Justin Gatlin wins 100 at Prefontaine

Updated: June 1, 2013, 8:14 PM ET
Associated Press

EUGENE, Ore. -- Justin Gatlin and Mary Cain both belied their ages Saturday in the Prefontaine Classic.

Gatlin won the 100 meters at the Diamond League meet in a wind-aided time of 9.88 seconds, besting fellow Americans Michael Rodgers and Ryan Bailey. The 31-year old, who won the bronze medal at the London Games, joked afterward: "I just age like wine."

Then 17-year-old Cain broke the high school record in the 800 in 1:59.51, placing fifth in an elite field that included Olympic bronze medalist Yekaterina Poistogova and Janeth Jepkosgei, third in last year's world championships.

Cain, from Bronxville High School in New York, topped the record of 2:02.04 set by Amy Weissenbach of Harvard-Westlake high in 2011.

"Down that backstretch I think I was the most determined person out there," said Cain, who battled fellow American Alysia Montano to the finish. "I said to myself, 'I'm going to break that 2-minute barrier.' "

Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi won the 800 in 1:56.72, a meet record and a world best this season. But the sellout crowd of 12,816 erupted into cheers when Cain's record was announced. One fan shouted to the high school junior: "Come to Oregon!"

Gatlin won the Olympic gold medal at the Athens Games but his promising career was derailed in 2006 by a positive drug test that led to a four-year ban. He has since worked hard to repair his past and was the defending champion at the Prefontaine, winning last year in 9.9 in a tuneup for the U.S. Olympic trials.

"I felt like I had a pretty good start, and I brought it home pretty good," Gatlin said. "Last year, my 20 meters before the finish line wasn't as strong as I wanted it to be. That's what we've been working on."

In the women's 400, Olympic gold medalist Sanya-Richards Ross finished last in her first race since having surgery on her right big toe last September. The event featured all three medalists from the London Games, Richards-Ross, Christine Ohuruogu and DeeDee Trotter.

"It was rough today," Richards-Ross said. "I realized I wasn't going to really push it as well as I wanted to."

Armantle Montsho of Botswana won the 400 in 50.01 seconds. In other events, Hellen Obiri of Kenya won the women's 1,500 in 3:58.58, and Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba took the 5,000 in 14:42.01.

Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price won the women's 100 in 10.71. American Allyson Felix fell to seventh.

Beijing Olympic gold medalist LaShawn Merritt won the men's 400 in 44:32, and Jamaican Nickel Ashmeade ran the 200 in 20:14 to best Walter Dix in 20:16.

In the 5,000, Kenyan Edwin Cheruiyot Soi won in 13:04.75, just in front of Olympic gold medalist Mo Farah of Britain in 13:05.88.

Farah, who won gold medals in both the 5,000 and 10,000 at the London Games, was supposed to run in the 10,000 at Hayward Field on Friday night but withdrew from the race a day earlier because of a stomach bug he picked up two weeks ago at a meet in California.

He decided instead to run the 5,000 instead with training partner and friend Galen Rupp.

Rupp, who won the silver in the 10,000 in London, came in sixth.

Ethiopian Mohammed Aman won the men's 800 in 1:44.42. American Nick Symmonds, a local favorite who trains with the Oregon Track Club, finished third.

Kenyan David Rushida, world record holder in the 800, had to withdraw from the Pre because of a right knee injury. Rushida had an MRI on Thursday in Eugene, revealing bruising of the bone and ligaments.


Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press