Veronica Campbell of Jamaica in the heats of the 200m (© Getty Images)
While the winds helped, Wallace Spearmon and Veronica Campbell nonetheless illustrated strong early season form with their dominating victories at the John McDonnell Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on Saturday (21).
In his first outdoor start in the 200m since his season-capping 19.65 career best in Daegu last September, Spearmon dashed to a 19.87 victory - aided by a 2.2 metre-per-second wind - on his home track, winning over J-Mee Samuels of the University of Arkansas by more than 7/10s of a second. His performance, minus the assisting wind, equalled his gold medal winning performance from last year's IAAF World Cup in Athens.
Displaying the effects of the strength work he promised before this season, Spearmon took a come-from-behind victory in the 100 as well, clocking 10.05, but also propelled by a 2.6 m/s tailwind. Samuels, a sophomore at the university, was again second, clocking 10.13.
Spearmon, who also struck silver in the 200m at the 2005 World Championships, opened his outdoor season with a 10.14 (+2.1) performance last weekend at the Mt. SAC Relays, indicating that his 10.11 career best set last September in Shanghai is clearly under threat.
Spearmon also teamed up with training partner Tyson Gay, Aaron Armstrong and Melvin Lister to win the 4x400m Relay in 39.76.
Campbell - Back, fit and fast
Contesting her first 200m race in nearly a year, Campbell, the reigning Olympic champion in the event, won the women's race handily in 22.39, though assisted by an even stronger win of +2.7 m/s. Nonetheless, it was the 24-year-old Jamaican's fastest performance under any conditions since the heats of the Commonwealth Games last March.
Campbell was side-lined for a large part of last season with a quad injury, and this was her first individual race performance of 2007 after a 4x400m relay leg opener on 24 March.
Elsewhere, April Steiner, who celebrates her 26th birthday today, raised her outdoor best in the Pole Vault to 4.50, but still well shy of her 4.60 indoor best clearance from January's Pole Vault Summit in Reno, Nevada.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF