Bernard Lagat, right, congratulates David Rudisha, of Kenya, after he won the men’s 800 meter race at the Adidas Grand Prix track and field meet on Randall’s Island, Saturday, June 9, 2012 in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
By Larry Fine
NEW YORK, June 9 (Reuters) – Yohan Blake and fellow Jamaican Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won the 100 meter sprints, while Kenya’s David Rudisha scored a sensational victory in the 800 meters at Saturday’s Diamond League meet.
Rudisha left a nine-man field far behind as he ran alone from the halfway point to win with a time of one minute 41.74 seconds for the fastest time ever registered in the United States and best time in the world this season.
“This is my first visit to the United States and I wanted to do something special,” said Rudisha, who holds the world record of 1:41.01. “I was aiming for 1:42, so to run 1:41 was fantastic.”
Rudisha’s time was the ninth-fastest ever.
Second place went to fellow Kenyan Alfred Kirwa Yego, nearly three seconds behind in 1:44.49.
World champion Blake overcame a slow start with a blistering finish to overtake Trinidad’s Keston Bledman and win the men’s 100 in 9.90 seconds. Bledman clocked 9.93 followed by American Michael Rodgers in 9.99.
Former American world sprint champion Tyson Gay, in his first race in a year after undergoing hip surgery, won the 100 meters B race in 10.00 into a slight headwind as he strives to prepare for the U.S. Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon.
Fraser-Pryce further delighted the large Jamaican contingent attending the event at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island by exploding from the blocks and holding off hard-charging American Tianna Madison to win in 10.92.
Third place in the elite field went to world champion Carmelita Jeter of the U.S. in 11:05, with two-time world 200 meters champion Allyson Felix taking fourth place in 11:07.
Sanya Richards-Ross, the world 400 meters champion, won the 200 meters in 22.09, the fastest time in the world this year and her personal best over the distance. Fellow American Bianca Knight was second in 22.46.
“I asked coach if I could attempt the (200-400) double and he said we’ll see how you do,” she said, hoping for a crack at two individual golds at the London Olympics.
“I hope I made my point and that I’m able to do both at Eugene. “I know I’m in the best shape of my life.”
Other world leading results for 2012 were posted by Brazilian Fabiana Murer, who won the women’s pole vault by clearing 4.77 meters, and by Sunette Viljoen of South Africa in the women’s javelin, with a throw of 69.35 meters.
World record holder Tirunesh Dibiba beat longtime fellow-Ethiopian rival Meseret Defar in the women’s 5,000 meters, steadily asserting her supremacy to win by more than six seconds with a time of 14:50.80.
Oscar Pistorious, trying to become the first amputee to compete at an Olympics, failed to register a second required qualifying time of 45.30 when he finished seventh and last in the 400 meters with a time of 46.14 seconds.
The South African, who wears carbon fiber prosthetic blades, said he had two more races in which to meet the ‘A’ standard required for the Olympics and would compete in Europe later this month before his final opportunity at the African championships.
Blake said he would like to have run a faster time, but was happy with a 100 meters victory to keep his unblemished season’s record intact.
“That is important for my confidence,” said Blake, a training partner of world record holder Usain Bolt.
“I have to be ready for the Jamaican Olympic trials. They should be a cracker with everybody running under 10 seconds.”