Greene, Guevara win gold at Home Depot Invitational

Posted: Monday, June 02, 2003

CARSON, Calif. Olympic champion Maurice Greene, buoyed by an attitude adjustment, sped to victory in the men's 100 meters, and Mexican star Ana Guevara triumphed easily in the women's 400 meters at the first Home Depot Track & Field Invitational on Sunday.

Greene won in 9.94 seconds the second-fastest time in the world this year and nearly four-tenths of a second faster than he ran while finishing third in the Oregon Track Classic on May 17. J.J. Johnson finished second in 10.05 seconds.

''Everybody's been saying I'm done, I'm through, I'm washed up,'' an animated Greene said. ''I think as the season goes on, I'm going to get faster and faster. In Portland, I felt good, I just didn't have it. It was very cold. There's no excuse. The other runners prepared better.''

Guevara, unbeaten in her specialty since finishing third in the 2001 World Championships, also used a strong finish to win in 49.62 seconds more than a half-second faster than runner-up Tonique Williams of The Bahamas.

Twelve events were contested in the first competition at the $150 million Home Depot Center on the Cal State Dominguez Hills campus.

Among the other winners were Olympic champions Allen Johnson in the men's 110-meter high hurdles and Stacy Dragila in the women's pole vault.

''I felt a lot better today than I did in Portland,'' Greene said. ''Competing at home is great. This is supposed to be our official training base. I said, 'I can't let anyone come in my house and beat me.'''

The 28-year-old Greene credited his best friend, hurdler Larry Wade, with straightening him out after the Portland meet.

''It just wasn't the old Maurice Greene out there,'' Greene said. ''You've got to have fun, enjoy what you're doing, let it happen, don't try to force it. I'm getting back to that. You win some, you lose some. I think I can come back very strong from a loss.''

He certainly did in this race over what he called one of the fastest surfaces in the United States.

''He was just too serious,'' Wade said. ''It seemed like he was too concerned, too pressured. I told him to just go out there and relax. This one, you saw a totally different Maurice Greene. He's in the best shape I've seen him in since '99.''

Greene clocked 9.79 seconds that year to set the world record that stood until Tim Montgomery, who didn't compete in this meet, ran 9.78 last September.

''You might see 9.70, 9.75,'' Wade said. ''No question, Maurice is by far the fastest man in the world. Tim holds the record, but Maurice is the fastest man in the world.''

Greene predicted he'll win the 100 and 200 at the World Championships in August. Of course, Montgomery might have something to say about that.

Guevara thanked the many fans from Mexico who were among the announced crowd of 10,094 for coming north to support her effort. She ran a victory lap waving the Mexican flag.

''I'm very happy with this race, I'm happy because I run under 50 (seconds),'' said Guevara, who was timed in 49.34 seconds for a meet record in winning at the Prefontaine Classic on May 24 her first competition in the 400 this year.

Guevara said she might have run as fast as 49.30 at this meet had it not been for the wind, which seemed to affect her in the first half of the race. Suddenly, as she entered the final turn, Guevara accelerated and was clearly the best after that in extending her winning streak in 400-meter races to 16.

Guevara hopes to become the first woman from Mexico to win a gold medal in track and field at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

Allen Johnson's time of 13.20 seconds in the hurdles was the fastest in the world this year, but it was wind-aided.

Dragila cleared 14 feet, 9 inches more than a foot below her lifetime best.

Other winners were Kelli White in the women's 100 (10.79 seconds); Regina Jacobs in the women's 1500 (4:03.43); Aretha Hill in the women's discus (212-4); Miesha McKelvy in the women's 100-meter hurdles (12.93 seconds); Alvin Harrison in the men's 400 (45.02 seconds); Jason Lunn in the men's 1500 (3:37.59); Kevin Toth in the men's shot put (71 feet, 2 inches), and Hussein Al-Sabee of Saudi Arabia in the men's long jump (27 feet).

Teenage sensation Allyson Felix finished seventh in the women's 100 in 11.35 seconds. Two days earlier, she ran a wind-aided 11.12 seconds in a high school meet. The 200 is considered a stronger event for Felix she set a world junior record of 22.11 seconds at a Grand Prix event in Mexico four weeks ago.

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