Two new Asian records were the best times of the women’s 200m 1st round. Sri Lanka’s Susanthika Jayasinghe won the 4th heat in 22.44. She improved the former area record by 12 hundredths of second, and her personal best by 51/100ths. Chinese Li Xuemei took the 7th heat and equaled Jayasinghe’s mark. Xuemei entered the event with a personal best of 22.60. Both performances had the same wind reading, +1.8 m/s.
Overall the first round of this event didn’t produce any big surprises. The 1996 Olympic champion, France’s Marie-Jose Perec won the 3rd heat with 22.87 (wind -1.4).
The silver medallist of the 100m, Ukrainian Zhanna Pintussevich took the 1st heat in 22.85. Oceania’s record holder, Australian Melinda Gainsford-Taylor won the 2nd in 22.76.
Defending world champion, Jamaican Merlene Ottey was 3rd in Jayasinghe’s heat with 22.47, the same time as the 2nd place, Russian Yekaterina Leshchova, who set a personal best.
Another Jamaican, Juliet Cuthbert was the winner of heat 5 in 23.08 (wind -2.0). In this race Russian Natalya Voronova (22.63 this year) did not finish due to an injury suffered at the 60m mark.
The 1997 U.S. Champion Inger Miller won the 6th heat in 22.55, way ahead of the runner in 2nd, Chinese Liu Xiaomei (22.99).
In the 7th heat, won by Xuemei, Czech Republic’s Hana Benesova, the European under 23 champion was 2nd in 22.76.