NEW YORK: Tyson Gay roared to a 100-meter victory while Sanya Richards-Ross withdrew and high jumper Blanka Vlasic made an emotional comeback triumph in Saturday’s New York Diamond League athletics meet.
Cold, windy and rainy conditions dimmed bids for spectacular performances at the third of 14 stops in the global series, making health issues a concern as athletes look to the world championships in August at Moscow.
“I felt with the weather the way it was, it was important to leave here healthy,” Gay said. “I wanted to try not to push it. I’m glad I won the race.”
Gay won in 10.02 seconds with US compatriot Ryan Bailey second in 10.15sec and Keston Bledman of Trinidad and Tobago third in 10.16sec.
Gay, a former 100m and 200m world champion who won the Jamaica Invitational earlier this month in a world-leading 9.86 seconds, is pondering a 100m-200m world double bid if he can qualify at next month’s US nationals.
“I’m satisfied. I have some sharpening to do,” Gay said. “I’ll probably pick it up this week or next. I’ve been trying to take it easy on my body.”
At this point, he has no other races planned until the world meet trials. “My coaches want me to train all the way through so we will see how it goes,” Gay said.
Richards-Ross was a no-show at the 400m start line and explained her absence in a Twitter posting, saying she was not yet fully recovered from right big toe surgery. She had planned for this to be her first race since winning London Olympic 400m gold.
“I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to compete today. I want to be back on the track more than anything but my foot isn’t ready. It’s tough,” Richards-Ross posted.
“As an athlete it’s always difficult to know when to push it and when to be patient. It’s a long season and I want to be ready for Worlds. But trust me…. It is hard. Staying optimistic and getting ready for next week!”
In her absence, reigning world champion Amantle Montsho of Botswana won the women’s 400m in 49.91sec, 0.03sec off her season’s world best.
“I’m a little surprised (at my time),” Montsho said. “I knew I had been training well.”
Instead of Richards-Ross’s return, the stunning comeback story was left to Croatia’s Vlasic, a four-time world champion and the 2008 Olympic runner-up who won by clearing 1.94m.
It was her first competition after a 16-month layoff due to complications following Achilles tendon surgery.
“I can’t explain to you how scared I was before this competition,” Vlasic said. “I didn’t know if I was ready or not. I was still feeling a lot of pain.
“This is just a dream come true, to come back and win the competition under these circumstances.”
Reigning Olympic champion David Rudisha of Kenya won the 800m in 1:45.14.
“Today’s race was a little bit tough because of the weather but it was a good run,” he said. “I was expecting something better than that but I knew the weather was going to be tough.”
Rudisha is less concerned with chasing his world record, 1:40.91 set last year at London, than he is with winning at Moscow. — AFP