’s 10,000m final while DeenaDrossin captured the women’s 10,000m.