Greene Gets Back On Track

In a successful comeback from injury, world record-holder Maurice Greene reasserted himself as Olympic favorite Friday, winning the men's 100 meters at the Weltklasse Golden League meet.

Marion Jones, who is aiming for a record five gold medals at Sydney, eked out two victories. She edged Inger Miller in the women's 100 by 0.01 seconds, then beat a strong field in the long jump by only half an inch.

Hicham El Guerrouj and Gabriela Szabo also declared their Olympic intentions, posting the fastest times of the season in the men's 1,500 and women's 3,000, respectively.

Greene, who pulled up with a strained hamstring at the U.S. trials last month during his much-hyped 200 showdown against Michael Johnson, was timed at 9.94 seconds, dominating a tough field that included eight of the top-10 sprinters this season.

"As you see, I am OK and healthy," said Greene, who ran his 30th race under 10 seconds. "I felt a little sluggish after being off with injury, but its getting better.

"I just wanted to come out and run a good race," adding he felt about "85 percent fit."

Obadele Thompson of Barbados was second at 9.97, and Ato Boldon of Trinidad & Tobago was third at 10.00.

With only four weeks left to prepare for the Olympics, the victory was crucial for Greene.

Despite posting the year's fastest 100 time of 9.91 in Japan in May, Greene has since had an up-and-down season, with losses to Brian Lewis and Boldon.

Then, Greene had another setback at the U.S. trials, when he and Johnson were injured in the 200 final.

Jones, who posted the fastest time of the season with 10.78 at London last weekend, was timed at 10.95 to Miller's 10.96.

Merlene Ottey, competing in her first major international meet since being cleared of drug charges last month, showed the hiatus had not overly affected her form, finishing third at 11.06.

Jones had looked unbeatable until now. Miller's close second changed that.

"I was lucky to win," said Jones, who also won here last year.

"It was a little harder after the false start, but I put it back together. Neither part was the best."

Jones and Zhanna Pintusevich of Ukraine are tied with two Golden League wins each this season.

Ottey, who has a record seven Olympic medals, was satisfied by her third-place finish.

"I put a lot of pressure on myself," said Ottey, who tested positive for nandrolone last year and subsequently pulled out of the World Championships. "I knew I had to run well."

Ottey, 40, made her first return to the track two weeks ago, winning the 100 in a modest 11.42 at a low-key meet in Nuoro, Sardinia.

In the long jump, Jones leaped 22 feet, 9 inches, to defeat world champion Niurka Montalvo, European champion Heike Dreschsler, and Italy's Fiona May, who owns the year's best jump.

Bulgaria's Iva Prandzheva was second, at 22-8 1/2, fllowed by Drechsler, with 22-8.

"I'm very satisfied because the field is probably the same one that will be in Sydney," Jones said. "It wasn't a very long jump but it was enough."

El Guerrouj, who had set out to break the 1,500 world record after failing to do so in the mile at London last Saturday, won in 3:27.21, easily beating Noah Ngeny of Kenya, who had the previous best time this year of 3:29.99.

Ngeny finished at 3:28.12, while countryman Bernard Lagat was third at 3:28.51.

Szabo took the 3,000 at 8:26.35, slashing 6.72 off the season's previous best 8:33.07.

"I expected a fast time because I trained so hard," said Szabo, who went undefeated last season and lost her first race this year in London last week in the 1,500. "London was just a bad day. I will run the 1,500 in Sydney, but the 5,000 for sure."

Maria Mutola of Mozambique won the women's 800 for the eighth consecutive year, at 1:56.90, the third-best time of the season. European indoor champion Stephanie Graf of Austria was second at 1:57.34, while world champion Ludmila Formanova of the Czech Republic was third in 1:57.53.

Switzerland's Andre Bucher won the men's 800 at 1:43.72.

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