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Powell sets meet record, takes 100-m crown in Berlin

9/3/2006

BERLIN -- Asafa Powell led from start to finish to win the
100 meters in 9.86 seconds Sunday, joining two others in big
paydays at the ISTAF meet.

Jeremy Wariner and Sanya Richards also earned just under
$250,000 each by winning their events.

Wariner, the world and Olympic champion, completed a sweep of
six wins in six Golden League races, taking the 400 meters in 44.26
seconds.

Richards won the 400 by nearly a second in beating another
American, Dee Dee Trotter. Richards eased home in 49.81 and Trotter
was second in 50.87.

"It looked easy but it was tough," Richards said. "I
controlled my race very well."

Powell, the world record co-holder from Jamaica, set a meet
record and was followed by Americans Tyson Gay in 9.96 and Leonard
Scott in 10.07.

"The crowd helped me a lot, but it was not enough for another
world record," Powell said.

Powell shares the world record at 9.77 with Justin Gatlin. He
most likely will become the sole holder when the American is
stripped of his time as expected because of doping.

The three winners swept their events at all six stops on the
Golden League series, assuring them of a three-way split of
$500,000.

They also won $83,333 each from another $500,000 purse shared by
six athletes. For the first time, the $1 million total jackpot was
split into two different purses -- one half for six-time winners and
one half for five-time winners.

To collect their earnings, the winners will have to show up at
next weekend's World Athletics Final in Stuttgart, Germany.

Wariner surged ahead in the home straight to beat Congo's Gary
Kikaya, who set a national record in 44.43. Another American,
Lashawn Merritt, was third in 44.78.

"It was a tough one, but I was able to focus on my race and
stay consistent, like the entire season," Wariner said. "Merritt
went fast on the first 200 but I continued to run my own race."

Sherone Simpson of Jamaica ran away with the women's 100,
posting a fast time of 10.92 to beat Me'Lisa Barber of the United
States, who finished in 11.21.

David Oliver led a U.S. sweep in the 110-meter hurdles,
finishing in 13.25 to beat former Olympic and world champion Allen
Johnson, who was timed in 13.29. Aries Merritt was third in 13.32.

World champion Tirunesh Dibaba failed in her bid to take a slice
of the entire jackpot when she was beaten in the 5,000 by fellow
Ethiopian Meseret Defar.

Defar, the Olympic champion and world record holder, powered
ahead with a strong kick in the last 30 meters to beat Dibaba for
the first time in six Golden League meets this season, finishing in
15:02.51. Dibaba had to settle for second at 15:02.51.

World record-holder Kenenisa Bekele won the 5,000 and Panama's
Irving Saladino took the long jump to join Dibaba at five wins.
Each earned $83,333. Saladino took only three jumps, and his only
valid attempt -- his first -- gave him victory at 27 feet, 4} inches.

Bekele was far ahead at the finish line, crossing in 12:57.74.

"Nobody followed me. ... When you are alone so early you cannot
think about world records," Bekele said.

Bekele led an Ethiopian -- and family -- sweep in the 5,000. His
younger brother, Tariku, finished second in 13:04.83 and Abreham
Cherkos Feleke completed the strong showing for the Ethiopians by
coming in third at 13:05.40.

Steven Hooker led a 1-2 finish for Australia in the pole vault,
clearing 19-6½, a personal best. Paul Burgess was second at 19-4½.

Augustine Choge of Kenya, the world junior champion at 5,000,
beat world steeplechase record holder Saif Saaeed Shaheen in the
1,500 with a personal best of 3:32.48.