Americans Gatlin, Felix sweep 100s

Updated: May 6, 2006, 8:50 AM ET
Associated Press

OSAKA, Japan -- World and Olympic champion Justin Gatlin won the 100 meters at the Osaka Grand Prix on Saturday, clocking a time of 9.95 seconds in his first individual race of the season.

Gatlin, who won here last year with a time of 10.15, finished well ahead of fellow American Marcus Brunson, who had a time of 10.14. Japan's Shingo Suetsugu was third in 10.28.

"This is a good start to the season," Gatlin said. "I wanted to go sub-10, and to do that in my first meet sets a good tone for breaking the world record."

Gatlin has said one of his goals this season will be to break Jamaican Asafa Powell's world record of 9.77.

American Allyson Felix successfully defended her title in the women's 100 meters with a time of 11.11. Compatriot Stephanie Durst was second .05 seconds back, followed by LaVerne Jones of the Virgin Islands, who clocked a time of 11.29.

American Bershawn Jackson won the men's 400 meter hurdles with a time of 47.60 seconds. Periklis Iakovakis of Greece was second .22 second back, followed by Japan's Kenji Narisako in 47.93.

"The track was very fast and I didn't expect to run that fast so early in the season," said Jackson, who came from behind to edge Iakovakis. "In the past I would have panicked when I was behind but I didn't do that this time and that's the main thing."

Olympic champion and world record-holder Liu Xiang of China won the men's 110-meter hurdles with a time of 13.22 seconds for his third straight victory here.

It was also Liu's first race since November's East Asian Games at Macau. He sprained his ankle in February before the start of the domestic indoor season.

"Coming off the injury I didn't expect such a good time today," Liu said. "But I always believe in my ability and today is proof of that."


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press