OSLO — Sanya Richards of the USA set a year best time Friday in winning the 400m Golden League meeting at Oslo in 49.23sec.
Richards is now gunning for the jackpot having already won the Golden League opener in 49.57sec in Berlin last month .
“I’ve been feeling great in training these past few weeks. And I’m all the happier that my parents are here with me,” said Richards, who said coach Clyde Hart had urged her to be patient and concentrate hard into the final stretch.
“I finished well. I am on form and I think I can go under 49sec soon,” she forecast.
“That’s my best time today since 2006 and the fourth best of my career,” said Richards, 24, who bagged her fifth U.S. national title in the 400m last week at Eugene, Oregon.
In the sprint events, former world 100m record-holder Asafa Powell won the men’s 100m in a time of 10.07sec, edging Antiguan Daniel Bailey in a photo finish as he took full advantage of scheduling problems which ruled out the Americans and also triple Olympic champion Usain Bolt.
But Powell failed to achieve his aim of a 50th sub-10sec showing in conditions which began in sweltering heat prior to a storm which briefly interrupted the evening’s business.
“My legs were heavy and I got off to a bad start. I just tried to win,” he explained.
Jamaican Michael Frater was third in 10.08.
Trinidadian Renny Quow won the 400m honours in 45.18 while in the 800m Russia’s Yuriy Borzakovskiy clocked 1:44.42 to beat out Saudi Arabia’s Mohamed Al Salhi.
Africa, as ever, dominated the longer distances with Kenyan Collins Cheboi picking off the 1500m in 3:36.24 ahead of compatriot Geoffrey Kipkoech Rono (3:36.96) and Morocco’s Fouad Elkaam (3:37.19).
In the mile, Ethiopia’s Deresse Mekonnen clocked a winning 3:48.95 to best Kenya’s William Biwott (3:49.29).
The 3000m was an all-Kenyan affair as Richard Bartale timed 7:50.58 to oust Henry Kiplagat (7:54.00) and Mike Tuiny (7:57.54).
In the 5000m, Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele bested Qatari James Kwalia in clocking 13:04.87 as Kenyan Vincent Kiprop Chepkok took third.
Back among the women, with triple Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba not at the Bislett Stadium to defend her 5000m mark of 14:11.65, fellow Ethiopian Meseret Defar won in a comfortable 14:36.38 with Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya second in 14:37.01 and Ethiopian Meselech Melkamu third in 14:37.50.
Jamaica’s Kerron Stewart won the 100m in 10.99sec to oust Trinidadian Kelly Ann Baptiste (11.14) and Bahamas’ Chandra Sturrup (11.15).
Claire Gibson gave Britain a win in the 800m which she won in 2:01.42 ahead of Norway’s Ingvill Makestad and Kenya’s Nelly Jepkosgei.
Kenya’s Ruth Bisibori Nyangau won the 3000m steeplechase in 9:18.65 to keep Ethiopian pair Sofia Assefa and Mekdes Bekele at bay.
Russian Olympic polevault champion Yelena Isinbayeva meanwhile shared her honours in clearing 4.71 m along with Monika Pyrek of Poland.
The Oslo results mean six athletes are still in line to claim the Golden League million dollars (700,000 euros) jackpot if they land wins at all six venues in the series.
They are, among the men, Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia in the 3000m or 5000m and Finland’s javelin star Tero Pitkamaki, and, among the women, Jamaican sprinter Kerron Stewart, Richards in the 400m, fellow American Damu Cherry in the 100m hurdles and Isinbayeva in the polevault.
The next race in the series is Rome on July 10, then Paris a week later before Zurich on August 28 and then Brussels on September 4.
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