Powell, Wariner remain unbeaten

Updated: September 9, 2006, 3:55 PM ET
Associated Press

STUTTGART, Germany -- The world's fastest man was too slow out of the blocks, and too tired to go for another record.

Just to stay unbeaten was enough of a chore for Asafa Powell at the World Athletics Final on Saturday.

Powell still managed enough of a finishing kick to clinch a record 12th sub-10 second race and run his winning streak in the 100 meters to 22 this season.

"The legs are really tired. I wish I could have done a lot more," Powell said after winning in 9.89 seconds.

The Jamaican started slowly before charging through the last 50 meters to edge Leonard Scott by 0.02. Tyson Gay finished another 0.01 back.

"If I hadn't done so many 9.8s this year my legs would be a lot more fresh," said Powell, who twice equaled his world record of 9.77 this season.

American Jeremy Wariner has also won every 400 race this year, clocking 44.02 Saturday to fall just 0.03 shy of joining his manager, Michael Johnson, as the only athletes to post four sub-44 races in a season.

Wariner, who held off Gary Kikaya of Congo, has one last chance in Shanghai in two weeks.

"I wanted to run under 44, but it just gives me something to focus on next year," Wariner said.

Wariner had a tough time keeping his unbeaten run going -- Kikaya's time of 44.10 was an African record.

"They have been on my hips all season and today they really dug deep and ran well," Wariner said. "I just stayed focused until through the line."

In the 110 hurdles, world record holder Liu Xiang of China came from behind to beat Allen Johnson. Liu won in 12.93 seconds, 0.05 seconds off the world mark he set earlier this season.

"I knew I was in good shape so the time does not really surprise me," Liu said.

The 35-year-old Johnson faded over the last hurdles to finish in 13.01 -- 0.01 seconds behind Dayron Robles, who set a Cuban record.

The finish in the 5,000 meters was even closer, with world champion Tirunesh Dibaba holding off Olympic champion Meseret Defar by 0.01. Dibaba finished in 16:04.77 in a slow race between the Ethiopian rivals.

Powell and Wariner, the world and Olympic champion, earned nearly $250,000 by winning all six Golden League events this season and added $30,000 for a victory in Stuttgart.

The $3 million weekend purse rewards anyone setting a world record with $130,000.

This time of year, other numbers are on Powell's mind, namely the 20-something races he's run this year.

"This is where the body is going down," he said. "What I look forward to is that big Air Jamaica sign on the plane to go home."

In the high jump, Kajsa Bergqvist of Sweden earned some revenge for losing the European title to Tia Hellebaut of Belgium. Both cleared 6 feet, 6 inches, but Bergqvist needed fewer attempts.

Allyson Felix won the 200 ahead of 400 specialist Sanya Richards in 22.11. Richards, who already won a quarter of the $1 million Golden League jackpot, set a personal best of 22.17.

"This gives me a great boost of confidence" for Sunday's 400, Richards said.

Kim Gevaert of Belgium, the European champion and this season's leading performer, finished seventh.

In the 400 hurdles, Lashinda Demus proved why she is the best in the world this year, dominating throughout the race to finish in 53.42, 0.80 seconds ahead of Tiffany Ross Williams.

Mbulaeni Mulaudzi of South Africa kept his European unbeaten streak going in the 800 with a strong finishing kick, finishing in 1:46.99 to edge Bram Som of the Netherlands and Wilfred Bungei of Kenya. Mulaudzi's only loss this season came at the African championships, where he finished sixth.

Tatyana Lebedeva of Russia jumped 22-8½ to take the long jump ahead of Bronwyn Thompson of Australia with 22-2½. World leader Tatyana Kotova finished fourth.

"It was good preparation for the triple jump," said Lebedeva, who will compete in that event on Sunday.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

ALSO SEE