World bronze medallist Allen Johnson of the USA defended his World Athletics Final title here in Monaco with a stunning 13.09 performance in the men’s 110m Hurdles.
Johnson improved on his own Competition record set two years ago at the inaugural edition of the World Athletics Final to become the only athlete to win all three editions of this competition.
The four-time World champion and former Olympic champion defeated his team-mate Dominique Arnold by the smallest of margins with another American, silver Olympic medallist Terrence Trammell in third in 13.17.
Despite an average start, Johnson managed to build-up a visible lead mid-way through the race. Running on his outside Arnold was gradually catching up with the US champion and it looked like he would have what it takes to upset Johnson. Coming off the last hurdle the two sprinted evenly to the line with Johnson managing to keep a one-hundredth of a second lead over Arnold.
Trammell who had been the fastest out of the blocks just managed to hold on to third with fast finishing Stanislavs Olijars closing in 13.17 as well.
World champion Ladji Doucouré who suffered a minor injury in his left calf last week and was only given the medical go-ahead to compete here two days ago, came in sixth in 13.27.
“It was a very tough year for the 110m Hurdles,” said Johnson. “Every competition is like a World Championships final. I am happy for Dominique Arnold who ran so consistently this year and I am happy that I came out healthy. I am still motivated to continue until Beijing 2008.”
“I knew what I had to do today to win. I ran very strongly at half point and that was good enough to win today.”
“I am disappointed I could not defend my World Championships title for my first race at the Stade Louis II,” said Ladji Doucouré. “Because of last week’s injury I couldn’t really accelerate in the race. I have made too many mistakes today to step on the podium. That’s sport!”