Photo: Kirani James (Getty Images)
The USA swept the top three positions in the men’s 100m at the Diamond League meeting in Lausanne Switzerland yesterday with Justin Gatlin getting the best of the fields with an impressive 9.80s ahead of Tyson Gay 9.93 and Mike Rodgers 9.98. Jamaica’s Kemar Bailey-Cole could only manage 5th in 10.14s. Gatlin was impressive in controlling the race from start to finish while it was a solid performance from Gay who returned from a one year drug suspension.
The women’s equivalent was won by Trinidad and Tobago speedster Michelle-Lee Ahye just ahead of Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast who was credited with the same time of 10.98. The USA’s English Gardner was third in 11.19.
Javier Culson (48.32) was virtually hanging on for the win in the men’s 400m hurdles after leading the race comfortable coming off the final bend. A strong surge at the end from second place Michael Tinsley (48.40) had the Puerto Rican reaching for the line at the end. Cornel Fredericks of South Africa was third in the event in 49.00.
Frenchman Pascal Lagarde held his form and composure to hold off a strong field in the men’s 110m high hurdles winning in a time of 13.06 ahead of Russia’s Sergey Shubenkov in 13.13 while Jamaica’s national champion Andrew Riley claimed third in 13.23.
One of the big events of the day, the men’s 400m, which is becoming a duel between the USA’s LaShawn Merritt and Grenada’s Kirani James, lived up to expectations as both men put on a spectacular show for the fans. In the end it was the younger James who won, running away from the World Champion in a time of 43.74 to Merritt’s 43.92, to bring the head to head results between these two stars to 6:4 in favour of James. Youseff Mashri of Saudi Arabia who clocked 44.43 for third place broke the Asian record in doing so.
The final track event of the day, the men’s 200m was the first race back on the circuit for former World 100m champion Yohan Blake. The Jamaican is clearly still way off his top form and could only manage 6th place in a time of 20.48 in a race won by Panam’s Alonzo Edward in a time of 19.84 ahead of Nickel Ashmeade (20.06) of Jamaica and Christophe Lemaitre (20.11) of France.
The track and field world will have a lot to look forward to in the duel between James and Merritt as there are seven more events left on the calendar this season.