Tyson Gay wins 100m in Powell's absence

Tyson Gay surged ahead in the last half of the race to win the 100m in 9,88 seconds and Sanya Richards broke the 22-year-old American 400m record at the World Cup on Saturday.

Taking advantage of the absence of the world record co-holder Asafa Powell, who chose to run only in the relay, Gay ran very close to his personal best of 9,85. The world record is 9,77.

Gay’s run made him the second-fastest 100m winner in the history of the competition, now in its 10th edition. Obadele Thompson of Barbados won the 1998 race in Johannesburg in 9,87.

“I didn’t expect to run that fast so I am excited,” Gay said.

“It was hard being in the outside lane.”

The American was never threatened and crossed the line well ahead of European champion Francis Obikwelu of Portugal, who clocked 10,09.
Americas’ Marc Burns of Trinidad was third in 10,14.

Jamaica’s Powell never got to run—the Americas’ team dropped the baton before they reached him.

The women’s 100m also had a prominent absentee. Sherone Simpson of Jamaica stretched her winning streak to eight when she easily pulled away from the start and cruised home in 10,97.

Former world champion Torri Edwards, who replaced Marion Jones on the US team, was a distant second in 11,19.

Jones, a triple 2000 Olympic champion, had been chosen for the US team after being cleared to run following a clean back-up drug sample, but the former three-time Olympic champion decided on Thursday to end her season because she did not feel in good enough condition.

The American missed more than a month of competition following an initial positive sample for the endurance booster EPO.

Jones was the last sprinter to beat Simpson, at a meet in Paris earlier this year.

LaShawn Merritt compensated for the absence of world and Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner to give the United States another victory by taking the 400 in 44,54.

Merritt, a triple world junior champion in 2004, held off African world record holder Gary Kikaya of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who had to settle for second in 44,66.

The US team went two-for-two in the 400m when Richards breezed home in 48,70, the fastest time of the year and a US record.

Richards, world silver medalist last year, was the first woman to break 49 seconds this year and became the seventh fastest 400 runner of all time. She is undefeated this year in the 400.

“Before the race I talked to my dad and he said, ‘you in lane seven, you can’t see anybody.’ So I just ran my race,” Richards said.

“I got into the blocks thinking ‘I want to break the record,’ and that’s what I did.”

Valerie Brisco held the old mark of 48,83 since the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

“I am overwhelmed, I was shocked,” Richards said. “My dad said watching the clock slowed me down so I didn’t look at the clock.

Everything he said came true.”

European champion Vania Stambolova of Bulgaria was second in 50,09.

The Saturday-Sunday meet at the Olympic stadium features teams from Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe, Oceania, the United States, host Greece and three European teams that qualified through the European Cup—Russia (men and women), France (men) and Poland (women).

African men have won the last four of the previous nine World Cup meets, which are now held every four years. The Americans have three titles. Russia is the defending women’s champion.

A victory in each event is worth nine points, second place eight and so one, with one point going to the ninth-place finisher.

At the end of day one and after 10 of 20 events, Europe led the men’s standings with 76 points to 74 for the United States.

Americas and Russia had 65 points in women’s events, with Europe at 60. The US was fifth at 49.

Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia, who holds all the major titles and the world record at 5,01m, needed just one effort to win the pole vault, clearing 4,60m. She then failed all three times at 4,80m.

With European champion Periklis Iakovakis of Greece pulling out shortly before the meet with a hamstring injury, Kerron Clement of the United States clocked 48,12 seconds to win the men’s 400m hurdles, while Yuliya Pechonkina of Russia took the women’s race in 53,88. Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba gave Africa another victory by taking the women’s 3 000 in 8:33,78, a meet record.

Russia’s Tatyana Lebedeva leaped a meet record 15,13m to win the women’s triple jump.

Olympic champion Koji Murofushi of Japan gave Asia one of its two wins of the day in the hammer throw at 82,01m. Saif Saaeed Shaheen of Qatar won the 5 000 in 13:35,30. - Sapa-AP

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