Sunday, July 26, 2009

Bolt and Gay Highlight London

We're heading towards the home stretch on our journey to Berlin and no one is blazing that stretch like Tyson Gay and Usain Bolt. London was the first time we've seen them on the track together this year - though it was in separate races.

Neither had any difficulty dispatching with their competition. In the 100, Bolt survived a shaky start to blast by the field in 9.91 (-1.7). Well ahead of second place Yohan Blake's (JAM) 10.11. Bolt was expected to get a competitive tune up here from compatriot Asafa Powell, but Powell was a well beaten 6th (10.26) and not looking like a man ready to challenge the Dynamic Duo of Bolt and Gay.

Gay was entered in the 200 here - amid stories of groin trouble and impending surgery at the end of the season. Gay looked healthy in London as he once again burned everyone on the turn before relaxing his way to a 20.00 (+0.4) ahead of Wallace Spearmon's 20.35. Gay eased in the stretch to protect his groin which has given him discomfort. Time will tell how well he will be able to manage his discomfort in Berlin, but clearly he at full strength is the only athlete capable of competing head to head with Bolt. So his presence in Berlin is needed.

Elsewhere on the track we got world leading efforts from Lashinda Demus (US) and Tirunesh Dibaba (ETH). Demus ran 53.65 to win the 400H by nearly a second over Olympic champion Melaine Walker's (JAM) 54.55. Dibaba, meanwhile, took over the world lead in the 5000 with her 14:33.65.

It was also nice to see US milers doing well in Europe. In the men's mile we got a rare 1,2,3 sweep with Bernard Lagat (3:52,71) leading Leonel Manzano (3:53.01) and Lopez Lamong (3:53.35). In the women's 1500 Anna Willard (4:07.95) and Shannon Rowbury (4:08.21) went 1,2. Hopefully we are seeing athletes that will be heading to Berlin sharp and ready for action. And ready to improve our fortunes in the middle distances.

But the clear stars of the meet were Gay and Bolt. Bolt finished off his weekend with an anchor on the 4x1. Running well clear of the field in spite of the disqualification of his team. Unless someone else steps up over the next few weeks, Berlin is shaping up as the Tyson and Usain, Usain and Tyson show!

Full meet results can be found here.

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