It's been several weeks since I wrote about track and field, and with this weekends action in Europe, things are heating up with some good competition, outstanding times by some stars, and standard chasing by some Americans.
The big meet of the weekend was the Paris Golden League event Friday night. The highlight of the night was Usain Bolt running 9.79 in the 100m for a meet record, made all the more impressive by the conditions he had to run it in (cooling and heavy rain). It's unfortunate that Bolt and Gay (world leading 9.77 this year) won't meet before the World Championships in Berlin. The mens 3000m also had an outstanding showing by Bekele running 7:28.64 by taking it out strong behind the pacemaker and slowly building a gap over Lagat. Lagat still finished well in a PB of 7:33.15 for second and Chris Solinsky ran a solid 7:37.72 for fourth.
In the 400m, Jeremy Wariner won the mens in an ok 45.28 due in part to the wind and rain, but Sanya Richards threw down an impressive 49.34 so the weather cannot have been that bad. In other women's action standard chasing Maggie Vessey was a DNS in the 800m (tightness in leg during warmup or something, perhaps another shot Tuesday in Gent) but Anna Willard made the USA proud winning and setting a PB in 1:58.80 and this isn't even her event for Berlin! And in the women's 100m Kerron Stewart continued her impressive year winning handily in 10.99.
The standard chasing continued he Heusden in Belgium on Saturday with a number of good showings. These were headlined by Matt Tegenkamp running 13:07.97 to get second in the 5000m to meet the A standard making it so his teammate Evan Jager can make the team (has the B standard) joining their other teammate Chris Solinsky and defending champ Bernard Lagat in Berlin. Jager, dropping down for a little speedwork also set a PB in the 1500 B heat in 3:38.33 so he is running well. Nate Brannen won the 1500 A heat in 3:36.53 which did not quite meet the A standard.
Heusden was also the site of Pamela Jelimo trying to come back to form after a couple very disappointing times well over 2 minutes, and succeeded winning in 1:59.59. Leonel Manzano also dropped down in distance to run the 800m and did so successfully finishing in 1:46.20 which I believe is a PB.
Today in Rethymyno Greece there was some good sprint action including LoLo Jones running a world leading 12.47 100m hurdles and Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie running a 22.32 world leader.
This weekend's big meet is the London Super GP where Bolt and Powell will run the 100m, Gay the 200m, and a host of others in other events at the 2 day event, but during this week Gent on Tuesday should see a number of Americans looking to run fast times including Maggie Vessey trying to get sub-2:00 in the 800m.