Tyson Gay beat the fastest man in
the world this year, Asafa Powell, in a scintillating 100 metres showdown in
Gateshead and then claimed he is still a little “rusty” after his first outing
at the distance this season.
In the first of the much
anticipated Diamond League head-to-head sprints, Gay came from behind to beat
Powell on the line and prove that there is excitement in the event beyond the
involvement of the world record holder Usain Bolt on Saturday.
The American, whose fastest time is
second only to Bolt in the history books, has struggled with a hamstring problem
this season but came from a metre down on Powell to win in 9.94 seconds into a
strong headwind of 1.7 metres per second.
Powell, who alongside Bolt in 9.82
seconds holds the joint fastest time of the year, had the better start. The
27-year-old led the field up to the 60 metre point where he looked as though he
would take the victory until Gay hit the accelerator.
“I’m still rusty,” the American
said. “I really had to stretch to the finish line and Powell didn’t see me
coming today so I got the victory. The hamstring is still tight and that is
something I am going to have to work on. But I can race this way all the time.
I’m determined. As for Bolt – I know he’s ready. He’s coming back from injury
he’ll be prepared.”
Powell, who finished second in
9.96secs, lamented his defeat. “I was pushing through, then I started to ease a
bit too much,” he said. “By the time I saw Gay I couldn’t pick back up. I think
I forgot it was Tyson Gay out there.”
Powell now faces an even bigger
challenge as he takes on Bolt in Paris on Friday, but the former world record
holder said he is ready for it. “I know what shape I’m in. I know I’ll be ready
for Bolt next week. I ran 9.96 in a headwind so that’s pretty good.”