BIRMINGHAM, England, (Reuters) – Asafa Powell led home a Jamaican 1-2-3 in the 100 metres at the Diamond League event in Birmingham yesterday although the damp conditions meant the former world record holder had to be content with a time of 9.91 seconds.
Powell had clocked a 2011 world leading 9.78 in Lausanne 10 days ago but, without the challenge of facing the injured Tyson Gay, he still performed in a manner which again underlined his well-being ahead of next month’s world championships where Olympic and world champion Usain Bolt awaits.
“I was only going to do enough to win today. I didn’t want to push too hard,” said Powell who kept his concentration after two false starts to finish ahead of Nesta Carter (9.93) and Michael Frater (10.01).
“I was a bit cautious in the final with all the false starts and it was cold out there so I didn’t push it from the start. But it was OK. I’m fine with that. We all want to get the best start but when there’s false starts it puts you in a different zone.”
The biggest cheers from a sell-out 12,500 crowd were reserved for Britain’s Mo Farah who bounded clear in impressive fashion to win the men’s 5000m in 13:06.14.
European champion Farah clocked a final lap of 54 seconds, a pace that proved far too hot for rivals including Ethiopian Imane Merga, the fastest man at the distance this year but beaten into third on Sunday.
Fellow Briton Dai Greene again demonstrated his credentials as a medal contender at the worlds with an impressive 400m hurdles victory in a season best time of 48.20.
The 25-year-old Welshman, winner in Lausanne, began strongly but saved enough in reserve to hold off fast-finishing 2005 world champion Bershawn Jackson of the United States by two hundreds of a second with Puerto Rican Javier Culson third.
“I’m very pleased with a season’s best in horrible conditions and I’m happy – very happy – to get the win,” Greene said.
“I need to be competitive with these guys and I’m at the top at the moment. I won my first Diamond League of the season in Lausanne and my second this week so it’s given me a lot of momentum.”
American Bianca Knight gained compensation for missing out on a place in either of the U.S. 100m and 200m squads for the worlds by upstaging compatriots Marshevet Myers and Carmelita Jeter over the half lap.
Knight, 22, clocked 22.59, the same time as Myers with Jeter, twice a world bronze medallist over 100, third in 22.62. Jeter will contest both the 100 and 200 in Daegu with Myers in the 100.
“I missed the U.S. team by one spot. I couldn’t make the team so I’ve come out here to win the Diamond,” said Knight, who could still travel to South Korea as part of the relay squad. “This is my compensation.”
The expected triple jump duel between world and European champion Phillips Idowu and world indoor record holder Teddy Tamgho never materialised with Briton Idowu comfortably winning with a 17.54m leap.
Talented but erratic Frenchman Tamgho, who had jumped a world leading 17.91 in Lausanne, was a long way short of his best — managing just 16.74 for fifth place.
The charismatic Tamgho, still occupying reporters in the mixed zone long after the stands had been vacated, remained optimistic.
“I’m close to doing something amazing,” he predicted. “I just have to wait.”
Australian Sally Pearson laid down the gauntlet to her American rivals in the women’s 100m hurdles with a personal best and world leading time of 12.48.
The blonde pony-tailed Pearson, Olympic silver medallist, proved too strong in both heat and final for American Danielle Carruthers who clocked 12.52 with compatriots Virginia Crawford and Kellie Wells third and fourth.
“I’ve always wanted to be the best in the world and I’m heading in that direction,” Pearson said.
“I’ve come to Europe to get ready for the world championships and I’ve had fantastic preparation. It’s all just come together. I’m in shape.”
Pearson has returned mentally stronger this year after experiencing triumph and disappointment in last year’s Commonwealth Games.
The 24-year-old was disqualified for a false start three hours after winning the 100m in New Delhi. She atoned for that heartbreak by returning to the same track days later to win hurdles gold.
In other events, double women’s world high jump champion Blanka Vlasic of Croatia put recent below-par efforts behind her with a winning leap of 1.99m and Botswana’s Commonwealth champion Amantle Montsho easily won the women’s 400m in 50.20.