Cross Challenge on 24 October 2021

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Jackpot four all triumph in Berlin

The Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark, temporary home of the ISTAF meeting, added a final world class sparkle to the 2002 IAAF Golden League as Marion Jones, Hicham El Guerrouj, Felix Sanchez and Ana Guevara each clinched a share of the IAAF GL Jackpot


By IAAF Staff / - real,- BERLIN-MARATHON thanks the IAAF for its support

At least a share of 50 kilos of gold was available to any of the four contenders as long as they won in Berlin and completed a seven out of seven win streak.

Of the four gold prospectors - Marion Jones was the first on the track but the American Olympic champion had a terrible start in the womens 100m and was well down on Jamaicas Tayna Lawrence running in lane 3. After 60 metres though Lawrence and the rest of the Americans opponents were fighting for the minor places, as Jones majestically eased through to win in a relatively slow 11.01. Lawrence was second 11.12 with Debbie Ferguson in third 11.20.

Twenty minutes later it was El Guerroujs turn to pan for gold and he hit a deep seam of success in the mens 1500m, finishing unopposed, as he has done all year, in 3:30.00. The race itself may not have been memorable but El Guerrouj certainly did. Moroccos World 1500m record holder has been peerless in both the metric and imperial mile throughout the season. Tonight Bernard Lagat, the Kenyan who is the second fastest 1500m runner ever, was the only person to offer even a partially serious challenge. In Brussels last week, Lagat had still been in contention with El Guerrouj with 110 metres to go but today the  World Champion already had a 30 metres gap at the bell, and Lagat never made much impression. He finished second in 3:32.91 with Laban Rotich back in third with 3:33.81.

In the womens 1500m, Turkeys European champion Sureyya Ayhan ran a "gun to tape race, a tactic which is quickly becoming her trade mark. Her reward was a meeting record of 3:58.43. Americas Suzy Favor Hamilton, second in 3:59.40, ran a storming last lap and was catching Ayhan in the finishing straight but with the Turks impressive strength, someone has to get nearer before launching a devastating kick.

Back to the battle for gold, and 13 minutes after Ayhan had begun her race, Felix Sanchez set off in the mens 400m. It proved to be lucky 13 for the Dominican Republics World Champion who broke the field in the first 200m with a bold strategy which left him well clear coming into the last 100m. By the last hurdle Sanchez had begun to tire as a result of his initial effort and Saudi Arabias Hadi Souaán Al-Somaily closed significantly but by that stage he had secured the win and a share of the Jackpot.

With the other three Jackpot contenders having successfully grabbed their share of the loot, nothing was going to stop Ana Guevara from staking a successful claim. In similar style to Sanchez, the Mexican World Championships bronze medallist destroyed the opposition and held a 10 metre lead off the final bend to the line. Again under 50 seconds with a clocking of 49.91, Guevara has been the athletics revelation of 2002. Although hardly an unknown coming into the season, Guevaras star has begun to burn really brightly during this years Golden League.

There was no Montgomery today but another of Maurice Greenes vanquishers this season, Britains European champion Dwain Chambers, was in the field in the mens 100m and dealt another crushing defeat to the American World Record holder. Chambers was first in 10.02, with Greene off the pace again in sixth, 10.20.

Gail Devers who had run so brilliantly to re-assert her authority in the womens 100m Hurdles in Brussels last week (12.49), was defeated by her sometime conqueror Brigitte Foster of Jamaica (12.62) and had to struggle hard to overhaul World Champion Anjanette Kirkland (3rd 12.75). Devers time for second was 12.65.

Commonwealth Champion Michael Blackwood, an emerging Jamaican talent over 400m, clocked up his second Golden League 400m win of the season (previous win was in Rome), to take the one lap sprint in 44.87. The only other man under 45 seconds was Kuwaits Fawzi Al-Shammari with Avard Moncur, the reigning World champion from the Bahamas in third, with 45.07.

Christian Olsson, the newly crowned European Triple Jump champion, was left without his usual motivator World Record holder Jonathan Edwards who was not competing in Berlin. Even without the 35 year-old Briton in the field, the Swede still produced a series of four 17m plus jumps, crowned by a victorious 17.40 in the fourth. Britains second string man Phillips Idowu was the only other jumper over 17m, with two leaps of 17.18 and 17.23.

The womens 5000m had opened the evenings programme and became a battle between to Ethiopians Berhane Adere and Werknesh Kidane. The two hit the bell with Kidane glued to her compatriots shoulder, as had been the case for lap after lap during the race, but as on so many other occasions this year it was Aderes sprint which prevailed. She finished with 14:41.43, while Kidane was blown away by the change of pace and finished second in 14:43.53 in a personal best. There was also an Area Record for Australias Benita Johnson in third 14:47.60.

There was a terrific three way tussle in the mens Pole Vault between Germanys Tim Lobinger, Australias Viktor Christiakov and Israels Aleksandr Averbukh. All three men progressed up to and over 5.80, a mark which was seasons best for the Australian Olympic silver medallist who is returning from injury. On count back it was Averbukh, the new European champion who won on count back with a much cleaner score card, with Lobinger who took the bronze behind the Israeli at the Continental Championships finishing third.

Kenyans Wilfred Bungei the World Championship silver medallist took the mens 800m ahead of a field littered with illustrious opponents, including Switzerlands World champion Andre Bucher (3rd 1:45.20) and Germanys Olympic champion Nils Schumann (5th 1:45.91).

World champion Osliedys Menendez of Cuba, after an indifferent season of Golden League performances, won the womens Javelin with 64.45 from Russias Tatyana Shikolenko who has beaten her twice in the seven meeting series this summer.

There was a one, two, three for the home crowd to cherish in the mens spear, with Boris Henry (85.82) leading a German sweep with Bjorn Lange (84.94) and Raymond Hecht (83.26) filling the podium.

Olympic champion Heike Drechsler completed the infield programme with another home win in the womens Long Jump with a leap of 6.45.

In the mens 5000m, surprisingly it was a Ukrainian Sergey Lebid, who finished second in Monaco at 3000m, who led the usual phalanx of Africans into the home straight. Lebid was quickly swallowed up by Kenyans Luke Kipkosgei (first 13:10.41 seasons best) and Benjamin Limo (second 13:10.77) but hung on to set a national record of 13:10.78.

The last event of the programme was a special four competition multi-event - 100m, Long Jump, Shot Put, 1000m - whose presence on the programme denoted the appointment of 1988 Christian Schenk (Olympic 1988 Decathlon champion) as the new ISTAF meet director, was won by Schahriar Bigdeli (GER) with 3297 points ahead of Olympic Champion Erki Nool (EST) who scored 3293 and Decathlon World Record holder Roman Sebrle (CZE), who managed 3136.

To collect their four way split of the IAAF Golden League Jackpot all four winners must now compete in Paris on 14 September at the IAAF Grand Prix Final.

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