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Asafa Powell injured again; Isinbayeva sets world record in Rome

11 July 2008
www.world-track.org

By Gary Smith

Russian world, Olympic and European pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva set a new world record in the women's Pole Vault competition at the IAAF Golden Gala meeting in Rome.

Isinbayeva cleared 5.03m, erasing her 5.01m previous mark to send a strong message to her rivals in only her first competition of the season.

The Russian world record clearance came in her second attempt. So dominate was her performance here tonight -- the world mark does not look like a stable standard with her clearing the feat with years of room to spare.

After clearing 4.75m on her first try, Isinbayeva moved the bar to 4.85m -- with everyone already gone. She cleared that too on her first attempt before moving up to what then was a world-leading 4.95m, which she cleared on her second try.

The Olympic champion then asked for 5.02m, before changing her mind and placing the bar at 5.03m. Her first attempt clearly showed she had what it takes to break the world record here, but after hitting the bar down, she had a word with her coach who guided her to another historic moment in the life of Isinbayeva and indeed track and field.

"I was ready for the record. It's what I wanted," said Isinbayeva.

"I have a particular rapport with Rome and I love this stadium so I wanted to do something important. After I jumped 4.95m tonight I really felt like putting the bar at 5.03m rather than 5.02m.

"This is just the start. There is the Olympic Games and other records will come later."

Isinbayeva's previous world record of 5.01 was set at the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki.

Scare for Powell in 100m

Meanwhile, former World 100m record holder Asafa Powell is again injured and will not run the finals of the men's 100m dash.

The Jamaican who recently returned to competition, following a shoulder injury sustained during a training session in Kingston, in April, suffered a groin injury during his preliminary heat Friday evening and force out of deciding race.

Powell blew from the blocks, following a first go false start to open up a big lead on the field, but suddenly shut down way ahead of scheduled and finished fifth in 10.19.

He qualified as the fastest loser, but his manager Paul Doyle said after the race that Powell would not take any chances in this the year of the Olympic Games.

Portugal's Francis Obikwelu beat Derrick Atkins of the Bahamas on a photo decision in the 100m final after both athletes were credited with a time of 10.04.

In a very close men's 400m, Jeremy Wariner defeated Lashawn Merritt, but only just in an exciting finish that had to be decided by a photo finish.

Wariner came off the corner first, but saw his lead eaten up by Merritt -- the world and Olympic champion, however, managed to held on for first place in 44.36 to 44.37.

"I got out good, better than at the trials and in Berlin," Wariner told reporters.

"I knew he'd be there at the end. I had to stay relaxed and hang in there. I've got to work hard and cut out the mistakes from here on in."

Kerron Stewart of Jamaica dominated the women's 200m dash to win in 22.34-seconds, while countrywoman Malaine Walker finished first in the women's 400m hurdles in 54.36.

American Bershawn Jackson was knocked out of the million dollar race when he was beaten by Kerron Clement in the men's 400m hurdles.

Clement, the reigning world champion posted 48.23 for ahead of Jackson 48.34 and Danny McFarlane of Jamaica, 48. 57.

In the men's 110m Hurdles, Cuban Dayron Robles looked solid in a dominating performance for victory.

The world record holder blew away a competitive field after the sixth flight of hurdles and raced home to victory in a comfortable 13.08-seconds.

Jamaican Kenia Sinclair finished 10th a very quick women's 800m won by Kenya sensation Pamela Jelimo in 1:55.69. Sinclair was last cross the finish line in a close race in 1:59.77.

Jelimo, an 18-year-old Kenyan who burst onto the international scene this year, confirmed her status as the best 800 runner in the world with a meet-record 1:55.69 — well ahead of world champion Janeth Jepkosgei, who crossed second in 1:58.74.



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