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Wariner classy in world dress rehearsal

6 May 2007

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World and Olympic gold medalist Jeremy Wariner underlined his dominance in the 400 meters with a crushing victory at the IAAF Japan Grand Prix on Saturday.

The 23-year-old American new superman powered home in 44.02 seconds in Osaka then threatened to break Michael Johnson’s world record of 43.18 at this year’s world athletics championships at the same venue.

Johnson set his world record in 1999 but Wariner is on a fast-track to joining his fellow American among the greatest 400m runners in history.

“I’m right where I want to be,” Wariner told Reuters. “I think it’s a possible goal to break the world record at the world championships in August.”

“The track was real fast. I was impressed with the way it was. I’ve never seen a surface like this in the States so I can’t wait to come back,” he added.

Darold Williamson trailed Wariner home in second in 44.68 with Australia’s Sean Wroe third in 45.58.

In the women’s race, American Mary Wineberg finished ahead in 51.20 to beat her closest challenger, home favourite Asami Tanno, who finished second in 51.17. Two other Americans Monique Henderson (52.41) and Moushaumi Robinson (52.92) took third and fourth respectively.

China’s Olympic champion Liu Xiang eased to victory in his first overseas race of the year as he won the men’s 110 meters hurdles in 13.14 — well outside his world record of 12.88.

“I’ve won four times in Osaka. It’s a lucky place for me,” he said.

Liu’s compatriot Shi Dongpeng finished second in 13.24 with Japan’s Tasuku Tanonaka third in 13.59.

Williams beaten by Cayman star

There was a surprise in the women’s 100 meters when world champion Lauryn Williams was beaten by Cydonie Mothersill of the Cayman Islands.

Mothersill blew past the American at the 60-metre mark to clock a winning time of 11.33 with Williams, who also took silver at the 2004 Olympics, crossing the line in 11.44.

Japan’s Shingo Suetsugu took advantage of former Olympic champion Maurice Greene’s late pullout to win the men’s 100m in 10.23.

World champion Bershawn Jackson surged to victory in the men’s 400m hurdles in 48.13 ahead of American rival James Carter despite tweaking a hamstring on the third hurdle.

Carter clocked 48.22 with Japan’s Dai Tamesue third in 48.73 in a repeat of the result at the 2005 world championships in Helsinki.

“I tried to back up a little bit to see if the hamstring would loosen up,” said Jackson. “Heart got me through. I just wanted to win.”

This year’s world championships take place at Osaka’s Nagai Stadium from August 25 to September 2.

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