Richards' rapid win puts the heat on Ohuruogu

American sets best 400m time of the year in emphatic Golden League victory
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The Independent Online

Sanya Richards is in line to claim another cash windfall at the venue where she won $500,000 (£304,000) almost two years ago. Richards, who then shared the IAAF Golden League jackpot with Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva, produced another superb performance yesterday at the DKB-ISTAF meeting here.

The 24-year-old outclassed the opposition in the 400m, winning in a world-best time for the year of 49.57 seconds, well ahead of Amantle Montsho (50.94sec) and Yulia Gushchina (51.10sec). It means Richards is challenging Kenenisa Bekele and Isinbayeva – who claimed 5,000m and pole vault victories – for the Golden League prize.

However, the American is adamant picking up the cash is not her top priority – her real target is winning a world 400m title after gaining silver in 2005. "I am really looking forward to coming back in August and leaving Germany with gold," she said.

Richards needs no reminding that standing in her way will be Britain's Christine Ohuruogu – who has swept all before her at the last two global championships. Ohuruogu won the world title two years ago in Osaka where Richards was a spectator, having failed to qualify at the US trials. The Briton then claimed the Olympic title last summer ahead of Richards and Shericka Williams. Richards added: "It took some time for me to get over the disappointment of last year but this is a new start and I'm looking forward to racing Ohuruogu at the World Championships."

The Jamaican-born runner insisted the gold medal is her sole focus. "If I were to pick up an injury – hopefully I won't – I would certainly stop competing at Golden League meetings and others," she said.

Lee McConnell finished fourth in the 400m in 52.22sec and the meeting saw some solid performances from other Britons. After a false start Simeon Williamson powered to second in the 100m, behind Antigua's Daniel Bailey, who won in 10.03sec.

With pacemaker Richard Kiplagat in the 800m field, Liverpool's Michael Rimmer did not have to adopt his usual front-running tactics. Instead, he ran conservatively and, lying fourth, came off the final bend to clinch second behind Germany's Robin Schembera.