By Gary Smith and Christine Taylor (Action Sports), World-Track
Photos by Track And Field Photo Magazine
EUGENE, Oregon — Former world champion Bershawn Jackson recovered well from hitting a hurdle early in the race to finish on top of perhaps the strongest assembled 400m hurdles field this year at the Prefontaine Classic Grand Prix.
Strong finish for Jackson
Jackson finished with a late kick to win the event in 48.38 seconds, improving his seasonal best on his way to finishing ahead of Jamaican world-leader Isa Phillips, who took second in 48.55.
Olympic silver medallist Kerron Clement was third in 48.73, with Olympic champion Angelo Taylor finishing fourth in 48.79.
Harper falls, fails to finish.
Jeter and Rogers does it again
Carmelita Jeter has established herself as the woman to beat this summer when she handed Kerron Stewart undefeated streak this season with victory in the women’s 100m.
Jeter, however, was rubbed by the wind as her impressive 10.85secs with aided by a +3.2 tail-wind. Stewart finished second in 10.90, with Muna Lee taking third in 11.02.
Olympic champion Shelly Ann Fraser finished fourth in 11.10.
Welcome to the elite Rogers
Like he did at the Reebok Grand Prix last weekend, Michael Rogers outshine a solid field to win the men’s race in 9.94sec, his first legal time under 10seconds in his career.
The time was also the quickest in the world this year.
There was a good sign for Jamaica as former world record holder Asafa Powell looks much better and definitely getting back to his old self.
Olympic bronze medallist Walter Dix finished third, also in 10.07.
Sub-50 seconds, Richards looks good
Sanya Richards showed her dominance over a very solid women’s 400m field when she outclassed everyone to take the top position in a world-leading 49.86secs.
Going very fast as she always does, the Olympic bronze medallist covered the field easily to beat Jamaica’s Olympic silver medallist Shericka Williams, who left way back in 50.72.
“This shows that I am way ahead of where I used to be so now I am hoping to see my times continue to get faster,” Richards said.
Olympic 400m hurdles champion Melaine Walker of Jamaica, still working on her speed for her specialised event was seventh in 52.01.
Harper falls Perry wins
Michelle Perry and Damu Cherry both ran 12.74seconds in the women’s 100m hurdles, but the victory was awarded to the former, who left it late to the closing metres.
“I went through a lot and now I am just excited to be back and thank God for this win,” Perry said.
Olympic champion Dawn Harper suffered some problems just before the gun went off and struggle to find her rhythm. The result, she failed to make it over the second flight of hurdles and was scratched.
Burga almost caught, but held on
In the exciting women’s 1500m, Ethiopia’s Gelete Burka held off a lightening finish from Jenny Barringer, a senior at Colorado, to win the race in three-minutes 59. 89 seconds.
Taking a commanding lead with one lap to go Burka hit the final 100m with a clear lead before being chased down by Barringer, who just ran out of real estate and finished second in 3:59.90, becoming only the third American woman to run the event faster than four minutes.
Anna Alminova of Russia (4:01.44) and USA’s Anna Willard (4:01.44) followed.
Not even a contest
Paul Koech was unmatched in the men’s 3000m Steeplechase.
The Kenyan ran alone and untroubled in the last two laps to dominate the event with a winning time of 8.13.44. Ethiopia’s Roba Gary finished second in 8:21.22.
Lagat looks good too
Bernard Lagat demonstrated a fantastic display of closing speed to take a bow in the men’s 3000m.
The American who twice swapped the lead in the last 300m with Saif Shaheen of Qatar, finished first in 7:35.92 – showing that his preparation for the World Championships in Berlin later on this summer is right on scheduled.
In the men’s 100m B-race went to American Rae Edwards in 10.10, over countrymen Leroy Dixon and Ivory Williams, who both clocked 10.18 for seconds and third, respectively.
Merritt dominates rare 300m race
LaShawn Merritt raced home to win a rare 300m race on the circuit in 31.30sec with the second fastest time ever, behind countryman Michael Johnson.
The performance also just bettered the 31.31sec he ran at this same venue two-years-ago.
Phillips beats Saladino
Led by Dwight Phillips and Reese Hoffa, the crowd also saw some sizzling performances in the field events.
In a well contested men’s Long Jump competition Amerincan Dwight Phillips got one over his arch rival Irving Saladino of Panama.
Phillips turned in a second round world-leading and fifth highest ever jump of 8.74m to defeat the Olympic champion, Saladino, who finished second with a leap of 8.63m.
“Last week I knew I was jumping far and I was looking at the world record,” a confident Phillips said. “I think I need to run a couple more 100 meters.
“I knew I was capable of jumping this far. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season. I’m hungry. I’m excited about the sport again.”
Hoffa left it late with a world-leading 21.89m to snatched the men’s Shot Put competition over countryman Dan Taylor (21.29m) and Poland’s Tomasz Majewski (21.26m).
“It ws tough. I was tired. But the more tired I am the better I throw. It ended up being a really good day,” Hoffa said.
The women’s Discus Throw saw Stephanie Brown-Trafton continuing her fruitful run this season with a winning mark of 63.98m.
Elsehwere, Russia’s Ivan Ukhov won the men’s High Jump with a good 2.34m clearance, while, Betty Heidler of Germany took the women’s Hammer Throw with 72.81m.