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Jamaicans double up in 200m at Crystal Palace Grand Prix

4 August 2007

Jamaican half-lap stars Usain Bolt and Veronica Campbell captured the men’s and women’s 200-metre dashes at the Norwich Union Grand Prix meeting in Crystal Palace on Friday.

Campbell dominant in specialty

Running her second event of the week, following a 100m win at the Olympic Meeting held in Thessaloniki on Monday, Campbell totally destroyed a world-class field to win the women’s 200m in 22.55 seconds in a (-1.9 m/s) headwind.

Campbell opened up from the get go and was never tested, as she easily proved to be the best sprinter in the event Friday evening. The Jamaican entered the home straight with a three-metre lead and surprisingly built on that lead in the final 50m to come away with a huge win. She was also the only runner to dip under 23-seconds.

“I felt things were going well and that I am in good shape, so I was hoping to run fast tonight,” the Jamaican said. “While it didn’t quite happen as I had hoped, I am still really pleased to win.”

Following the Olympic champion home was her arch rival Torri Edwards of USA who clocked 23.19, while European sprint double champion Kim Gevaert of Belgium finished third in 23.31.

Jamaica’s Kerron Stewarts, who was in second with 60-metres left in the race finished fourth in 23.35. Cayman Islands’ Cydonie Mothersill was seventh in 23.72.

Bolt held on for close victory

Bolt had his fans cheering when he crossed the finish line, after he made it a clean sweep for Jamaica with victory in the men’s equivalent. The 20-year-old ran a blistering bend before holding off a fast finishing Wallace Spearmon to take the event in 20.06 in a headwind (-0.1 m/s).

The 2002 world junior champion who has season bests of 19.75 and 10.03 for the 200m and 100m, flashed off the corner like a train while Spearmon was caught napping in the first dash. The Jamaican world junior record holder then managed to hold off his American rival who closed strongly in the last 50m to take second place.

Knowing that Spearmon is a fast finisher and is always catching him right at the tape, Bolt constantly looked to his right to see if the world silver medallist was on his tail.

“He never runs a fast curve so I thought I would take advantage of that,” Bolt said. “It seemed to work - just.”

However, this time the American ran out of real estate and had to settle for second place in 20.11. His American compatriot J.J. Johnson was third in 20.48.

National record for Lewis in Triple Jump

The region also had successes in the field event with Bahamian Leevand Sands and Grenada’s Randy Lewis both posting eye opening jumps in the men’s Triple Jump competition, despite not winning.

After a modest first round, the competition heated up in the second when Sands moved into the lead with a jump of 17.16m. He, however, was over taken in the very next round by Lewis, who leapt to 17.22m. Immediately after that jump, American Aarik Wilson out jumped them both with what turned out to be the winning mark of 17.58.

Sands came close in the third round with another big jump of 17.55, but, that was the closest he got as the American managed to take the event in his new personal best.

Meanwhile, Lewis saved his best jump for last, and although it was still only enough for third place, he managed to leave Crystal Palace with a new Grenadian national record of 17.43.

Elsewhere at the meet…

In other events at the meeting, American Tyson Gay was unable to break Powell’s 100m world record of 9.77 (-0.8 m/s), but managed to take first easily in 10.02. Jamaica’s Dwight Thomas finished last in 10.33.

The men’s 400m went to world and Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner of USA, but he only won the race in the closing metres. In an intense battle with his American counterpart Lashawn Merritt (44.23), Wariner moved in the lead in the last 30m to win in 44.05. Jamaica’s Michael Blackwood was sixth in 45.69.

The women’s event went to Jamaican-born American Sanya Richards, who clocked 49.79 to beat world 200m champion, Allyson Felix (50.17) and Jamaican Novlene Williams (50.91). Shereefa Lloyd (JAM, 52.12) finished sixth.

“I haven’t raced that much and each time I do I’m getting better and better,” said Richards, who will run the 200m in Osaka.

“I definitely think I can win the gold. It’s going to be tough because Allyson is really strong – she showed that today.”

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