Sunday, 31 August 2008 Powell skids to 9.87sec in torrential rain in Gateshead - IAAF World Athletics Tour
Asafa Powell runs 9.87 sec in exceptionally wet conditions in Gateshead (Getty Images)
Gateshead, UK - Two world season leading best times in the men’s and women’s 3000m from Kenenisa Bekele and Vivian Cheruiyot and a superlative 100m of 9.87 from Asafa Powell were the highlights of the Aviva British Grand Prix in Gateshead - a Grand Prix status meeting as part of the IAAF World Athletics Tour 2008.
The highlight of a rain-soaked afternoon was the 100m as Powell got away to an immaculate start, powering away from a quality field to record an impressive 9.87sec.
Only fifth in the Olympic final, Powell extended his lead to as much as three metres at the finish. Second was Powell’s colleague on the world-record breaking relay quartet in Beijing, Nesta Carter in 10.13.
“It would have been different in the Olympics if I had run like this,” said the former World record holder. “But the past is the past and this is the present.”
Rooney opener for hosts; Williams sprint double
The afternoon kicked off with a British win as Beijing finalist, Martín Rooney took the 400m in 45.35.
“After Beijing and the Bird’s Nest I was finding it hard to get up for it before today,” said Rooney. “But as son as I stepped on the track I realised it was good to be home as the crowd were massive and really got behind me. I didn’t feel I did that well considering the conditions were perfect for 400m running, but obviously it was great to win.”
Olympic champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser, was beaten into second by the former World champion Lauryn Williams of the USA.
Williams was never headed as Fraser attempted to make up the early deficit to no avail, the American crossing the line in 11.24 into a headwind, 0.05 ahead of Fraser with the Bahamas’ Debbie Ferguson-McKensie third.
“It’s a bit difficult to come down off the high of the Olympics and I’m still feeling a little tired,” said Fraser. “I’d have loved to have won, but it just wasn’t to be today.”
Williams completed an excellent double later in the afternoon as she took the 200m in 22.65 from Ferguson, who was 0.8 down. “Two in a row and in the rain,” said Williams. “I know that on another day the result in Beijing would be different.”
“It’s a bitter-sweet type of win,” declared Williams, “as we all wanted to win the Olympics, but to beat the medallists here was nice.
In the women’s 800m, Britain’s Marilyn Okoro followed the pacemaker through 400m in a swift 56.88 before moving into the lead from 300m out. Okoro was never headed, coming home in 1:59.48, over a second ahead of Slovenia’s Brigitta Langerholc. “I wanted a solid performance after the disappointment in Beijing,” admitted Okoro.
Silver medallist in the 100m Hurdles in Beijing, Sally McLellan (AUS), was beaten into second by Spain’s Josephine Onyia in a new stadium record of 12.65. McLellan was also inside the old record with 12.70.
Willis short of mark, as Lagat rallies
Olympic 1500m bronze medallist, Nick Willis, was looking to beat the legendary Peter Snell’s 1000m New Zealand record, but it was not to be as Willis was overhauled by double World champion, Bernard Lagat of the USA, in the finishing straight.
Lagat set a personal best of 2:16.18 and said it made up for his disappointing showing in Beijing: “I was injured three weeks before the Games. I had problems with my Achilles tendon so this makes up for that. Now I’m looking forward to the rest of the season,” said Lagat. “I intend to go out there and show everyone I can still run fast over 1500m.”
American Aries Merritt delivered a strong second half of the 110m Hurdles to win convincingly in 13.39, two tenths ahead of second-placed Petr Svoboda of the Czech Republic.
Brad Walker went some way to make up for his disappointment of not making the final of the pole vault in Beijing by defeating the Olympic bronze medallist Denys Yurchenko (UKR) in 5.72m.
“The conditions weren’t brilliant,” said Walker, “but we managed to get the competition done before the rain came. “I had a tough Olympics, so I came here to get the win as I really need to get some confidence back.”
Bekele ends his season with another world lead
Fresh from his world leading 5000m in Zurich on Friday night (29), Ethiopia’s Bekele set world leading figures in the 3000m of 7:31.94.
Bekele had asked for 61sec laps and the pacemaker duly took the field through 1000m in 2:32.57. The 2km mark was ticked off in 5:05.38 with Bekele already in the lead followed closely by Kenyan junior cross-country champion, Levi Matebo.
With 300m to go, the Ethiopian double Beijing Olympic champion sped away from Matebo who was overtaken in the straight by Isaac Songok (KEN). Matebo, however, was rewarded by a personal best of 7:39.43, a World leading junior time by more than six seconds.
“I’m very happy with the way I ran today,” said Bekele. “I still feel very good and the speed is still there. Going forward, I am still young and I want to continue as long as possible.”
Gay victory but remains frustrated
Tyson Gay had to play second fiddle to Usain Bolt in Bejing after his hamstring problems at the American trials, but he put his problems behind him with a solid 20.25sec in the 200m easing visibly with five metres to go.
“I am very frustrated and disappointed with what happened in Bejing,” admitted Gay who went out in the semi-finals in the Bird’s Nest stadium. “It was so frustrating having to watch rather than perform. I know I would have been the man to put pressure on him (Bolt) but that’s’ what I’ve got to work towards now. But I look forward to meeting Usain and finishing my season strongly.”
In second place in 20.41 was Wallace Spearmon, who was disqualified in Beijing after believing he had won bronze.
Beijing fourth placers Dobriskey and Sayers win
Lisa Dobriskey made her kick tell in the 1500m as she sped past the leader from the gun, American Erin Donahue, to win in 4:09.68 with a sub-60sec last lap. In second, Susan Scott made it a British one-two with Donahue fading to fourth.
“I don’t know how to deal with finishing fourth in the Olympics,” said Dobriskey. “I had mixed emotions. I wanted to come here to get the Olympic final out of my head. I wanted to run well in front of the home fans so I am glad I won.”
Britain’s Goldie Sayers, fourth in Beijing, took the women’s Javelin with a throw of 61.62. “I came here to enjoy the competition but the conditions aren’t brilliant,” admitted Sayers. “The wind is horrible. I don’t quite know what to make of the Olympics. It was a good experience, but the best I can say is that I was satisfied, but I really wanted more.”
Poland’s Marek Plawgo outfought Olympic bronze Bershawn Jackson in the 400m hurdles, winning in 49.07, Jackson finishing 0.04 adrift.
There was impressive running from Olympic champion Melaine Walker (JAM) in the 400m Hurdles, coming home clear in 54.51 from Poland’s Ana Jesien with Olympic bronze medallist, Tasha Danvers fading on the run-in to the line.
“Heat in Beijing, rain in Gateshead, it doesn’t bother me at all,” said Walker. “It was just good to win.”
Britain’s Olympic silver medallist Germaine Mason won the High Jump with a leap of 2.27 in pouring rain: “It was great to win,” said Mason, “but I’ve so enjoyed being healthy this season that once I got the winning height I didn’t want to risk injuring myself. Now I’m looking forward to Lausanne and the rest of the season.”
Cheruiyot in good shape
Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot raced away from a strong 3000m field to set world leading figures of 8:33.66. “I am in good shape and hope to run well in Brussels,” said the Kenyan.
Locally based Brazilian Jadel Gregorio won a rain-marred Triple Jump with a third-round 17.13. Britain’s Olympic silver medallist, Phillips Idowu, finished fourth with a second round 16.42. As the increasingly poor weather worsened, Idowu decided to retire from the competition after his fourth attempt.
The Long Jump went to the USA’s Miguel Pate with his first round jump of 8.04m. Promising young Briton Greg Rutherford, the European silver medallist, was second on 7.71.
Ohuruogu sends wet crowd home happy
The women’s 400m brought the afternoon to a close and yet another win for Britain’s sole Olympic champion, Christine Ohuruogu, who clocked 51.27.
Michael Butcher for the IAAF