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Powell, Simpson impress over 400m

21 February 2007

By Gary Smith

Jamaica's world 100-metre record holder Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson, who established the fastest times over the 100m and 200m on the women's side in 2006, recorded personal bests on their way to winning their respective 400m race at the University of West Indies (UWI) Invitational at the National Stadium East complex on Saturday.

Powell, who twice last year produced the world record mark of 9.77 seconds, captured the men's race in a time of 47.17sec, a time which improved his previous best of 47.67, set in his opening race this year at the Queen's/Grace Jackson Invitational on 27 January.

Powell, who is gearing up to run a possible sprint double at the 11th IAAF World Championships in Osaka, Japan, from 25 August - 2 September 2007, feels the strength from the quarter-mile will be of help to him in the shorter dashes.

“Running the 400m is mainly for strength work," Powell said after the race. "To run 100m or 200m races you need that strength to finish strong in the last 50 or 100m. The season is a very long season, so the stronger you are, the better you finish the season."

"I feel a lot stronger … though I don't know really how to run it (400m) yet, because I am a little bit scared as to how (in what condition) I am going to finish the race. If I run it this year or next year, I hope to break the 47 seconds barrier," he added.

Also featuring in the event were Jamaican reigning world silver medallist Michael Frater and 2003 silver medal winner Darrell Brown of Trinidad and Tobago, who all trains at the MVP Track Club with Powell.

Frater clocked an impressive 49.13, while Brown came home in 51.10.

In the women's race, Simpson, the 2006 Commonweath Games 200m champion also recorded her best performance over the distance with a winning time of 52.65. The mark bettered the 53.24 she ran a year ago and also improved on the 54.78 meet record held by Nadia Cunningham.

Finishing behind Simpson were Commonwealth Games 100m hurdles champion Brigitte Foster-Hylton, who placed second in 53.81 and Olympic sprint relay gold medallist Aleen Bailey, at 54.43.

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