Sun, Aug 08, 2004 - Page 23 News List

Powell again gets the best of Greene

ATHLETICS Asafa Powell, who won his third straight 100m race, was behind Maurice Greene until pulling away in the final 20m to win in 9.93. Greene was second

AP , ZURICH, SWITZERLANDAP, HUELVA, SPAIN

Tonique Williams-Darling of the Bahamas just after winning the women's 400m race at the Golden League athletics meet in Zurich, Switzerland, Friday. Mexican Ana Guevara, back, placed second. Athletes are gearing up for the 2004 Summer Olympics.

PHOTO: AP

Asafa Powell of Jamaica beat Olympic champion Maurice Greene again in the 100m at the Weltklasse Golden League meet on Friday, further establishing himself as a top contender for gold in Athens.

South African high jumper Hestrie Cloete, Dominican hurdler Felix Sanchez, Swedish triple jumper Christian Olsson and Bahamian 400m runner Tonique Williams-Darling also kept alive their bids for the US$1 million Golden League jackpot with their fourth consecutive victories, and two meets left.

Hicham El Guerrouj reconfirmed his participation at the Olympics despite finishing runner-up to Bernard Lagat in the 1,500m for his second loss of the season.

Powell won in 9.93. Greene was second in 9.94.

"I guess I'm the big favorite for the Olympic Games now," said Powell, who also beat Greene at a meet in London on July 31. "I felt a little pressure from Greene but I'm feeling great because I beat Maurice Greene tonight, and he is one of the fastest men in the world.

"If I stay focused and keep doing what I am doing, I'll get gold for sure."

Powell's time was the fifth-best this season. The Jamaican also holds the second-best time of 9.91 with Greene. American Shawn Crawford has the fastest time this year, a 9.88 at the end of June.

Since winning the US trials in Sacramento, California, last month, Greene has lost three times, to Portuguese sprinter Francis Obikwelu on July 23 in Paris and to Powell twice.

"Of course I'm disappointed," said Greene. "But this doesn't mean anything. Athens is going to be a completely different race.

"Of course I'm going to win [in Athens]. It's coming together but I've got a few things to work out. I think by Athens I should have a lot of them worked out."

While Sanchez, Olsson, Hestrie and Williams-Darling retained their jackpot hopes after four of six Golden League meets, it ended for Lithuania discus thrower Virgilijus Alekna, who was beaten by Hungary's Robert Fazekas by 56cm. Fazekas threw 69.77m.

"Of course I wanted to continue in the jackpot race but I had technical problems today. The Olympics will be my satisfaction," Alekna said.

Sanchez wasn't entirely happy either. He finished only 0.16 ahead of Bershawn Jackson, and another American, James Carter, was third.

"It was a terrible race for me," Sanchez said. "I was close to losing after a mistake in the first part, but I didn't panic and concentrated on making no mistakes after the eighth hurdle. Also, there were two fast finishers ahead of me. But I have a lion's heart and big confidence so in the end I made it."

Olsson triple jumped 17.46m, ahead of American Kenta Bell.

"It was very important for me today to win again," Olsson said. "It is a good thing to go to Athens still being in the jackpot."

Cloete soared 2.04m to equal the season's best high jump by Russian Yelena Slesarenko in June. Blanka Vlasic of Croatia was second with 2.00m.

"My main focus was to jump my season's best around Zurich," Cloete said. "Maybe I can break the world record at the Olympics. Until then I will be working on small things like getting my hips higher over the bar."

The world record is 2.09, set by Bulgarian Stefka Kostadinova in 1987.

Williams-Darling defeated Ana Guevara for the second time in a row, after ending the Mexican's two-year winning streak in Rome two months ago.

"It was my last meet before the Olympics and I wanted a clean sheet without losses," Williams-Darling said. "Now I can start to think about the Olympics."

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