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IAAF World Athletics Tour - Lausanne 2009 - Bolt 200m

July 7, 2009

Athletissima Lausanne Results

The Lausanne entries were strong in nearly every event, but one man stole the show as he has done time and time again of late: Usain Bolt.

Premier Event

Men's 200m - Bolt! 19.59!!! In The Rain!
Athletissima spectators in the stadium and around the world were treated to an absolutely breathtaking performance by the face of track and field, Usain Bolt, in rainy conditions in Switzerland. The world's best-ever sprinter absolutely smashed a hugely-accomplished field, including Olympic medalists Churandy Martina, Shawn Crawford and even LaShawn Merritt to the delight of a soaked crowd. Staggeringly, Merritt was the only of the three to come within 5%, or one second, of Bolt.

Sprint times were slow on the day and nevertheless Bolt looked like a god of sprinting. His 19.59 was over 0.8 seconds faster than the runner-up, a fit Olympic gold winner in Merritt, who could only run a mundane 20.41. In super-slow motion, we could see Usain look over his shoulder to the inside with 100m to go. The reason? He had made up the stagger on his rivals to the outside long ago. All that was left was a quick glance to the inside to make sure it was a race against only the clock. Indeed it was. Bolt, as promised, kept the jets roaring right through the line, followed by a glance at the clock, 19.59 (!) a smile, and a full-armed fist pump to cap off his captivating display.

The crowd stood, roared and applauded. The Jamaican sections went bonkers. Have we ever seen anything like Usain Bolt? No. What a performance.

Watch it Below:

Distance Events

Men's 3,000m
The men's 3,000m was destined to come down to a battle between a small pack of Kenyans and Ethiopia's national record holder at 1,500m and recent Dream Mile Champion Deresse Mekonnen. 2008 Olympic 5,000 medalists Eliud Kipchoge and Edwin Soi were there, in addition to 7:32 runner Thomas Longosiwa and accomplished runner Mang'ata Ndiwa.

After an initial lap covered in 58 seconds, the pace slowed gradually thanks to another case of strange pacemaking where the rabbits ran themselves ragged. The first kilometer was 2:30 and such a strong pace meant the Kenyans were right up on the rabbits while Mekonnen moved himself a bit back in the pack. Rabbit one dropped off and the next rabbit ran like he was hired to slow it down as he clicked off 62s and 63s, lagging the pace to 2:38 for the second km. At that point, all the main contenders were there in contention.

The first major move came with 650m to go as Mekonnen, in his yellow adidas jersey, sprinted wide to the front. The Kenyans looked around and everyone began to assess their chances. Mekonnen had little left to assess as he assumed control of the pace. With 500m to go, he glanced again to witness a pack of Kenyans, notably Kipchoge, breathing down his back. Lap 6.5 was 60 seconds as they sprinted into the final bends.

With 250m to go, Kipchoge charged on the outside of Mekonnen but was rebuffed. Longosiwa and Soi lacked Kipchoge's fight and maintained position. Mekonnen kept his lead but was challenged heartily again with 150m to go. Again the 1,500m specialist was having none of the Kenyan attack, and he would hold on to win at his secondary distance in a 4-second personal best 7:37.

What should come next in middle distance? That's easy. Asbel Kiprop vs. Deresse Mekonnen at 1,500m. The best of Kenya vs. the best of Ethiopia. Mekonnen has already made a meal of the rest of his competition.

Kilometer Splits For Leader
2:30.67 then a 62.6 4:04 at the 1,600 then 63.5
2:38.34 (5:09) 63.6

Men's 800m
In the absence of Abubaker Kaki, Sudan sent the next best thing in Ahmad Ismail, as he led from wire to wire against a strong field in 1:44.18. Notably, 2007 double world champion Bernard Lagat made a rare appearance in the 2-lapper, and though he positioned himself near the pace, he faded badly in the last 120m to finish well back in 8th in 1:46. Canadian star Gary Reed came from off the pace to challenge for second, though he came up short and settled for fourth. The first lap was paced around 50 seconds high and Ismail closed in 53-mid.

Also in the 800m field were many men who have been at one time or another real standouts, including Alfred Yego and Youssef Saad Kamel (formerly Billy Konchellah of Kenya).

Women's 1,500m
After another European rabbiting tragi-comedy, Gelete Burka shook off world champion Maryam Jamal of Bahrain in the final 100m to take home yet another impressive 1,500m win. The Ethiopian has ruled the ranks of world milers this year and Tuesday looked as dominant as ever, closing in under 60 seconds to win in 4:00.67.

A nice performance was put forth by Christin Wurth-Thomas of the USA, who had hoped for a 4:00 clocking herself, but settled for a third-place finish, earning herself the "best of the rest" medal. Wurth-Thomas put herself at the head of the pack right away behind the rabbits, but after an opening lap of 63.0, she let lead rabbit Nikeya Green get way ahead. Green would gap the field and pass 800m in 2:07 while the field was more like 2:09. The third lap only clocked 68 seconds, and by the time the 1,200m mark was reached, both Burka and Jamal had passed Wurth-Thomas and were in a race of their own.

That Wurth-Thomas held off the rest of the field that included Sally Kipyego is a feat worth mentioning after her early efforts at maintaining a stiff pace.

Comparing Burka to Jamal leads the following conclusion: Jamal is very good but Burka has another gear. Jamal hung on and hung on but had her doors blown off down the homestretch.

Women's 800m - Kenyan Women Continue To Struggle In 800m
Oksana Zbrozhek stole the 800m in odd fashion against some highly-touted competitors. After a relatively modest opening 400m, the Russian's 2:01 winning time easily bested Janeth Jepkosgei of Kenya and Mayte Martinez of Spain, both Olympic medalists.

Jepkosgei got herself to the back of the pack, rallied to get near the front, but then faded in the closing 100m. She flat out could not get in the race. Hazel Clark-Riley ran pretty well for second place ahead of the touted Spaniard and Kenyan.

Men's 1,500m
Not one of the premier track events on the day. Algerian Anter Zerguelaine took the win in 3:37 with a huge final 150m followed by South African Johan Cronje and Bahrainian Ali Mansour. 3:39 was the time for Nate Brannen in 5th.

54.11 opening circuit
59.61 (1:53)
61.6 (2:55)
56.93 final 400m



Men's 100m
Asafa Powell smoked American champion Mike Rodgers in a wet 100m in Switzerland. Though Tyson Gay is surely America's best 100m runner, Powell's message seems loud and clear: I'm still getting better and I'm already better than the American champion. Perhaps Rodgers doesn't run well on wet tracks and, if so, he had better hope it doesn't rain in Berlin. Rodgers wasn't even close, literally meters behind Powell, 10.07 to 10.30. Even an also-ran from Jamaica got a piece of Rodgers as Steve Mullings snuck in front for second place.

Men's 110m Hurdles - The Return Of Robles
Sure, Dayron Robles has raced already this season, but we hadn't seen him yet. Verdict? Win for Robles. 13.18, beatdown of American David Payne, but only a narrow victory over American Dexter Falk. The event was contested during rainy conditions. The commentators were guessing that the hurdlers were being careful, so we'll have to wait for a nicer day to see Robles and Payne at their quickest.

Men's 400m Hurdles
Jamaican Isa Phillips got his first shot to prove he can match up with the top Americans in an American-dominated event. USA's leader Kerron Clement was on Phillips' inside and the two ran side-by-side for most of the race. Also in the field to challenge Phillips from the US were Joe Greene of UAlbany and Justin Gaymon of UGeorgia.

Phillips had a slight edge over Clement with 100m to go and he expanded the gap, winning in 48.18 to 48.51. LJ Van Zyl of South Africa was third. Phillips was overjoyed with his victory and he knelt on the track seemingly in prayer for a long time after his big international win.

Women's 400m Hurdles
American Tiffany Ross-Williams bested a top field that included Olympic Champion Melaine Walker of Jamaica. Angela Morosanu of Romania led most of the race, until the final hurdle tripped her up, sending her sprawling to the track. Ross-Williams had caught her by then, and was left alone in the lead where she finished off a seasonal best 54.73. Walker was relegated to fourth place as she faded in the final 20m to move down a spot.

Women's 100m - Jeter's Unbeaten Season Over
Olympic Champion Shelly-Ann Fraser ran a great race and fought off a late charge from American champion Carmelita Jeter, who was undefeated on the season heading in to the event. 11.03 was the winning time with absolutely no wind reading. 2001 world champion at 200m, Debbie Ferguson, was third.

Women's 200m
Jamaica's Kerron Stewart put on her second sensational sprinting performance of the week, this time in the 200m, as she won in 22.72. This followed up her big 100m win in Oslo that kept her on the Golden League jackpot track.

Women's 100m Hurdles - Aussie Pride For Sally McClellan
Sally McClellan won the hurdles in a fantastic time of 12.59. But regardless of time, McClellan had to be happy because she beat the strong Canadian, Jamaican and American ensemble that have been making the European golden league meet rounds. Damu Cherry of the US was not in the race and may be the toughest competition out there for McClellan.


Field Events

Men's High Jump
One year ago, Russia's Ivan Ukhov decided to knock back some vodka before competing in the high jump, an event caught on film by a spectator and posted on YouTube for our enjoyment. This year, Ukhov has the best jump in the world at 2.34m. In rainy conditions, Ukhov finished well under his season's best, coming in third place in 2.23m.

Women's Triple Jump
Beautiful Cuban triple jumper Yargelis Savigne dominated the women's triple jump, winning in a very good 14.91m. Behind were her main competitors from Russia. Savigne has style on the track, mainly the style of a woman who is over 30cm clear of every other triple jumper in the world. Her yearly best is 14.97 and she now has 6 performances better than any other woman.

Men's Long Jump
The long jump featured a three-way battle between 2004 Olympic Champ Dwight Phillips, newly-crowned African record-holder Godfrey Mokoena of South Africa and German indoor sensation Sebastian Bayer. Conditions were not ideal for long jumping, so jumpers and fans could only enjoy muted excitement as Mokoena edged Phillips 8.05 to 8.03. Bayer was back in the field.

Men's Pole Vault - Hooker Returns
Steve Hooker went bonkers after clearing 5.75m in a rain-soaked event that was delayed time and time again. Nearly ripping his jersey off, the Olympic champ and indoor sensation came through under tough conditions to get the win in the pole vault against a few 6.00m jumpers - a very strong field indeed. Renaud Lavillenie of France, their young superstar who just joined the 6-meter club, gave the best challenge to Hooker. After passing at 5.75m, he missed his first attempt at 5.80m and got a thorough soaking on the mat as he tumbled down.




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