Mon, May 26, 2003 - Page 20 News List

Guevara bests Freeman in 400m

AP , EUGENE, OREGON

Kevin Toth of the US prepares to throw during the Men's Shot Put during the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday. Toth won with a throw of 21.76m.

PHOTO: AFP

Ana Guevara took off, while Cathy Freeman struggled.

Guevara won the women's 400m at the Prefontaine Classic on Saturday with both a meet and field record of 49.34 seconds. Freeman, the 2000 Olympic gold medalist at the distance, appeared to lose steam and finished fifth.

In the other premier event at this meet, Kim Collins of St. Kitts won the men's 100m; world record holder Tim Montgomery withdrew earlier in the week because of a foot injury.

Freeman was running in her first international 400 since the Sydney Olympics, when she became the first aboriginal Australian to win a gold medal.

The victory made her a national hero, but she then took an extended break from running, and she's working on a comeback in preparation for the 2004 Athens Games.

"It's one of those days where I wasn't quite on it," Freeman said. "I definitely have to have more self-confidence and start believing in myself again."

Tonique Williams of the Bahamas finished second at 50.39 seconds, and Ronetta Smith of Jamaica was third at 51.44.

Montgomery ran 9.78 in the 100m last September in Paris, breaking Maurice Greene's 3-year-old record by one-hundredth of a second. But he withdrew from the Prefontaine after injuring his foot earlier this week.

In the women's 100m hurdles, American record holder Gail Devers stumbled after a fast start, and Jamaican Brigitte Foster won with a meet record of 12.45 seconds -- also a Jamaican national record. She topped Devers' Pre Classic mark of 12.64, set two years ago.

In the women's 1,500m, crowd favorite Suzy Favor Hamilton led most of the way until Jolanda Ceplak of Slovenia took over on the final straightaway to win with a time of 4:02.44 -- fastest in the world this season by 7 seconds.

In the women's 800, Maria Mutola of Mozambique won in 1:57.98, her 12th straight victory at the Pre Classic.

Bernard Lagat of Kenya won the Bowerman Mile in 3:50.21. American Kevin Toth won the shot put at the Prefontaine for the second straight year with a mark of 71 feet, 4 inches.

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