Athletics: Montgomery makes his mark

American 100metre runner Tim Montgomery emerged from the shadow of Olympic Champion Maurice Greene to equal the second-fastest time in history at the Golden League meeting in Oslo last night.

American 100metre runner Tim Montgomery emerged from the shadow of Olympic Champion Maurice Greene to equal the second-fastest time in history at the Golden League meeting in Oslo last night.

Montgomery - who trains with triple-Olympic gold medallist Marion Jones - held off a strong challenge from Ato Boldon to storm home in 9.84seconds, the quickest time in the world this year.

Greene’s absence from the Exxon Mobil Bislett games was due to organisers refusing his demands for a stg£70,000 appearance fee.

And in perfect sprinting conditions - including a following wind exactly on the legal limit of 2.0m/s - Montgomery could have gone even quicker had he not raised his arm in celebration before the line.

‘‘When I saw the time I could not believe it. 9.84. Wow. It was not a good race, it was fantastic,’’ said the 26-year-old, who borrowed Jones’ spikes for the race.

‘‘That’s why they call it the Golden League,’’ added runner-up Boldon. ‘‘You can run 9.88 and still lose. Tim’s race was fantastic.’’

There were no such surprises in the women’s 100m as Jones maintained her perfect record in this season’s Golden League with a winning time of 10.94sec, beating Zhana Pintusevich-Block of the Ukraine (11.05) into second.

If the IAAF approves proposals to disqualify athletes after one false start, however, the fastest woman on earth would have been watching from the famous Bislett terraces.

In what is turning into one of the season’s great rivalries, Austria’s 800m queen Stephanie Graf (1:58.20) continued her dominance over Maria Mutola (1:58.70) to make it three Golden League wins out of three against the Mozambique athlete.

And Romanian Violeta Beclea-Szekely (4:01.45) also made it a hat-trick of triumphs in the 1500m as she overtook experienced American Suzy Favor-Hamilton (4:03.60) on the final bend to streak away.

Jones, Graf and Beclea-Szekely need just two wins from the next four Golden League meetings to earn a share of 50 kilos of gold.

Ukrainian 400m hurdler Tetyana Tereshcuk-Antipova (54.30) repeated her win in Paris last week while American Allen Johnson, the 1996 Olympic Champion, took the men’s 110m hurdles in 13.21.

Kenya dominated the men’s distance and middle distance events with wins for Paul Bitok in the 5000m (13:00.10) and Wilson Boit Kipketer in the 3000m steeplechase (8:12.63).

In the 800m Wilfred Bungei recorded a win in 1:44.91, while Edith Masai took the women’s 5000m in 14:36.06.

But the evening’s blue ribbon event, the Dream Mile, belonged to the impressive young Algerian Ali Saidi Sief, who held off Kenya’s Bernard Lagat in a thrilling finish to come home in three minutes 33.04 seconds.

In the field Inga Babakova of the Ukraine won the women’s high jump with a clearance of two metres, Kevin Dilworth of the USA leapt 8.15m to take the long jump and Germany’s Peter Blank launched the javelin 86.90m to win the event with his one and only throw.

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