Tyson Gay ran the second fastest 100m this year on Thursday, clocking 9.79 seconds to win at the Athletissima Diamond League meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Only Gay’s world-leading 9.75 seconds to take the US Nationals title has been faster in this world championships season, just five weeks before the main event in Moscow.
Usain Bolt, the Olympic champion and world record holder, has a season’s best so far of 9.94 seconds set at the Jamaican nationals last month.
“I am happy with 9.79,” said Gay, the 2007 world champion. “The weather wasn’t great tonight. The time still ended up OK. These are preparation stages for Moscow.”
The 30-year-old Gay reacted fast to the starting gun, yet only pulled away from former world record holder Asafa Powell of Jamaica in the final 40m.
Powell clocked his season’s best time of 9.88 seconds — bettered only by Gay this year — to finish second, while Michael Rodgers of the US was third in 9.96 seconds.
Veteran Kim Collins, the 2003 world champion from St Kitts and Nevis, set a personal best aged 37 of 9.97 seconds to place fourth.
The standout performance on a cool and breezy evening was produced by high jumper Bohdan Bondarenko, who threatened the 20-year-old world record set by Javier Sotomayor of Cuba.
Bondarenko cleared a season-leading height of 2.41m — 5cm better than his previous best set on Sunday in Birmingham, England — before taking aim at Sotomayor’s hallowed 2.45m mark.
“I can’t explain that progression. It’s simply fantastic for me,” said the 23-year-old Ukrainian, who was watched from the grandstands by his childhood idol, pole vault great Sergei Bubka.
With the bar set at 2.46m, Bondarenko only just failed at his first of three unsuccessful attempts. Erik Kynard of the US, the Olympic silver medalist, also cleared a personal best, at 2.37m, to place second.
Two more athletes set world-leading marks.
David Oliver timed 13.03 seconds in the 110m hurdles, leading a US sweep of the first four places. World champion Jason Richardson ran his season-best of 13.20 seconds to place second.
Olympic discus champion Sandra Perkovic extended her own best mark this season by 48cm with a throw of 68.96m.
A surprise winner in the women’s 200m was Mariya Ryemyen of Ukraine, surging late past a strong US entry in a time of 22.61 seconds. New US champion Kimberlyn Duncan was third, timing 22.73 seconds on her debut run in an individual race in Europe.
US women got two sprint victories, as Olympic silver medalist Dawn Harper-Nelson won the 100m hurdles in 12.53 seconds and Francena McCorory held off 400m world champion Amantle Montsho of Botswana in a photo finish, clocking 50.36 seconds.
Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria leaped a personal best 6.98m in the long jump fifth round to defeat Olympic champion Brittney Reese of the US by 2cm.
In men’s track events, Javier Culson of Puerto Rico clocked 48.14 seconds to win the 400m hurdles; Mohammed Aman won the 1,500m in 1 minute, 43.33 seconds; and fellow Ethiopian Yenew Alamirew’s winning time was 13 minutes, 6.69 seconds in the 5,000m.
In the women’s 1,500m, Abeba Aregawi of Sweden clocked a winning time of 4 minutes, 2.11 seconds, while the 3,000m steeplechase honors went to Ethiopia’s Hiwot Ayalew in a meeting record of 9 minutes, 17.66 seconds.
Ryan Whiting of the US won the shot put at 21.88m; Kim Amb of Sweden took the javelin victory with a throw of 82.65m; and Cuban Pedro Pablo Pichardo leaped 17.58m in the triple jump.