Liu wins 110 hurdles with season’s third-best time at Athletissima


LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) – World record holder Liu Xiang won the 110-meter hurdles Tuesday at the Athletissima Grand Prix, running the season’s third-best time despite unseasonably cold temperatures.

Tyson Gay of the United States won the men’s 200 with the season’s fourth-best time.

Liu, who set the record last year on the Pontaise track, won in 13.01 seconds. Anwar Moore of the United States was second in 13.12 and Aries Merritt was third in 13.18. At race time, the temperature was 52 degrees.

Last year, Liu ran 12.88 to break the world record he previously shared with Colin Jackson of Britain.

Lausanne was the second European outdoor event this year for Liu, who was beaten by Dayron Robles in Paris last Friday. The Chinese hurdler was hoping to race Robles but the Cuban withdrew from Tuesday’s race.

“I feel excellent to come back to Lausanne even if the weather wasn’t good,” Liu said. “In Paris, I wasn’t really fit but I felt better here.”

In New York last month, Liu, the Olympic and world champion, ran 12.92 – the fastest time this year.

Gay, who posted the second-fastest time in history when he ran 19.62 at the U.S. trials in Indianapolis last month, finished in 19.78.

“I’m more surprised at my time than the victory,” said Gay, whose knee has been bothering him since the U.S. trials. “I didn’t think I wouldn’t win. I’m 50 percent right now. I didn’t think about my knee, or anything, I just thought I’d run as fast as I could. It’s doing OK. Maybe when I get back to the room I might ache a little bit, but right now I’m fully focused on running my next meet.”

Gay is the fastest combination 100 and 200 sprinter of all-time. At nationals, he tied his 100 personal best of 9.84, before clocking the second-fastest 200 of all time with 19.62. Only world record holder Michael Johnson has run faster in 19.32.

Gay said he was hoping for a world record in Sheffield, England on Sunday at the British Grand Prix.

Usain Bolt, who smashed the long-standing Jamaican record when he ran 19.75 in June, was second in 20.11, and world silver medalist Wallace Spearmon third in 20.42.

“I was expecting to run under 20 but with this weather it’s difficult,” Bolt said. “I’m from the Caribbean so I’m not used to it. But it’s a fast track.”

World champion Michelle Perry won the women’s 100 hurdles in 12.60, the sixth-best performance this season.

“I think if it was warmer I probably would have run faster,” Perry said. “All this cold air was hitting my legs, and I was trying to keep my composure, but as long as I made it through the race healthy I’m happy.”

The American again outran European indoor and outdoor champion Suzanna Kallur, who posted her season’s best at 12.62. The Swede was also second to Perry in Paris and Oslo, Norway. Lolo Jones of the United States was third in 12.74.

“The race was almost perfect until the ninth hurdle, which I knocked down,” Kallur said. “After that I lost my rhythm, and stumbled and all my muscles tensed up. It’s the third time I’m second. I hope to be able to win in Rome.”

Anchored by 100 world record holder Asafa Powell, Jamaica won the men’s 400 relay in 38.75, ahead of Britain in 38.78. The Dutch were third with 39.37. It marked Powell’s first race since injuring his groin at the national championships on June 23.

Brad Walker set a meet record in the pole vault, winning with a jump of 19-4 3/4 to better world record holder Sergey Bubka’s previous mark of 19-4 1/4 from 1992. The American failed all three attempts at 19-9 3/4.

Bahamas’ sprint revelation Derrick Atkins ran 10.04 to win the men’s 100, which lacked the field’s top stars. Churandy Martina of the Dutch Antilles was second in 10.10, while Shawn Crawford of the United States finished third with a season-best time of 10.13.

“Everyday I step on the track, I’m there to win regardless who is in the race,” Atkins said. “The main focus for me tonight was to win and I did that.”

American Torri Edwards won the women’s 100 in 11.00. Olympic 200 champion Veronica Campbell – who posted the season’s world best of 10.89 at the Jamaican championships in June – was runner-up in 11.07, while Me’Lisa Barber of the United States finished third in 11.11.

“It was cold but I wasn’t really bothered by the weather because I was well prepared,” Edwards said. “This race was definitely preparation for the world championships.”

Worlds will be Aug. 25-Sept. 2 in Osaka, Japan.

Reigning 100 and 200 European champion Kim Gevaert of Belgium was only fourth in 11.21.

Irving Saladino of Panama won the men’s long jump with a leap of 27 feet, 5 1/4 inches. Godfrey Mokoena of South Africa was second with 26-1, while Salim Sdiri of France was third with 25-8.

Russia’s Tatiana Lebedeva won the women’s triple jump at 47 5 3/4, falling short of the nearly 12-year-old world record of 50-10 1/4 she’d been hoping to break.

Marija Sestak of Slovenia was second with a jump of 46-91/2, and Keila Costa of Brazil came third with a leap of 46-9.

Sweden’s Olympic and world heptathlon champion Carolina Kluft – who requested a long jump be added to the program – won with a season best of 22-5 1/4. Oksana Udmurtova of Russia was second with 21-10, while Tatiana Lebedeva was third with 21-8.

Kluft’s highly anticipated showdown with longtime rival Eunice Barber, the 2003 long jump world champion, never really materialized. The Frenchwoman placed fourth with 20-10 3/4 after declining to make a sixth jump. Barber had complained of a slight health worry ahead of the meeting.

Associated Press Writer Frank Jordans contributed to this report.

AP-ES-07-10-07 1815EDT