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Caribbean runners dominate the sprints at Thessaloniki

25 July 2006

By Gary Smith

Despite several challenges from European athletes seeking qualifying standards for Euro Championships, which begin in two weeks time, Caribbean athletes were virtually unstoppable on the track at the 2006 IAAF Olympic Meeting in Thessaloniki, Greece on Monday July 24.

Four winners - starting with Wignall

At a meet in which several big names were absent on the eve of a higher-profile DN Galan meeting in Stockholm on Tuesday, two of the four regional victors recorded seasonal bests, as Darrel Brown, Omar Brown, Novlene Williams and Maurice Wignall all crowned themselves champions in front of a small gathering, but an ideal day for competition.

Wignall of Jamaica was the first get the ball rolling when he easily fended off a challenge from two Americans to win the men's 110m Hurdles in season's best time of 13.25 seconds.

Interestingly, the time was reduced from the initially post up clocking of 13.31 to the final winning performance.

Wignall, the Commonwealth Games champion, ran a technically clean race to defeat Aubrey Herring, who clocked 13.38 and Ron Bramlett, at 13.40.

Darrel Brown keeps getting faster - Mullings is back

In the men's 100m Trinidad and Tobago's World junior record holder and former World silver medallist Brown cruised to victory in a slight head-wind with a time of 10.11 seconds to defend the title he won a year ago.

The Trinidadian, who has been plagued by injuries since 2003, came home first in front of Nigeria's American Kaaron Conwright (10.23) and Jamaica's Steve Mullings, at 10.31. Brown, who holds a career best time of 9.99sec was running his quickest time this season over the discipline, as his comeback from injuries continued. He also bettered the 10.12 meeting record.

Williams shows class in one lapper

In the women's 400m dash, Williams, a finallist at the World Indoor Championships in Moscow, Russia in March, comfortably took that race in 50.38 and successfully defended her title from last year.

After watching American Moushaumi Robinson going out hard in the opening 200m, the Jamaican powered into the lead at the 300m mark before relaxing home ahead of Robinson (50.63) and another Jamaican Lorraine Fenton (50.84), who with ever competition is rolling back to her old form. Shereefa Lloyd of Jamaica picked up fifth 51.46, while Nadia Davy showed class in the second string race to win in 53.49.

No such luck for the men

The men's race was the only low key event on the track for the Caribbean following the low finishes of Trinidadian Ato Modibo and Jamaican Sanjay Ayre. Modibo posted 45.90 to take sixth place, but Ayre's disappointing 47.14 saw him finishing in down the track. American Ashely Jamel (45.29), Briton's Tim Benjamin (45.40) and Fernand Blakely (45.42) of USA took the top three spots.

Commonwealth Games champion Omar Brown won the penultimate event on the track after 100m champion Darrel decided not to attempt the sprint double. Coming off the curve slightly behind American former World champion Darvis Patton, Brown got into his reserve and overpowered the American in the closing metres as Mullings finished fast on the outside. Brown came home first, at 20.49, followed by Patton – 20.50 and Mullings – 20.54.

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