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Greene and Montgomery derailed by Chambers in Oslo

A gritty 5000 metres run by Romania

2002-06-28

By IAAF Staff / www.iaaf.org - real,- BERLIN-MARATHON thanks the IAAF for its support

With immaculate timing the rain showers stopped, the grey clouds parted and the sun shone for the start of the Exxon Mobil Bislett Games, the first of this summers seven meet IAAF Golden League series. 3 hours later, the same immaculate precision was surprisingly displayed by Britains Dwain Chambers who stole the thunder from the two Americans, Maurice Greene and Tim Montgomery, to win in 10.05.


Maurice Greene (USA)

Greene, the world champion and world record holder (9.79) and Montgomery, the world silver medallist and fourth fastest man ever (9.84 on this track last year), running in lanes four and three respectively, seemed to be so focused on their own battle that they were unaware that they had been upstaged. Greene even raised his arm briefly in triumph. But there was no denying the Briton and the replay camera showed clearly his advantage at the tape. The finishing order Chambers 10.05, Greene 10.06 and Montgomery 10.10 (wind - 0.1m/s).

The fight to confirm who is the worlds fastest man now moves to Chambers home soil in Sheffield on Sunday at the Norwich Union Classic - an IAAF GP II meeting -  although the result of tonights race will mean that battle lines will now have to be redrawn to include Chambers who was world bronze medallist in 1999. (Montgomery is not entered in Sheffield).


Tim Montgomery (USA)

"Maurice Greene is a role model for the sport of athletics. It is nice to beat him and I look forward to race him in Sheffield. I have been working on improving certain aspects of my technique. To win today is a big stepping stone towards trying to win at the Europeans and Commonwealth Games" confirmed a jubilant Chambers.

Earlier on in the evening, to the delight of an enthusiastic Bislett audience we witnessed the successful return of Romanias diminutive distance running Queen, Gabriela Szabo the World 1500m champion, who by her incredibly high standards has had a few difficult seasons since becoming the overall Grand Prix victor and winner of the Golden League Jackpot in 1999.

Szabo was running the 5000m tonight and retained the initiative - in a race containing many of the worlds finest runners - all the way until the bell, when Ethiopias world 3000m indoor record holder Berhane Adere, one of a large group who had gathered at Szabos shoulder, sprinted past her with 400m to go.

At first it looked like Romanias Olympic 5000m champion would not be able to respond but in typically gutsy style, Szabo recaught Adere with 150 metres to go and then centimetre by centimetre edged past her, and dipping on the line grabbed her first Grand Prix and Golden League victory since Zurich in 2000.

Szabos winning time was a world seasons lead of 14:46.86, to Aderes 14:46.99. But it really wouldn have mattered if she had finished 30 seconds slower, as it was the manner of her run and not the clock which confirmed that the Queen had reclaimed the thrown, which Adere and Russias Yegorova (also in todays race) the world 5000m champion among others had sought to deny her.

"It is very good to be back. Gabriela Szabo was a happy girl at Bislett," said the tiny Romanian. "After Brussels (Golden League last year) I did not run at all, did not train at all...for three months I just relaxed. From January I started again. Now I enjoy running again."

One of the many crowd pullers this evening was the prospect of a fascinating mens Triple Jump duel between Britains 36 year-old world record holder Jonathan Edwards and the new kid on the block, Swedens 22 year-old European indoor champion Christian Olsson.

Well thats exactly what materialised, with the young Sweden first taking the initiative with 17.24m in round two, improving again to 17.35 in the next round. However, with his third attempt, way in front of the board, Edwards glided over 17 metres (17.14) for the first time to post his own intent. The "old man" with his next attempt then really pulled out the stops and lit up the contest with a decisive 17.51, which despite three consistent performances - 17.26, 17.47 and 17.37m - Olsson was not able to surpass.

"It was a great performance by him (Olsson). Hes now pushing me to jump my best. I prefer to have 30cm to spare but I just don think its going to happen anymore with Christian jumping so well," said Edwards.

Americas three time Olympic gold medallist Marion Jones was billed by the Oslo organisers as bidding to challenge her own 100m stadium record of 10.82 - which she set back in 1998 - but although fast, her 10.96 (-1.0m/s) never endangered the mark.


Marion Jones (USA)

The womens sprint hurdles was won in magnificent style by USAs Gail Devers whose time of 12.53 was the second fastest time in the world this season behind her own 12.51 run at last weekends US Championships and improved her own Bislett stadium record by 3/100ths of a second.

The mens 400m hurdles provided a good season opener at his specialist discipline (rather than flat 400m) for world champion Felix Sanchez, who sporting the flashing wristband which he wore when winning the world gold in Edmonton last summer, strode to a 48.91 win over Saudi Arabias Olympic silver medallist Hadi Al Somaily, second in 49.06.

The womens javelin is an event very close the the hearts of the Norwegian crowd, as it was in this stadium two years ago that local heroine Trine Hattestad set a world record of 69.48m, a mark that still remains the stadium record. With Hattestad now in retirement, it was the turn tonight of Cubas world champion Osleidys Menendez, who improved on the Norwegians world mark in Greece last summer with 71.54m, to set out her stall in front of the knowledgeable crowd. Unfortunately, in cool cloudy weather conditions that seemed to weigh heavy on each spear as it flew, the competition never really came to life with the Cuban winning in 63.51m.

The mens javelin was of an overall higher standard with both Germanys Boris Henry (85.42) and Polands Dariusz Trafas (85.16) mastering the conditions better than the women.

Elsewhere in the infield, there were count-back victories for Czech Tomas Janku (2.28m) in the high jump over Swedens Stefan Holm, and in the pole vault for USAs Tim Mack (5.70) over fellow American Jeff Hartwig in the vault, but neither contest could be called inspiring.

The womens 400m was taken comfortably by Mexicos Ana Guevara in 50.45 and the mens race by USAs Leonard Byrd (45.75).

The womens 1500m brought a Romanian 1-2 by Maria Cioncan (1st 4:03.55) and Elena Iagar (2nd 4:03.63), as if to honour the earlier triumphant return of their compatriot Szabo.

The longest mens race, the 5000m was the penultimate event on the Bislett programme and saw four Kenyans, returning "fresh" from last weeks Kenyan championships held at altitude in Nairobi, duck under 13 minutes. Benjamin Limo was triumphant here with 12:57.50 just ahead of Sammy Kipketer (12:57.90) who has run so well on the roads this spring.  John Kibowen was 3rd (12:58.61) with Paul Bitok 4th (12:58.94). The 32 year-old Bitok the Olympic silver medallist in both 1992 and 1996, was probably the happiest of all as for the first time in his career he ducked under 13mins.

The Dream Mile, the traditional climax to the Exxon Mobil Bislett Games, featured the world record holder at the imperial and metric distance Moroccos Hicham El Guerrouj, who was up against his Sydney Olympic conqueror Kenyas Noah Ngeny.

Ngeny who eventually finished a distant 11th (3:57.39) was "never at the races", while by contrast Guerrouj made the race his from the gun, finishing in 3:50.12 (1500m 3:33.68 - there were no other official splits) but well clear of Laban Rotich (3:51.99) and David Kiplak (3:52.42). This was not the world champion at the very height of his powers but it certainly was a very comfortable day at the office for the Moroccan.


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