August 8, 1997 in Sports

U.S. Hurdler Clears A Way To Top Billing Johnson Repeats World Title After Drug Tests Nail Three

Associated Press
 

For a change, Allen Johnson didn’t have that other Johnson to upstage him.

The Olympic champion in the 110-meter hurdles often has been overshadowed by Michael Johnson on the same program, but it was different Thursday night when he won his second straight world championship title.

Michael Johnson last year completed his sensational Olympic 200-400 double with his world record in the 200 on the same night that Allen Johnson set a Games’ record in winning the gold in the hurdles.

The only distraction Thursday was the stain of the first drug cases of the World Championships.

Three athletes, including men’s shot put winner Aleksandr Bagach of Ukraine, were disqualified for testing positive for the stimulant ephedrine.

Still, it was Allen Johnson’s night to shine.

He blazed over the hurdles in 12.93 seconds, equaling the third-fastest time ever, and only .02 seconds off the world record of 12.91 held by Britain’s Colin Jack son.

Jackson, the 1993 world champion, was no match for Johnson.

“I wanted to make sure I got out of the blocks with Colin Jackson,” Johnson said. “He’s the best starter in the world.”

Johnson blasted out quickly, was comfortably ahead by the first hurdle, and raced across the finish line nearly 2 meters ahead of Jackson, the runner-up in 13.05.

He might have broken the world record if he had not clipped the second and fourth hurdles and grazed the fifth.

“To break the world record, you have to leave some hurdles on the track,” said Johnson, who smashed six of them at Atlanta in winning in 12.95.

“If I was going for the record, I could have made a mistake and Colin would have shot past me. I ran a little conservatively.”

With Bagach being stripped of his shot put gold medal, John Godina of the United States, who was invited into the event as a wild card because he was the defending champion, was given his second gold medal. Godina had finished second to Bagach in last Saturday’s opening day of competition.

“It’s nice to see the (drug-testing) program work,” Godina said. “If he was gone, I would have won by about 8 inches.”

Also testing positive for ephedrine were 400-meter hurdler Pascal Maran of France and triple jumper Oxana Zelinskaya of Kazakstan, neither of whom made the final in their events.

Among other finals Thursday:

Olympic champion Astrid Kumbernuss of Germany won her second straight world title in the women’s shot put with a throw of 67 feet, 11-1/2 inches.

Olympic champion Robert Korzeniowski of Poland won the men’s 50-kilometer walk in 3:44:46.

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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