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Nesterenko is fastest woman

August 22, 2004 01:44 IST

Yuliya Nesterenko of Belarus sped to an unexpected victory in the women's 100 metres final at the Athens Olympics on Saturday.

The high-striding Belarussian clocked 10.93 seconds to edge Lauryn Williams into second place.

Williams, the leading American in the early rounds, clocked 10.96 seconds, one-hundredth of a second ahead of Jamaica's Veronica Campbell.

The field had been weakened by the absence of defending champion Marion Jones, who failed to qualify for the sprint at the Games, as well as the first two women across the line in last year's Paris world championships, Kelli White and Torri Edwards, who are serving doping bans.

Twice Olympic champion Gail Devers, who took the last place on the American team when Edwards was banned, was eliminated in the semi-finals along with France's former European champion Christine Arron.

Swede Carolina Kluft added the Olympic heptathlon gold medal to the world title she won in Paris last year by taking first place with 6,952 points.

The 21-year-old Swede began the day with a 240-point lead, extended it further in the long jump and javelin and completed the 800 comfortably to win the title.

The women's discus title was won by Russia's 2001 world champion Natalya Sadova who denied the hosts their first athletics gold of the Games.

Anastasia Kelesidou was poised to win the title for Greece after a throw of 66.68 metres but was relegated to the silver-medal position after Sadova replied with 67.02 with her penultimate throw.

Jamaican Asafa Powell, Portugal's Francis Obikwelu and American Shawn Crawford each looked in awesome form in the second round of the men's 100 metres on a warm, still evening.

Powell, twice winner over defending champion Maurice Greene this year, looked to have the measure of the American again when they met in the sixth heat.

The 21-year-old Jamaican was level with Greene at 70 metres, glanced to his left to confirm he was going to qualify then eased up to finish second behind the three-times world champion.

Obikwelu, who defeated Greene at the Paris Golden League meeting last month, gave an even more startling exhibition of controlled power.

The Nigerian-born Portuguese flew into the lead, then slowed almost as dramatically but still crossed the line in a national record of 9.93 seconds.

Crawford, the fastest man in the world this year, discarded the cap and the sunglasses he had sported in the first round to clock the fastest time of the heats. His time of 9.89 was only one-hundredth of a second outside the season's best.

Defending women's pole vault champion Stacy Dragila, the sport's pioneer, failed to qualify for Tuesday's final. The 33-year-old American was in tears as she left the Olympic stadium.

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