Gay leads, Van Zyl fades | SASCOC - SASCOC

Gay leads, Van Zyl fades

By Mark Etheridge

Tyson Gay may have been all smiles after dashing to the fastest 100-metre time of the season in London on Friday night (9.78sec) but there was little joy for the South African contingent.

With archrivals Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell out crocked, Gay took full advantage in damp conditions after rain had soaked Crystal Palace.

His run was the most sparkling event at the Diamond League meeting and he beat promising Jamaican Yohan Blake into second with a personal best of 9.89 and Trinidad’s Richard Thompson (10.05).

But for South Africans LJ van Zyl and Oscar Pistorius there was little to celebrate.

Van Zyl was a late entry in the men’s 400m hurdles but after his run would probably have wondered if it was worth making the trip from South African to Britain. He finished eighth and last with a time of 50.64sec, a performance light years away from the 48.51 he ran to win at African championships two weeks ago.

“It was bad,” he said. “I obviously need more rest. And then it’s back to training for World Cup and Commonwealth Games later in the year.”

The race was won by US blitz Bershawn Jackson in 48.12 and he extended his four-run unbeaten streak. while Javier Culson of Puerto Rico ran a fine 48.17 for second spot.

Pistorious meanwhile was said to be gunning for a sub-46 400m clocking after having run 46.02 in Italy recently but clearly the wet conditions didn’t help his famous blades get the required traction. He placed seventh in 46.93sec behind winner Conrad Williams of Britain (46.09). But Pistorius gets a second bite at the cherry on Saturday, hopefully in drier conditions, when he lines up for the men’s T44 race over the same distance.

United States based Peter van der Westhuizen is the other South African in action on Saturday when he runs the men’s mile and is hoping for a personal best. His current best is the 3:54.90 he clocked in Norway earlier this season.

Sapa-AFP reports that the other highlight on the night was Priscilla Lopes-Schliep producing the fastest time in the world this year to win the 100m hurdles. The Canadian crossed in 12.52sec to finish well clear of a strong field for a meeting record. Australia’s Sally Pearson (12.61), who had been quickest out of the blocks, was second in 12.52 and Lolo Jones of the US was third in 12.66.

Allyson Felix of the US grabbed her fifth Diamond League victory of the season with a comfortable success in the 200m, clocking 22.37sec.

Bernard Lagat disappointed the home crowd by finishing clear of Britain’s new double European champion Mo Farah in the 3000m. Lagat, who was born in Kenya but races for the US, timed his finish to perfection in the home straight to clock 7:40.36. Farah, a winner of the 5,000m and 10,000m in the European Championships in Barcelona, was second in 7:40.75.

Blanka Vlasic remained on course for an unbeaten run in the Diamond Race for the women’s high jump by taking her sixth successive victory. The Croatian leapt 2.01m to win by 10cm from Spain’s Ruth Beitia. “By the end I couldn’t feel my legs it was so cold,” said the slender Vlasic.