Athletics: Lewis shows benefit of improved start: Gray's best of the year is too hot for Steele to handle in Golden Gala 800 metres

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The Independent Online
CARL LEWIS, in Rome for the first of the European Grand Prix meetings last night, had hoped to receive the gold medal due to him following Ben Johnson's belated disqualification in the 1987 World Championships held at the Stadio Olimpico.

He hoped in vain. But the American did have a 100 metres victory over Frankie Fredericks, Namibia's Olympic silver medallist, by way of consolation. Lewis, who later this week will attend the opening of the new International Amateur Athletic Federation office in Monte Carlo in company with luminaries such as Luciano Pavarotti, won in 10.14sec to Fredericks' 10.19sec. 'Frankie made the best start I have ever seen,' Lewis said. 'But I have worked so hard on my start in the last couple of seasons that I was able to get him.'

Lewis's Santa Monica club- mate, Leroy Burrell, was fastest on the night, winning the other 100m heat easily in 10.06sec.

In the 800m, Johnny Gray of the United States won in 1min 43.76sec, the fastest time of the year. The rest of the field, including Britain's Martin Steele, sixth in 1.47.09, found that too fast.

Samuel Matete of Zambia pulled away in the back straight to win the 400m hurdles in the year's best time. Matete, second in last year's World Championships behind Kevin Young, finished in 48.11sec. His strong kick took him past Stephane Diagana of France with two hurdles remaining. Diagana finished second in 48.45sec, with the Olympic silver medallist, Winthrop Graham of Jamaica, third.

In the hammer throw, Igor Astapkovich of Belarus defeated the reigning world and Olympic champion, Andrey Abouvaliyev of Tagikastan.