Sheffield: Jeremy, Oscar blowout

By Nick Johnson

SHEFFIELD (Reuters) - High-profile trio Tyson Gay, Jeremy Wariner and double amputee Oscar Pistorius all suffered in the rain at Sunday’s IAAF British Grand Prix.

American Gay admitted he was unhappy with his performance after winning the men’s 100 meters.

Gay, the fastest man in the world this year with 9.84 at the U.S. Championships last month, finished in 10.13. Britain’s Marlon Devonish was 0.10 behind in second place.

Persistent rain in Sheffield put paid to Gay’s hopes of beating the world record of 9.77 seconds, which is jointly held by Asafa Powell and Justin Gatlin.

“I came to the track yesterday and the sun was out and it was warm, so I was expecting the same thing but the weather turned around,” the 24-year-old told reporters.

"I really, really expected to run better but I’m a little rusty and my body just wasn’t ready yet.

Olympic and world champion Wariner failed to race the 400 meters, losing his footing as he came out of the blocks.

American Angelo Taylor took advantage of Wariner’s misfortune, winning in 45.25 seconds, 0.39 seconds ahead of Australia’s John Steffensen.

South African Pistorius was disqualified for running outside of his lane after trailing in last in 47.65 on the wet track.

Liu Xiang of China, the men’s 110 meters hurdles world record-holder, won his race in 13.23 seconds, 0.04 seconds ahead of American Ryan Wilson.

He is now looking forward to next month’s world championships in Osaka, Japan.

“I am confident for the world championships and of course will try my best to do well in the competition,” he said.

America’s Wallace Spearmon won the men’s 200 meters in a time of 20.08 seconds, narrowly edging out Usain Bolt of Jamaica, while Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele enjoyed a comfortable victory in the men’s 3000 meters.

Allyson Felix won the women’s 200 meters, finishing 0.09 seconds ahead of fellow American Sanya Richards, posting a time of 22.35.

Felix said: “The weather wasn’t the best so it was a case of getting to the line first. I have been working on my curve running so I am happy with that.”

Alice Schmidt of the United States won the women’s 800 meters while Britain’s Nicola Sanders held off a challenge from American Monique Hennagan to win the women’s 400 meters.

World and Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner was left at the starting line as Angelo Taylor won the 400m at the British Grand Prix in Sheffield.
Wariner stumbled from his blocks at the start and stopped running.

South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius struggled in the wet and finished last and was then disqualified for running out of his lane.

Earlier, American Tyson Gay overcame the weather to claim a hard-fought victory in the 100m.

Highlights: 400m fails to live up to billing
Highlights: Gay storms to win in Sheffield
Highlights: Baddeley shocks Legat

Gay, who clocked 9.84 seconds last month - the fastest time in the world this year - triumphed in 10.13.

The American had to battle hard over the second half of the race before powering clear.

Britain’s Marlon Devonish put in another good performance to finish second in 10.23.

Earlier, Devonish had finished fifth in the 200m behind American Wallace Spearmon, who won in 20.08.

Spearmon, the 2005 world silver medallist, edged out Jamaican Usain Bolt by one hundredth of a second with another American Rodney Martin third in 20.39 with Devonish managing 20.45.

In the women’s race, Allyson Felix beat compatriot Sanya Richards to win in 22.35 with Richards clocking 22.44 and Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell third.

Felix made a slow start but got into her stride on the bend and looked strong on the home straight to claim victory.

[b]Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele blew away the challenge of his arch-rival Craig Mottram to win the 3000m in a UK all-comers’ record and personal best time of seven minutes 26.69 seconds.

Bekele powered away with two laps remaining, lowering the previous mark achieved by his fellow countryman Haile Gebrselasie who clocked 7:29.69 at Crystal Palace eight years ago. [/b]

He finished over eight seconds clear of the Australian, whose time of 7:35.00 was a season’s best.

Andy Baddeley achieved the best victory of his career when he won the 1500m in a personal best time of three minute 34.74 seconds.

The Briton, who was third in last month’s Oslo ‘Dream Mile’, beat the 2004 Olympic bronze and silver medallists Rui Silva and Bernard Lagat.

(I reckon after this Lagat will take a crack at 5000m in Osaka. kk)

European indoor champion Nicola Sanders set a season’s best to beat Monique Hennagan in the 400m.

Hennagan looked strong on the bend but Sanders, who has been struggling with an Achilles problem, dug deep in the final 30 metres to win in 51.01.

“I finished sixth in Lausanne the other night but this time I was more controlled and came through strong and it’s a season’s best so I’m pleased,” she told BBC Sport.

“I’ve missed five or six weeks of training and I want to get some hard sessions done so I can run fast before Osaka.”

When was the last time Wariner was beaten over 400m?

Do you get money when you win or just an appearance fee?

Many meet directors go with more of a performance-based incentive arrangement. The “appearance” fee is modified to be more of a “promotional” fee, requiring athletes to help in advance by attending press conferences, sponsors’ functions, development clinics etc. But Wariner’s Sheffield stuff-up, if it was ruled to be entirely of his own making, woud be likely to adversely affect his take-home pay.

Just shows how awesome KB is that they pin a man his arch rival even though he’s beaten him 18 out of 20 times they’ve faced.

KB’s race was amazing he really showed his form and totally took apart the rest of the field. He actually sped up significantly after the pacemaker dropped out!

Sheffield - Kenenisa Bekele erased any doubts about his form ahead of next month’s World Championships in Japan with a record-breaking 3 000m win at the rain-lashed British Grand Prix on Sunday.

The Ethiopian, the Olympic and world 10 000m champion, burst clear with three laps to go as rain fell at the Don Valley Stadium and went nearly a lap in front of a field also featuring Australia’s Craig Mottram.

Bekele’s time of 7 minutes 26.69 seconds was a personal best and a new British allcomers’ record, beating the 7:29.69 run of Haile Gebrselassie, his compatriot, at London’s Crystal Palace eight years ago.

Mottram, who beat Bekele in September’s World Cup final was way back in second, some nine seconds behind.

‘It was a fantastic race’
“It was a fantastic race,” said Bekele. "I’m happy to have ran so quickly especially in tough weather conditions.

“I have been training hard and this performance showed that I am at my best level.”

The 400m race involving Olympic and world champion Jeremy Warriner and double-amputee Oscar Pistorius was marred by the weather.

Warriner stumbled out of the blocks and then stopped, as if expecting the starter to fire the recall gun.

But no recall came and Warriner let the field continue without him.

The wet conditions made life especially tough for Pistorius, who runs on carbon fibre blades attached to the legs below the knee.

He was last of those who finished and was subsequently disqualified for running outside his lane. American Angelo Taylor won in 45.25 seconds.

Pistorius, second in a 400m ‘B’ race at in Rome on Friday, had both legs amputated below the knee when less than a year old.

The 20-year-old has said his aim is to run at the World Championships in Osaka. To first do that he would need to run the qualifying time of 45.95.

Even if Pistorius does that the IAAF, athletics’ world governing body, could prevent him from taking part.

They have previously ruled that the blades are an unfair advantage but have said they will wait before making a final ruling.

Tyson Gay’s hopes of setting a 100m world record were frustrated by the weather, his winning time of 10.13 well outside Asafa Powell’s mark of 9.77.

China’s 110m hurdles world record holder Liu Xiang won his event in 13.23 beating out rivals Anwar Moore of the USA and Cuba’s Dayron Robles.

“Despite the difficult conditions and a tough track, I had a good race,” said Liu.

“I am confident about my chances at the world championships.”

Australia’s Jana Rawlinson continued her successful comeback after giving birth by winning the 400m hurdles.

The former Jana Pittman, married to retired British hurdler Chris Rawlinson, won in a time of 54.60 as she geared up for Osaka.

Britain’s Natasha Danvers-Smith, runner up to Rawlinson at last year’s Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, was second in 55.31 with Sandra Glover of the United States third in 55.54.

It was 2003 world champion Rawlinson’s second win in three days after her success at Rome’s Golden League meeting on Friday, having given birth seven months ago.

There was something of an upset result in the men’s 1500m where Britain’s Andy Baddely won in a personal best time of 3:34.74.

The 25-year-old, third in June’s “Dream Mile” in Oslo, waited until the home straight before going clear of 2004 Olympic bronze and silver medallists Rui Silva and Bernard Lagat.

In a 200 metres run while rain was falling on the Don Valley track, American Wallace Spearmon won in 20.08 - a remarkable time given the conditions.

Spearmon, the 2005 world silver medallist, just edged out Jamaica’s Usain Bolt by one hundredth of a second with another US athlete, Rodney Martin, third in 20.39. - Sapa-AFP

The last time I remember was Tim Benjamin - Crystal Palace - London Grand Prix 2005

Didn’t Wariner break down with a hammy late last year, in Asia somewhere?


Bekele pounces in Sheffield - IAAF World Athletics Tour
Sunday 15 July 2007
Sheffield, UK - So much for sunshine. So much for records. After all the pre-meeting hype, the sodden British summer put paid to any hopes of world 100m records or intriguing duels over 400m at the Norwich Union British Grand Prix this evening (15), an IAAF Grand Prix status meeting as part of the IAAF World Athletics Tour 2007.

Bekele dominant as ever

Tyson Gay in Sheffield
(Getty Images)

The day-long rain that pelted the Don Valley stadium in Sheffield made conditions miserable for athletes and spectators alike. Indeed, it was more like cross country weather than a summer track meeting, which probably explains why the performance of the night belonged to Ethiopia’s king of the country, Kenenisa Bekele.

The five-times double world cross country champion was back to his peerless best in the men’s 3000m, a race billed as a re-match with Australia’s Craig Mottram, the man who beat him in a sprint finish at last year’s IAAF World Cup. Bekele gave Mottram little chance to repeat that triumph here as he simply destroyed the Australian over the last kilometre to win by a huge margin.

After a quick first kilomere, paced by Kenya’s Charles Bett in 2:29.57, and second 1000m of 2:33.15, Bekele moved to the front and kicked away from his Australian shadow, speeding through a 58-second lap that turned a three-metre advantage into an unassailable 30m lead.

Another narrow win for Liu Xiang in Sheffield
(Getty Images)

He stopped the clock at 7:26.69, a stadium record by almost 13 seconds. More significantly it erased yet another of Haile Gebrselassie’s marks from the record books, the UK all-comers’ record of 7:29.69, it is the fastest time in the world this year by nearly six and a half seconds, and it makes Bekele the seventh quickest 3000m runner of all-time. Not bad considering the curtain of chilling water he had to plough through.

Not surprisingly, Bekele was the happiest man in the stadium. “That was a fantastic race,” he said. “The weather makes it very difficult to run well, but today is very special. I have been training very hard and it now shows that I am at my best.”

A bedraggled Mottram held on to finish second in 7:35.00, but afterwards the Australian’s mood was as grey as the heavy South Yorkshire skies. “That was not the Craig Mottram you usually see,” he said. “I am clearly better than that.”

Another victory for Michelle Perry in Sheffield
(Getty Images)

No doubt he is, although his time was still the fifth best in the world this year, while Americans Chris Solinsky and Dathan Ritzenhein, in third and fourth, both set PBs – 7:36.90 and 7:39.03 respectively. Not that either were within spitting distance of Bekele.

Indeed, the Ethiopian was one of the few athletes with reason to feel genuinely pleased with his performance on a night when many of the most-publicised clashes turned into damp squibs.

Gay beats the rain

Andrew Baddeley beats the rain and a strong field in Sheffield
(Getty Images)

US sprint champion Tyson Gay came here hinting at world record attempts but any chance of that vanished early in the morning when the US champion looked out of his hotel window and saw the streets of Sheffield streaming with rain.

There is little doubt the conditions affected his performance and although Gay claimed the victory, beating Britain’s Marlon Devonish and European champion Francis Obikwelu, his time will hardly be sending shivers down the spine of Jamaica’s Asafa Powell.

“I came to the track yesterday and the sun was out and it was warm, so I was expecting the same thing, but the weather turned around,” said a somewhat cheerless Gay after his 10.13 victory. “I’m a little rusty right now. I haven’t done any speed work and it wasn’t the best time. I really expected to run better but my body wasn’t ready.”

Home win for Nicola Sanders in Sheffield
(Getty Images)

For his part Devonish was happy to “mix it” with the big boys as he took some significant scalps in beating Obikwelu and Shawn Crawford. “I showed today that I can mix it with the likes of Tyson Gay when they are running so well,” said Devonish who clocked 10.23. “I’m a little disappointed with the time but the aim is to double up at the world championships so today was a good work-out. Doing the 200m earlier probably took the last 20m out of me.”

Taylor takes 400 as Wariner barely starts

The men’s 400m, the other big billboard event of the night, and the meeting’s final race, was even more of an anti-climax. After the runners had been held waiting for more than 10 minutes in teeming rain, world and Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner stopped running only metres into the race, saying later that he slipped coming out of his blocks. Then, Oscar Pistorius, the so-called “blade runner” was disqualified for running out of his lane after he had finished seventh.

With the two headline figures out of the running, the race was won by USA’s Angelo Taylor in 45.25 with Australia’s Commonwealth champion John Steffensen second in 45.64, 0.1 sesconds ahead of Darold Williamson.

Spearmon, Felix take combative 200s

The two closes races of the night came in the 200m, as USA’s Wallace Spearmon chased down Usain Bolt to claim a narrow victory in the men’s race, while World champion Allyson Felix triumphed in three-way battle against Sandra Richards and Olympic champion Veronica Campbell in the women’s.

Spearmon caught the tall Jamaican on the line despite giving him a five metre headstart as they entered the straight. Although the two were given the same time, 20.08 – great running in the conditions, even if aided by a +1.2 wind – Spearmon got the verdict. Back in fourth, Paul Hession broke the Irish record with 20.44, a hundredth ahead of the busy Devonish.

In the women’s version, the three main protagonists entered the straight together and strove for the line stride-for-stride before Felix edged ahead in the final five metres to take victory in 22.35. Richards crept ahead of Campbell for second in 22.44.

The meeting got off to a heart-warming start for the damp British fans when Hattie Dean smashed her British record in the women’s 3000m steeplechase, won by Jamaica’s Korine Hinds in 9:34.83 ahead of her compatriot Mardea Hyman. Dean finished third in 9:38.56 which brought the unexpected prize of $2,500 from the organisers as it was some four seconds inside her previous record.

“I am over the moon with breaking the British record again and receiving this fantastic cheque,” said Dean. “Making the final of the world championships was always the goal but now it is reality.”

She might be joined there by Helen Clitheroe as the former 1500m runner also brought the home crowd some cheer when she qualified for Osaka by finishing in 9:45.22, good enough for fourth.

Baddeley upsets Silva and Lagat in 1500m

The good night for Britons continued in the men’s 1500m as Andrew Baddeley beat Bernard Lagat and smashed his personal best by nearly two seconds with 3:34.74. Lagat, leading at the bell, faded to third as Portugal’s Rui Silva nipped into second for his best time of the year, 3:35.92.

Nicola Sanders provided Britain with another victory as she returned from injury to claim the 400m in 51.01 ahead of USA’s Monique Hennagan.

One athlete who seemed little troubled by the conditions – perhaps because her race started during a brief lull in the downpour – was Australia’s Jana Rawlinson. The 2003 world champion declared herself delighted to be “back home” at the track where she made her first ever appearance in Europe after she won the 400m hurdles easily in 54.59, despite suffering a bad stutter at the final hurdle.

“It’s actually quite nice conditions,” said the British-based Australian. “It’s a bit windy but it’s so nice to be here, I feel like I’m at home. It’s a track close to my heart. When you live and train in England you get used to these conditions.”

The California-based Briton, Tasha Danvers-Smith, overhauled Sandra Glover to take second in 55.31.

Xiang and Perry take the sprint hurdles

The world’s best male and female sprint hurdlers also made light work of the conditions to beat high quality fields. USA’s Michelle Perry came through over the final two barriers to beat Lolo Jones, clocking 12.78 into a slight wind (-0.2), while Liu Xiang delighted the large contingent of fans from Sheffield’s Chinese community who turned out to see him beat USA’s Ryan Wilson in the 110m event.

Xiang clocked a modest 13.23 into a slight headwind (-0.5), but he fared far better than Cuba’s Dayron Robles and USA’s Anwar Moore – thought to be his closest challengers – as they finished fourth and third respectively in 13.37 and 13.35.

World and Olympic heptathlon champion Carolina Kluft was satisfied with her night’s work after finishing fifth in the women’s hurdles in 13.31. “With the weather and everything I thought I did a good race,” said the Swede.

Rain impacts infield action

Performances in the field events were all affected by the weather. USA’s Brian Johnson beat home favourite Chris Tomlinson in the Long Jump by 7.99m to 7.90m; USA’s Aarik Wilson won the Triple Jump with 17.19m; and Australia’s Steve Hooker coped best with the wet to win the men’s pole vault with 5.65m.

Kajsa Bergqvist was well down on the 2.03m all-comers record she leapt at this meeting two years ago but the World champion still won the women’s High Jump with a clearance of 1.95m. There was a second Swedish victory in the men’s Javelin Throw as Magnus Arvidsson beat Norway’s Olympic champion Andreas Thorkildsen with a best of 84.74m.

The women’s 800m went to USA’s Alice Schmidt in 1:59.99, and Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot took the women’s 3000m in 8:43.85 ahead of Britain’s Jo Pavey, a race in which every athlete ran either a season’s or a personal best. It was indeed a night when only distance running made sense.

Matthew Brown for the IAAF

My God, Kenenisa Bekele wears a pacemaker?! How did it fall out of his chest?!