Jones strolls in the rain

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Marion Jones cruised to victory yesterday in the 100 meters, notching a respectable time of 10.97 seconds at the Golden Gala meet here.

The 25-year-old American was slow out of the blocks after a false start, but controlled the race by the 40m mark on a track dampened by an early evening thunderstorm. Jones was the feature sprint star at the Stadio Olimpico meet alongside Maurice Greene, the men's world record holder in the 100m.

Britain's world record holder Colin Jackson won the 110m hurdles in 13.37sec, edging Dudley Dorival of Haiti and Shaun Bownes of South Africa.

Stephanie Graf, of Austria, took the 800m in a time of 1min 58.44sec, ahead of a pair of Russians, Natalya Tsyganova and Ludmila Mistyukewich.

Olga Yegorova took the women's 3,000m in 8min 23.97sec, leading a Russian podium sweep as Olympic champion Gabriela Szabo of Romania faded into fourth.

Japan's Koji Murofushi won the hammer throw with a toss of 79.50m, edging Italy's Nicola Vizzoni with Sydney gold medalist Szymon Ziolkowski of Poland settling for third after repeated fouls.

The event, the first leg of Europe's seven-meet Golden League circuit, was the first major summer competition for some of the favourites ahead of August's World Championships.

Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj was favoured in the mile, racing on the same Stadio Olimpico track where he broke the world record in the event in 1999. The 5,000m field was the meet's most competitive, featuring Olympic champion Million Wolde of Ethiopia and Kenyans Charles Kamathi and Richard Limo.

Kenyan athletics officials are restricting the number of events World Championship-bound runners can participate in before the event begins in August, an official said yesterday.

Kenya Amateur Athletic Association spokesman Francis Nyatome said a letter had been sent to all the athletes' managers outlining which events they can take part in, to prevent them exhausting themselves.

No athlete will compete in more than two races, Nyatome said, and they will have to be in Kenya for training by 10 July.

The KAAA has allowed the athletes to run in the events they had requested but has written the letter to ensure there were no misunderstandings and that the athletes did not take part in any extra meetings, he said. Runners selected for the 10,000m have also been told not to attempt to break world records before the championships.