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Jamaica’s sprint sensation Veronica Campbell will try to maintain her winning form in the Visa championship grand prix series, when she competes at the Tyson Invitational meet in Fayetville, Arkansas on February 10.
With an impressive victory at last Friday’s (Feb.3) Millrose Games in New York, the 200 metres Olympic champion will continue her preparations for next month’s Commonwealth Games in Australia at the Arkansas meet, which is the third of four events in the lucrative Visa grand prix series, valued at more than $1.5 million. Overall winners are guaranteed US$50,000.
Cheered on by a crowd of just under 15,000, including Jamaica’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Stafford Neil; Consul General to New York, Dr. Basil Bryan and Mrs. Jean Bryan; and Deputy Consul General, Lisa Bryan-Smart; Veronica recovered from a slow start at the Millrose meet to beat American Me’Lisa Barber in a photo finish. Both athletes were clocked at 7.10 seconds, with the electronic timer showing a difference of three thousandths of a second separating the runners (7.095 credited to Campbell and 7.098 to Barber).
Barber’s performance spoiled the pre-meet hype, which pitted Campbell against American Lauryn Williams in the 60 metres dash, to decide the fastest woman alive. Williams finished third in 7.19 seconds.
Veronica, the toast of the New York Jamaican community since her arrival on Thursday (Feb. 2) afternoon, told reporters after the race that despite a slow start, she was pleased with the result.
“I didn’t get the start I wanted. I was very hesitant at the start but I am very pleased with the win. I’m blessed. I was just trying to catch up with the field as I realized that Lisa (Me’Lisa) was way ahead,” she said.
Jamaica’s other outstanding performer at the meet was Kenia Sinclair, who decimated a quality field to win the women’s 800 metres race. She posted a winning time of 2:05.62 seconds ahead of Guyana’s Marian Burnett (2:07.62) and Christian Wurth (USA) 2:08.22.
Sprint hurdler Andrea Bliss took a nasty tumble while negotiating the final hurdle in the women’s 60 meters race and did not finish while Christopher Pinnock placed sixth in the men’s version with a time of 7.77 seconds.
Middle distance runner Mardrea Hyman did not finish the women’s mile, which was won by Carmen Douma-Hassar of Canada.
Highlights of the Arkansas meet will be shown on ESPN2 on Sunday (Feb. 12) from 11:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.The Visa grand prix series concludes with the indoor championships in Boston from February 24 to 26.