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Leonard Scott and Me'Lisa Barber won 60m at World Indoors

10 March 2006

Me'Lisa Barber and Lauryn Williams of USA win gold and silver in the women's 60m final. (Getty Images) Me'Lisa Barber and Lauryn Williams of USA win gold and silver in the women's 60m final. (Getty Images)
Sidelined footballer returns to track to take gold

Scott, 26, began the competition with the distinction of having the quickest reaction time in last summer’s 100m final at the 10th IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Helsinki.

He was sixth then, but this time he has a gold medal to go with any accolades about being fast out of the blocks, which he did again with 0.124.

But what followed was the coronation of a champion because Scott looked supreme. As Russia’s Andrey Yepishin closed in, so the American found an extra ounce of power. The workrate of his legs was immense, the strength taking him to the line and to glory.

His time of 6.50 equalled the world leading mark he had run in the semi-finals, having entered the Championships with the fastest time this year of 6.52.

Yepishin broke the Russian national record by finishing second in 6.52 with Terrence Trammell third in 6.54. That time will set him up brilliantly for his title at the 60m Hurdles crown tomorrow.

But today was all about Scott. He said: “It is a phenomenal feeling.”

His career has blossomed after he put American Football first when he was on the roster of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was never selected to play, so returned to track and field. “I thank my dad and all the people who helped me,” said Scott. “I am still a fan of football.”

Yepishin was equally delighted. “I did not dream I could win a silver medal,” he said. “I was thinking that maybe bronze was possible.”

Barber’s world leading destiny fulfilled

Like the men, the women’s 60m was a tremendous aggressively race too. And for her, it was an individual triumph that her career had always seemed to be destined to achieve.

Barber, 25, has gold medals from the 4 x 400m Relay at the 2003 World Championships of Athletics in Paris and the 4 x 100m at the 2005 World Championships of Athletics in 2005. But this time, the individual success was hers. She says one of her ambitions is to open up a hair salon, but yesterday she made the hairs stand up on the back on your neck as she battled to win a brilliant dash.

It was so close that Barber and her American teammate, Lauryn Williams, the outdoor World sprint champion, could not be separated on times, both closing with world leading marks this year of 7.01. As it should be, the World Indoors Championship bringing the best marks and the first of what became a double sprint celebration for America prior to Scott’s triumph.

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