Smith beaten

 

IRELAND's Susan Smith came second in the women's 400 metres hurdles at a Grand Prix athletics meeting in Helsinki last night as she continued her preparation for the World Championship in Athens in August.

In a tight finish, Smith was squeezed out by Russian Anna Knoroz. Smith's time was 55.79 seconds, 0.38 of a second behind the winner. Estonia's Olga Nazarova finished third.

Namibian Frankie Fredericks stamped his class on the 100 metres at the meet, but it was a bad night for Sergei Bubka and Jan Zelezny. Fredericks took the sprint in a solid time of 10.05, finishing clear of American Tim Montgomery.

In the pole vault, South African Riian Botha cleared 5.90 metres to see off both French Olympic champion Jean Galfione (5.80) and Ukrainian legend Bubka (5.60), who has struggled for form since returning from an Achilles injury.

Britain's Steve Backley took the javelin honours with an effort of 87.96 metres as Olympic champion Zelezny, who on Tuesday had said he was "ready to deliver a good performance", finished a lowly fourth with 83.30.

. Susan Smith was yesterday named in a strong Irish team for the Cork City Sports this Saturday.