Posted: Tuesday February 14, 2012 5:40 PM

Jamaica's Clarke wins 60-meter race at Lievin meet

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LIEVIN, France (AP) - Fast in Arkansas, faster in France.

Lerone Clarke set the world-leading time for 60 meters in Fayetteville over the weekend. The Jamaican then crossed the Atlantic and shaved 0.02 seconds off that time to win in 6.50, beating Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre.

At 30, Clarke has only broken the 10-second mark for the 100 once and has never been a force in Jamaican sprinting, but this indoor season he looks like the man to beat at next month's world championships in Istanbul.

On Tuesday, his job was made easier when the season's second-best performer, France's Jimmy Vicaut, false started.

Lemaitre, the European sprint champion, had his typical slow start and finished in 6.57, still strong enough to come back and beat Jamaica's Mickael Frater at the tape for second.

The French hope for two sprint medals at the Olympics redeemed himself in the 200, again coming from behind to edge Antoine Adams of Saint Kitts and Nevis with a time of 20.92.

"It leaves me happy,'' Lemaitre said, referring to his first indoor race this year. He won the bronze at that distance at the world championships last August. "I'm on track.''

Yelena Isinbayeva won the pole vault in 15 feet, 9 1/4 inches and was followed by Cuba's Yarisley Silva (15-5 1/2). The Russian missed three times at 16-1 1/4, which would have been a world record. Jenny Suhr holds the mark at 16-0.

"It was a very good jump, a good performance,'' Isinbayeva said. "My shape is getting better and better.''

But at this stage in an Olympic year, only victories count, and it followed on the heels of two wins in Eastern Europe. "Step by step, I am trying to improve myself.''

She will be going for her third straight gold at the Olympics and after two years of bad results, she feels she is getting back to her peak.

In the women's 800, Morocco's Malika Akkaoui set a world-leading time of 1:59.01, clawing her way back into the race to beat Olympic champion Pamela Jelimo of Kenya at the tape. Jelimo, who is coming back after a season lost to injury, was looking for a sub 2-minute race and finished in 1:59.10.

In the men's 800, Poland's Adam Kszczot had another great outing, improving on the world leading and personal best, this time with 1:44.57.

 
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