Gay dips under 45 seconds for sprinting milestone
World silver medallist Tyson Gay’s name should be popping up on more Diamond League announcements after a milestone weekend.
The American became the first sprinter with personal bests under 10 seconds in the 100, 20 seconds in the 200 and 45 seconds in the 400 when he clocked a lifetime best 44.89 seconds for the longer distance at a meeting in Gainesville, Florida, on Saturday.
The race was Gay’s first individual competition since successful groin surgery in October and erased any doubts about his fitness level.
The time took more than half a second off his previous best of 45.57 seconds. He has run 9.69 seconds at 100 metres and 19.58 for the 200.
Olympic and world sprint champion Usain Bolt, by comparison, has bests of 9.58, 19.19 and 45.28. The Jamaican’s 100 and 200 metres times are world records. Gay ranks second to Bolt in the 100 and third in the 200 on the all-time list.
Michael Johnson holds the 400 metres world record of 43.18 seconds.
Gay narrowly lost Saturday’s race to University of Florida standout Calvin Smith Jr., the son of the former two-time world 200 metres champion. Smith clocked 44.81, the year’s fastest time.
Gay so far has been announced for only three meetings after the groin surgery set back his training. The American is scheduled to run a street race in Manchester, England, on May 16, a 200 metres at the July 3 Prefontaine Diamond League meeting in Oregon and meet Bolt and Jamaican former world record holder Asafa Powell in a 100 metres showdown at Brussels on Aug 27.
That meeting is set to conclude the initial Diamond League circuit. The new global series begins on May 14 in Doha and features 14 meetings in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the United States.
Gay has said he will run against Bolt at least three times on the circuit. New York and London are the other likely sites, athletics sources have told Reuters.
Bolt is committed to the June 12 New York meeting but the field for the Aug 13-14 London competition has not been announced.
PHOTO: Tyson Gay of the U.S. reacts after he won the Men’s 100m at the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix athletics September 20, 2009. REUTERS/Aly Song