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Benjamin runs a solid 400 meters in return to competition

American Rai Benjamin competes in the men's 400 meters at Mt.  SAC Relays in Walnut, California (ETIENNE LAURENT)

American Rai Benjamin competes in the men’s 400 meters at Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, California (ETIENNE LAURENT)

Rai Benjamin, the Olympic silver medalist in the 400 meters hurdles, claimed a convincing victory in the 400 meters in 44.42 seconds on Saturday at the Mt. SAC relay, where compatriot Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone returned to competition for the first time since July.

Benjamin, who is also an Olympic gold medalist and two-time world champion in the 4×400 meters relay, won the 400 meters with ease as he steps up preparations for the Olympic Games in Paris, where he will target gold in the individual 400 meters hurdles after being eliminated by Norwegian Karsten Warholm in a thrilling finale in Tokyo.

Meanwhile, McLaughlin-Levrone, the world record holder and Tokyo Olympic gold medalist in the women’s 400 meters hurdles, made an uneventful return to the track for the first time since July last year after withdrawing from the World Championships in Budapest in August due to a knee injury .

McLaughlin-Levrone lined up for the 4x100m relay during the meet of school, college and elite athletes at the Mt. San Antonio College east of Los Angeles.

Her “Team Kersee”, led by American coach Bob Kersee, finished second in 42.92 seconds behind an international quartet led by Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith (42.03).

Asher-Smith then took third place in the 200 meters in 22.80 seconds, the race won by Saint Lucian sprinter Julian Alfred in 22.58 seconds, ahead of Ireland’s Rhasidat Adeleke in 22.61.

The top three finishers train together in Austin, Texas.

rg/bb/sev