Merry speeds to new best in 200m

Katharine Merry's magnificent summer season continued at last night's IAAF Permit meeting in Barcelona when the Midlander ran the fastest 200 metres of her life.

Katharine Merry's magnificent summer season continued at last night's IAAF Permit meeting in Barcelona when the Midlander ran the fastest 200 metres of her life.

Stepping down from her favourite 400m distance where she is among the favourites for Olympic gold, Merry finished second behind Australia's Lauren Hewitt, who won in 22.72sec.

The Birchfield Harrier ran 22.76, smashing her three-year-old personal best by 0.01sec - a vast improvement on her quickest time this year of 23.18.

"What really showed out there was the strength I have developed from training for and running over 400m," Merry said. "I'm absolutely delighted with my performance."

Helen Pattinson broke her 1,500m personal best for the second time this month with a time of 4min 4.82sec. She ran a near-perfect race to finish second behind the reigning Olympic champion, Svetlana Masterkova. Ireland's Sinead Delahunty was third in 4:05.28.

Paula Radcliffe, running her first race since the World Cross-Country Championships in March after a succession of injuries, struggled throughout the race and finished 11th in 4:11.45.

* Merlene Ottey was yesterday named in Jamaica's 4x100m Olympic squad, but officials have still not decided whether the veteran sprinter will run in the individual 100m event after she finished fourth in trials last week.

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