Sun, Jul 16, 2006 - Page 23 News List

US' Wariner clocks personal best in Golden Gala 400m

DPA , ROME

US athlete Jeremy Wariner, right, runs in the men's 400m during the Golden Gala IAAF athletic meeting at the Olimpico stadium in Rome, Italy, on Friday.

PHOTO: EPA

World and Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner smashed the opposition again as he stormed to a personal best and 2006 world best time of 43.62 seconds in the 400 meters at the Golden Gala stop of the Golden League athletics series on Friday night.

Wariner took 0.29 of a second off his previous personal best 43.91 seconds from last week in Paris. The result of 43.62 makes him the fourth best all-time quarter-miler. He further closed in on Michael Johnson's world record 43.18 seconds.

Xavier Carter, who on Tuesday in Lausanne ran the second-best 200m time in history at 19.63, was a distant second over the longer distance on Friday in 44.76 seconds.

By winning, Wariner also remained in the hunt for the full Golden League jackpot of US$1 million which is won or shared by athletes who win at every Golden League stop. A US$500,000 jackpot is won or shared by athletes who win five of the six editions.

Wariner has wins from Oslo, Paris and Rome at the halfway mark, with Zurich, Brussels and Berlin to follow in August and September.

Wariner's win outshone the 9.85-second run of Asafa Powell over 100m where he shares the world record of 9.77 seconds with the US' Justin Gatlin, who was not running in Rome.

Powell may have run faster had the crowd not been noisy at the start, but he handily beat the US' Marcus Brunson and Tyson Gay, who both clocked 10.04 seconds with a light tail-wind of 0.5 meters per second.

Powell matched Wariner with three Golden League wins and there are also still two contenders on the women's side: Sanya Richards and Tirunesh Dibaba.

The US' Richards stormed to a 400m victory in 49.31 seconds, just four hundredths of a second shy of her 2006 world best time result of 49.27 from last month in Indianapolis. Novlene Williams of Jamaica was second in 49.65 seconds.

The 5,000m and 10,000m world champion Dibaba beat fellow-Ethiopian Meseret Defar, the Olympic champion, in a tactical 5,000m race for victory in 14:52.37 minutes. Defar had 14:53.51 minutes.

In other early action, the women's 100m win also went to Jamaica with Sherone Simpson stunning Marion Jones in 10.87 seconds, with the three-time Olympic champion Jones timed on a personal season-best 10.91.

Daniel Komen Kipchirchir won the 1,500m in a 2006 world best 3:29.02 minutes, on the day eight years after now retired Hicham El Guerrouj ran the world record 3:36.00 in the same stadium.

Rashid Ramzi followed in Komen' slipstream to raise the Asian record to 3:29.14 minutes.

The third 2006 world best came at the end of competition from Moroccan 800m runner Amine Laalu with 1:43.25 minutes.

Five other athletes are still in contention for the small jackpot with now two ins in three meets.

They are Swedish 110m hurdler Susanna Kallur (12.52 seconds) and Ethiopian 10,000m world and Olympic champion Kenenisa Kekele, who won the 5,000m in 12:51.44 seconds ahead of steeplechase world champion Saif Saaeed Shaheen of Qatar, who clocked 12:51.98 minutes.

The Golden League continues on August 18 in Zurich, the five-week interval being due to the August 7-13 European championships in Gothenburg, Sweden.

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