Williams-Darling wins 400m Monterrey show-down in world leading 49.85 - UPDATED


Williams-Darling wins 400m Monterrey show-down in world leading 49.85 - UPDATED

Sunday 12 June 2005

Monterrey, Mexico - In the battle of the global goddesses of the one lap sprint yesterday in the Galatletica Banamex meet, Olympic gold medallist Tonique Williams-Darling got the better of World champion Ana Guevara, clocking the fastest time in the world this year of 49.85.

Very close, very motivated

The clash between the two sprinters who respectively stand first and second in the event in the IAAF World Ranking, was the climax to end a three-hour athletic celebration in front of more than 20,000 people at Monterrey’s Estadio Tecnológico.

They ran very close during the whole lap and only the Bahamian was able to add extra speed in the home straight in gain a slight advantage she maintained until she crossed the finish line.

Guevara, 28, had opened her season in her home town of Hermosillo on 21 May with a 50.55 second win, and while yesterday’s second place in 50.05 was significantly faster, she will no doubt be upset to have lost to her archrival who beat her to the Olympic laurels last summer. Her Area record PB is the 48.89 which she set when winning her World title in 2003.

"This result only makes me return to training with a great responsibility and devotion,"said Guevara. “I am very motivated and we are very close. There is nothing to fear. You have to learn to lose in order to win, but we have not lost tonight. We have learned a lot.”

The 29-year-old Athens winner, Williams-Darling, who is from the Bahamas, also began her season in Hermosillo but ran the 200m (23.07) on that occasion, and is in a much faster groove with a 49.95 400m win in the IAAF Grand Prix in Eugene (4 June) last weekend setting her up for yesterday’s even quicker clocking.

Sturrup dominant in the dash

It was a good day for the Bahamas, as Chandra Sturrup was the winner of the 100m dash in 11.14, with three-time Sydney Olympic champion Marion Jones way off the pace in fourth (11.40). Americans Lauryn Williams (11.30) and Muna Lee (11.39) filled the podium in from of Jones.

Her boyfriend, Tim Montgomery, the World record holder for the men’s 100m, finished even worse in fifth place in 10.43. This sprint was won in exciting fashion by fellow American J.J. Johnson in 10.18, who was split on photo-finish from Trinidad and Tobago’s Marc Burns, who was given the same time. Another Trinidadian, 2003 World Championships runner-up Darrel Brown was third (10.31)

Looking a for Helsinki double

Olympic 100m champion Justin Gatlin was running the 200m yesterday which he won in 20 seconds dead, which is a PB for the Olympic 200m bronze medallist. Dash winner JJ Johnson was second in 20.30.

“It was a good race, a good stepping stone going into Nationals and then Helsinki,” confirmed Gatlin. “I thing running a 20 flat into a negative wind was a great race for me and I know. I didn’t know I was running that fast as I slowed down a few metres before the line”.

“I ran the 200m because I had run the 100m the whole season already and I was ready for the 200m because I want to double. And I had not run a 200m since the Olympics and I wanted to see where I am at going into Nationals. I am ready for both races”.

There was some fast one lap running by the men as well, both on the flat and over the hurdles.

Alleyne Francique of Grenada took the 400 flat in 44.60, with Bahamas’ Chris Brown, second in a 44.89 PB, just denying American Olympic bronze medallist Derrick Brew, third 44.96.

In the 400m Hurdles, Bershawn Jackson was the dominant winner in an excellent 47.97 but would have been much faster had he not slowed down in the final 10 metres to greet the crowd.

Allyson Felix, the Olympic women’s 200m silver medallist was the winner of her specialty in 22.31.

Good attempt at US record

In the infield another Olympic runner-up was in great shape. Toby Stevenson vaulted to 5.90m to secure a clear win over compatriots Brad Walker and Nick Hysong (both 5.70m) in the men’s Pole Vault.

The event stole the show in the stadium during the first hour of the meet and the crowd was pleased to see Stevenson also have three good attempts at 6.04m to break the US record.

“The competition was incredible,” commented Stevenson. “The whole time we have been here the meet has been awesome. The crowd was the best I have seen so far this year. Jumping 5.50, 5.70 then 5.90. I did an experiment and it paid off. I had great shots at the American record so I am happy.”

And the best of the rest…

The men’s 5000m produced a great duel between Kenyan and Mexican athletes in a 22-men field. Kenya’s 2001 World 10,000m champion Charles Kamathi made a decisive move with less than two kilometers to go and went on to win in 13:35.00.

Jamaica’s Elva Goulborne, the only woman to have long jumped over seven meters in Mexico, emerged victorious again as in 2004. This time, she landed at 6.55 to beat US Grace Upshaw (6.50) and Bahamas’ Jackie Edwards (6.49).

The women’s High Jump was taken by US Erin Aldrich (1.89), the same height of Dominican Republic’s Juana Arrendel.

It should be noted that the men’s Pole Vault, the 400m Hurdles and the 5000m saw the best results ever on Mexican soil.

Javier Clavelo Robinson and Chris Turner for the IAAF