News16 May 2010

Gay clocks 19.41 on straight 200m in Manchester


Tyson Gay flies 19.41 for 200m on a straight track in Manchester (© Mark Shearman)

Tyson Gay's speedy dash along Manchester city centre's Deansgate earned him the 200m world best on a straight track today.

The display at the Powerade City Games also suggested the American can fulfill his prediction that now he is fully fit after a groin operation he can end Usain Bolt's domination of global sprinting.

Where and when the pair will first go head-to-head this year is still undecided but American Gay, after roaring to a record time of 19.41 seconds in Manchester, is clearly in great early season form.

The time surprised even Gay who beforehand admitted he was nervous after being tipped to better the previous mark of 19.5secs which his fellow American, the legendary Tommie Smith, achieved on a cinder track 44 years ago.

Smith's time, even by today's world standards, remains strong and Gay went into the race short on speedwork.

But on a cool night and facing a slight headwind everything went perfectly for the 27-year-old Kentucky speedster, when after a blistering start he continued the momentum to score a runaway win from Kim Collins and Paul Hession.

"Going into the race I knew it was going to be tough to beat the record," said Gay. "It was pretty hard for the first 100m or so and I was extremely tired. Kim Collins had an excellent start and I think that motivated me to get down the street. It was truly amazing and it was tough record to break."

Gay will now knuckle down to more speed training before eventually embarking on his IAAF Diamond League campaign where he will face Bolt in at least three meetings. Now 100% fit, the former world 100m and 200m champion is convinced he can prevent his Jamaican rival blazing another trail of victories.

"I believe it, but he's going to be tough to beat," said Gay. "Honestly he's in another class right now but I'm working hard to get there. The challenge is for me to work hard to get to where he is at."

Ennis defeats Ohuruogu

The innovative street meeting before a packed crowd also saw Jessica Ennis and Christine Ohuruogu clash in a domestic field over 150m.

Both the world Heptathlon champion and Olympic 400m gold medallist are fierce competitors and with Shaunna Thompson also taking part, a thrilling race was in prospect.

Ennis ended up winning in 16.99sec, a time which delighted her. Thompson - running in her home city - edged Ohuruogu for second by 0.02sec with an impressive mark of 17.05sec.

"I was really worried and a little bit anxious because it was something I've not done," said Ennis, who just missed Ohuruogu's UK best performance by 0.05sec.

The 24-year-old star, sticking to her coach Toni Minichiello's tactic to try and run the finish out of Ohuruogu, saw it pay off as she stormed down the track in the lead from gun-to-tape.

"I knew I had to get out really quick because she (Ohuruogu) is a brilliant finisher, so I knew I had to get out, hold my form, not overstride and keep pushing to the line," she added.

There were no excuses from Ohuruogu, a much more experienced street racer who was second in last year's race before lowering her UK best at the City Games in Gateshead last September.

Ohoruogu, who celebrates her 25th birthday on Monday and flew directly from competing at the Diamond League meeting in Doha on Friday night, said: "My aim was just to try to hold on to her. I'm happy with my display. Remember there are other athletes who compete on the circuit week in, week out which I intend doing this year, and never complain."

Andy Turner was the only other Briton to score a win in the six international events which took place and he did it by achieving a brilliant hurdles double.

The country's third fastest 110m hurdler took the scalp of former Olympic silver medallist Terrence Trammell to win over that distance by 0.02sec in 13.37sec.

Turner stormed to victory in the 200m hurdles 30 minutes later and was enthusiastic after producing a time of 22.30sec to finish ahead of Olympic 400m hurdles bronze medallist Bershawn Jackson and Felix Sanchez - the 2004 gold medallist in Athens.

Mark Lewis-Francis made his fastest 100m start for two years - 10.21sec - while Laura Turner won the women's race in 11.61sec.

David Martin (PA Sport) for the IAAF
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