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September 25, 2000
Anier Garcia stuns the fieldThe Rediff Team
The 110m hurdles race they said would be between defending champion Allen Johnson of the US, and world record holder Colin Jackson of Great Britain.
So much for punditry -- Cuba's Anier Garcia turned in a stunner of a run, breasting the tape in 13 seconds flat.
Terrence Trammell of the US came in second, in 13.16 and Mark Crear, who famously broke his arm 14 days before Atlanta, yet raced to a silver, this time had to settle for the bronze.
A false start seemed to upset the rhythm of the fancied runners -- Johnson in particular crashed into every hurdle in his path, and ended up coming fourth in 13.23.
The 24-year-old Garcia, the world silver medallist, in contrast, ran a near-perfect race, toppling the second hurdle but then hitting his rhythm to sail over the rest, heading his nearest rival by a good 0.16 of a second -- which, over the 110m, is one heck of a lead.
The big Cuban, who also won the 1997 indoor 60 metres gold, kept his form throughout the race, barely disturbing any of the 10 barriers to win by almost two metres.
Johnson went into the final as the only man under 13 seconds this season.
He had seemed the likely victor after winning in Atlanta four years ago and also taking the 1995 and 1997 world titles.
But Jackson, the world record holder, won his second world title last year when Johnson was forced out of the semifinals with injury.
There was meagre consolation for the pair, with Johnson finishing fourth and Jackson in fifth. Jackson's world record of 12.91 seconds at least survived the night, as did Johnson's Games record of 12.95.
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