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September 8, 2000
Harrison warning to JohnsonMitch Phillips
American Alvin Harrison cruised to an Australian all-comers 400 metres record of 44.18 seconds on Friday and warned compatriot Michael Johnson he is gunning for gold in Sydney.
Harrison's time in a warm-up meet was the fourth-fastest in the world this year - only Johnson has run faster - and just 0.09 seconds outside his personal best set four years ago.
"I just wanted to run a clean, technical race and then the times will follow," he said. "I still have a few things to work on but I'm pleased with how things are going."
Harrison looked smooth and elegant from the start and comfortable at the finish on a windless night.
Asked if he could challenge world record holder Johnson (43.18), who is strongly favoured to retain his title in Sydney, he said: "I'm a competitor and I've not been training to win silver.
"I'll concentrate on my own running, getting to the final, and then if all goes well I will be out to challenge Michael for that gold."
Harrison's twin brother Calvin was also happy after crossing the line second in a personal best of 44.64 seconds.
"I'm ecstatic about that and I'm really pleased for Alvin. It's a victory for Team Harrison," he said.
Calvin is hoping to claim a berth in the American 4x400 metres relay alongside his brother, who won a gold in the event in Atlanta after finishing fourth in the individual 400.
There were mixed fortunes for Australia at the meet as shot putter Justin Anlezark set a national record but sprint hope Matt Shirvington pulled up with what looked like a thigh strain after running the 100 metres.
Anlezark, who is set to become the first Australian man to compete in an Olympic shot competition since 1960, broke his own record by one cm with a throw of 19.88 metres.
Kerrin McCann set a new Australian 5,000 metres record with a time of 15 minutes 08.69 seconds, taking more than two seconds off the existing mark.
It gave the healthy crowd something to cheer in a meet that attracted athletes from more than 20 countries but few of the big names training in the region.
Shirvington, tipped by American head coach John Chaplin as a possible Olympic finalist, looked in some discomfort after clocking 10.30 and trailing winner Kim Collins (10.21) of St Kitts and Nevis for the second time in a week.
He clutched at the abducter muscle at the top of his left leg and is now unlikely to take his scheduled place in Sunday's meet on the Gold Coast.
Former world record holder Emma George was the only competitor in the pole vault and settled for a best clearance of 4.35 metres.
She will need to find a dramatic improvement to challenge American world champion Stacy Dragila in the inaugural women's Olympic pole vault competition in Sydney.
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