While wet damp conditions in London hampered many of the events at this weekend’s Diamond League meet, Tyson Gay blazed his way to a world leading 9.78 in the first day’s highlight event. Looking very confident following his previous week’s defeat of Usain Bolt, Tyson once again started well, which meant that the race was effectively over by 30 meters. Only Walter Dix was with him at that point, but some 20 meters later Dix’ body gave out under the pressure as Tyson shifted gears and went on to his world leading mark – well clear of the field. In second Yohan Blake (JAM), set a new personal best of 9.89 as Olympic silver medalist Richard Thompson (TRI) was in a different photo in 10.05. Beautiful run by Gay. And more impressive than his win against Bolt was the fact that for the second straight race, Tyson displayed a better than average start – which could mean serious trouble for the world’s elite sprinters.
Finishing up the second day of competition was hurdler David Oliver, as he continued to dominate his event with a meet record 13.06. Oliver had a decent start but hit some hurdles during the race and never had serious competition. That and the poor weather put to rest any record attempts. It’s a testament to the season that he is having that his meet record time is now considered a bit “ho hum” by his standards. But only WR holder Dayron Robles has run as fast this season.
Also showing her dominance was sprinter Allyson Felix who won a 200/400 double – the 200 on day one in 22.37, the 400 on day two in 50.79. She one the deuce easily as no one was ever really close to her. The 400 required a bit more work as list leader Debbie Dunn (US) and European champion Tatyana Firova (RUS) made her work all the way to the finish line. But Felix demonstrated that her strength in sprinting is, well, her strength as she held off the two 400 meter specialists. I’m hoping that the schedule makers for the upcoming World Championships put together a schedule that will accommodate a 200/400 double for both the men and women – similar to the schedule put together for the 1996 Olympics – so that we can see Ms Felix in both events on the big stage. Could be very interesting.
In other action, Kara Patterson was just four inches from victory over Olympic champion Barboa Spotakova (CZE). Her 208’ throw just short of the Czech’s 208’ 4”. Patterson has broken through the 200 foot barrier this year and isn’t looking back, throwing over that mark regularly every week. For my money she’s this year’s break out athlete – at least on the women’s side – and looks to be a serious medal contender heading into Daegu. Another athlete becoming a tough contender is Morgan Uceny. In London Uceny ran with the leaders until the final strides of the 800. She held second down the final straight before just losing out in the final strides. Her 1:59.32 just missing second by .16 and just off winner Mariya Savinova (1:58.64). It will be hard to keep Uceny off the Daegu team at her current rate. She’s tough and competitive, and runs with a lot of heart.
Similar to Andrew Wheating who once again set a new PR in the 800. This time in taking second to Abubaker Kaki (1:44.38), whom Wheating (1:44.56) never let get too far away. The time was impressive to me given that Wheating never really looked to turn it on. His long season seemed to wear on him a bit, as he appeared a little tired to me – yet set another PR. With a regular “pro” schedule next year, he looks like a sure candidate to run under 1:44, with a strong shot to make the final in Daegu. Another who looks capable of getting to a Daegu final is Leonel Manzano who improved his mile PR to 3:50.64 as he closed well to take 3rd behind Augustine Choge, KEN, 3:50.14) and Gebremedhin Mekonnen (ETH, 3:50.35). Manzano became the #9 American ever over the distance, and gives us another strong looking middle distance runner to go with Wheating and Lagat.
All in all a strong set of performances were turned in by US athletes. The final two meets of the Diamond League – Zurich and Brussels – are on tap with Zurich slated for Thursday. Meaning we get more high level action in just a few more days!