Montgomery, Gaines take wind-assisted sprints


EUGENE, Oregon, Reuters

Tim Montgomery and Chryste Gaines rode gusty winds to 100 metre titles in U.S. championship finals void of Olympic stars Maurice Greene and Marion Jones Friday.

Montgomery, a 26-year-old Sydney Olympic 4×100-meter relay gold medallist, overcame a poor start to claim his first national outdoor title in a wind-assisted 9.95 seconds.

“I got caught sitting and had to run a spectacular race,” said Montgomery, who is trained by Jones’s coach, Trevor Graham.

The 30-year-old Gaines won in a wind-assisted 10.89 seconds as she continued her comeback from 1999 injuries.

Neither Greene nor Jones, the Olympic champions at Sydney, were on the track.

Greene, the 1999 100 and 200-meter world champion, ran a sizzling 9.90 seconds in a preliminary race here Thursday, then pulled out of the competition in protest at a new rule that requires defending world champions to participate here to receive their wild card byes.

Jones, the defending world 100-meter champion, skipped that event here to concentrate on the 200, which begins today.

The U.S. championships are serving as the American trials for the August 3-12 world championships in Edmonton and both Greene and Jones plan to seek sprint doubles there. Greene will be joined on the U.S. 100-meter team by Sydney Olympians Montgomery, Bernard Williams and Curtis Johnson.

Williams clocked 9.98 seconds and the fast-starting Johnson 10.01.

“That’s my team,” said Greene as he high-fived his future teammates.

Gaines, the world indoor 60-meter bronze medallist, was trailed across the finish line by Kelli White and Angela Williams. White ran 10.93 seconds and Williams 11.01.

They will join Jones in the sprint race at Edmonton.

World 200 meter champion Inger Miller finished seventh in the race in 11.18 seconds.

“I strained my right groin in the semifinals, and (coach) John Smith told me not to run. But you know how stubborn I am,” Miller said. “I will be in Edmonton to run the 200.”

World long jump record holder Mike Powell, making a comeback at age 37, failed in his bid to make the American team.

After finishing a non-qualifying fourth with a wind-aided best of 8.10 meters, Powell threw sand into the air and bowed his head.

Savante Stringfellow won with a wind-assisted leap of 8.47 meters.

The Americans lost one of their top threats for Edmonton when Tryee Washington pulled his right hamstring in the 400 meter semifinals and failed to qualify for Saturday’s final.

“I ran like 46, I usually jog that in practice so this is a big disappointment,” said Washington, who had the fastest time in the world this season, 44.28 seconds.

Olympic relay gold medallist Antonio Pettigrew led qualifiers in 45.28 seconds.

Sydney Olympic bronze medallist John Godina dominated the shot put with a winning heave of 21.60 meters. The event was delayed for almost 30 minutes while an official who was hit by a wayward shot was treated.

Nathan Leeper dethroned 1996 Olympic champion Charles Austin on misses in the men’s high jump as both cleared 2.30 meters. Austin had won sixth consecutive national titles. American record holder Dawn Ellerbe had five throws better than the runner-up to easily win the women’s hammer with a throw of 69.08 meters.