(Reuters) Olympic and world champion Jeremy Wariner now has the psychological edge over rival LaShawn Merritt.
Wariner won the 400 metres at Rome’s Golden Gala on Friday and struck a blow against his American rival ahead of the Beijing Games.
Wariner had a big lead in the final straight but had to hold off a strong late surge from Merritt to win in 44.36, just a hundredth of a second ahead of the 22-year-old.
Wariner gained revenge after losing to Merritt at the US Olympic trials last week and at the Berlin Golden League meeting in June although his dominance of the event clearly remains under threat.
Portugal’s Francis Obikwelu beat Derrick Atkins of the Bahamas on a photo decision in the 100m final after both athletes finished with a time of 10.04.
Kenyan teenager Pamela Jelimo stayed on course for the Golden League jackpot by beating world champion Janeth Jepkosgei in the 800 metres.
Jelimo, 18, clocked 1:55.69 to beat fellow Kenyan Jepkosgei by over three seconds and claim the third of the six series wins needed for a share of $1 million prize.
Cuban 110 metres hurdles world record holder Dayron Robles, who last month ran 12.87 seconds to beat the previous mark set by Chinese Olympic champion Liu Xiang, blew away the field in his event with a 13.08 run.
Allyson Felix, the twice 200m world champion, cruised to victory in the women’s 400m race with a time of 50.25.