Athletics: Gardener's 'slow lane' win

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The Independent Online

Jason Gardener, the European indoor champion, had an easy 100 metres win in last night's Athletissima 2003 meeting here in Switzerland.

Although delighted to score a second success since starting his outdoor season less than three weeks ago, Gardener was hoping to achieve a lot more at the Swiss venue.

With organisers splitting the 100m entrants into "A" and "B" races rather than having qualifying rounds, Gardener faced slower opposition than he expected in Lausanne's Olympic stadium.

Nevertheless the "Bath Bullet" claimed the notable scalps of top American's Mickey Grimes and Shawn Crawford as he won in 10.25sec.

But he could not hide his disappointment at the winning time - which was achieved despite a strong headwind and was just one hundredth of a second slower than he managed in Dortmund last month.

The 27-year-old, who posted his personal best time of 9.98sec at this track four years ago, said: "I'm beavering away but it's just not happening, although it has got to be by best race of the season."

The Commonwealth silver medallist, Lee McConnell, was never in contention in her 400m, which was won by Jamaica's Lorraine Fenton. Fenton, the Olympic and World silver medallist, won in a season's best time of 50.98sec.

McConnell, drawn in the outside lane, finished seventh in 51.57sec, but was undaunted in her quest to excel at the World Championships. She said: "That was not very good at all. Now I'll be concentrating on some hard training sessions and there will be no races before the AAAs."

The AAA Championships, the official trials for the World Championships in August, take place in Birmingham from 24 July.

The European record holder, Christine Arron, lost her 100m unbeaten run for the season when succumbing to a fast-finishing Chandra Sturrup.

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