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Gay starts double mission with sub-10 - U.S. Championships - DAY 1

21 June 2007

By Gary Smith and Michael Bishop

Tyson Gay opened his quest for a possible national sprint with a 9.98 seconds clocking to win his heat of the men's 100-metre dash at the 2007 AT&T USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, June 21-24 in Indianapolis.

Gay played it safe in the opener

Gay, a man full of talent and will recently be a handful for the rest of his rivals as the season ripens, leads a strong sprint field which also includes NCAA sprint champion Walter Dix, who got the ball rolling with a flashing 10.08, Trindon Holliday (10.03), the runner-up to Dix at the collegiate level and Mark Jelks (10.04).

“I got a slow start,” he said, following the first round race.

“Because of the false start I wanted to play it safe so my reaction wasn’t that good,” he added.

Olympic 200m champion Shawn Crawford (10.13), Mickey Grimes (10.06), Leroy Dixon (10.07) and former Oklahoma Baptist sprinter Michael Rogers (10.10) also looked impressive in the early heats.

Barber opens fast

On the women’s side, Me’Lisa Barber, helped by a +2.5 m/s wind ran a time of 10.96 to lead all comers into the semis.

Favourite and world’s fastest woman this season, Torri Edwards won her race with a confident 11.01, while the in-form Stephanie Durst made her presence felt, too, with a heat winning time 11.08.

Reigning world champion Lauryn Williams (11.02, +2.5 m/s), Marshevet Hooker (11.10), Muna Lee (11.10), Brianna Glenn (11.10) and Allyson Felix (11.13) will also be on show in the semi-final.

Hastings sounds warning; top seeds through in men’s 400m too…

NCAA champion Natasha Hastings made a strong statement in the women’s 400m dash with fast 51.07, the quickest of the rounds.

Hastings, who leads the world with a polished 50.15, got home comfortable ahead of Monique Henderson to lay down a firm statement to rest of the field on a good day for sprinting.

Others easing through to the next round are Sanya Richards (51.38), Mary Wineberg (51.15), Henderson (51.62), Monique Hennagan (51.93) and De’Hashia Trotter (52.39)

In the absence of defending champion Jeremy Wariner, the World and Olympic champion, the men’s 400m is wide open.

However, there are several athletes in line to take the title and on Thursday they confirmed the dominance in the champs’ absence.

LaShawn Merritt, Angelo Taylor, a quiet Andrew Rock and Darold Williamson all made through to the next stage.

Merritt is the top man with a performance of 45.20 and he will be joined by dark horse Taylor (45.44) and Williamson (45.57).

Bershawn Jackson, the reigning world champion in the 400m Hurdles was also competitive as he finished second in the final heat in 45.77. Failing to make it from the heats were Tyree Washington, Milton Campbell and Otis Harris, three athletes many thought would have progressed from the first rounds.

No hiccups right here

The top four men were separated in the 400m hurdles and they finished the day with no hiccups – winning their respective heats to a place into the semi-final round.

Caribbean-born Kerron Clement opened the competition with a heat one winning performance of 49.72.

However, that was quick bettered by James Carter, who ran 49.07, the fastest time of the day to win the second heat. The other two heats were won by Brandon Johnson took third heat with a 50.04 run and Kenneth Ferguson (49.31).

Given a wild card for winning at the last world championships in 2005, defending champion Jackson decided to run the open 400m dash.

Another familiar face in the next will be veteran Joey Woody, who finished second to Clement in heat in a time of 49.92.

The fastest American in 07 through easily

American fastest runner in the event this season, Anna Willard (9:38.08) easily booked a spot in the Women 3000-meter Steeplechase finals, after winning her heat in the fastest time from the two heats.

Willard won the second of the two heats comfortable in 10 minutes 04.88, but the performance was the 8th best from the rounds.

Jennifer Barringer, who won the first heat, qualified the fastest from the early rounds.

The University of Colorado distance runner won the opening heat of the contest with a time of 9:57.77 to get home clear of Liz Wort 9:58.13) as six women in the first heat ran under 10-minutes.

The others were defending champion Lisa Galaviz (9:58.47), last year’s runner-up Kristin Anderson (9:58.58) Kara June (9:58.88) and Lindsey Anderson (9:59.11).

More results

Meanwhile, Hazel Clark and wonder boy Nicholas Symmonds qualified best from the opening round of the 800m with relaxing times of 2:04.16 and 1:46.17.

Defending champion Treniere Clement ran 4:10.68 to win her heat of the women’s 1500m in the afternoon session.

Shayne Culpepper, who ran just under 4:06.00 this season also made through with a time of 4:12.51.

Erin Donohue was the best from the heats with a time of 4:09.81. Tiffany McWilliams finished behind her in heat one with 4:09.93. The two are the only athletes to break the 4:10 barrier.

In the finals contested on Thursday, Abdi Abdirahman captured the men’s 10, 000m in 28:13.51, while Keena Kastor took the women’s race in 31:57.00.

“I’m not ready to hand it over yet. I was ready for this race. I will talk to my coach about Osaka (World Championships) but the Olympic trials are my main focus. It never gets old winning national championships,” Abdirahman said after his victory

American record for Greer again!

It was another good day for Breaux Greer as broke his American javelin record for the second time this year with a throw of 91.29m. His effort bettered the 90.71m effort he did, at the Addidas Classic in Carson, Calif., on May 20.

“I didn’t hit it hard but I hit it clean,” said Greer. “I think the biggest thing is staying healthy. If you are healthy it’s going to be fun and it’s going to be easy.

“If you’re healthy everything is fun. And I know there is still more there. I don’t think I’ll ever be satisified. I don’t know if an Olympic gold or world record would satisfy me, but I want to find out,” the world-leader added.

The women’s Javelin Throw went to Shani Marks with a best of 14.08m.

“This is a meet you want to be prepared for. It’s hard to get a meet with this type of atmosphere, so you want to take advantage of it. I had a ton of nerves, so channeling those was half the battle,” she said.

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