Channel NewsAsia

Athletics: McCorory holds of Richards-Ross in world leading time

World indoor champion Francena McCorory held off Olympic gold medallist Sanya Richards-Ross to win the women's 400 metres at the US athletics championships on Saturday in a world leading 49.48 seconds.

SACRAMENTO: World indoor champion Francena McCorory held off Olympic gold medallist Sanya Richards-Ross to win the women's 400 metres at the US athletics championships on Saturday in a world leading 49.48 seconds.

McCorory, who earned the indoor world title in Sopot, Poland, in March, seized the lead through 300m and held on for the victory in a personal best.

Her time was a big advance on the previous best of the year of 50.03, set by Courtney Okolo on May 18 in Lubbock, Texas, and matched by Richards-Ross in the semi-finals on Friday.

Richards-Ross was second 49.66 and Natasha Hastings a distant third in 50.53.

"I just wanted to go out, execute my race and finish strong," McCorory said. "I'm just happy for the win."

Richards-Ross, three months into a comeback from surgery on her right big toe, was delighted with a time that made her second-fastest in the world this year and confirmed that she has her eye on the 2016 Rio Olympics.

"What keeps me going now is my legacy," Richards-Ross said. "I do want to be a two-time Olympic (individual) champion, so I'm working hard to get back to Rio.

The race was one of 10 finals on the fourth day of the US championships, which lack a little excitement this year since they don't serve as a qualifier for any major international championship.

Even so, the 100m hurdles final was a thriller, Dawn Harper Nelson -- who won Olympic gold in 2008 and silver in 2012 -- edging Queen Harrison by one one-hundredth of a second.

Harper-Nelson out-leaned the late-surging Harrison to win in 12.55, with Harrison taking silver in 12.56 and Lolo Jones third in 12.65.

"Oh my goodness!" a beaming Harper-Nelson said. "I think I had a better start this time. I made a little mistake in the middle and I was like 'Oh lord, don't let it go.'"

Reigning world champion Brianna Rollins settled for fifth in 12.81.

World and Olympic champion Brittney Reese won the women's long jump with a leap of 6.92m, easily out-distancing Tianna Bartoletta, whose 6.86 was well off the season-leading 7.02 she posted at the Oslo Diamond League meeting on June 11.

Gil Roberts won the men's 400m in 44.53 seconds, waiting out a few anxious moments as officials reviewed the video to make sure he didn't step out of his lane.

Josh Mance was second in 44.89 and Kyle Clemons third in 45.00.

Leo Mznzano won the 1,500m in 3:38.63 and Erik Kynard captured the high jump national title with a leap of 2.35m. Nick Ross and Dustin Jonas shared second on 2.28m.

Bershawn Jackson put himself in position to challenge for the 400m hurdles title on the final day of the meet on Sunday, winning his semi-final in a top qualifying time of 49.48sec.

"I thought it was a great race," Jackson said. "I knew we were going to go out pretty hard. I tried to stay in my lane concentrate on my last 200 and get ready for tomorrow."

Jackson, who missed out on a 2012 Olympic berth and tore a hamstring last year said 2014 could be a pivotal one for him.

"This is my chance to start to turn it around and let people know that Batman is still relevant," he said.

Tweet Photos, Videos and Update on this Story to  #cna