Kirani James after winning the 400m at the London 2012 Olympic Games (Getty Images) © Copyright
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James and Sanchez impress in Linz

Olympic champions Kirani James and Felix Sanchez claimed victories in their respective one-lap specialties to highlight the Gugl Games in Linz, Austria, on Monday night (20).

James produced a dominant win as he powered around the lap to win the 400m in 44.46, his second fastest time of the season. Jonathan Borlee of Belgium was a distant second in 45.10 with Calvin Smith Jr edging fellow American Conrad Williams by just 0.01 in 45.34 for third.

In the 400m Hurdles, Felix Sanchez bounced back from an off night in Stockholm last Friday to win in 48.13. Jamaican Leford Green was second in 48.89, well clear of Olympic silver medallist and Stockholm winner Michael Tinsley, who clocked 49.49.

The highlight in the short sprints came courtesy of Ashmeade Nickel who led a Jamaican 1-2-3 in the men's 100m in 10.03, well clear of Michael Frater (10.13) and Jason Young (10.15).

Samantha Henry-Robinson won the women's race for Jamaica as well clocking 11.15, just ahead of Nigerian Gloria Asumnu (11.19).

In the 200m, Stockholm winner Charonda Williams won again, clocking 22.67 ahead of Bianca Knight (22.74), a member of the World record-setting U.S. 4x100m Relay team from London and Henry-Robinson who concluded her busy day with a third place finish over the half lap.

The sprint hurdles were fast, too. Russian record holder Sergey Shubenkov impressed in the men's 110m Hurdles, again equalling his 13.09 national mark, well clear of 2009 World champion Ryan Brathwaite (13.23).

In the women's 100m Hurdles race, Ginnie Crawford, who looked strong for seven hurdles in Stockholm last Friday, was even better in Linz, winning comfortably in 12.68 from Queen Harrison (12.77) and Olympic bronze medallist Kellie Wells (12.83).

The closest race of the night was the women's 3000m Steeplechase where Kenyan Lydia Chepkirui edged compatriot Hyvin Kiyeng by just 0.01 in 9:23.52. Ruth Bisibori was a distant third in 9:36.10 to round out a Kenyan top-three.

In the women's 800m Hannah England showed that it doesn't take a big field to produce a strong performance. In a race with just four starters and three finishers, England won in 1:59.66. Anna Pierce of the U.S. was second in 2:00.49, with Molly Beckwith (2:00.73) third.

In the field events, World champion Fabiana Murer collected a confidence-boosting victory in the Pole Vault with a first-attempt clearance at 4.65m, just her third of the season in eight competitions. Passing at 4.70m, she jumped once at 4.75m before calling it a night. Russia Anastasia Savchenko beat compatriot Anastasia Shvedova on countback at 4.50m for second.

In the men's Shot Put, which was contested in the city centre on Sunday (19), was won by Cory Martin with a 21.31m best, topping Ryan Whiting (20.84m) and Christian Cantwell (20.21) for a U.S. podium sweep.

In a close Discus Throw contest, Gerd Kanter edged Spaniard Frank Casanas, 65.22m to 65.08.

And in the women's Long Jump, Chelsea Hayes leaped 6.81m in the fifth round to take the victory over Veronika Shutkova of Belarus whose best of 6.64m.

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF

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