Jamaican sprinter Warren Weir ran the first-ever sub-20 second 200-metre race in Canada on Saturday at the Edmonton International Track Classic.
Weir won the event in 19.90 seconds, ahead of countryman Jason Young at 19.96 and American Terrel Cotton (20.48). The time was wind-aided however with a 4.4-kilometre-an-hour tailwind down the backstretch.
"I'm pleased with the time, not so much with the wind," the 2012 Olympic bronze medallist said after the tight battle with Young. "Other than the wind it was an excellent day."
The third stop on the National Track League circuit featured several tightly contested races, including a virtual dead-heat in the men's 100-metre. American Rakieem Saleem got the victory in 10.00 seconds, the same time as runner-up Antoine Adams of St. Kitts. Jeff Demps of the U.S. was third in 10.02 seconds.
Paul Kipsiele Koech and his Kenyan teammates hoped to set a world record in the men's 3000-metre steeplechase, but their bid faded in the face of the stiff wind.
"The wind was so bad I could not run like the way I run in Europe," said Koech, the 2012 IAAF Diamond League champion, who won the Edmonton race in eight minutes 20.19 seconds. "We were pushing for that but the wind was so bad a it was very, very, very hard to run."
Teammate Haron Lagat played the rabbit and had the four Kenyans on track for a sub-eight-minute time when he dropped out with about 1,200 metres to go. With his other teammates — runner-up Hillary Kipsang Yego and Bernard Mbugu Nganga fading — Koech took off by himself with two laps left but couldn't handle the strong wind on the back stretches.
LaShauntea Moore of the United States won the women's 100 metres in 10.98 seconds ahead of teammate Tori Bowie, second in 11.04, and Jamaican Sheri-Ann Brooks, third in 11.08.
Canadian women triumph in 800 metres, place second in 100-metre hurdles
In the other women's events, Shalonda Solomon of the U.S. won the 200 metres in 22.41 seconds — bettering the Canadian record of 22.62 — American Monica Hargrove won the 400 metres in 51.71 seconds.
Melissa Bishop of Eganville, Ont., gave Canada a rare victory in the 800 metres in 2:02.14.
Chantel Malone of the British Virgin Islands won the long jump with a leap of 6.57 metres, American Amanda Bingson easily won the hammer throw at 71.57 metres and popular American LoLo Jones won the 100-metre hurdles in 12.49 seconds, nipping Edmonton's Angela Whyte, second in 12.52.
"I'm looking for a brand new kneecap and an ankle so if anybody has one I would like to borrow it," said Whyte who matched Jones almost stride for stride until the final few hurdles and matched her personal-best time of 12.50 seconds.
"I did what I wanted to do, compete. That was the biggest thing, get out with some of the best in the world a so I did my job, got out, was able to stay out and compete."
B.C. athletes give strong showing
In the other men's events, Olympic silver medallist Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic won the 400 metres in 45.81 seconds. Nick Symmonds used a strong finish to lead an American sweep in the 800 metres, winning in 1:44.86. Ryan Wilson of the U.S. won the 110 hurdles in 13.26, American Keith Moffat won the high jump at 2.15 metres.
Canadians won the other two field events: Kyle Nielsen of Langley, B.C., took the javelin with a throw of 76.37 metres and Dylan Armstrong of Kamloops, B.C., won the shot at 20.47 metres.
"It's OK," Dylan said of his effort. "I'm just getting ready to begin training hard. I have to get ready for Moscow (world championships), we don't have much time. My elbow is 100 per cent now. Mentally I feel really fresh, no stress. I hope to be in 21.50 shape or more, I think that's what it's going to take to medal in Moscow."