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Top U.S. athletes shine in Carson

19 May 2008

By Mark Lamport-Stokes

World sprint champions Tyson Gay and Veronica Campbell-Brown justified their top billing with polished victories in searing heat at the Adidas Track Classic on Sunday.

Running into a headwind, American Gay completed a double of the men's 100 and 200 meters while Jamaican Campbell-Brown clinched the women's 100 at the Home Depot Center.

World and Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner outclassed the opposition in the men's 400, and fellow American Jenn Stuczynski set a U.S. record with 4.90 meters in the women's pole vault.

Gay won the men's 100 in a time of 10.05 seconds, a late surge edging him past compatriot Darvis Patton (10.06) and Derrick Atkins of the Bahamas (10.16).

The powerful 25-year-old then cruised home in the final event of the day, taking the 200 in 20.08 ahead of fellow Americans Xavier Carter (20.30) and Rodney Martin (20.55).

"I was slightly confused with my time in the 100 because I have been running pretty good in practice," Gay told reporters. "I felt better in the 200 and I'm just glad I came out with both wins.

"That was the most important thing, the wins rather than the times, and that's going to be my goal building up to [the] Beijing [Olympics]. If I focus on the victory, I believe the times will come."

Campbell-Brown, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist over 200, gave her Beijing preparations a boost by beating a strong field featuring seven of the world's top 10 from last year.

After her race was twice delayed by false starts, she crossed the line in 11.14, ahead of 2005 world champion Lauryn Williams of the U.S. (11.15) and Jamaican Kerron Stewart (11.16).

"I was hoping to run faster but a win is a win," a smiling Campbell-Brown, 26, said on day when the trackside temperature peaked at 43 degrees Celsius. "I think I have a few little things to work on, especially my start.

"My whole year is built around Beijing where I'm really looking forward to competing. I have won all the global titles and the only one missing right now is the Olympic 100 meters."

Wariner surged to victory in 44.42, leaving Canada's Tyler Christopher (44.71) and American Chris Brown (44.94) trailing in his wake.

The 24-year-old was delighted with his performance, having made a late decision to compete after recovering from a hamstring strain.

"As I was warming up, I felt really good so I decided to run," Wariner said. "Being I was a little timid to come out of the blocks, I got out slower than I wanted to.

"But my kick was pretty good and my first 150 would have been better if I didn't have this hamstring problem," he added. "It felt fine at the end."

Stuczynski won the women's pole vault by setting a U.S. record for the second successive year at Carson. After clearing 4.90 meters on her second attempt, the 26-year-old failed three times to set a world record at 5.02.

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