Edwards' lucrative leap

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The Independent Online
Jonathan Edwards proved again last night that he has no problems cashing in on his outstanding ability as a triple jumper by adding pounds 100,000 to his year's earnings through winning his event at the IAAF Grand Prix final here at the Arena Civica. It was the richest single prize meeting in world athletics, with a total of pounds 2.5m on offer.

But when Edwards reviews a summer in which he has extended his winning record to 30 victories out of 31 meetings, it will be that one defeat in the Olympic final which will surely haunt him - a prize money cannot buy.

Edwards sealed his victory yesterday with a solid 17.69-metre final-round leap, but under the complicated Grand Prix scoring process he found himself also competing against hurdlers and distance runners, and he was pipped to the overall winner's cheque - worth another pounds 50,000-plus - by a 5,000m runner.

Daniel Komen's impressive victory, seeing off the strong challenge of Morocco's Salah Hissou, put the young Kenyan ahead of Edwards in the overall points table, ending a season in which he has broken two world records. Komen's winner's cheque was worth more than pounds 160,000, with a similar amount going to the Swedish hurdler Ludmila Enquist, the winner of the women's overall first prize.

Much of the talk in the corridors below the 19th century stadium, which had been built to the orders of Napoleon Bonaparte, was of money, too, with plans for a $1m challenge race between Michael Johnson and Donovan Bailey, the richest single race in athletics history.

Johnson maintained his position as the world's top quarter- miler yesterday when he won his 57th consecutive 400m. The American finished 10 metres clear of the field, with Britain's Olympic silver medallist, Roger Black, a tired looking fifth in 45.42sec, just ahead of the Welshman Iwan Thomas.

Bailey, the Olympic 100m gold medallist who disputes Johnson's claim to be the fastest man on the planet, may be well advised to delay their confrontation. Yesterday the Canadian, who had broken the world record in the Olympic 100m final, suffered another defeat as Dennis Mitchell outstarted and outlasted him to record 9.91sec.

Darren Campbell, of Sale, was called into the race as a late reserve: the pounds 4,000 he won for finishing seventh might just persuade the former double European junior champion to abandon his part-time career as a non- league soccer centre forward.

It was the performance of Merlene Ottey, who fired the Milanese crowd's enthusiasm. Ottey's mid-race surge in the women's 100m which her new coach Linford Christie had made the trademark of his own sprint career, carried her past the Olympic champion Gail Devers, stopping the clock at 10.74sec, making the Jamaican, at 36, the second fastest woman of all time behind Florence Griffiths- Joyner.

The only British woman consistent enough this season to be invited to make a run for the money was Paula Radcliffe in the 5,000m, and she again showed her toughness to finish fourth and claim pounds 7,000.

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