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Kirani James wins thriller at Prefontaine Classic

Modified 01 Jun 2014, 13:38 IST
Kirani James & Lashawn Merritt

Eugene (Oregon), June 1 (IANS/CMC) Grenada's Olympic champion Kirani James  won his first major 400 metres duel of the year with American Lashawn Merritt at the Prefontaine Classic here.

The 21-year-old James clocked 43.97 - the same time as Merritt - as he barely edged out the world champion in a close finish at Hayward Field, in the third meet of the lucrative IAAF Diamond League series Saturday.

"We'll go at it many more times," Merritt said.

Youssef Ahmed Masrahi of Saudi Arabia finished third in a season-best 44.77 seconds while Bahamian Chris Brown also posted a season-best 45.15 as he came home fourth.

There was disappointment for World silver medallist Tony McQuay, however, as the American finished down the field in seventh, in a time of 46.25 seconds.

The result for James was a reversal of last year's finish at the event when Merritt took the tape first with James second.

Meanwhile, Jamaican Novlene Williams-Mills won the women's equivalent, racing to a time of 50.40 seconds, to finish ahead of American Francena McCorory who clocked 50.53 seconds. Jamaican Stephenie McPherson was third in 50.63.

Kaliese Spencer kept Jamaica's flag flying high by capturing the women's 400 metres hurdles in 54.29 seconds. Americans Kori Carter (55.22) and Tiffany Williams (55.97) were second and third respectively.

Jamaican Shevon Stoddard trailed in fourth in 56.15 seconds.


There was a massive shock in the women's 200 metres, however, when Jamaican superstar sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce finished last in 23.06 seconds.

American Tori Bowie clocked 22.18 seconds, the fastest time this year, as she beat Nigerian Blessing Okagbare who timed a personal best 22.23.

Olympic champion Allyson Felix of the US was third with 22.14 seconds.

American Justin Gatlin continued his great form this year, clocking a wind-assisted 9.76 seconds, to remain undefeated this season.

He was ahead of compatriot Michael Rodgers who came second in 9.80 seconds, with Frenchman Jimmy Vicaut third in 9.89 - the same time as Jamaican Nesta Carter who was fourth.

Jamaican Nickel Ashmeade was fifth in 9.95 seconds.

In the men's sprint hurdles, Frenchman Pascal Martinot-Lagarde won in 13.13 seconds as he beat Jamaican Hansle Parchment who came second in 13.20.


Published 01 Jun 2014, 11:15 IST
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