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Shaheen outclasses opposition for year's best time

Written by: Staff

ATHENS, July 3 (Reuters) Double world champion Saif Saaeed Shaheen demolished the opposition on his way to setting the fastest time of the year in the men's 3,000 metres steeplechase at the Athens Super Grand Prix today.

The former Kenyan athlete, who now competes for Qatar, failed in his attempt to break his world record but clocked seven minutes 56.32 seconds to finish over 12 seconds ahead of 2000 Olympic champion Reuben Kosgei.

''It was a difficult race,'' said Shaheen, who set the world record of 7:53.63 in Brussels in 2004.

''I made a bad start, found my rhythm later but the weather didn't help.'' Poland's Wioletta Janowksa took nearly eight seconds off her personal best to clock 9:17.15 for victory in the women's steeplechase -- the fastest time this year.

''I am amazed by my time. I never knew I could run that well,'' she said.

Portugal's Francis Obikwelu took advantage of the absence of joint world record holder Justin Gatlin to win the 100 metres on a cool and blustery evening in 10.03 seconds and lay down a marker for next month's European championships.

American Gatlin, who shares the record of 9.77 with Jamaican Asafa Powell, pulled out of the meeting with a mild leg strain.

Former world champion Torri Edwards produced her best performance of the last three years to take the women's race in in 11.14. World champion and fellow American Lauryn Williams was fifth in 11.39.

Russia's Olympic 800 metres champion Yuriy Borzakovskiy marked his return to the site of his gold medal victory with the best time in the world this year.

Coming on the outside from ninth place on the final bend, he took the race with a trademark surge in a time of 1:43.42.

Last year's Golden League jackpot winner Tatyana Lebedeva beat fellow Russian Anna Pyatykh the women's triple jump with a best effort of 15.23 metres.

The promising 23-year-old Panamanian Irving Saladino upset the odds when he won the men's long jump with a leap of 8.65 metres, ahead of world and Olympic champion Dwight Phillips who was second with 8.30.

Reuters DH VP0232

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