Dibaba and Lagat look solid in victories.
Day two of the Aviva London Grand Prix certainly lived up to the excitement day one brought to the fans at Crystal Palace. It was the short sprints that brought out the fans in droves, but they were treated to great competition throughout the program.
Tyson Gay returned to the track to test out his groin, which he reportedly injured in training for this weekend’s meeting. Gay faced off against fellow American Wallace Spearmon and Irishman Paul Hession in the men’s 200m. Gay sprang out of the blocks well and took a lead off the turn that would be uncontested. Although he won convincingly in 20.00, Gay looked strained through the second half of the race. Comparing this strain to the ease of Usain Bolt’s domination in the 100m on day one of competition, it seems as though Gay may be racing for the silver medal in Berlin next month.
5000m world record holder Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia stepped to the track seeking to test her form coming off her own injury suffered earlier in the year. The meeting directors accommodated her by setting Dibaba against fairly modest competition, as her closest rival in the race was her sister, who served as a pacemaker. Fellow Ethiopian Sentayehu Ejigu ran well to stay with Dibaba with a lap to go but was no match in the end. Dibaba finish in a 2009 world-leading time of 14:33.65 and Ejugu followed in 14:40.00. American-based Kiwi Kim Smith ran well, albeit alone, to finish a solid third in a season’s best 14:52.49, her first sub-15:00 clocking of the year.
Bernard Lagat of the US took a fairly easy win in the men’s one-mile race. With some solid pace-making by American middle-distance stalwart David Krummenacker, 57.5 and 1:55.5, it looked as though we could see a fast winning time. Lagat took the lead after Krummenacker dropped out but let it become a kicker’s match as he slowed the pace to crawl through the third quarter. No matter. Lagat made easily powered away from the other contenders to finish clear of the field in 3:52.71. Americans Leo Manzano (3:53.01) and Lopez Lomong (3:53.35) finished second and third and clocked personal bests.
In the women’s 1500m, American Anna Willard put on her now patented kick to take a tactical win over countrywoman Shannon Rowbury (or “Rowberry” as her bib said), 4:07.95 to 4:08.21, and the Jamaicans proved they are the clear favorites for the 4X100m relay in Berlin, taking the win with Usain Bolt as the anchor in 37.46 to the American team’s 38.05.
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