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Atkins tops Devonish to win 100 meters

3 July 2007

By Barney Spender

Derrick Atkins of Bahamas laid down a marker for next month's world championships by clocking his second sub 10-second run of the year in winning the 100 meters at the Athens Grand Prix on Monday.

Atkins, who ran 9.98 in California in April, ran a personal best of 9.95 -- the fourth-fastest time in the world this year.

"I had some trouble with my start but in the end, I was very strong. My next target is a faster time," he said.

Britain's Marlon Devonish came in second in 10.09, marginally ahead of Portugal's Francis Obikwelu.

It was a bad night for Olympic 200-meter champion Veronica Campbell of Jamaica who pulled up in her 100-meter heat, which was won by American Angela Williams in 11.12, and then did not take part in the 200.

Bershawn Jackson produced a thrilling finish to take the 400-meter hurdles by the narrowest of margins.

The American stole past compatriot James Carter, the world's fastest this year, and Kenneth Ferguson to hit the tape in 48.15 seconds, just one-tenth of a second ahead of Ferguson.

"I wasn't thinking about the time, but about position. Bershawn pushed me more than I expected," said Ferguson.

Carter came third while European champion Pericles Iakovakis, on his home track, could only manage sixth after tying up in the home straight.

In the women's event, Jana Rawlinson of Australia set the fifth-fastest time of the year as she won her heat in 54.25.

Olympic champion Fani Chalkia pulled out of the race after pulling a muscle in her back during warmups.

Russian world-record holder Gulnara Samitova-Galkina set the fastest time in the world this year in the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase, although her time of 9:11.68 never threatened her record.

Fellow Russian Tatiana Lebedeva also set a season's best as she won the triple jump with a leap of 15.14 meters.

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