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Athletics - 01. March 2009.

Jones takes Visa Championships; Stuczynski breaks another AR

Three-way battle for women's Visa Championship
 
Jones became the first back-to-back Visa champion, but it didn't come without a substantial amount of dramatic tension. Jones entered the final meet of the Visa Championship Series eying a performance of 7.86 seconds in the women's 60m hurdles to overtake series leader Jenn Stuczysnki, but by the time she took the track for the penultimate women's event Sunday afternoon, the ground had shifted.
 
Earlier Sunday morning, Amber Campbell took the lead for the Visa Championship - determined by the best single performance of the Series, using IAAF scoring tables - by winning the women's weight throw with a best mark of 24.43 meters /80 feet, 2 inches. The throw was worth 1,197 points on IAAF scoring tables, tying her with Olympic silver medalist Stuczynski, who held the lead entering the meet thanks to her American record vault of 4.82m/15-9.75 at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games. Visa Championship Series rules indicate that in the event of a tie, the athlete with the best performance at the USA Indoor Championship will be declared the winner, which meant Campbell was in the lead. Finishing behind Campbell in the weight throw were Erin Gilreath in second (21.96m/72-0.75) and Kristal Yush in third (21.63m/70-11.75).
 
Stuczynski wasn't to be denied, however. Eventually surpassing the women's pole vault field by more than a foot, the American indoor and outdoor record holder set the bar to what would be a new AR, 4.83m/15-10. She made it on her second attempt to score 1,200 points on the IAAF scoring tables. She then reset the bar to 4.86m/15-11.25, in an effort to pad her point total, but was unsuccessful in three attempts.
 
That left Jones needing to run 7.85 in order to beat Stuczynski. Somewhat sluggish over the first hurdle, Jones rallied strongly to win in 7.84, worth 1202 points and $25,000 in Visa Championship bonus money. Finishing behind her were Olympic heptathlon silver medalist Hyleas Fountain (7.98), who gave Jones a run early in the race, and Shantia Moss (8.15).
 
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