Gay over Carter, Bergqvist 2.05m in London
Friday 28 July 2006
London, UK - A men’s 200m battle between USA’s Tyson Gay and Xavier Carter was the race of the night at the Norwich Union London Grand Prix at London’s Crystal Palace. Yet the 2.05m clearance - and a 2.10m near miss - for Sweden’s Kajsa Bergqvist in the High Jump topped the individual performances at tonight’s IAAF World Athletics Tour meeting.
Powell is unstoppable
Twelve 100m races, twelve wins (heats and finals) this summer starting with his victory in the Penn Relays on 23 April, and of these nine have been taken in sub-10 second times, that is the present untouchable quality of Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell. Fluent in his 100m heat (10.12; -1.3m/s wind), Powell in the final was pushed hard by USA’s Leonard Scott (10.01) and Shawn Crawford (10.04) and as a result produced a 9.91 finish into a head wind of -0.6m/s. With Justin Gatlin, who jointly holds the World record with Powell, injured at present no one stands any hope of stopping the Jamaican this season.
Carter surpasses Johnson’s mark
In the earlier 200m, Tyson Gay and Xavier Carter were best away, with the former, the World Championship fourth placer entering the finishing straight with a sizeable lead in lane five. Carter, in lane seven, the second fastest man of all-time thanks to his 19.63 run in Lausanne a fortnight ago, tried to make up the advantage while all the time being closed down himself by World silver medallist Wallace Spearmon in the lane outside. Yet both pursuits were ultimately hopeless and the 1-2-3 stayed the same, Gay (19.84 - +0.2m/s wind), Carter (19.98) and Spearmon (20.11). The winner’s time surpassing legendary Michael Johnson’s British All-comers record of 19.85 set in Edinburgh (6 July 1990).
Wariner regrets slowing down
When you begin to ease up with 40 metres to go in a one-lap sprint but remain an emphatic winner over a world class 400m field you are in a class of your own. Jeremy Wariner graduated with honours tonight as he has done throughout this summer. A 43.63 clocking in Rome on 14 July has made him the fourth fastest 400m man of all-time, and the World and Olympic champion would clearly have been close to that had he not so dramatically decelerated. He crossed in 43.99, and confirmed shortly afterwards that he “regretted pulling up” as he missed improving another of the British All-comers records owned by his manager Michael Johnson (43.98 – 1992). World silver medallist Andrew Rock with a 44.81 run was Wariner’s nearest opponent.
Richards improves world lead
There was no lack of a finish from USA’s Sanya Richards, not that she needed to relentlessly pursue the line in the women’s 400m, anymore than Wariner had in the earlier men’s race. Richards’ won in 49.05, smashing Tatyana Kocembova’s ancient all-comers record (previous 49.33 – 1983). It was the fastest time in the world this year. Her 48.92 PB, which she set last year when winning in Zurich, is living on borrowed time.
“I have to give it to Jeremy Wariner, he’s a real inspiration and its always exciting to watch him run,” confirmed Richards.
The World silver medallist’s nearest challenger was Jamaican Novlene Williams, the winner in Helsinki on Tuesday, and herself in good form setting a 49.65 (PB) in Rome earlier this month but she was well adrift in second with 50.24m.
World lead for Holm begins Swedish party night
Stefan Holm responded very well to his defeat in Stockholm on Tuesday (25) by producing a world season leading 2.34m clearance in the men’s High Jump. Clear through his first five heights on his first attempts Sweden’s Olympic champion is clearly back in the groove, though his winning height came on the third attempt. He then made a trio of good but unsuccessful efforts at 2.37m.
“2.37 would have been a new PB and that is the way I was feeling tonight. I’m getting back to consistency and that should put me in good stead for the championships,” confirmed Holm.
Britain’s recent acquisition from Jamaica Jermaine Mason gave the home crowd something to shout about with a 2.31m best for second.
Christian Olsson, who like Holm had lost in Stockholm, also bounded back into top form with an unopposed 17.42m first round leap win in the men’s Triple Jump.
Bergqvist comes close to the World record
A world season’s best of 2.05m - a British all-comer’s record (previous 2.03) - also fell to Olsson and Holm’s compatriot the women’s World champion Kajsa Bergqvist. The World Indoor record holder has the outdoor mark in her view and came agonisingly close tonight on her third attempt at a new record of 2.10m. But there is little doubt it will come to the Swede soon, “I’m in that sort of condition,” she confirmed if there were any doubters. Her winning height came with a first time effort at 2.05m, which left the bar with the slightest of wobbles but her previous success at 2.00m (second try) was as clean and crisp as you could imagine.
Bergqvist was not alone in searching for World record perfection. Yelena Isinbayeva who had made history last year at this meeting with the world’s first 5m vault by a woman, went for 5.02m this evening. The Russian World and Olympic champion, who currently holds the record at 5.01m, didn’t come close on any of her three tries. However, her world season leading 4.91m winning vault on her second approach to the bar at that height shows her confidence is growing with her revised technique. This year, as she herself confirmed, is one of “transition.”
Dibaba gets a PB
There was some brave front running from Britain’s Jo Pavey, her trade mark, but it was clear even before the gun fired for the women’s 3000m that this would be an all-Ethiopian affair, and the European Cup winner would never be in the hunt for the win once the final sprint began. World 5000m and 10,000m champion Tirunesh Dibaba possesses the most awesome sprint finish in the middle distance world, and she “unfolded” that weapon at the bell and soared away for her personal best of 8:29.55.
“The race was quite tactical but it unfolded well for me,” confirmed Dibaba.
Her compatriots in second and third, respectively Berhane Adere (8:33.17 season’s best), the 2003 World 10,000m champion, and Ejegayehu Dibaba (8:35.94 PB), Tirunesh’s older sister and the Olympic 10,000m silver medallist, were comprehensibly beaten. Pavey’s season’s best of 8:38.80 in fourth was just reward for her gritty attempt to stay with the Africans.
Lagat takes Bekele’s scalp
Another Ethiopian World champion unfolding his usually decisive finish kick with 400m to go was Kenenisa Bekele in the men’s 5000m one of the events at which he is World record holder. But this summer the 2004 and 2005 World Athlete of the Year seems to be short of a gear. His talent is such that even in current form he is only vulnerable to the very best, and in former Kenyan, now the American Bernard Lagat he found such an opponent this evening. The World and Olympic 1500m medallist has transferred well to the 5000m in the last couple of years taking the 2004 World Indoor 3000m title in the process as he adapted to the distance. His 12:59.22 win was a personal best his strength in final 20 metres just too much for Bekele. Lagat’s last lap was a brisk 52 seconds.
Simpson has the measure of Jones
It was a closely fought race but it was also a ‘gun to tape’ win for Jamaica’s world season leader Sherone Simpson in the women’s 100m. Having recaptured her early season form in the last couple of weeks of her European tour the Commonwealth 200m champion is now exuding confidence. Appreciative of the support shown by the Crystal Palace crowd, she powered to the line in 11.00 (-1.2m/s wind) pursued all the way at her shoulder by Marion Jones (11.05). The difference is that Simpson, who was second to the American in Paris (no pun intended) on the 8 July, now has the measure of her illustrious rival.
Clement wins at last!
Kerron Clement finally got his first win on the European continent this summer. The US champion and world season leader still had to chop his stride as he prepared to clear the last barrier in the 400m Hurdles but the 20-year-old had better flat speed than his opponents James Carter (USA) and Kemel Thompson (JAM) who had led him off that final flight. 48.63 was his win but still far short of 47.39 with which he won his national title on 24 June. World silver medallist Carter was second (48.79) and Thompson third (48.83).
“My speed will always be there, I just need a lot of work on the last part of my race,” confirmed Clement. Very well put!
World Triple Jump champion Trecia Smith of Jamaica, fresh from her 15.05m victory in Helsinki on Wednesday (26) night secured a Long Jump win this evening. Smith’s 6.63m beat Britain’s Olympic Heptathlon bronze medallist Kelly Sotherton (6.52m), who in turn headed Jamaica’s Elva Goulbourne who had the same best leap but lost second place due to her next best effort being two centimetres less than the Briton’s 6.48m.
In the women’s 800m Kenya’s world season leader Janeth Jepkosgei (1:58.54) was pushed all the way in the women’s 800m by Britain’s new discovery Rebecca Lynne (1:58.69) and Jamaican Kenia Sinclair (1:58.76).
Justine Robinson of South Africa took the women’s Javelin Throw with 60.80m, USA’s Dominique Darden nipped past Britain’s Tasha Danvers-Smith in the women’s 400m Hurdles (54.88 to 55.26), and in the men’s 1500m Spain’s Sergio Gallardo prevailed over Rui Silva, the World and Olympic bronze medallist (3:38.56 to 3:38.75), these two will be in the fight for continental honours in Gothenburg next month.
Chris Turner for the IAAF