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Fast start helps Campbell-Brown top Felix in 200

By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Women sprinters took center stage at the New York Diamond League meeting on Saturday when twice Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown won the cheers by edging rival Allyson Felix in a sizzling 200 meters.

The women were thrown in the spotlight as injuries forced Jamaican triple Olympic and world champion Usain Bolt and world 100 meters silver medalist Tyson Gay out of the event.

Campbell-Brown brought a large contingent of New York's yellow-and-green clad Jamaican community to their feet with a year's best time of 21.98 seconds, holding off the fast-closing American by three-hundredths of a second.

Among the Jamaicans packed into Icahn Stadium on a steamy day at Randall's Island was Bolt, whose absence due to a sore Achilles tendon had robbed the meeting of some of its buzz.

Campbell-Brown, however, managed to raise the excitement level with an explosive start that triple world champion Felix could not overcome.

"The crowd is always great here, especially my Jamaican people. They always bring a lot of energy to the track," said the Olympic champion, who had her left leg massaged and stretched after feeling it cramp around the final turn.

Felix, the runner-up to Campbell-Brown in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, still holds a 6-3 edge in their 200-metres rivalry but said she could not make up for the Jamaican sprinter's explosive start on Saturday.

"With that kind of start, I can't catch her. I felt good coming off the curve. I just needed a little better position," said Felix.

Olympic silver medalist Richard Thompson of Trinidad took the men's 100 meters with a wind-aided 9.89 seconds that was just enough to hold off Yohan Blake (9.91).

French world indoor triple jump record holder Teddy Tamgho leaped 17.98 meters on his final attempt, matching the sixth best all-time. Only two other men -- Britain's Jonathan Edwards and American Kenny Harrison -- have jumped farther.

Olympic champion Nancy Jebet Langat of Kenya won the women's 1,500 meters in 4:01.60, while American world indoor champion Lolo Jones won the 100-metres hurdles in 12.55 seconds.

(Additional reporting by Gene Cherry)

(Editing by Frank Pingue)