The race got away cleanly first time at the gun and around the bend as the stagger revealed itself USA’s Ramon Clay was the first to make some headway. Yet as the race entered into the straight, all eyes were already on African and Commonwealth Champion Frank Fredericks in lane seven, who had stolen a half metre lead on Clay.
However, Fredericks posture soon started to stiffen slightly, as the former Nigerian Francis Obikwelu now Portuguese and competing for Europe in Madrid, powered into contention in lane nine.
The finish was desperately close and as both men flung their chests forwards and arms back in a classic dip finish, it was Obikwelu who took the win in 20.18 to Fredericks' 20.20. Britain’s European Cup winner Marlon Devonish finished third just in front of Clay, who ended up fourth in an equally tight finish, with both sprinters credited with 20.32.