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Athletics: Curtis Mitchell captures US 200m title

Curtis Mitchell held off a late charge from former three-time national champion Wallace Spearmon to win the men's 200 metre crown at the US Track and Field Championships on Sunday.

SACRAMENTO: Curtis Mitchell held off a late charge from former three-time national champion Wallace Spearmon to win the men's 200 metre crown at the US Track and Field Championships on Sunday.

The 25-year-old Mitchell flashed across the finish line in 20.13 seconds to claim his first US national championship after winning the bronze last year.

Mitchell went down in the finish area clutching the back of his leg, but said later that it wasn't serious and that he was just having problems with the blistering heat.

"I am fine, just hot conditions out here and a fast race," said Mitchell, who was the fifth ranked 200 metre runner in the world at the end of last year. "It is always a pleasure to race great athletes and come out with a win."

Spearmon finished second in 20.19 while Maurice Mitchell was third with a time of 20.30.

The 29-year-old Spearmon, who has a personal best of 19.65 seconds, said he may be nearing the end of his career but he isn't going to do down without a fight.

"The young guys coming up they are going to have to take it from me. I am not going to give it to them," said Spearmon, who is still seeking his first Olympic medal.

Spearmon finished third but was later disqualified from the 200m final at the Beijing Olympics for a lane violation. He placed fourth in the 200 at the 2012 London Olympics.

Olympic relay gold medallist Jeneba Tarmoh edged out Kimberlyn Duncan to win the women's 200 metres with a time of 22.06.

Tarmoh, of nearby San Jose, California, finally broke through with her first national crown after taking the bronze in the 200 in both 2013 and 2011.

Duncan was second in 22.10 followed by Joanna Atkins who clocked a 22.19.

Tarmoh said her steady improvement was the result of learning how to limit the distractions.

"I just try to stay focused on my finish," said Tarmoh who was a member of the USA's gold medal 4X100 relay team in London. "I have been a professional for three years now. It doesn't happen in one year.

"Now it is a lot easier for me to stay focused."

Athletes had to deal with scorching conditions on a sunny Sunday afternoon at Hornet Stadium with the temperature of the running track reaching a blistering 60 degrees Celsius (140F).

"I saw the USATF Instagram post saying it was 120 degrees on the track. It is definitely the hottest I have ever run in," said Evan Jager who won the 3,000 metre steeplechase.

Duane Solomon easily won the men's 800 metres with a time of 1:44.30 to finished ahead of runner-up Casimir Loxsom (1:45.97).

"I just ran aggressive," Solomon said. "I got the lead and then tried to build a gap on the field."

Devon Allen just edged out Ryan Wilson at the tape to claim the men's 110 metre hurdles crown. They both finished in 13.16.

Ronnie Ash had clocked the fastest time in the world this year in the semi-finals with a sizzling 12.99 seconds, but Ash hit a hurdle in the final and failed to finish.

Jenny Simpson won the women's 1,500 metres with a time of 4:04.96 while Mary Cain was second in 4:06.34.

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