Tyson Gay gave Usain Bolt a reminder of his pedigree when the world champion defied a groin injury to win the 200m at the London Grand Prix on Saturday in 20.00 seconds.
Triple Olympic champion Bolt, who comfortably won Friday’s 100m in a time of 9.91 seconds, did not take part in the 200m, but the pair are expected to go head to head over both sprints at next month’s Berlin world championships.
Asked whether world record holder Bolt was the favorite for the 100m title in Berlin, Gay told reporters: “Of course I don’t agree with that. He has the 100 pretty technically sound and I’m still working on it, but he knows that I am close to being the only one who can beat him.”
The American is the fastest man in the world this year with a best time of 9.77 seconds.
However, Gay, who failed to make the Olympic 100m final last year after suffering an injury in the US trials, again faces the prospect of turning up to a major championships not fully fit.
“I haven’t trained for a couple of weeks. My groin is a bit tight on me,” the 26-year-old said. “I’ve just been trying to run through the pain and be tough about it.”
Jamaican Bolt was the major draw at the two-day meeting and he delighted the crowd again with a blistering final leg in the 100m relay to anchor his Racers Track Club team to victory in 37.46 seconds, the fourth fastest time ever.
On the subject of Gay, Bolt said: “I haven’t been watching Tyson Gay run and I know people are saying he’s my main threat in Berlin, but I don’t think about any one person. I just know what I need to do on the track.”
Crystal Palace was also treated to two world leading performances in the sunshine.
Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba won the women’s 5,000m in 14 minutes, 33.65 seconds and American Lashinda Demus clocked 53.65 seconds in the 400m hurdles, well ahead of a field that included Jamaican Olympic champion Melaine Walker, who was second in 54.55 seconds.
Olympic champion Dibaba eased away from fellow Ethiopian Sentayehu Ejigu on the final lap for a comfortable win. The world record holder, whose main rival for gold in Berlin is likely to be compatriot Meseret Defar, led from just after halfway and was never troubled.
Carmelita Jeter of the US stormed clear after a poor start to win the 100m in 10.92 seconds. Bahamanian Chandra Sturrup, 37, was second in 11.09 seconds.
“It felt really good. It could have been much better. I’m still working on putting things together,” said Jeter, who finished third at the 2007 world championships, missing out on gold by 0.01 seconds.
Olympic champion Steve Hooker won the pole vault on a count-back from American Derek Miles with a disappointing height of 5.70m after both failed to make 5.84m.
“I was hoping to jump higher today, at my earlier heights I was well clear,” the Australian said. “I’ve got a few things to work on before Berlin and hopefully I will be all right by then.”
There was another Australian victory when Olympic silver medalist Sally McLellan held off a strong field to win the 100m hurdles in 12.65 seconds, just ahead of Canada’s former world champion Perdita Felicien and American Lolo Jones.
Portugal’s Naide Gomes won the women’s long jump with a best effort of 6.99m. Olympic silver medalist Tatyana Lebedeva of Russia was second with 6.90m.
“I felt I could have jumped 7m. I have an Achilles problem and I didn’t want to risk anything with the world championships coming up,” Gomes said.