Doucoure upstages Liu Xiang, Johnson in Golden League
PARIS - Frenchman Ladji Doucoure caused a major upset at the opening Golden League meeting here, outpacing China's Olympic gold medallist Liu Xiang and four-time world champion Allen Johnson of the United States to win the 110m hurdles.
With the win, the 22-year-old Doucoure - who hit a hurdle in the 2004 Olympic final and finished eighth - sent out a warning to his rivals ahead of the August 6-14 world championships in Helsinki.
"It's great to win tonight, but it's at Helsinki that it will be important to be first," he said.
Ethiopia's world and Olympic 10,000m champion Kenenisa Bekele failed in his attempt at reducing his own record for the 5000m, coming home in 12:40.18, just over two seconds outside his record set in May 2004 in Hengelo, The Netherlands, but still the fourth best time ever.
Kenyan pace-making duo Martin Keino and Shadrack Korir set Bekele up at a record-breaking 7:32 at the 3km mark, but the Ethiopian was left to his own devices with four laps to go and ran out of gas.
"I wanted to break the world record tonight but it was a little windy and cold," said Bekele, who has had to overcome the tragic death of fiancee Alem Techale - the 2003 world youth 1500m champion - from a heart attack in January.
Bekele, who is also the world record holder in the 10,000m and four-time world cross-country champion, added, however, that it was unlikely he would compete at 5000m in Helsinki.
After a false start, Ghanaian veteran Aziz Zakari won the 100m in 10.04sec, a tenth of a second ahead of Portugal's Nigerian-born Olympic silver medallist Francis Obikwelu.
"I'm very happy with my win and my time," said Zakari. "This year, I'm in the best shape of my life. Next for me is Lausanne. And I'll go to Helsinki to win."
"It was not an easy race," said Carter. "I wanted to stay close to Keita because I knew he was a good starter. I was able to catch him at the end."
Kenyan William Yiampoy won the 800m in 1:45.98 in a sprint finish over Mbulaeni Mulaudzi of South Africa and Wilfred Bungei, also of Kenya.
Another Kenyan, Daniel Kipchirchir, won the 1500m in 3:30.01, ahead of Bernard Lagat, Olympic silver medallist in the colours of Kenya, but newly an American citizen, and world championship silver medallist Mehdi Baala of France.
In a good night for Kenya, they occupied all three top positions in the 3000m steeplechase with Ezekiel Kemboi winning in 8:09.14.
Tyler Christopher of Canada set a new national record in the 400m with a time of 44.69sec.
In field events, American Brad Walker won the pole vault, with a best of 5.80m, while Finland's Tero Pitkamaki won the javelin with 85.95m.
Sweden's Olympic winner, triple World Indoor champion, and European Indoor gold medallist Stefan Holm won the high jump with a best of 2.32m after a good battle with Jaroslav Baba of the Czech Republic and Russia's Yaroslav Rybakov.
In the women's events, Australia's reigning 400m hurdles world champion Jana Pittman set off at a cracking pace but was tracked down with 50 metres to go by former world junior champion Lashinda Demus of the United States - who won in 53.85sec - and Anna Jesien of Poland, fresh from her European Cup win in Florence last month.
In the 100m, local favourite Christine Arron produced a fantastic dip at the line to beat fellow veteran Chandra Sturrup of the Bahamas in a season's best of 11.03sec.
Kenya's Edith Masai won the 3000m in 8:31.27 while American Olympic gold medallist Joanna Hayes won the 100m hurdles in 12.60sec despite clipping a hurdle.
But Maria Mutola of Mozambique, who won the Golden League one-million-dollar jackpot in 2003, could only finish third in the 800m behind her nemesis at last year's Lausanne meet, Svetlana Cherkasova, who crossed the line in 1:57.52, and Zulia Calatayud of Cuba.
Olga Yegorova ensured a second middle-distance win for the Russians, beating Hind Dehiba of France home in 4:01.85 in the 1500m.
Olympic champion Tonique Williams-Darling strolled home to win the 400m in 49.69sec ahead of compatriot Christine Amertil.
In the triple jump, there was a Russian one-two, Tatyana Lebedeva coming out ahead of European Cup champion Anna Pyatykh with a best jump of 15.11m into a headwind.