Review: Jamaica’s Powell, Campbell-Brown and USA’ Jones, wins at USA Track and Field Open at Madison Square Garden in New York

New York, USA – The inaugural USA Track and Field U.S Open at Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden in NYC on January 28 was the chance for sprinters and hurdlers to restore their reputation and send a season opener message. The 2012 IAAF Indoor Permit Series final four events of the meet, the men and women 50-metre dash and also the men and women 50 meters hurdles produced convincing wins for four veterans who were up against deep and younger fields.

Despite the absence of Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, and USA’ Walter Dixs, and Carmelita Jeter, the fastest sprinters of 2011, the Jamaicans dominated the 50m dash.

The New York’s  Jamaican community along with other New Yorker track enthusiasts  gave Veronica Campbell Brown the biggest cheers of the all the athletes introduced.  The fans kept chanting VCB. The World indoor 60m and the reigning Olympic and World 200 meters champion, Veronica Campbell Brown, won the women’s 50m dash in 6.08 seconds. She beat USA sprinters Jessica Young (6.20) into second with Bianca Knight coming in fifth. VCB win at MSG is her opening salvo for 2012 to become the first-ever winner of three Olympic 200m titles.   Campbell-Brown had this to say after her win “This is a step in the right direction. Now I have to get back to training. Hopefully this is a preview of what is to come.”
Former 100 Metre World record holder and 2-time outdoor World 100m bronze medalist, Asafa Powell, who was running in his first indoor race since 2004, slipped in the blocks but lead  all the way to finish to beat fellow Jamaican 4×100 world record teammate Nesta Carter in a time of 5.64.  Carter second place earned him a time of 5.67. Former USA 2005 World 100m and 200m, sprint champion Justin Gatlin continued his return to track, that began in 2011, from a four-year drug sanction ban placed fourth in 5.71. Powell, who at 29, is facing his last chance at an Olympic individual medal in London this year also won the Athlete of the Meet trophy. The 50 Metre dash that was billed as a world record breaking event of  Jamaican born, Canadian sprinter Donovan Bailey’s 1996 world record  of 5.56 did not live up to that expectation.

From the days of Rod Milburn, Renaldo ‘Skeets Nehemiah and Gail Devers America have dominated the sprint hurdles.  Like the Jamaicans today in the 50 Metre dash the USA dominated the 50 meter hurdles dash. With Lolo Jones wining the women’s event and Terrence Trammell winning the men’s event.

Two-time World indoor 60m Hurdles champion Lolo Jones, 29, led the Americans in her first race since she underwent surgery last august affecting her spine. Jones ran 6.78, the second fastest 50m Hurdles time in U.S. history. She held of stiff competition from Great Britain’s Tiffany Porter, whose                                   6.83 gave second place, and USA’ Kellie Wells 6.84 in third place. American Dawn Harper, 2008 Olympic 100m Hurdles champion who beat  Jones after  Jones hit the penultimate hurdle at 2008 Olympic, placed fifth in 6.96. The American record 6.67 was set in1995 by heptathlon World record-holder Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

The Americans packed a 1-2 punch in the men’s 50 Metre hurdles.  American Terrence Trammell, the two-time World indoor 60m Hurdles gold medalist, in a repeat of the 2010 World Championship race in Daegu race won the race in  6.45 ahead of fellow American David Oliver in 6.50. Trammell who got a great start never looked in trouble.

The other outstanding races were the men’s mile, and the A 600-yard event. Eight time Wanamaker Mile winner Bernard Lagat the 37-year-old Kenyan-born American. Legat, a crowd favorite, the reigning World indoor 3000m champion and double1500m/5000m at the 2007 World Outdoor Championships was upstaged by the younger  Silas Kiplagat 22, of Kenya in a time of 4:00.65 Lagat second place time was 4:00.92.

Lagat said shook of the loss to his younger rival arguing that this was the beginning  of his campaign to make a the US  Olympic team in order to contend for the 5000m gold in London.

The women’s mile, which was all-U.S A. affair, saw Brenda Martinez win in 4:34.62 and upset Anna Pierce, who placed third in 4:39.97.

The 600-yard Men’s distance race was thrown down battle between quarter milers and -400m hurdles specialists. The U.S. 2005 400m Hurdles World champion Bershawn “Batman” Jackson and of the 2009 World 400m, bronze medalist , Rennie Quow of Trinidad. Quow caught Jackson at the tape to win in a time of 1:11.20. Jackson finished second in 1:11.31, and Tabarie Henry of the U.S. Virgin Islands was third in 1:11.75.

Fantu Magiso of Ethiopia easily won the women’s 800m in 2:07.54 as she outclassed the field.

The stand out in the field events saw the Americans wining two of the meet’s three field events. World champion Jesse Williams won the high jump at 2.29m. Shot Putter Ryan Whiting heaved 21.16m to beat three-time World indoor champion Christian Cantwell and 2005 World outdoor champion Adam Nelson.
Jillian Schwartz of Israel beat Jenn Suhr, the 2008 the U.S Olympic silver medalist in the pole vault at 4.52m.