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Bolt beaten, Juan impresses

By Mark Etheridge

Our middle distance ace Juan van Deventer turned in an exellent 13min 22.64sec effort in the 5000-metre event at Friday night’s DF Galan meeting in Stockholm, Sweden.

Van Deventer, eager for action after the 1500m at last week’s African championships in Nairobi, opted to run Friday’s Diamond League event just to get some competition.

And competition he got as Kenya Mark Kipoo ran a personal best 12:53.46 for a personal best. Van Deventer, 27, placed 15th after staying in touch for the early stages.

Six of the 18 finishers set personal bests, including runner-up Dejen Gebremeskel (12:53.36) and Imane Merga, also of Ethiopia (12:53.58).

The long-standing South African record in the event stands at 13:14.16, set by Shadrack Hoff in Gateshead in 1995 and highlights the dearth of quality performances by South Africans in the longer middle distance events.

The talking point of the meeting though came in the men’s 100m final where sprint sensation Usain Bolt lost for the first time in two years and 15 races.

Granted, he is on a careful comeback from Achilles injury but Tyson Gay’s 9.84 win will give hope to sprinters the world over as Bolt clocked 9.97 for second. The Jamaican will undoubtedly bounce back to the form that gave him double Olympic sprint titles and world records but it at least shows that he can beaten.

“It feels great to beat Usain but deep down inside I know he is not 100 percent,” said Gay, the second fastest man in the history of the event. “I look forward to beating him when he is 100 percent,” Gay told AFP agency.

Bolt’s last defeat came at the same Stockholm track in 2008 when Jamaican compatriot Asafa Powell took victory but Powell was absent on Friday due to injury.

“You can get beat any day. You have good days and bad days,” said Bolt. “I still need to work on my strength. The first 10 metres tonight was crap. I had no power, no nothing. I have tried to work on it but it didn’t work out tonight.”

Bolt, Powell and Gay are due to race in the 100m at Brussels on August 27.

There were also wins for some of last week’s European champions as Croatia’s Blanka Vlasic took the high jump (2.02m), Svetlana Feofanova of Russia dominated the polevault (4.71m) while Poland’s Marcin Lewandowski made the most of Sudan’s Abubaker Kaki’s failure to finish to take the 800m.

Elsewhere, America’s Bershawn Jackson took the 400m hurdles (47.65) while his compatriot Alyson Felix made the most of the absence of great rival Veronica Campbell to win the 200m in 22.41.


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