Steve Mullings on the way to victory over Tyson Gay in the New York 100m (© Victah Sailer)
In a massively dramatic 100 metres, Tyson Gay narrowly lost out in a thriller to training partner Steve Mullings at the adidas Grand Prix on a very wet and windy Saturday (11) afternoon in New York.
The eagerly awaited head-to-head at the sixth stop on the Samsung Diamond League worldwide tour between the world's two fastest men this year - Gay clocked 9.79 and Mullings 9.80 at the respective races in Florida and Eugene last Saturday - lived up to its billing despite the unhelpful conditions.
So close were the American and Jamaican sprinters they shared the same time of 10.26 but with a 3.4 metres per second wind blowing into their faces those marks didn't reflect on a magnificent confrontation.
Trinidad's Keston Bledman, third in 10.33, and the remainder of what was a nine man field until the disqualifications of defending champion Richard Thompson, Travis Padgett and Rae Edwards for false starting, were mere spectators in the contest which lived up to its billing.
Gay and Mullings rose out of their blocks together but after that synchronised start it was the latter who established the narrowest of leads at the halfway point and then finding Gay breathing down his neck in the final five metres reacted perfectly.
Mullings, a 2009 World 4x100m Relay gold medallist just managed with a grimace on his face to find a vital extra spurt with the line looming to score a thrilling victory.
"I wouldn't be going around saying I beat Tyson," he modestly insisted. "He's just 70 per cent (fit) and believe me he will be ready for the World Championships," which take place in Daegu from 27 August - 4 September.
"I knew for me to have a chance and run a perfect race I had to nail him at the start and when I could feel him alongside me at the finish I knew I had to hang on."
Mullings, his attention totally focused on his nation's forthcoming World Trials' where although Usain Bolt as a defending World champion will not compete, added: "This race for both of us was to work on our preparations. For our championships.
"Even without him, for me with Asafa Powell, Nesta Carter, Yohan Blake and Nickel Ashmeade (fourth today in 10.36) it's still going to be tough to get one of the three places."
"The conditions were a nightmare," said Gay, although insisting he wasn't distracted by the three false starts.
Idowu wins but takes just three jumps in awful conditions
The also eagerly awaited Triple Jump contest between reigning World champion Phillips Idowu of Great Britain and Teddy Tamgho never materialised when the Frenchman failed to make the six-man final cut.
Tamgho, who posted the world's third best ever leap of 17.98m when winning in the Icahn Stadium last year, never came to terms with the weather and failed to progress, managing only a miserable third attempt of 15.55m.
That allowed Idowu, who cleared 16.67m in that round, to rest on his laurels and not surprisingly with no one getting anywhere near that distance he didn't jump again.
Idowu, looking forward to the defence of his World title and despite the wet runway and headwinds, said: "Technically things looked good. By the time I compete in September you'll see something special."
Christian Olsson finished runner-up for the second successive year. Sweden's former Olympic champion, also passing on taking his three final jumps, cleared 16.29m with Bahamian Leevan Sands third with a fifth round leap of 16.28m.
Vlasic, under the weather, sees Diamond League victory streak end
Blanka Vlasic, another reigning World champion, wasn't impressed by her high jump defeat at the hands of Emma Green Tregaro of Sweden who won the low key contest with a season's best clearance of 1.94m.
Vlasic, used to the sunshine of her native Croatia and making her American debut, was totally uncomfortable with the wind blowing drizzling rain onto the jumping area and only managed a best of 1.90m to suffer her first defeat in Samsung Diamond League competition after racking up nine consecutive series victories.
Like other athletes she will not read too much into this defeat in a normally high profile event where Jamaica's Sheree Francis had a clearance of only 1.84.
Felix returns to winning form
Allyson Felix, after her slight hiccup when losing over 400m in Eugene, bounced back with a majestic 200m victory over her favourite distance in a time of 22.98.
Felix, leading into the home straight, coped easily into the 2.8m/s wind although the entire field received a shock when 100 specialist Carmelita Jeter began to mix it with 60 metres left.
But Felix, the three-time World champion, wasn't bothered as she stepped on the gas pedal ahead of Bianca Knight who beat her in Rome and finished in 22.96 with Shalonda Solomon making it a host nation 1-2-3 in a time of 23.03.
"I felt good but conditions were crazy and I just wanted to execute my race," said Felix. "It definitely affected the time. There was a real strong wind coming home. I felt I was in a good position and for me coming off the curve is really important because that's where I lose or win it."
Carruthers upsets sprint hurdles rivals again
Danielle Carruthers followed her win against a world class field in Hengelo a fortnight ago by again stating her domination ahead of fellow American Kellie Wells and Great Britain's Tiffany Ofili-Porter whom she beat at the Dutch venue.
Carruthers, flying off the final hurdle and running into a 3.7m/s wind, dipped to again push Wells the world leader into second place by 0.02sec in 13.04.
US born Ofili-Porter was in contention until the last couple of metres before being shaded by her former colleagues but was still a confident third in 13.11.
Lagat almost makes it another American win
In the men’s 5000m, American record holder Bernard Lagat prevented an Ethiopian 1-2 from Dejen Gebremeskel and Tariku Bekele but will probably regret not making an earlier challenge after they hit the front at the bell.
Gebremeskel held off the fast finishing former World champion in a time of 13:05.22 with Lagat just 0.24 behind setting a season's best 13:05.46 and Bekele clocking 13:06.06.
The field was loaded with nine sub-13 minute performers but the wind on Randall's Island was a hindrance as they trekked through, by their normal standards, slow kilometre splits.
Gebremeskel, the 2008 World junior bronze medallist, and the far more experienced Bekele made their move just as the bell sounded and established what seemed a winning lead down the backstraight.
Lagat, a couple of metres behind, seemed to be out of contention until coming off the final turn when he unleashed a punishing burst to pass Bekele and almost fetch Gebremeskel.
Late entry Yego wins 800m, Kaki does not finish
Sudan's Abubaker Kaki in a slow 800m race did not repeat his Eugene victory dropping out with a hamstring problem as Alfred Yego took a close victory in 1:46.57.
When pacemaker Matthew Scherer stepped off the track with just under 200 metres to run left reigning World champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi in the lead and the South African confidently increased the pace.
But he had no answer when Yego, a late entry, stepped ahead in the final 30 metres and just edged him by 0.11 with the winner's fellow Kenyan Boaz Lalang third in 1:46.75.
Sinclair's speed wins her 1500m
World 800m leader Kenia Sinclairm relishing a sedentary pace in the 1500m, used her finishing speed to score over the favourites and win the Grete Waitz 1500m in 4:08.06.
Sinclairm who ran a sound tactical racem only emerged as the likely winner 80 metres from the line when flying past the Ethiopian pair of Kalkidan Gezahegne and Gelete Burka with the USA's Morgan Uceny doing likewise.
As Burka, the winner in Eugene, fell away Gezahegne the World indoor champion and Uceny, third at Hayward Field the previous weekend, locked jaws but they had no answer when Sinclair steamed past after producing a last lap of 60 seconds. They finished in 4:08.42 and 4:08.46.
"This is my third open meet, so it's just the start of my season," said the 30-year-old Jamaican winner looking towards Daegu. "I race less, train more, stay focused and am more mentally strong."
Chemos wins for a third time in Steeplechase
Milcah Chemos had her closest shave of the summer's campaign when stuttering at the last barrier in the 3000m Steeplechase but promptly recovered to score a very tight third series victory in 9:27.29.
It was a win she fully deserved ahead of Ethiopia's Sofia Assef who she narrowly defeated by 0.08 with World record holder Gulnara Samitova-Galkina third in 9:29.75.
Chemos went to the front when pacemaker Mardea Hyman, who went through the first kilometre in 3:05.03, stepped off the track with four laps remaining and maintained it although constantly harried by fellow Kenyan Lydia Rotich.
At the bell it was Chemos leading from Assefa who set a national record when placing second behind her in Rome, while Russia's Samitova-Galkina running her first steeplechase in 16 months, passed Rotich with 300 remaining became a contender.
Chemos's response was to put her foot on the gas and although it appeared she had blown it with her stutter at the final hurdle she recovered for another success.
Wariner keeps his cool to triumph in a tight finish
Jeremy Wariner scored a thrilling 400m victory in a race which went to the wire and where he just held off the challenges of Caribbean rivals Jermaine Gonzales and Rondell Bartholomew.
Wariner got out of his blocks quickly and was a clear leader down the backstraight and after a strong bend came into the home stretch with a metre lead ahead of Bartholomew and Gonzales.
But then Grenada's Bartholomew, the world leader with a time of 44.65, came almost alongside him with 80 metres to run and it looked as if Wariner was going to lose again after his defeat seven days earlier in Eugene.
But the USA's former Olympic champion kept his head and maintained the gap to win in 45.13 with Jamaican Gonzales a former World junior and youth gold medallist just edging Bartholomew by 0.01sec in 45.16.
"I knew it was going to be a tough race - everyone in the race had run 44 at some time. I just stayed strong and relaxed and I was able to stay focused down the home stretch," said Wariner.
400 hurdles also goes to the wire
World 400m hurdles silver medallist Javier Culson scored his biggest win of the season when with a last ditch effort he snatched victory ahead of Bershawn Jackson and David Greene.
Jackson, the current Olympic and World bronze medallist, went off quickly with his Puerto Rican opponent on his outside and South Africa's world leader LJ Van Zyl tracking him down the home straight.
The pace then increased dramatically - and proved too much for a fading Van Zyl - and just as it appeared it was American Jackson's race he was dipped on the line by 0.05 as Culson won in a season's best of 48.50 with European champion Dai Greene finishing fast for third in 49.07.
Jackson said: “Every meet I'm getting stronger and stronger. I feel good, that's the main thing. Culson ran a great race.”
Tough time on the infield particularly for Lavillenie and Mohr
Both Malte Mohr and Renaud Lavillenie saw their hopes of accumulating more valuable series Pole Vault points dented by a strong cross wind which made it impossible for all 11 jumpers to master their craft.
Germany's Mohr the current overall leader crashed out at the opening height of 5.22m while France's defending New York champion Lavenillie and ranked second overall, did likewise at 5.42m.
What should have proved a cracking showpiece early event in the programme descended into a farce, former European silver medallist Romain Mesnil winning on countback from Brad Walker with a clearance of 5.52m, while the winner's fellow Frenchmen Jerome Clavier was third with a best of 5.42m.
Both Mesnil and Walker, winner of the 2007 World title for the USA ahead of his opponent, then both made three fruitless attempts with the bar raised to 5.62m on a day which made pole vaulting almost impossible.
“The conditions were horrible, I underperformed but it has no reflection on my current form and no impact on my confidence," said Lavillenie who jumped a world lead of 5.83m last Monday.
Mohr agreeing confirmed: "The wind from the side and the rain was terrible and I couldn't really jump - it was not fun!"
Long jumpers also struggle - another USA clean sweep
The women's Long Jump suffered just as badly with the 13 contestants facing gusts which reached a maximum of -3.6 metres/second and hindering their techniques on a wet runway.
In a USA clean sweep Funmi Jimoh, the current Diamond Race leader with the asssistance of the lowest reading of 0.09, won with her second round effort of 6.48m from Janay DeLoach's last round 6.41 (-1.5) and World champion Brittney Reese's 6.35 (-2.5).
Obergfoll in command throughout
Olympic Javelin bronze medallist Christina Obergfoll in the absence of fellow SDL Diamond Throws joint leader Mariya Abakumova of Russia, scored what may prove to be a vital maximum four points victory before the end of this year's overall competition.
Obergfoll, who stayed over in Eugene after her victory there a week earlier, had a best effort of 64.43m to win easily ahead of Sunette Viljoen (60.39) and the USA's Rachel Yurkovich (58.43).
The 29-year-old German, after Viljoen threw a meeting record of 59.65m in the opening round, immediately improved the South African's effort with 60.66m and again with 63.47m and her winner in the next two.
Obergfoll's final three attempts all exceeded 60 metres, the fourth was a foul followed by two stepovers while Yurkovich a two-time NCAA champion after being overtaken by Czech Jarmila Klimesova in the final round, bounced back to third with her season's best.
Olympic champion Brown-Trafton always in command
Reigning Olympic champion Stephanie Brown-Trafton was the only thrower to exceed 60 metres when leading a USA clean sweep in the Discus Throw ahead of Gia Lewis-Smallwood and Aretha Thurmond.
Brown-Trafton's opening effort of 62.94m received no serious response from her rivals with Lewis-Smallwood last attempt of 59.89m moving her into a podium placing.
Dave Martin for Samsung Diamond League