Kirani James runs 44.22 WL, from EME News

Kirani James runs 44.22 WL, photo by

James quality 44.22 WL

DES MOINES (USA, Apr 24): A day of rainy weather and cooler temperatures brought a world relay best and a trio of world-leading performances Friday night at Drake Relays during the first day of Beijing World Championships Preview events. A photo finish in a special women's shuttle hurdle relay saw two teams better the existing world best. Winning by 0.005, the quartet of Kristi Castlin, Queen Harrison, Dawn Harper-Nelson and American record holder Brianna Rollins lowered by 0.28 the old record with a 50.50 (50.495). Castlin ran a strong anchor leg, leaning for the win, as her team also set an American record. Second White team (T. Porter, Stowers, Coward, Nelvis) 50.500. Third Red Team (DeLoach, T. Jones, Clay, V. Thomas) 52.32. But the highlight of the day in cool conditions was the 44.22 meet record (previous by Michael Johnson) and World lead of Olympic winner Kirani James at the 400 m. Second Yousef Al-Masrahi of Saudi Arabia 44.70 over Chris Brown from Bahamas 44.76, World masters record for 35+ age category. Fourth Tony McQuay 45.14 and only fifth LaShawn Merritt 45.27.  US Indoor Champion Aleec Harris continued his undefeated season with a win in the men's 110 m hurdles in world leading 13.16 (-0.6). Reigning world champion David Oliver  second in 13.19, Jamaican Andrew Riley third 13.32 with World record holder Aries Merritt fourth at 13.37. Then Jamaican record holder Hansle Parchment 13.40, Ronnie Ash 13.43 and decathlon star Ashton Eaton 13.43. Bershawn "Batman" Jackson won the 400 m hurdles in 48.87 for his second victory in two weeks, proving he is still an international contender. He was the final entry into the field for the event, but performed up to the standards of his former self with a late surge that took him past the past two champions, Michael Tinsley (49.39) and Javier Culson (49.47). Canadian Olympic medalist Derek Drouin as the only one cleared 232 to win the high jump in chilly conditions. Bryan McBride beat many other top names with 229 as second, Nick Ross 225 third followed by Jesse Williams, Erik Kynard, Italian Marco Fassinotti and Chinese World leader Zhang Guowei all 221. In the women pole vault European medalist Katerini Stefanidi of Greece mastered 471, another World lead. Second Demi Payne 466, outdoor collegiate best ahead of Sandi Morris 451. In the women's 800 m Ajee Wilson shot out to the early lead and won in 2:00.03 World lead. Second Brenda Martinez 2:00.51 over Phoebe Wright 2:01.65, Molly Ludlow 2:01.72 and Alysia Montano 2:01.78.

Ajee Wilson, World Leader at Des Moines, Drake Relays, photo by

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