The first meeting of the second half of the Diamond League series was the first to feature a head to head meeting of two of the world’s three top sprinters – Tyson Gay (US) and Asafa Powell (JAM).
Powell has been running well all season long. He co-leads the 100 on the clock at 9.82, and has three legal clockings under 9.90. Tyson Gay started his season with a 19.41 WR 200 on the straight, but since has been nursing a sore hamstring. His return to the track in Eugene was fast at 19.76 though the rust showed as he suffered defeat to Walter Dix and his 19.72. Gateshead was his first 100 of the season, although he was caught in 9.89 in route to his 19.41.
Add the fact that they are a contradiction in styles with Powell one of histories greatest starters and Gay one of histories best finishers, and this first “Clash of the Titans” was set to be a hum dinger. The race didn’t disappoint – unless of course your man lost – as both lived up to their own stereotypes. Powell was out blisteringly quick and looked to have the race put away after 30 meters. That is until Gay found that “other gear” that he finds so often, and ran Powell down in what seemed to be a replay of the Osaka World Championships in 2007 – pre Bolt explosion! Though the time was not what we’ve come to expect from these men - 9.94 run into a headwind of –1.7 mps. – competitively it was a classic race.
We get our next “2 of 3” match when Powell takes on Bolt this coming Friday in Paris.
Meanwhile, there was other action in Gateshead, though headwinds hampered the events all day long. And with the Diamond League once again scheduling two events back to back within two days (a la Rome & New York) it really cut down on the available star power. The best of the rest:
- Asbel Kiprop (KEN) continued to be the lead dog in the 1500 meters with his third Diamond League win in 3:33.34.
- Fabrice Lapierre (AUS) leapt 26’ 11” to defeat a long jump field that included Irving Saladino (PAN).
- Britain’s Phillips Idowu won the triple jump with a nice 57’ 0.75” leap.
- Walter Dix (US) edged a late surging Wallace Spearmon (US) in the 200 20.26 to 20.29. The surprise of the race was the sterling turn run by Saidy Ndure (NOR) that found him leading all into the stretch and carried him to third in 20.31.
- Carmelita Jeter (US) turned back new challenger Kelly Ann Baptiste (TRI) in the 100 10.95 to 11.00.
- Alysia Johnson (US) got her first Diamond League win with her 1:59.84 800. Behind her in 4th 1500 meter runner Kristin Wurth Thomas (US) worked on her speed with a 2:00.75 PR.
- In the 1500 Morgan Uceny (US) was 2nd in 4:04.25 behind Britain’s World silver medalist Lisa Dobrisky (4:03.69). Uceny stayed close throughout and is beginning to show a lot of spunk as she continues to improve her position in these tough European races. She’s definitely becoming one of our tougher competitors, which I’m sure will soon begin to translate on the clock as well as high placings.
- Lolo Jones (US) once again dominated the womens’ hurdles with a 12.79 to 12.98 win over Danielle Carruthers (US).
- And Kara Patterson continued her consistent season with a 2nd place finish in the javelin throwing 207’ 0.5”. She’s been very consistent since nationals throwing well over 200 feet every time out.
All in all it was great day of competition in spite of the conditions. The Diamond League makes it’s next stop in Paris on Friday the 16th.