EUGENE (Sporting Alert) — Athens Olympic champion Xiang Liu of China delivered a wind-aided 12.87 seconds to win the men’s 110m hurdles race at the 2012 Prefontaine Classic at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday.
The former world record holder defeated a very strong field in posting his impressive time, but it was done with a positive 2.4 m/s tailwind. The time would have equalled Dayron Robles world record which was set in Ostrava four years ago.
Nevertheless, Liu, who owns the world’s fastest time this season, at 12.97 remains the heavy favourite to strike gold a the London Games and will take some beating later this summer.
Finishing second was world indoor gold medallist Aries Merritt of USA in 12.96 with world champion Jason Richardson taking third in 13.11.
Justin Gatlin took the men’s 100m dash in 9.90 (+1.3 m/s) after a close finish with Jamaica’s Nickel Ashmeade, who posted a personal best time of 9.93 for second.
The time was Gatlin’s second fastest this season behind his 9.87 achieved in Doha, last month.
World record holder Usain Bolt holds the fastest time of the year, at 9.76.
Meanwhile, at Eugene, Trell Kimmons of USA finished third in 10.04, with Walter Dix taking fourth in the same time.
LaShawn Merritt continued his winning form this outdoor season with a 44.91 performance to win the men’s 400m title ahead of the man who defeated him for the world crown last season, Kirani James of Grenada in a battle.
The Grenadian, didn’t count amongst the finishers though.
James, running under protest after jumping the gun earlier – finished second in 44.97, but was demoted, while Bahama’s Chris Brown followed home at 45.24.
Former world and Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner of USA faded poorly in the home straight and finished sixth in a disappointing time of 45.68.
In the women’s race, American Sanya Richards-Ross clocked a new world leading time of 49.39secs.
World champion Amantle Montsho was second in 49.62, with Jamaica’s Novlene Williams-Mills third in 49.78.
After drawing blank against Carmelita Jeter last season, Allyson Felix opened her 200m campaign with an impressive performance to beat her fellow American.
Felix, who recently clocked a personal best of 10.92secs for 100m, dashed to 22.23, the second quickest in the world this season to beat beat Jeter, who could only managed fifth in 22.78.
Second went to Jeneba Tarmoh of USA (22.61) and Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria (22.63).
“This tells me I’m feeling good and that I’m excited about the trials,” Felix said.