05 MAY 2001 General News

Bad day for US sprinters at Brazil Grand Prix

Bad day for US sprinters at Brazil Grand Prix
6 May 2001 – Rio de Janeiro -The United States sprinters were frustrated at the Brazilian athletics Grand Prix on Sunday, with defeats for their relay team as well as for Olympic gold medallists Brian Lewis and Dennis Mitchell.

Lewis, gold medallist in the U.S 4x100 metres relay team at the Seville world championships and Sydney Olympics, could only manage a disappointing fifth place in the 200 metres.

Veteran Mitchell, who won gold in the relay team at the 1992 Olympics, lost out in a photo finish to Brazil's Claudio Roberto Souza in the 100 metres.

Both U.S. runners were later in the team which finished second to Brazil in the 4x100 metres relay.

Lewis said his block slipped at the start of his individual event, won by Brazil's Andre Domingos da Silva in 20.42

"It's the third time it’s happened to me in competition. After that, Andre ran a good race. I'm just going to go back and train as hard as I can for the rest of the season," he said.

Mitchell, who lost the 100 metres by one hundredth of a second, said he thought he had finished first. Souza won in 10.43.

"I don't know where he (Souza) came from," he said. "But when you race in somebody's country, you have to win well."

There was no doubt over the relay result, however, Brazil finished in 39.11 followed by the U.S. in 39.45 with Mitchell unable to make up the gap on the final lap.

Despite the Brazilian successes in the sprints, American athletes performed better over the sticks, with Mark Crear recording his season’s best with 13.48 in the 110 metres event and his compatriot Dawane Wallace following him across the line one-hundredth of a second later. Olympic champion Anier Garcia, who was scheduled to participate, was a late withdrawal from the competition, as were his compatriots Ivan Pedroso (long jump) and Yoel Hernandez (110m hurdles).

The USA also took first and second in the 400 metres hurdles, won by William Porter in 49.34 ahead of Calvin Davis in 49.61.

In the women’s events, Debbie Ferguson (BAH) led a Caribbean trio across the finish line in the 200 metres (22.88), with Beverley Macdonald and Merlene Frazer of Jamaica taking second and third places.

Fabiane dos Santos of Brazil set a seasonal world best in the 800 metres with a time 2:00.56 after holding off a strong challenge from Jolanda Steblovnik-Ceplak. Slovenia’s Ceplak trailed dos Santos by just 0.29 at the finish.

American duo Teri Steer-Tunks and Connie Price-Smith were relegated to second and third place respectively in the women’s shot put, as victory went to the Belarus athlete Nadezhda Ostapchuck, who threw 18.94 metres to Steer-Tunks’ 18.32.            Full results can be found in the results section of www.iaaf.org