Johnson sets world best in 110 hurdles

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Hicham El Guerrouj rebounded from his startling loss in Rome last week, winning the 1,500 meters on the week-old Pontaise track.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:07 IST
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Hicham El Guerrouj rebounded from his startling loss in Rome last week, winning the 1,500 meters on the week-old Pontaise track at the Athletissima Super Grand Prix. Four-time world champion Allen Johnson of the United States posted a season's best time of 13.05 seconds to win the 110-meter hurdles despite cool, drafty conditions, while double world champion Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic extended his two-year unbeaten streak in the 400 hurdles, setting another season's world best in 47.86. El Guerrouj, who was so shaken by last week's end to a 29-race victory streak that he was considering skipping the Olympics next month. The Moroccan led easily until the final 300 meters, when he suddenly slowed. But unlike in Rome, he refused to give up and nipped Isaac Songok of Kenya for one of his closest victories. Songok crossed in 3:32.22, while Ivan Heshko of Ukraine was third in 3:33.00. Last week in Rome, the Moroccan finished a distant eighth, more than two seconds behind surprise winner Rashid Ramzi of Bahrain. Sanchez, the 2003 world champion, collected his 38th consecutive victory in the 400 hurdles, breaking the 48-second barrier for the first time this year. The New York-born hurdler, who grew up in southern California but competes for the Dominican Republic, is undefeated in the event since 2001. Sanchez finished ahead of Llewellyn Herbert of South Africa, runner-up with a time of 48.03. Dai Tamesue of Japan was third in 48.63. Svetlana Cherkasova out sprinted Olympic and world champion Maria Mutola in the final 100 meters to win the 800 in 1:58.91, edging the Mozambique runner by 0.15 seconds. Mutola the 2003 Golden League Jackpot winner and six time world indoor 800 meter champion was seeking her fourth victory after winning in 1996, 2002 and '03. Asafa Powell of Jamaica won the men's 100 in 10.00, ahead of Francis Obikwelu, who posted a Portuguese record of 10.02. Aziz Zakari of Ghana, the winner in Rome last week, was third in 10.13. Christine Arron of France, the anchor of the 4x100 meter gold-medal winning team at the worlds in Paris last year, confirmed her good shape by winning the 100 meters in 11.01, her best performance of the season. Arron, the European 100 meter record holder since 1998 and the third-fastest female sprinter in history, finished ahead of Jamaica's Aleen Bailey, runner-up in 11.13, while Yuliya Nesterenko of Belarus crossed third in 11.17. Olga Yegorova of Russia won the 1,500 in 4:01.41 for her fifth consecutive victory. But her time was also well behind the season's best of 3:58.28 set by Elvan Abeylegesse of Turkey in Moscow in June. Yelena Zadorozhnaya was runner-up in 4:01.72. (AP)

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