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Monday, September 7, 2009

Another 100m sweep - Fraser, Powell land marquee events at Rieti meet

Jamaicans Shelly-Ann Fraser and Asafa Powell won the 100-metre events and headlined a whopping six Caribbean victories at the IAAF Rieti International track and field meeting yesterday.

Olympic and world champion Fraser won the women's race, clocking in 11.18 seconds into a stiff headwind of 2.4 metres per second and Powell encountered minus 1.5 metres per second wind in landing the men's race in 9.99 seconds.

Windy conditions prevailed and slowed times were recorded throughout the meet, which saw in-form Jamaicans Brigitte Foster-Hylton and Dwight Thomas claim victories in the sprint hurdles, while their teammate Kerron Stewart captured the women's 200 metres and Bahamian Leevan Sands landed the men's triple jump title.

Beaten by American Carmelita Jeter at the Brussels Golden League meeting on Friday, Fraser rebounded quickly with a fine front-running victory, coming home well clear of fellow Jamaican Sherone Simpson (11.37).

Strong headwind

Fraser admitted she was hindered by the wind.

"I was not getting the technique properly today. I really felt the headwind," she said.

Powell, on the track where he set his last world record (9.74) in 2007, was also strong as he easily repelled fellow Jamaican Nesta Carter (10.08) to repeat as 100-metre champion here, going under the 10-second barrier for the 57th time in his career.

"It was a very strong wind," Powell said. "When I felt the wind blowing today I was like, 'It's not going to be a fast race'."

No runner in history has more sub-10 clockings than Powell, who admitted after the race that he is motivated to restore his top billing after giving way to phenomenal world-record holder Usain Bolt, his Jamaican teammate.

"To be running these fast times is outstanding. He (Bolt) really needs some strong competition, he's running 9.5, so we need to get there too to put on a good show," Powell said. "Before, I was the man to beat. Now I have someone in front of me, so I really have to push myself."

Powell wouldn't commit to running at next year's Commonwealth Games in India.

"We're not sure about all the plan for next year but I'm always looking forward to run," said Powell, who will now return to his in-season training base in northern Italy to prepare for the season finals in Greece.

Britain's Simeon Williamson was third in 10.18 seconds and Jamaican Michael Frater, a World Championship sprint relay gold medallist - with Powell, Bolt and Steve Mullings last month in Berlin - was fifth in 10.30.

Olympic and World Championship medallist Stewart received a late-race test from Jamaican 400-metre specialist Shericka Williams, but was stronger at the finish for a 22.62 win against a 2.0 mps wind.

Williams (22.69) was just a step behind in second and the Jamaica-born American Debbie Dunn was third in 22.73.

Cydonie Mothersill of the Cayman Islands was fifth in 22.98.

Controlled win

Undefeated since her fabulous gold medal success at the Berlin World Championship last month, veteran Foster-Hylton posted a controlled win in the 100-metre hurdles in 12.78 seconds in a Jamaican one-two finish, Nickeisha Wilson chasing her to the line in 12.84 seconds against 2.5 mps wind.

Jamaica's former Commonwealth Games champion Lacena Golding-Clarke was fourth in 13.22.

In the 110-metre hurdles, Thomas clocked 13.36 to win ahead of Commonwealth Games champion Maurice Wignall (13.48) in another Jamaican sweep of the top two spots.

Olympic bronze medallist Sands emerged with the triple jump crown at 16.77 metres, defeating Frenchman David Girat (16.67m). Grenada's Randy Lewis was fifth at 16.53 metres.

The 19-year-old Jamaican Nickel Ashmeade clocked 20.54 seconds for the runner-up spot in the men's 200 behind American Wallace Spearmon (20.27), with Antiguan Pan American Games champion Brendan Christian third in 20.57 seconds.

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