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Gardener in gear

18 February 2007

Jason Gardener paid tribute to training partners Craig Pickering and Ryan Scott after he returned to form to claim the 60m title at the Norwich Union Grand Prix in Birmingham.

In other action at the National Indoor Arena, World and Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele set a new world record in the 2000m while Jo Pavey missed out in the two miles and Yelena Isinbayeva just failed to set her second world-best mark in the space of a week in the pole vault.

The 31-year-old Gardener had his customary good start in the 60m and then held off his Bath team-mate Pickering to win in a season's best time of 6.57secs.

It was a timely return to form for the `Bath Bullet' ahead of next month's European Indoor Championships at the same venue.

He will target his fourth European title then, and yesterday went some way to avenging three defeats Pickering has inflicted on him this season.

The Olympic sprint relay gold medallist had trailed in seventh at last week's European trials in Sheffield and had suffered from flu and a cold.

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

"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."

"Forget history - I just want to do what I need to do in training and have a healthy two weeks now."

Bekele became the fastest man over 2000m when he took almost three seconds off the previous record held by his fellow Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie.

Gebrselassie set his record at the same venue nine years ago, but it was eclipsed by Bekele who won in 4mins 49.99secs.

This performance earned the World and Olympic 10,000m champion and double world record holder a cheque worth just over ?15,000.

Bekele said: "I am very happy with the world record but I knew I was going to break it."

"I've been feeling very good in training."

"I'm going to Stockholm next week where I hope to break the world 3000m record."

Pavey was disappointed after failing to claim the two-mile world record, despite a comprehensive victory in 9:32.00 which erased Yvonne Murray's Commonwealth mark which had stood for almost 20 years.

"I know it sounds strange but I'm a little disappointed," said the Commonwealth 5000m silver medallist.

Kelly Sotherton produced the best effort by a Briton this year as she claimed victory in the long jump with 6.48metres, ahead of national champion Amy Harris.

And Chris Tomlinson was the highest-placed Briton in the long jump at fifth with a season's best of 7.82.

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