World class performances peppered the programme on day 2 of the London Grand Prix as Usain Bolt and scores of other superstars of the sport thrilled another capacity crowd at Crystal Palace. Bolt closed the show with his team-mates from Racers Track Club with a scorching victory in the men’s 4x100m in an all-comers record of 37.46, the fourth fastest sprint relay of all-time.
There were also sparkling displays from global icons Tyson Gay, Lasinda Demus, Tirunesh Dibaba, Carmelita Jeter, Dwight Phillips, Naide Gomes and Bernard Lagat in the London sunshine.
Not to be outdone, GB & NI internationals Chris Tomlinson, Michael Bingham, Helen Clitheroe, Goldie Sayers, Germaine Mason and Lisa Dobriskey also produced some encouraging performances with the IAAF World Championships in Berlin now just three weeks away.
Gay won the men’s 200m in a searing 20.00 (+0.4m/s) despite clearly easing down well before the finish line to protect his sore groin. USA team-mate Jeter was equally impressive in winning the women’s 100m in 10.92 (+0.1m/s).
Another American Demus was a superb winner in the women’s 400m hurdles, coming home in 53.65, an all comers record. Lagat showed a return to the form that saw him win 1500m and 5000m gold at the 2007 World Championships by romping away with the Emsley Carr Mile in 3:52.71.
Former world champion long jumper Phillips showed he is in good shape to regain his crown by winning with a leap of 8.33m (+2.9m/s). In the women’s equivalent, Gomes of Portugal produced the second long mark in the world this year with a lengthy 6.99m (+1.9m/s) to take a fine victory.
The sole British victory of the day belonged to 400m runner Bingham who produced a PB of 45.03 to head former world champion Angelo Taylor (USA) who clocked 45.15. Olympic finalist Martyn Rooney hinted that he might be over his injury woes as he placed 5th in 45.63.
Bingham said: “The race went ok, it was a little bit of a late charge as I am still getting used to running this race. I’ve only been running 400m for about two seasons and it is a very technical and very strategic race.
“I’ve still got a lot to learn mentally and physically. I’m looking forward to Berlin as that would be the pinnacle. If I could make the semis and then the final I would be happy and then next season I can tear it up.”
Tomlinson, who has become a regular over the eight metre mark this year, produced the goods again with an excellent 8.21m (+2.3m/s) to place 2nd to Philips in the men’s long jump. Training partner Greg Rutherford was 3rd with a solid 8.06m (+1.4m/s).
Olympic silver medallist Mason produced a timely season’s best of 2.31m to secure the A standard for Berlin. He placed 2nd in a competition won by Jarolslav Baba (CZE) with 2.33m. Mason said: “I did a season’s best today and I felt really good. I got a little excited when the bar got up to 2.33m, I started rushing things and my whole technique got messed up.
“Each competition is getting better and better so hopefully by Berlin I will be on the right track.” In the highly-anticipated women’s 1500m, Anna Willard (USA) won in 4:07.95, but all eyes were on the ‘Battle of the Brits’ ahead of Monday’s selection meeting for the World Championships.
Olympic fourth-placer Dobriskey, who has recently comeback after an injury lay-off, did her cause no harm by coming home 3rd in a season’s best of 4:08.27, Hannah England was 4th in 4:08.38 and Steph Twell was 6th in 4:08.87. Trials winner Charlene Thomas, who also safely has the A standard tucked under her belt, was 9th in 4:12.01.
Clitheroe looks Berlin-bound after her 4th place finish in the 3000m steeplechase in 9:34.66, a season’s best and a safe A standard mark. Javelin thrower Sayers was another Brit battling back from injury – in her case her back – and she showed plenty of fight as she sent her spear out to 59.82m to finish 2nd overall and demonstrate she is heading in the right direction.
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