Gay beats Gatlin, Bekele’s hopes dashed at Paris meeting
Tyson Gay of USA wins the 100m men race ahead of Justin Gatlin of USA, left, at the IAF Diamond League athletics meeting at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, Friday, July 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)
By Julien Pretot
PARIS, July 6 (Reuters) – Tyson Gay beat fellow American Justin Gatlin in the 100 meters while Kenenisa Bekele’s Olympic hopes were diluted at the Paris Diamond League meeting on Friday as five world season’s best were set on the Stade de France track.
Gay won in 9.99 seconds after Gatlin failed to sustain a good start and finished with a time of 10.03 just three weeks before the start of the London Olympics. Eleven days ago Gay was beaten by Gatlin at the U.S trials.
“I took my revenge. Maybe I made some mistake at the start. I want to win the gold medal (in London),” said Gay.
Gatlin added: “The goal is the gold, my chances are good. I don’t want to train to be second or third. I was a bit tired tonight. I could have done better”.
Twice European champion Christophe Lemaitre of France took third place in 10.08 as light drizzle fell on the stadium.
Dejen Gebremeskel led an Ethiopian one-two in the 5,000 meters, clocking a world leading 12:46.81 to beat Hagos Gebrhiwet, who set a junior world record of 12:47.53.
Bekele, however, conceded he would not defend his title in London after being only the fifth Ethiopian to cross the line.
“I won’t compete at the Olympics in the 5,000 meters but I’m not that disappointed because I’ll run the 10,000 meters,” he said.
Referring to the calf problems he has suffered for three years, he added: “What can I do about an injury?”
David Rudisha was one of five athletes to set a world season’s best but the Kenyan failed in his attempt to break his own world record in the 800 meters, clocking 1:41.54, 0.53 outside the mark he set in 2010.
“I’m happy and I’m impressed with the way I ran today. The Olympic title is what I’m aiming for now,” said Rudisha, who beat second-placed Antonio Manuel Reina of Spain by more than four seconds.
“I’ll go back home to train and get ready for the Olympics and then I’ll be looking for a fast race and the world record,” he added.
Australian Sally Pearson was again in a class of her own when she destroyed the field in the women’s 100 meters hurdles with a world leading 12.40 seconds.
“I was expecting a fast time and if I would have a clear race it could be a 12.3. I’m excited to see my shape,” she said.
The world record of 12.21, held by Bulgarian Yordanka Donkova since 1988, is one of the oldest in athletics.
French pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie, who is unbeaten outdoors this year and will be the hot favorite in the Olympics, only needed to clear 5.77 meters to win the event.
He then failed with three attempts at 5.82 meters.
“The incredible jump will have to come in London (at the Games),” he said.
Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson won the 400 meters hurdles in a world season’s best time of 47.78 ahead of world champion David Greene of Britain (47.84).
Culson, however, does not see himself as favorite to win the Olympic race.
“I’m not considering myself as the Olympics favorite, I’m not the only one, there are other athletes, especially Greene who will be at home,” he said.
Moroccan Mariem Alaoui Selsouli also set a world season’s best when she won the 1,500 meters in 3:56.15.