Phyllis Francis at the Zagreb IAAF World Challenge

ZAGREB, Croatia – World champion Phyllis Francis impressively pulled away from Allyson Felix to win the women’s 400m at the Zagreb IAAF World Challenge meeting on Tuesday (3).

Meanwhile, Justin Gatlin world title defense looks in jeopardy after the veteran sprinter pulls up with what looks like a hamstring injury in the 100m.

The world champion from London in 2017 was competing against a competitive field that also included American countrywoman Felix, who also ran a solid race when finishing second.

Felix, who only returned to competition at the U.S. Trials in July, following the birth of her daughter, got out to a strong start and close the gap on the athletes ahead of her.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dKyBn0xzVYWatch Video

However, Francis, who will defend her world title in Doha, later this month, showed that she was in good form, finishing the race the strongest over the closing 50 meters, as she pulled away from the field to win in a time of 51.02 seconds.

Felix visibly slowed down over the third 100m, but found something extra in the home straight to secure second place in 51.67.

Poland’s Iga Baumgart-Witan also dipped under 52-seconds, finishing third in 51.90, while Jaide Stepter of USA was fourth in 52.03.

The men’s 100m went to American Michael Rodgers took the victory in 10.03, but there is a real concern for his countryman and world champion Gatlin, who pulled up injured and finished fourth in 10.29.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrV1NLBJDHMWatch Video

Canadian champion Aaron Brown finished second to Rodgers in 10.18 with USA’s Demek Kemp getting third in 10.28.

Meanwhile, Sandra Perkovic delighted the home supporters at the Zagreb IAAF World Challenge after she dominated the women’s discus throw. 

The world and Olympic champion reached out to 67.78m in the fifth round to seal the victory.

German champion Kristin Pudenz, who led for the first two rounds after opening with 63.25m, finished second, while Croatia’sMarija Tolj threw 62.57m in round two for third place.

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