Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie in Osaka (Getty Images) © Copyright
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Ferguson (22.32) and Jones (12.47) set world season leads in Rethymno

Rethymno, GreeceThe Bahamas’ Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie and USA’s Lolo Jones set world leading performances in the 200m and 100m Hurdles with 22.32 sec and 12.47 sec respectively at the 25th edition of the European Athletics Outdoor Premium Meeting “Vardinoyiannia” on Monday 20 July.

Other highlights included USA’s Ivory Williams setting a 100m personal best of 9.93sec, and Panama’s Alonso Edwards clocking 20.00sec in a close 200m race.

The Vardinoyiannia is one of a select group of Area meetings at which points can be acquired by athletes to qualify for the IAAF / VTB Bank World Athletics Final, to be held on 12-13 September in Thessaloniki, Greece.

Jones fast, close call for Robles

Lolo Jones produced a world leading performance of 12.47sec (+1.8 m/s) dominating the very fast 100m Hurdles in front of fellow American Damu Cherry who improved her season’s mark to 12.53 for the second place, while Jamaican Deloreen Ennis-London also clocked a season’s best of 12.60 for third, ahead of Canada's Priscilla Lopes-Schliep, who had the same time, in fourth.

As expected in the men’s 110m Hurdles, Cuba’s Olympic Champion and World record holder Dayron Robles was the winner with 13.17 (+1.5 m/s) but it was much closer than expected as USA’s Dexter Faulk, an emphatic winner in the wet of Paris on Friday, not only provided a strong competition for Robles but also challenged the Cuban in the last metres of the race. Faulk clocked 13.18, while Barbados Ryan Brathwaite was third with 13.23.

Merritt last minute addition beaten by Mullins at 200m

The participation of the Olympic 400m champion LaShawn Merritt in the 200m was a pleasant last moment surprise for the organisers. USA’s Rae Edwards was the winner of the closest competition of the meeting, almost stealing the win from Jamaica’s Steven Mullings at the last moment. Edwards clocked a season’s best of 20.00sec (4th world performance of the year), while Mullings who led the race from its very first meters smashed his career best clocking an impressing 20.01. Merritt was third in 20.29.

The women’s race was as easy as it was fast for the Bahamas’ Debbie Ferguson-Mckenzie, who clocked 22.32 (=0.3m/s) the fastest time so far this year. USA's Lashauntea Moore was second with 22.66 and Laverne Jones-Ferrette from the US Virgin Islands was third with 22.88.

Williams dash PB... Felix improves her speed behind Jeter's win

In the men’s 100m, USA’s Ivory Williams ran a career’s best of 9.93 (+0.3m/s) climbing to the fifth position of the world season list. His compatriot Marc Jelks was second with 10.04 leaving British Tyron Edgar was third position with 10.09. Leroy Dixon was the winner of the second 100m heat with 10.16.

Carmelita Jeter clocked 10.97 (+1.3m/s) in the women’s 100m race, followed by her compatriots Allyson Felix who improved her season’s performance to 11.08 and Stefanie Durst who clocked 11.14.

Watt new PB

Australian Mitchell Watt, 21, long jumped 8.43m (+2.0m/s), setting a new career’s best, two weeks after he jumped his previous best of 8.34m in Madrid (4 July). Hussein Taher Al-Sabee of KSA was next best with 8.13 (1.0) and USA’s Brian Johnson with 8.04 (1.3) was third. These were the only 8m performers last night.

Culson upstages the 'A' racers

2005 World champion Bershawn Jackson demonstrated good shape winning the ‘A’ race of the men’s 400m Hurdles in 48.55sec. Following Jackson from the beginning of the race, Jamaica’s Danny McFarlane and Greece’s Periklis Iakovakis managed to get the second and third positions producing performances at 48.77 and 49.35 respectively.

But the hurdlers who dominated in the ‘B’ race, Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson and the Dominican Republic’s 2004 Olympic Champion Felix Sanchez were faster clocking 48.46 and 48.96 respectively.

The favourite of the women’s event Lashida Demus clocked 54.29 to defeat Tiffany Williams (54.60) and Romania’s Angela Morosanu, third place with 55.32.

Impressive come from behind victory for Sanders

Briton Nicola Sanders was impressive in the last 50m of the women’s 400m race. Entering the final straight in fifth position she increasingly accelerated crossing the finishing line in a season’s best 51.21, while Ukraine’s Nataliya Ryhyda was second with a personal best of 51.28.

Kanter's 69m beats Alekna

World and Olympic champion Gerd Kanter defeated Lithuania’s legendary exponsent of the Discus Throw Virgiljius Alekna, with a mighty 69.10m. Alekna placed second with 68.94m, leaving Hungary’s Zoltan Kovago third with 66.48m.

But another Hungarian, Krisztian Pars was the winner of the Hammer Throw with 78.81m, followed by Kuwait’s Mohamed Ali Al-Zankawi who threw 76.75m, while Russia’s Aleksey Zagornyi placed third with 76.75m

The women’s Pole Vault competition was at lower level compared than expected with Russia’s Tatyana Polnova clearing 4.56m to improve her best performance for this year, while in the women’s javelin throw the world record holder Czech Barbora Spotakova threw 62.93m to beat  Germany’s Christina Obergfoll (61.78m).

Finally, in the women’s Triple Jump the reigning World champion Cuba’s Yargelis Savigne dominated the event with 14.80m, followed by her compatriot Mabel Gay (14.44m) and Jamaica’s 2005 World champion Trecia Smith (14.26m)

Michalis Nikitaridis for the IAAF