New York: Asafa Powell and Veronica Campbell-Brown completed a Jamaican sprint double at the US Open indoor meet at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.
There were no Olympic gold medals on offer but it was an ominous reminder ahead of this year`s London Games of the unrivalled strength of Jamaica`s crack sprinters.
10 Steps to Making a Million in the MarketDownload FREE Report Powell, almost the forgotten man of Jamaican sprinting because of the achievements of Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake, lunged at the line to win the 50 metre dash in 5.67 seconds, the fastest time in a decade for the rarely-run event.
"It was weird but it was a pretty good time for my first race of the season," said Powell. "There`s bigger races ahead but that`s a good way to begin."
Powell`s training partner Nesta Carter was second in 5.67. Like Powell, he has his sights set on London, if not in the individual events then the Jamaican relay.
"Just making the Jamaican team is going to be hard enough," Powell said.
Campbell-Brown, who won the 200m gold medal at each of the last two Olympics and was part of the Jamaican relay that won in Beijing four years ago, burst out of the blocks and held on to win the women`s 50m dash in 6.08.
"It`s a step in the right direction," she said. "Each race is just a preparation for what`s to come this season."
The US won the men`s and women`s hurdles. Terrence Trammell, a former world indoor champion, won the men`s race in 6.45 while Lolo Jones, also an indoor world champion better known for a mishap at the Beijing Olympics, won the women`s event in 6.78.
Jones was leading the Olympic final in Beijing when she clipped the penultimate hurdle and crashed to the ground, finishing seventh.
Last year she underwent spinal surgery to repair a defect she had suffered from birth but is hoping for better luck this season.
"For me, winning this race is a huge confidence boost," Jones said. "Just a few months ago, after the surgery, I couldn`t even walk, now I can run fast."
Kenya`s Silas Kiplagat, the silver medallist in the 1,500m at last year`s world championships in South Korea, won the men`s mile in four minutes 0.65 seconds.
Bernard Lagat, who had won the mile a record eight times when the Millrose Games were held at Madison Square Garden, led with less than two laps to go but could not hold off his younger opponent.