Lashawn Merritt

GAINESVILLE, FL – Lashawn Merritt posted a world-leading time over the 200m while two-time Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown was beaten in the women’s race by American Tiffany Townsend at the 2016 Florida Relays on Thursday (March 31).

Merritt, the 2009 and 2011 World Championships 400m champion and the 2008 Olympic Games gold medallist, clocked a time of 20.23 (0.7 m/s) to take the first section of the men’s half lap, comfortable ahead of Brazilian pair Aldemir Junior (20.47) and Bruno de Barros (20.50) who ran the third and fourth fastest times overall.

The American star’s winning time today bettered the previous 2016 world best of 20.29 secs, set by South American sprinter Akani Simbine on March 11.

Gavin Smellie, who took the third heat in 20.43 was the second fastest overall today.

Running with the aid of a +3.7 m/s wind reading Townsend, who suits up for Pure Athletics, clocked 22.38 seconds to take section one of the event, which was assembled to entertain the quicker runners.

Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 gold medal winner Campbell-Brown, posted 22.58 secs for the runner-up spot in the heat and the second fastest time of the day.

USA’s Shalonda Solomon and Cambrya Jones, also running in the first section, took third and fourth overall with times of 22.58, and 22.76, respectively.

Other notable stars in the race were American quarter-miler Francine McCorory, the 2014 World Indoor 400m champion, who clocked a wind-aided 23.04 to win heat three and Jamaica’s Samantha Henry-Robinson, who ran 23.38 in the fast section.

Among the notable non-starters at the meet hosted by the University of Florida at Percy Beard Track, were Dezerea Bryant, Shana Cox and Gloria Asumnu.

Meanwhile, former IAAF World Youth champion Ebony Eutsey won the women’s 400m with 52.08 seconds, with five other runners going under 53-seconds over the full lap event.

Desiree Henry of Great Britain, an IAAF World Youth Championships 200m gold medallist, finished second to Eutsey after running the second quickest time of the day, at 52.27.

Former NAIA star sprinter Lanece Clarke of the Bahamas, was third with 52.73 while Briana Nelson (52.93), Jasmine Mitchell (52.94) and Ashley Kelly (52.95) were also below the 53-seconds range.

In the men’s 400m, Mike Berry of USA and Hugo de Souza of Brazil both broke 46-seconds after turning in times of 45.51 and 45.76, respectively.

Bahamas’ Alonzo Russell was timed at 46.03, with Jamaican Ricardo chambers running 46.23 in his heat.

USA’s Kerron Clement won the men’s 400m hurdles in 50.17, edging Eric Alejandro of Puerto Rico (50.18) in section one.

However, Great Britain’s David Greene and Jamaican LeFord Green who were scheduled to add some spice to event, did not show up.

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