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World-lead for Richards, as six stayed a live in the jackpot in Oslo

By Gary Smith, World-Track

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Sanya RichardsOSLO, Norway — The rain came and went as did the challengers of Sanya Richards, who proved she is now the one to beat in the event in Berlin, with another remarkable performance that thrilled the gathering here.

Sanya Richards continued her fantastic run this season at Friday’s Bislett Games – IAAF Golden League Meeting – with another world-leading time on a wet track in Oslo to win the women’s 400m in 49.23seconds.

The American blast out to her familiar speedy first 200m and held off a partial challenge from Jamaica’s Olympic silver medallist Sherika Williams, who finished second in 49.98sec.

"I did not expect a world lead after the storm," the American said. "We were worried in the warm-up about what would happen, when will be the steeple, when will we be running."

kstewartRichards’ time also equalled the meeting second, set back in 1983, as she stayed in line for a share of the $1 million jackpot.

"A pitty I only equalled the meet record, I would love to better it. But I am happy with the way I am running now. I can fully focus on the other races, next Rome and Paris. And life is not only athletics, I’m planning my wedding for next Februray."

World and Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu looked disinterested from the get go and finished sixth in 51.19.

Trinidad and Tobago‘s Rennie Quow ran a superbly timed race to win the men’s event out of lane seven.

The former World Junior champion held his nerve and finished with the familiar bullet final kick of his in last 60m to win in 45.18.

Meanwhile, as Richards did, Kerron Stewart, Kenenisa Bekele and Damu Cherry also stayed in contentions on the track, while Tero Pitkämäki stayed in the men’s Javelin Throw and Yelena Isinbayeva only just kept her position in the pole vault.

On the track, Bekele ran a fast 53.30sec final 400m, aided with his trademark final kick to win the men’s 5000m in 13-minutes and :04.87seoconds to stay in contentions for a share of the million dollar jackpot prize.

Setting his own pace in last 200 metres, the Ethiopian dismissed a strong contest from Qatar‘s James Kwalia C’Kurui, second place finisher in 13:05.46.

"It was a tough race for me and I must say I’m happy to be the winner. But my feelings are far better than in Berlin," Bekele said after his win.

"I’m coming back to my shape. But we all knew that today will not be a fast race, I was concentrating on winning. There are still four races I need to win and that is a lot of energy for me. There is no time for fast attempts.

"For Berlin I’m sure I will run the 10 000 meters and maybe the 5000 meters. This will be decided later."

In the women’s 100m hurdles, Cherry also stayed a live for a share of the jackpot when she laid down a seasonal best of 12.68secs to win the women’s 100m hurdles.

The American, however, had to come from behind to win the event ahead of Jamaica‘s Brigitte Foster-Hylton, who also ran a seasonal best of 12.75. Canada‘s world-leader Priscilla Lopes-Schliep finished third in 12.78.

"I’m not counting the races for the jackpot, that would give me too much pressure," said Cherry, who finished third at the American trials over the weekend.

"Overall, it is always good to win. I hope this will be my year, so far I did not win any big medal. Maybe in August in Berlin. I will work for that now."

Stewart also kept her place with another win in the women’s 100m dash.

The Jamaican eased down in last two-metres to win the race in 10.99secs, her fourth sub-11 for the season.

She beat Trinidadian Kelly Ann Baptiste, who finished second in 11.14 with Bahamian Chandra Sturrup completing the Caribbean sweep with a third place run of 11.15.

Former World record holder Asafa Powell won a very close men’s 100m which saw him sharing the winning time of 10.07seconds with Antigua’s record Daniel Bailey, who won in Berlin, but is no longer in contention after the defeat.

Powell, who is currently recovering from an ankle injury that slowed him down earlier in the season, got off to a very slow start, but managed to run back to the win.

"I was not strong enough today. Bad start, my legs were heavy. I tried just to win. But it is going step by step. Next races in Lausanne and Rome," Powell said.

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Olympic finallist and Powell’s training partner Michael Frater finished third in 10.08.

Sluggish day for the Russian

Surprisingly Isinbayeva, the World and Olympic champion had to depend on jump backs to win the women’s pole vault.

Clearly looking uncomfortable, with a brace strapped on the left knee, the Russian managed to win the event with a mere 4.71m, the same height as Poland’s Monika Pyrek, who unlike Isinbayeva, who cleared on the second try – took three attempts.

"I am happy to win, but not with the result. It was very difficult with all the waiting. First the ordinary waiting to jump, then the extra waiting due to the rain," Isinbayeva said, who missed her first attempt at 4.71 before the showers came.

Also in the field, Pitkämäki of Finland released a fifth round 84.63m to win the men’s Javelin and remain in hunt for the prize. He defeated countryman Teemu Wirkkala (83.54) with Norway’s Andreas Thorkildsen, the arch rival of Pitkämäki taking third with 83.15m.

Elsewhere, Kenyans Collins Cheboi (3:36.24) and Geoffrey Rono featured in an exciting men’s 1500m race, which saw Rono finishing second in 3:36.96.

It was also a Kenyan 1-2 finish in the men’s 3000m won by Richard Bartale won with a time of 7:50.58. Henry Kiplagat clocked 7:54.00 for second place.

Deresse Mekonnen ran an Ethiopia national record of 3:48.95 to win the men’s Mile Run.

Claire Gibson of Britain won the women’s 800 in 2:01.42 and Russia’s Yuriy Borzakovskiy (1:44.42) won the men’s race.

World champion Blanka Vlašic of Croatia won the women’s High Jump with 2.00m.

Complete Results

 

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