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Gatlin run away with Prefontaine Classic separated 100m dash

29 May 2006

By Gary Smith

Justin Gatlin, the World and Olympic champion won the 2006 Prefontaine Classic Grand Prix separated men's 100m dash race over Jamaican Asafa Powell here in Eugene, Sunday afternoon.

The co-world record holders, at a time of 9.77 seconds, raced in two sections of the 100m and Gatlin came out on top after posting an impressive 9.88sec in the opening section, which was better than Powell's run of 9.93 in section two.

Gatlin sound a strong warning to his rival in the section heat by incredible blowing the field away in his race to defeat the World Indoor champion over 60m, Leonard Scott of USA, who clocked 10.16 and World Outdoor Championships silver medallist Michael Frater of Jamaica, who crossed the line at 10.17.

"It felt easy," Gatlin said after the race. "It felt good. It proves I'm here to protect my house," he added following his meet equalling record performance.

Assisted by a slight +2.5 wind reading, Powell easily took his race in 9.93, five hundredth of a second slower than Gatlin.

In his customary finishing practice, the Jamaican notable eased down in the closing metres to cross the finish line ahead of Gatlin's training partner and Olympic 200m champion, Shawn Crawford (10.04) and fellow American Jason Smoots (10.05).

Olympic silver medallist Francis Obikwelu of Portugal and Trinidad inform Marc Burns finished fourth and fifth in respective times of 10.12 and 10.14.

After the race Powell told reporters he would have rather race in the same heat as Gatlin.

"It has people thinking 'Who is the best out there?'" Powell said. Referring to his clash with Gatlin, Powell said: "I think that's what the world wants to see, but the world needs to be more patient," he said, "and it will be the best race they ever see."

Former World champion Torri Edwards of USA continued her impressive come-back after being suspended for 15 months by running down Jamaican Sherone Simpson in the final 20-metres to win the women's race in a time of 11.08.

Simpson, the Commonwealth Games 200m champion finished second in 11.12, while Rachel Boone-Smith of USA took third in 11.21.

Racing with a brace on the shoulder of her left hands, Bahamian veteran Chandra Sturrup, who was ranked fourth in the world last year finished eight in 11.58.

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