Swede, Bahamian qualify for megaprize

Updated: September 12, 2004, 1:34 PM ET
Associated Press

BERLIN -- Triple jumper Christian Olsson of Sweden and 400-meter runner Tonique Williams-Darling of the Bahamas split the $1 million jackpot by winning Sunday at the season's final Golden League track meet.

The jackpot goes to athletes who win their events at all six Golden League meets. To collect, however, the athletes must compete at next week's World Athletics Final in Monaco.

In the absence of Marian Oprea of Romania, the only man to have beaten Olsson at a non-Golden League meet this year, the Swede soared 57 feet, 3 inches in his second attempt at the ISTAF meet.

"When you get to this stage, the money is the most important," Olsson said.

Olsson, who won the Olympic gold medal last month, gave up his sixth and final attempt. Walter Davis of the United States was second at 56-5¾, and Jadel Gregorio of Brazil was third at 56-2¾.

Williams-Darling needed the fastest time in the world this year of 49.07 seconds in the 400 to win her half of the jackpot, also setting a national record. The Olympic champ led coming into the bend but was nearly caught by Ana Guevara of Mexico with less than 100 meters to go. Williams-Darling held on and beat Guevara for a repeat of the Athens final. Guevara finished in 49.53, and Monique Hennagan of the United States was third in 49.67.

"The Olympics were tougher, but this was also a great challenge," Williams-Darling said.

The only Olympic champion to lose was Kelly Holmes of Britain. Holmes won the 800 and 1,500 in Athens but was beaten in the longer distance in Berlin by Russia's Tatyana Tomashova, the world champion who lost the 1,500 Olympic final to Holmes.

The Russian pulled away just before the line to win in 4:04.41. Holmes was second in 4:04.49 in her first race since the Olympics, and Yelena Zadorozhnaya of Russia was third in 4:04.61.

Asafa Powell of Jamaica held off Frank Fredericks of Namibia to win the 200 in a wind-aided 20.24 seconds. Fredericks had 20.25 while Joshua J. Johnson of the United States was third in 20.54. Fredericks finished fourth in the Olympic final while Powell, fifth in the 100, withdrew from the 200 with a hamstring injury.

"I'm just enjoying myself and trying to do my best in every meet," Powell said. "Also, my start is getting better and better."

Debbie Ferguson of the Bahamas, who won the bronze medal in Athens in the 200, won the 100 in Berlin in 11.14. Ivet Lalova of Bulgaria, who was fourth in the 100 and fifth in the 200 in Athens, came in second in 11.19 and Aleen Bailey of Jamaica was third, also in 11.19.

Youssef Saad Kamel of Bahrain, known as Gregory Konchellah when he competed for Kenya, won the 800 in 1:45.07, beating Wilfred Bungei of Kenya who finished in 1:45.27. Bram Som of the Netherlands was third in 1:45.85.

Olympic champion Joanna Hayes of the United States won the 100-meter hurdles in 12.46 seconds, well ahead of Athens silver medalist Olena Krasovska of Ukraine (12.66).

Olympic champion Yelena Slesarenko of Russia edged Amy Acuff of the United States to win the high jump at 6-6}. Acuff also cleared that height while Olympic silver medalist Hestrie Cloete of South Africa was third at 6-5½.

Augustine Choge of Kenya, the world junior champion, won the 5,000 in 12:53.01, improving his personal best by more than 15 seconds, while Paul Korir led a Kenyan sweep in the 1,500, winning in 3:32.46.

Bayano Kamani of Panama took the 400 hurdles in 48.55, and Allen Johnson of the United States won the 110 hurdles in 13.16. The four-time world champion fell in the Olympic heats. Olympic champion Liu Xiang of China did not get his federation's permission to compete here.

Two-time Olympic long jump champion Heike Drechsler made her farewell to her home fans but failed to qualify for the final eight. Olympic champion Tatyana Lebedeva of Russia won in 22-7¼.

Tim Mack, another Athens gold medalist, cleared 19-0½ to win the pole vault ahead of American countryman Derek Miles, who had the same height.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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