Michael Johnson raised what was already a respectable tone by winning the 400 metres in 43.98sec, a British All Comers' record which left Roger Black labouring in his wake in fourth place with 45.19.
That level of performance was soon matched as Colin Jackson beat the best opposition the United States could provide over 110m hurdles for a European and Commonwealth record of 13.06, 0.02sec inside his winning time in the 1990 Commonwealth Games.
Both winners must now have a clear vision of golden rewards in Barcelona, although for the versatile American the target is 200m, where he is far and away the best on paper this year with the 19.79 he ran to win the US Olympic trials. For Black, who has now run his last three races in over 45sec at a time when he had hoped to be dipping under the British record of 44.50, the experience was a straightforwardly demoralising one. 'I have had a problem with my hip in recent weeks but tonight I felt OK,' he said. 'My last 100m just isn't good enough.' There is much to be done, and little time, with the Games just over three weeks away, to do it.
Jackson actually recorded two wins on the night over the US trials winner and fastest man in 1992 before last night with 13.08, Tony Dees, as the event had two heats to accommodate a field which included seven of the world's top eight, and all three of the US team for the Games. Tony Jarrett, who had run 13.04 on a windy Monday night in Lille, was third in 13.17.
The low point of the night came earlier, when a pale shadow of the runner who used to be Zola Budd was haunted by a pale shadow of the anti-apartheid demonstrations she provoked during her controversial stay here in the mid-Eighties.
The demonstration against Budd, now Pieterse, came towards the end of a 2,000m won by Yvonne Murray in 5:43.49. Five people wearing anti-apartheid slogans on their shirts ran onto the track with the apparent intention of intercepting the South African before being hauled away by police. Budd, who was not physically affected, nevertheless dropped out 250m from the end.
The 800m was won by Nixon Kiprotich, of Kenya, in 1:44.94, with Tom McKean second in 1:45.24 and Curtis Robb, a late entry, sixth in 1:45.65.
Sally Gunnell gave evidence that a medal at the Olympic Games can be hers as she won the 400m hurdles in 54.40, the third fastest time in the world this year, holding off Kim Batten, of the US.
Kriss Akabusi, who returned to competition after illness this week with a bad run in Lille followed by a good run in Lausanne, where he recorded 48.30 behind the US trials winner, Kevin Young, and world champion, Samuel Matete, had another usefully testing night as he finished a close second to a late entry, Kevin Young, one of the US team for Barcelona, whose winning time was 48.21. Akabusi ran 48.26, his best of the year.
There was further encouragement for Britain as John Regis beat Danny Everett, one of the United States' 400m runners for Barcelona, with a time of 20.29 in the 200m. In the 5,000m, Rob Denmark gave further indication that he could be a medal contender at the Games in finishing third, in 13:15.97, behind the winner, Paul Bitok, who ran 13:13.93, just five seconds slower than his winning time in Oslo on Saturday.
That performance earned Bitok a late inclusion in Kenya's Olympic team; but he is at least a potentially attainable target for Denmark, although the two other British 5,000m representatives, Jack Buckner and Ian Hamer, eighth and ninth respectively last night, have more of a gap to close.
Tessa Sanderson, throwing the javelin at a more acceptable time of day after her early morning call for the Olympic trials, responded with an opening 64.98m, her best of the season. But to have a serious hope of a medal, she will have to improve to the sort of level achieved by the winner on the night, Norway's Trine Hattestad, who followed up her victory in Oslo with 68.48.
The performance of Matthew Yates as a late entry into the 800m B race sent a few shudders down the collective spine of the selectors. Yates, who has one of the 1500m places for Barcelona provided he can show 'competitive fitness' by 21 July after a viral infection, finished a leaden-looking last in his race with a time of 1:49.86. That is not the sort of form he or the selectors are looking for three weeks away from the Games.
Peter Elliott, the third 1500m nominee beside the Olympic trial winner, Kevin McKay, also has until 21 July to show he has recovered from his knee injury. In last night's 1500m, he took third place behind Joseph Chesire, of Kenya, the winner in 3:36.55.
But there was no doubt about the happiest man in the stadium on the night - Julian Golley, the triple jumper, who reached 16.95m, 10cm further than he needed to book a place in the Olympic team on the day of the deadline.
Kamy Keshmiri, winner of the discus at the US Olympic trials, said yesterday Friday he had tested positive for drugs in a random test.
RESULTS FROM CRYSTAL PALACE
TSB GRAND PRIX (Crystal Palace; winners, GB and selected): MEN: 100m A race: 1 L Christie (GB) 10.2sec; 2 R Da Silva (Bra) 10.2; 3 M Adam (GB) 10.3. 100m B: 1 O Kayode (Nig) 10.42; 2 L Paul (GB) 10.62. 200m A: 1 J Regis (GB) 20.29; 2 D Everett (US) 20.47; 3 K Little (US) 20.54. 200m B: 1 N De Silva (Trin) 21.04. 400m A race: 1 M Johnson (US) 43.98 (UK all-comers record); 2 S Lewis (US) 44.55; 3 A Valmon (US) 44.69; 4 R Black (GB) 45.19. 400m B: 1 M Richardson (GB) 45.09. 800m A: 1 N Kiprotich (Ken) 1min 44.94sec; 2 T McKean (GB) 1:45.24; 3 D Sharpe (GB) 1:45.25. 800m B: 1 D Strang (GB) 1:46.54; 11 M Yates (GB) 1:49.86. 1500m: 1 J Chesire (Ken) 3:36.55; 2 D Kibet (Ken) 3:36.92; 3 S Crabb (GB) 3:36.94. 3,000m: 1 T Buckner (GB) 7:50.90; 2 S Bitok (Ken) 7:51.23; 3 T Hanlon (GB) 7:51.31. 5,000m: 1 P Bitok (Ken) 13:13.93; 2 I Kirui (Ken) 13:15.67; 3 R Denmark (GB) 13:15.97; 4 F O'Mara (Irl) 13:16.66. 110m hurdles: 1 C Jackson (GB) 13.06 (European, Commonwealth and all-comers record); 2 T Dees (US) 13.08; 3 T Jarrett (GB) 13.17. 400m hurdles A: 1 D Patrick (US) 48.16; 2 K Akabusi (GB) 48.26; 3 S Nylander (Swe) 48.80. 400m hurdles B: 1 P McGhee 49.36; 3 L Lynch (GB) 50.55. High jump: 1 T Forsyth (Aus) 2.34m; 2 H Conway (US) 2.31; 3 D Grant (GB) 2.25. Long jump: 1 K Koukodimos (Gr) 7.99m; 2 M Forsythe (GB) 7.91; 3 D Culbert (Aus) 7.73. Triple jump: 1 J Edwards (GB) 17.22m; 2 J Golley (GB) 16.95; 3 J Herbert (GB) 16.73. Javelin: 1 S Backley (GB) 87.72m; 2 V Zaitsev (CIS) 85.64; 3 T Petranoff (SA) 84.04. Pole vault: 1 K Tarpenning (US) 5.71m; 2 G Yegorov (CIS) 5.71 (same); 3 T Bright (US) 5.60.
WOMEN: 100m A race: 1 E Jones (US) 11.37sec; 2 E Ashford (US) 11.38; 3 T Neighbors (US) 11.42; 8 M Richardson (GB) 11.77. 100m B: 1 N Mitchell (Jam) 11.60. 200m: 1 M Onyali (Nig) 22.83 (all- comers record); 2 G Jackson (Jam) 23.03; 3 D Webber (US) 23.09; 5 S Short (GB) 23.29. 400m A: 1 G Torrence (US) 50.31; 2 J Richardson (Can) 50.83; 3 P Smith (GB) 50.99. 400m B: 1 R Poetschka (Aus) 51.41; 5 L Hanson (GB) 52.54. 800m: 1 I Yevseyeva (CIS) 1min 58.78sec; 2 C Halliday (US) 2:00.71; 3 S Hamilton (US) 2:01.03; 4 P Fryer (GB) 2:02.20. 2,000m: 1 Y Murray (GB) 5:43.48; 2 G Griffiths (US) 5:44.86; 3 L York (GB) 5:45.34; Z Budd-Pieterse (SA) dnf. 3,000m: 1 P Plummer (US) 8:42.52; 2 S O'Sullivan (Irl) 8:42.58; 3 L McColgan (GB) 8:43.81. 100m hurdles: 1 L Tolbert (US) 12.92; 2 M Freeman (Jam) 13.08; 3 J Agyepong (GB) 13.22. 400m hurdles A: 1 S Gunnell (GB) 54.40; 2 K Batten (US) 54.90; 3 M Bothma (SA) 55.16. 400m hurdles B: 1 D Hemmings (Jam) 55.95; 4 J Parker (GB) 57.01. High jump: 1 A Inverarity (Aus) 1.95m; 2 D Marti (GB) 1.85; 3 L Haggett (GB) 1.85 (same). Javelin: 1 T Hattestad (Nor) 68.48m; 2 T Sanderson (GB) 64.88; 3 L McPaul (Aus) 62.62. Shot: 1 M Augee (GB) 17.66m; 2 N Erjavec (Sloven) 16.39; 3 Y Hanson-Nortey (GB) 16.26.
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