Athletics Briefs: Okagbare new 22.71 200m Career best, Oscar 'Blade Runner' Pistorius hits 46.03, Semenya wins again and more...

LIGNANO (ITA, Jul 18): At 21st edition of international meet in this sea resort, the highlights in the men's 400m was not the win of American Jamaal Torrance (45.85) but in the third place South African 'Blade Runner' Oscar Pistorius clocked a second career best time of 46.02 ( His life-time best was 46.02 seconds obtained on July 8 in Celle Ligure, Italy. He is based through summer in Italy (since May in Grosseto) and his next race is planned for August 8 in Nottwil, Switzerland at EA Classic Meeting.

Rising U.S. star David Torrence ran an 800 meter personal best as second in 1:45.97 behind Mor Seck of Senegal (1:45.81). Jamaican talent Carrie Russell won the 100 m in close duel with US Mershevet Myers (both 11.22).

NCAA Champion Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria improved her career best in the 200m with 22.71 (-0.1). She also placed 2nd in long jump (6.53m) beaten by American Funmi Jimoh (6.58m). Tiffany Ofili of USA won the 100 m hurdles in 12.85 (+0.7) beating Jamaican Vonette Dixon (12.92) and Ireland´s Derval O´Rourke (12.96).

LAPINLAHTI (FIN, Jul 18): South Africa's World 800m champion, Caster Semenya was on Sunday faster in comparison to her first meet after long break on Wednesday. She won in 2:02.41 at Savo Games in Lapinlahti, Finland beating the next competitor by nearly two seconds.

Second was Sofia Oberg of Sweden in 2:04.27. For Semenya this is the 6th fastest time of her career. Also in current world junior lists this means fourth place but she is not competing in Moncton next week. Her next races might come in August in Europe, media already informed about possibility in London at Samsung Diamond League Aviva Grand Prix meet. Her main goal this season would be Commonwealth Games in India.

In windy conditions Kenyan Kiprono Menjo achieved good quality 13:06.28 win at 5000 m. Jamaican relay world champion Steve Mullings is having great shape with 10.14 (+1.7) and 20.21 (+2.8) sprint wins.

TANGIER (MAR, Jul 18): The third edition of International Meeting Moulay El Hassan organised by legendary Hicham El Guerrouj had 8000 spectators and good weather (23-25 degrees) but unfortunately to much wind in all major races.

Despite that US Carmelita Jeter posted excellent 11.04 meet record at 100 m against -2.1 wind. Second Jamaican olympic medalist Sherone Simpson achieved 11.23. Another highlight when shot put world champion Christian Cantwell got new meet record 21.43 followed by his countrymen Reese Hoffa (20.83) and Dan Taylor (20.51).

World indoor champion and good friend of the organizer Bernard Lagat won the 1500 m in 3:36.89 ahead of South African Juan Van Deventer 3:37.04 and best home Yassine Bensghir 3:37.33. Fast 800 m by Kenyan Boaz Lalang in 1:44.92 despite the wind with US miler Leo Manzano achieving life-time best 1:45.17 ahead of home star Amine Laalou 1:45.19.

In fast 3000 m home win for Anas Selmouni in personal best 7:39.01 ahead of Kenyan Remy Limo 7:39.23. Ryan Wilson posted 13.48 (-0.5) at 110 m hurdles over Jason Richardson (13.49). Jamaican Mario Forsythe who trains with Usain Bolt scored a sprint double in 10.18 (-1.8) and 20.94 (-5.6). Second places for US sprinters Leroy Dixon (10.24) and Xavier Carter (21.16).

Saudi Arabian Husain Al-Sabee leaped to windy 806 (+4.2) long jump win. In women events home stars did not win the distances. Hachima Hachlaf lost at 800 m with 2:01.64 to Jamaican Kenya Sinclair 2:01.57 and national record holder Btissam Lakhouad in 4:11.42 to Ukrainian Anna Mishchenko 4:11.10 at 1500 m.

Jamaican Rosemarie Whyte won the 200 m in good 22.97 taking into account -5.7 wind. US wins for Lacy Janson in pole vault (450) and Brianna Glenn in long jump (646, -0.9). Hanna Yaroshchuk of Ukraine was the best in the 400 m hurdles (56.70) and Cuban Yareli Barrios continued in her discus winning streak with 62.95 m.

Courtesy Alfonz Juck/EME News

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