MONACO, CMC – Jamaican Jermaine Gonzales stormed to victory in the 400 metres but it was his 20-year-old countryman Yohan Blake who grabbed the headlines with a blistering run in the 200 metres at the 10th IAAF Diamond League meet here Thursday night.
While Gonzales raced to a world-leading 44.40 seconds to clinch the quarter-mile, Blake clocked an amazing personal best 19.78 seconds in finishing second behind American Tyson Gay in the 200 metres, becoming the second fastest Jamaican over that distance and third fastest in the Caribbean.
Blake’s effort, second only to World record-holder Usain Bolt’s 19.58 seconds in Jamaica, was his first sub-20 time ever and it came in his first 200 metres of the year.
Running out of the tough lane eight, Blake could only watch as Gay attacked the first 100 metres with relish to enter the stretch well ahead of the field.
Blake, however, ate up ground over the last 60 metres. He swallowed up American Wallace Spearmon and as Gay faded, almost caught the former World champion on the line in a close finish.
Gay was first in 19.72 seconds while Spearmon finished third in a season-best 19.93, with Jamaican Ainsley Waugh sixth in 20.70 and Aaron Armstrong seventh in 20.94.
Gonzales, meanwhile, produced an electrifying run through the curve to snatch the lead in the last 80 metres and claim the win and set a new national record.
The 25-year-old tracked countryman Ricardo Chambers who led the race for the first 200 metres before making his move through the curve with smooth acceleration.
He duelled with Chambers down the stretch before pulling away, with Chambers clocking a personal best 44.54 and Bahamian Chris Brown posting a season-best 45.05 seconds.
In the women’s 100 metres, Carmelita Jeter exacted revenge on Jamaican sprint queen Veronica Campbell-Brown for her loss in Eugene three weeks ago, carving out an impressive season-best 10.82 seconds to reach the line first.
Campbell-Brown trailed Jeter out of the blocks and never mustered her late acceleration to catch her rival, as the American raced to a season-best 10.82 seconds.
The quickly improving Trinidadian Kelly-Ann Baptiste was third in 11.03 seconds with Jamaican Sherone Simpson fourth in a similar time.
In the 400 metres hurdles, Kaliese Spencer kept the Jamaican flag flying with a time of 53.63 seconds to win that event.