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Powell takes the honours yet again

Reuters
Sep 03, 2006 at 08:59pm IST

Berlin: Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell and American 400 metres runners Jeremy Wariner and Sanya Richards completed perfect Golden League seasons on Sunday to scoop $250,000 shares in the double jackpot.

Powell ran 9.86 seconds in cold, damp conditions in the 100 at the International Stadionfest (ISTAF) meeting, well ahead of American Tyson Gay in second and enough to give the world record holder a sixth win out of six in the series.

Wariner, the 400 world and Olympic champion, had little trouble matching that record in front of a 48,000 crowd at the Olympiastadion, scene of soccer's World Cup final in July.

RAKING IN THE MOOLAH: Jeremy Wariner (L) and Sanya Richards (centre) shared the jackpot with Powell.

The American ran his usual untroubled race on the blue track, coming home in 44.26 seconds to hold off a late surge from Gary Kikaya.

Richards became the third and final athlete with a faultless record when she won the women's 400 in 49.81 seconds, putting her just over a second ahead of fellow American Dee Dee Trotter.

"It may have looked easy but it was tough," said Richards. "I can now buy a present for my parents."

Spoils Shared

That trio will share a $500,000 purse, working out at $166,666 apiece, for athletes winning all six of their races in the Golden League meetings provided they appear at the World Athletics Final in Stuttgart next weekend.

They will add that to one-sixth shares in a separate $500,000 jackpot ($83,333 each) for athletes winning their events in at least five of the six meetings.

Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia, who was also in line for the double jackpot going into the Berlin meet, was edged out by world record holder and compatriot Meseret Defar in a thrilling finish to the women's 5,000m.

Dibaba held a slight lead going down the final straight but a devastating late kick form Defar saw her take the lead inside the final 10 metres.

Dibaba therefore had to settle for the $83,333 on offer for five wins out of six.

Fifth Victories

Two other athletes clinched shares of that part of the pot when they recorded their fifth victories on Sunday.

Irving Saladino of Panama claimed his prize in the long jump with a first round leap of 8.35m.

Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia ran a solo race for his fifth win in the 5,000m. His time of 12:57.74 took him to victory by over seven seconds from his brother Tariku Bekele.

The only disappointment was the lack of a world record, with conditions proving particularly unhelpful to the sprinters.

"I'm sorry for the people in Berlin that I couldn't get the record," said Powell, who had to be content with a meeting record, an 11th legal sub-10 run of the season and a 22nd successive win.

"The crowd were great." Away from the jackpot excitement, Australia's Steve Hooker won the men's pole vault by clearing a personal best 5.96m but he was still unhappy.

"After I'd cleared 5.91 I asked them to put up 6.01 but there must have been a language barrier because they put up 5.96," an upset Hooker said.

"When I cleared it, for five minutes I thought I'd gone over six metres. At international competitions they should have people and judges who understand English."

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