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Posted: February 13, 2009  :

(TPR) Athletics: Jones Targeting Devers' American 60M Hurdles Record

From Bob Ramsak
© 2009 TRACK PROFILE Report, all rights reserved

Races in Dusseldorf Tonight, and Karlsruhe Sunday

With no major meets on the schedule for Americans this indoor season, Lolo Jones said her target this winter is Gail Devers' national record in the 60m hurdles.

"I really want to break Gail Devers' American record," Jones said after her victory at last Saturday's Sparkassen Cup in Stuttgart, Germany."That's the goal."

Devers set the mark of 7.74 seconds at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games in 2003, and last year Jones came within a few feet of the record when she clocked 7.77 in Karlsruhe, Germany, where she finished second to Susanna Kallur's 7.68 world record.

"If I don't get it, no worries," the reigning world indoor champion said."But indoors this year there's less pressure. Last year we had so many people --Susanna and Damu Cherry was running fast-- so there were a lot of more people on the circuit last year. Competition-wise it's not as deep this winter, but that's my goal."

In Stuttgart, Jones twice lowered the season world -- leading time, first to 7.93 in the heats and again to 7.85 where she dominated the final.

"I felt good, I was surprised it was so fast because there were so many false starts," Jones said. "So I'm surprised I ran (7.) 85."

"I'm definitely pleased. I feel like I'm just a little bit ahead of schedule, compared with my times in previous years. I'm faster by like a week or two, so I like it."

Jones has four more outings planned beginning with tonight's PSD Bank Meeting in Dusseldorf where she'll face compatriot Candice Davis and Cuban Anay Tejeda who finished second and third behind Jones at last year's world indoor championships. She'll follow up with a return engagement in Karlsruhe on Sunday before moving on the Aviva Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham, England on Feb. 21 and then capping her season at the U.S. Indoor Championships on Feb. 28.

Jones said she's utilizing her indoor season to fine-tune the initial part of her race, an aspect that in hindsight she wasn't happy with during her outdoor season last year.

"So I just concentrate on working on the first part of my race. I feel like outdoors I lost focus on that, so I have to work on it now, perfect it, and worry about the next five hurdles. Especially about hurdle No. 9," she said.

A heavy favorite at last summer's Olympic Games, Jones was leading in the final until she famously crashed into the ninth barrier and subsequently out of medal contention.

"It comes into my mind now and then, especially before my first few races," she said. "You give interviews before the race about the Olympics, and it's kind of hard to move past it. For me, it's out of my mind."

To challenge Devers' mark, Jones said that the start is key.

"Technically I just need to work on my first three hurdles. Because once I get in my groove and find my rhythm, towards the middle end, it's great. But the first three hurdles, I'm still trying to find my way."

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