January 27, 2019 / 1:58 AM / 3 months ago

Athletics: McLaughlin romps to victory in professional debut

(Reuters) - Sydney McLaughlin made her professional debut a dominant one with the American teenager clocking the fastest time of the young season to win the women’s 500 meters at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston on Saturday.

FILE PHOTO: Dec 20, 2018; San Antonio, TX, USA; Women's finalist Sydney McLaughlin (right) poses with coach Joanna Hayes at the 10th Bowerman Awards at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

The 19-year-old, the world’s top 400m hurdler in 2018, built a 10-meter lead early in the infrequently run race and claimed the victory in one minute, 9.46 seconds.

“It was a great day,” McLaughlin said after her only indoor race of the season.

She will now turn her attention to preparing for the outdoor season where she will be a favorite to win her first world title in the 400m hurdles.

Also on Saturday in the opening meeting of the IAAF World Indoor Tour, Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha broke the national indoors record in the men’s mile with a time of 3:51.70.

“My dream is the (5,000m) world record,” the world indoor 3,000m champion said.

His countryman, Rio Olympics 5,000m bronze medalist Hagos Gebrhiwet, clocked 7:37.41 for a five-second victory over Kenyan Edward Cheserek in the 3,000m.

American Katie Nageotte surprised Olympic and world gold medalist Katerina Stefanidi by clearing 4.86m in the pole vault to the Greek’s 4.71m. It was only the fourth time Nageotte has defeated Stefanidi in 32 meetings.

“It was amazing,” Nageotte told reporters. “I finally found my stride and I think it’s only going to continue getting better.”

Gabriela Stafford set a Canadian record in the women’s indoor mile with an impressive last lap helping her post a time of 4:24.80. That mark, the best of 2019 so far, was more than two seconds quicker than Sheila Reid’s 2013 indoors national record of 4:27.02.

Early season marks were also set in the men’s 800m where U.S. champion Donavan Brazier pushed past Olympic bronze medalist Clayton Murphy for a narrow win in 1:45.91 and Maggie Ewen tossed the women’s shot put 19.28 meters.

Reporting by Gene Cherry in Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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