US sprinter Tyson Gay overcame a false start to steam to victory in the 100m at the season’s final Diamond League meet here on Friday, but Caster Semenya failed in her bid to win the women’s 800m.
In a season which has seen Jamaican duo Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell sidelined through injury, Gay settled his nerves after a starter’s error to clock 9,79 seconds to be crowned the season’s top performer in the event, netting $40 000.
Jamaican duo Nesta Carter (9,85 personal best) and Yohan Blake (9,91) completed the podium.
“I’m kind of pleased with the time but not with the race as I didn’t execute my start,” said Gay, whom many in the crowd thought had false-started — something that would have led to him being disqualified, the organisers’ nightmare.
“I didn’t fale start,” he stressed. “I think someone’s box slipped. But the cameras kept zooming in on me. It made me nervous and threw me out a bit.
“I’m pleased with my last 30 metres. My plan [this season] was to be victorious.”
Semenya, South Africa’s reigning 800m world champion, could only finish third in her debut in the Diamond League.
The 19-year-old was racing in only her fourth outing since returning from 11 months on the sidelines following a controversial investigation by IAAF, the sport’s governing body, into her gender.
She dropped immediately into last spot in the field and still had six runners ahead of her at 200m.
Kenya’s Janeth Jepkosgei dominated the race and won in 1:58,82, with Russian Mariya Savinova coming home in second.
Semenya produced a spurt for third with a season’s best of 1:59,65, a way off the 1:55,45 time that won her the world title last year.
“The race was very tactical but also very quick,” Semenya said.
“I was never up there with the leaders.”
In a good night for Kenyan athletes, newly-crowned world record holder David Rudisha won the 800m title, winning in 1:43,50 ahead of Sudan’s Abubaker Kaki in a close sprint finish.
Rudisha’s compatriot Asbel Kiprop won the 1 500m in 3:32,18, American Leonel Manzano producing a fantastic sprint for second, with title contender Augustine Choge in third.
And Vivian Cheruiyot made it four Kenyan titles in one night when she outpaced Ethiopian Sentayehu Ejigu to win the 5000m in 14:34,14.
In the women’s events, Canada’s Priscilla Lopes-Schliep took victory in the 100m hurdles in 12,54, with closest rival Lolo Jones of the United States only managing fifth.
Yargelis Savigne claimed the triple-jump title despite finishing second to Kazakh Olga Rypakova and level in the overall standings, the Cuban getting the nod for the title because of her superior
number of victories throughout the season.
France’s world indoor champ Teddy Tamgho produced the goods on his fourth and final effort (17,52m) to win the men’s triple jump ahead of Cuba’s Alexis Copello and Swedish veteran Christian Olsson. – AFP