Aviva London Grand Prix, Day 2, Flash! Kerron Clement wins 400m hurdles, by Larry Eder



Kerron Clement, Nike Pre Classic 2009, photo courtesy of PhotoRun.net.

Kerron Clement, the Osaka gold medalist at 400 meter hurdles, and silver Olympic medalist, is on form. Running with a strong field, Kerron Clement ran 48.85 to take the race from Bershawn Jackson in 48.99 and Micheal Tinsley in 49.04 in third. Note that Felix Sanchez, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist, had a tough race, finishing last in 50.09.

Here is what Kerron had to say after his race: " The plan was to go off fast and just to maintain it into the straight and then kick home. That is what I did, so I am pleased with my work today. It was quite windy but it did not really affect me too much. I am fully confident that I can defenct my title in Berlin, that is what I intend to do. "

In the womens' long jump at the Aviva London Grand Prix, Naide Gomes of Portugal won the long jump in 6.99 meters, the second longest jump of 2009! In second, Tatyana Lebedeva, the best long jump/triple jumper in the world, finished second in 6.90m, with Ksenija Balta of Estonia in third in 6.85m.

The women's steeplechase was a great competition. Helen Clitheroe took the lead, knowing that she had to go under the Berlin A standad of 9:40 to make the world champs. Clitheroe hit the kilometer in 3:09.98, with Lisa Galaviz of the US, Netsanet Achamo and Katazyna Kowalska of Poland in tow.

Clitheroe did the early work with Kowalska, then Achamo and then Lisa Galaviz. Netsanet Achamo took over just before the second kilometer, hitting 2k in 6:22.88, which meant that Clitheroe, who looked to be sliding back a wee bit, hanging on.

The bell was hit in 8:19.54, with Clitheroe at 8:22-would she make it? Well, as Kowalska, Achamo battled, Galaviz went by Clitheroe, which woke her up and the race was on. As Katarzyna Kowalska lead down the final straight, Lisa Galaviz pushed the pace and barely missed catching Kowalska, who ran 9:34.07 for the win-her personal best, with Lisa Galaviz running a near best 9:34.30 for second. Netsanet Achamo of Ethiopia ran her seasonal best in 9:34.31, with Helen Clitheroe of Great Britain charging in for fourth in 9:34.66, her seasonal best, and the A standard. Sabine Heitling of Brazil, in fifth in 9:41.22, set her national record!

After the race, Katarzyna Kowalska of Poland said, " I am very happy with the personal best. I have waited very long. Next is the Polish championships. I think I might do the 5000m or 2000m steeplechase. I hope to be in Berlin."

Fourth place Helen Clitheroe, was very pleased with her A standard: " I went into the race thinking I am not waiting for anybody. I went through 2000 meters leading. I wanted to get the A standard and I am pleased with that. The first km is always quick, I have often found it hard to finish strong but I did finish strong and maybe I could have won if I had been in contention with 300 meters to go."

Then, she added: "It is always hard when you have lead and you don't win but I just wanted to use the girls and keep my momentum. It is a shame when I did not nip past to get into the top three, but I am pleased. I just wanted to keep focussed. I knew at 2000 m I was on schedule to be under 9 minutes, 40 seconds!"

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