25 April Rio de Janeiro - American Larry Wade won the 110-meter hurdles in the first Grand Prix meet of the season Sunday, edging Olympic champion Allen Johnson by 0.08 seconds.
"It's going to be a lot harder than I thought to get back into shape,'' said Johnson, also an American. ``My technique just isn't where it should be. I'll just have to go back and work hard.''
Wade finished in 13.49 seconds. Johnson followed in 13.57, well off his best of 12.92.
Experience paid of in the 400m hurdles, as veteran Samuel Matete (ZAM) edged out rising US star Angelo Taylor to win the event at the Celio de Barros track in Rio this morning in 48.97, ahead of Taylor and Zimbabwes Ken Harnden. The other favoured athlete for this event, Jamaicas Dinsdale Morgan took fifth place, behind local athlete Eronilde Nuñes De Araujo.
The crowd, accompanied by rhythmic drumming of a Rio samba group, cheered on Brazilian sprinter Claudinei da Silva to victory in the 100 and 200.
Silva won the 100 in 10.30, and took the 200 in 20.47. Americans finished second in both races, with Tony McCall running 10.55 in the 100, and Rohsaan Griffin 20.71 in the 200. Griffin took third place in the 100m and McCall third in the 200m. Allen Johnson fared still worse in the mens 200m, where he trailed in in 8th position over a second behind the winner, Brazils Claudinei Da Silva
Promising Jamaican James Beckford won the long jump with a leap of 8.4 meters . "I will improve even more this season,'' he said. "Every year I am getting better.''
Czech Sarka Kasparkova, the world champion in the women's triple jump, finished third behind Bulgaria's Teresa Marinova and Greece's Paraskevi Tsiamita.
"It was a bad day for me,'' said Kasparkova, who had a mark of 14.1 meters. "It was as though I fell asleep in the field.'' Marinova won with 14.50 meters