Gay braves rain in convincing 100 win


YOKOAHAMA — Track and field is an all-weather sport. But with Sunday’s conditions the competitors could be forgiven for failing to post any convincing outcomes in an event in which nearly all the contests were hit by a steady, chilly rain.

But world champion Tyson Gay still got the job done, winning the men’s 100-meter race by a large margin with a time of 10.23 seconds at The Seiko Super Track and Field Meet 2007 at Nissan Stadium in Yokohama on Sunday afternoon.

“It feels pretty good,” said the 25-year-old American sprinter, who triumphed in the 100, 200 and 4×400 relay races in August’s World Championships in Osaka. “The race was OK, considering the conditions.”

It was the season finale, and Gay confessed he was relieved to see tense year finally come to an end.

“I’m right now in a lot of fatigue after the long season,” he said. “(But) I’m definitely happy to win. My body condition is a lot better now than yesterday. Knowing the fans were cheering, I was able to get my motivation level going.”

Japanese youngster Naoki Tsukahara came in third at 10.51, following Churandy Martina of Dutch Antilles, who clocked at 10.48.

Local favorite and veteran Nobuharu Asahara couldn’t quite get going as he caught a cold, and finished sixth with a time of 10.64.

“I’m sorry that I had to finish the race that easy,” Asahara said in a bitter smile. “My tonsil is a bit swollen, but I’m all right. I plunged forward too much, and I can normally fix it during the race. But I couldn’t today.”

The 35-year-old is on the verge of deciding whether to hang up his spikes or continue the race until next year’s Beijing Olympics, though, he said it was too early to decide on his future. “I have to reach an conclusion sooner or later,” Asahara said. “One day I feel like I want to do this for Beijing, but another day I feel it’s too hard for me to do any more. But since the season has finished today, I’m not going to do any training for a while, and then will obey my gut feelings that come from the bottom of my heart. I’d like to decide by the middle of October.”

Gay’s counterpart and 100 world record holder Asafa Powell, who broke his own record of 9.74 in the IAAF Rieti Grand Prix in Rieti, Italy, on September 9, made a rare appearance in 200 on Sunday, but had pulled out from the race midway, after hurting his left hamstring.

“He’s in a lot of pain right now,” Powell’s manager Paul Doyle said afterwards. “He had some sort of muscle strain, although it’s minor, probably.”

J.J. Johnson of the United States won the race at 20.64, followed by Canada’s Tyler Christopher and Japan’s Hito shi Saito.

In the hammer throw, Koji Murofushi, who finished sixth in the World Championships in Osaka, again fell short in fourth with a throw of 74.31 meters, while World Champion Ivan Tsikhan led the pack at 77.55 meters.

“I’m going to have some rest,” Murofushi, the reigning Olympic champion, said. “I’m going to rest my body a bit for next year.”