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Marion Jones impresses in first race in nearly a year

14 May 2006

Former Olympic sprint queen Marion Jones of USA opened her 2006 track and field campaign with a victory after she clocked the second fastest time in the world this year to win the women's 100 metre dash at the Gala Banamex Veracruz 2006 held at the Heriberto Jara stadium in Xalapa, Mexico, Saturday afternoon.

Jones raced to finish line in 11.06 second in a -0.5 head-wind to leave compatriot and ex-world champion Torri Edwards in a distance second at 11.30. U.S. Virgin Islands' Laverne Jones finished third in 11.48, while crowd favourite Ruth Grajeda could only managed 11.99 for fifth.

Jamaican sprinter Dwight Thomas, who trains with newly crowned world record holder Justin Gatlin at the Sprint Capitol training base in Raleigh, North Carolina, edged American Marquis Davis for the men's title.

Thomas, who finished last season with a time of 10.00, took the victory with a time of 10.21, just ahead of Davis, at 10.22.

After finishing third in the women's 100m Virgin Islands' Jones, took the women's half-lap event in 23.04.

The much anticipated clash between American Lashawn Merritt and Jamaica's Usain Bolt in the men's 200m did not materialised after Bolt failed to face the starter.

However, Merritt ran smartly to easily win the race in 20.18, despite a -1.3 head-wind. Fellow American Rodney Martin took second in 20.35, while Jamaican 2001 World silver medallist Christopher Williams finished third in 20.58.

Congo's Gary Kikaya won the men's 400m with an impressive run that saw him clocking 44.72 sec in a race in which pre-meet favourite and 2006 Commonwealth Games champion John Steffenson of Australia and Jamaica's Jermaine Gonzales failed to show.

World and Olympic Tonique Williams-Darling defended her 400m crown when she clocked 50.28 to beat Ana Guevara (51.08) of Mexico.

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