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Mutola wins jackpot

September 06, 2003 16:48 IST

World champion Maria Mutola powered to victory in the 800 metres to become the first outright winner of the $1 million Golden League jackpot in the final meeting of the series on Friday.

Sprinters Kelli White and Asafa Powell were also victorious on their returns to the track after both were involved in controversy at last month's World Championships.

American White won the women's 100 and 200 metres in Paris but is likely to be stripped of her medals after testing positive for a stimulant, while Jamaican Powell was disqualified, along with Jon Drummond, from the second round of the men's sprint.

White, 26, held off fast-finishing compatriot Chryste Gaines to win the 100 metres in Brussels in 10.87 seconds. Gaines was one hundredth of a second behind with Torri Edwards, world silver medallist, completing an American sweep in third (10.98).

White tested positive for the stimulant modafinil after her world 100 metres victory. It is not yet a banned substance but is due to be added to the International Association of Athletics Federations list next year.

The Californian said she had been prescribed modafinil to treat narcolepsy, or sleepiness.

"This is my first time on the track in seven or eight days. It went very well and tells me that I'm mentally strong," White told Sky Sports.

"It was important for me to be able to do that. If I didn't run well tonight I would have lost faith in myself.

"I was very worried about the reaction but they applauded me and welcomed me here and I really do appreciate that," she added.

Powell was the surprise winner of the men's 100 in a personal best time of 10.02, ahead of Americans Justin Gatlin (10.09) and Bernard Williams (10.10).

"This is a kind of revenge for what happened to me in Paris," Powell said. "I was very eager to win this one."


Mutola's victory surprised no one.

The 30-year-old from Mozambique had won the previous five Golden League meetings and pulled away from the field on the final bend to win in 1:57.78.

Mutola said she was going to donate some of the jackpot money to her foundation in Mozambique.

"I didn't really think about it (spending the money). The main plan was for the foundation but there are other projects I can help back home," she told reporters.

Haile Gebrselassie won the final race of the night, the men's 10,000 metres, but failed to break his world record.

The Ethiopian, who was second to compatriot Kenenisa Bekele over the distance at last month's world championships, won the race in 26:29.22, the fastest time of the year.

But the four-times world champion was well outside the world mark of 26:22.75 he set in Hengelo in June 1998.

Earlier, Qatar's world champion Saif Saaeed Shaheen won the 3,000 metres steeplechase in the fastest time of the year, eight minutes 0.06 seconds ahead of Kenyan Paul Koech (8:00.42).

The 20-year-old Shaheen, who was born in Kenya but was granted citizenship of the Gulf state last month, gestured for his former team mate to take the lead with two laps to go before attacking in the final 300 metres for victory.

World champion Tatyana Lebedeva of Russia won the women's triple jump with 15.14 metres to triumph over Yamile Aldama (15.00). The Cuban, who has a world leading mark of 15.29, did not compete in Paris because she is seeking British citizenship.

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