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Olympic champion Steven Gardiner clocked a world-leading 44.22 seconds to win the men’s 400 meters with his fastest one-lap season opener at the 2022 LSU Alumni Gold meet on Saturday (23). Read more: Femke Bol to attack world 300m hurdles best at Golden Spike Ostrava 2022?

After a couple of quality performances in the 200m to open his outdoor campaign, the Bahamian sprinter finally made his first appearance in the 400m this season and the Tokyo Game champion from last summer once again showed his quality.

The Doha 2019 World Athletics Championships gold medal winner has been working on his speed this season and he took charge of the contest with about 150m remaining and then powered to victory on Saturday to lower the previous 2022 world-lead from 44.28 secs, set by American Michael Cherry last weekend at the 2022 USATF Golden Games at the Mt. SAC Relays.

Gardiner, who is preparing to defend his world title at Eugene 2022 later this summer, held off the challenge from USA’s Vernon Norwood, who ran 44.59 sec for second place in his season opener in the event and the fourth-fastest time in his career.

Great Britain’s Matthew Hudson-Smith was third in a time of 44.61 secs, his quickest time since 2016 at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, while USA’s Tyler Terry crossed the line at 45.00 for fourth.

The best-placed collegiate athlete was Eugene Omalla of Southeastern Louisiana in fifth place at 46.07.

Gabby Scott of Puerto Rico took the women’s contest with a personal best time of 51.66 seconds with Latasha Smith of UCF (52.64), Janielle Josephs of Minnesota (52.73), LSU’s Garriel White (52.82) and Tianna Holmes from New Mexico (52.89) going under 53 seconds and rounding out the top five.

There were some fast times in the women’s short sprints, but those performances were assisted by a strong following wind.

Ex-LSU star Aleia Hobbs clocked 10.84 seconds to win the women’s 100m, but her time was aided by a strong +4.2 m/s wind reading.

Current LSU standout Favour Ofili finished second in the race in 10.90, with World Indoor 60m silver medalist Mikiah Brisco also running a wind-aided 10.90 in third place.

Da’Marcus Fleming of LSU posted a wind-legal 10.08 seconds (1.9 m/s) to take the men’s 100m title, beating teammate Dorian Camel, who ran 10.13 for second place and Saudi’s Abdullah Mohammed (10.24).

Elsewhere, Alia Armstrong of LSU, used the help of a 3.6 m/s tailwind to clock 12.55 secs to win the women’s 100m hurdles, while the men’s 110m hurdles title went to teammate Eric Edwards Jr. in 13.34 secs over Canada’s Joey Daniels (13.78) and Jamaica’s former LSU star Damion Thomas (13.79).

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