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Gardener edges Pickering in final

17 February 2007

Jason Gardener edged out rising star Craig Pickering to win the 60m at the Norwich Union Grand Prix in Birmingham.

Three-time European champion Gardener, 31, won the final in 6.57secs ahead of Pickering, 20, who ran 6.58secs.

It was the first time in four meetings this year that Gardener had got the better of Pickering, who had won in Sheffield, Stuttgart and Glasgow.

Fellow Briton Simeon Williamson took third in 6.60secs, ahead of Portugal's Francis Obikwelu.

Gardener, who trains with Pickering under Malcolm Arnold, said: "We have a great relationship."

"I've really helped Craig with all the tips of performing at a senior level and he has obviously listened."

He added: "The past few days have been brilliant for me. I've felt a lot better in myself."

"At the trials I had a lack of energy. I felt fatigued. I'm pleased to come here and get a performance."

Belgium's Kim Gevaert won the women's 60m in 7.22secs ahead of American Laverne Jones, with Britons Jeanette Kwakye (7.30secs) and Joice Maduaka (7.34secs) in third and fourth respectively.

Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia set a world best for the indoor 2,000m of four minutes 49.99 seconds, beating a nine-year-old mark of Haile Gebrselassie.

Bekele, the Olympic champion and world record holder for 5,000m, set the mark at the same National Indoor Arena where Gebrselassie ran his 4:52.86 in February 1998.

"I am very happy with the world record but I knew before today that I was going to break it," said Bekele. "I've been feeling very good in training."

American Bernard Lagat won the 3000m in 7:32.43.

Russia's Yelena Isinbayeva won the pole vault but failed to improve on her world record of 4.93m.

She narrowly missed on three attempts at a centimetre higher after winning with a clearance of 4.73m.

American sprint star Xavier Carter suffered a let-down as he was disqualified in the 400m.

Carter took the lead in the final 10 metres but was then disqualified, along with Bershawn Jackson, for breaking from his lane too early.

European under-23 champion Robert Tobin claimed victory in 46.07secs and said: "It was a nice surprise I'd won."

The 21-year-old Carter said: "I have no idea why I was disqualified. To me I ran a good race."

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