London: Former world champion Tyson Gay shrugged off damp and cold conditions to power to victory in the 100 metres at the London Diamond League meeting on Friday.
Gay, the second fastest man in history, took advantage of the late withdrawal of Jamaican rival Asafa Powell to clock a respectable 10.03 seconds into a headwind at Crystal Palace.
The 29-year-old former world champion over 100 and 200 metres, who is hoping to break the dominance of Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake at the Olympics, finished clear of Ryan Bailey in 10.09 and Jamaica’s Nesta Carter in 10.13.
“I feel pretty good with the win. The weather wasn’t that bad, it’s very important to acclimatise and the weather helps me prepare mentally for the Games,” said Gay. “I’m in pretty good shape — I want that Olympic gold.”
Elsewhere on Friday, Britain’s reigning 5,000 metres world champion Mo Farah delighted the home crowd with a pulsating win in 13 minutes 6.04 seconds.
Farah’s time was well short of his season’s best of 12:56.98 but the 29-year-old was happy to have warmed up for his dream of Olympic glory on home soil with a confident performance.
“One last time at home before the Olympics and the crowd gave me a great boost. It’s incredible,” said Farah, who finished clear of Australia’s Collis Birmingham and Moses Kipsiro of Uganda.
“The conditions were tough but I am used to this weather, so it’ll be good for me if it’s like this at the Olympics.”
The other outstanding performance of the night came in the men’s 110-metre hurdles, where American Aries Merritt indicated he will be the man to beat at the Olympics with a superb season’s fastest time of 12.93.
Merritt, the recent winner of the US Olympic trials and favourite for the gold medal in London, led an American sweep of the top three positions, storming clear of Jason Richardson in 13.06 and Ryan Wilson in 13.18.
“The conditions were the same for all of us and this will be great preparation for the Olympics if the weather is like this,” said Merritt.
“I got here just two days ago so I am a little under the weather as far as my sleeping patterns are concerned. So it’s amazing that I am running this well, I can’t be more excited.
“I have to do it when it counts — this means nothing if I can’t do it at the Olympics.”
China star Liu Xiang pulled out of the final moments before the start, suffering from a bad back.
In-form Puerto Rican Javier Culson scored a psychological blow over British world champion Dai Greene in the 400-metre hurdles.
Culson, unbeaten over the distance this season, romped home in 47.78 to equal the season’s fastest time he had set in Paris last week with Greene second.
The 27-year-old was always in control, flying out of the blocks to build an unassailable lead before holding Greene, who finished in 48.10. Two-time Olympic champion Angelo Taylor of the United States was third in 48.43.
“I would have loved to have won in front of my home crowd but my top-end speed needs to improve,” said Greene.
“But I will continue working, I’m running faster than last year. It should be a good Olympic final.”
It was a different story for British hopes in the women’s 400-metre hurdles, with Perri Shakes-Drayton recording an impressive win over a strong field which included newly crowned European champion Irina Davydova.
Shakes-Drayton, 23, obliterated her previous personal best of 54.18 to come home in 53.77, equalling the second fastest time of the year set by Davydova, who was second in 54.63.
Kaliese Spencer was third while fellow-Jamiacan Melaine Walker, the reigning Olympic champion, was a distant fourth.
Meanwhile Kenyan distance runner Vivian Cheruiyot signalled she will be the woman to beat over 5,000 metres at the Olympics with a classy victory in 14:48.86, pipping fellow-Kenyans Mercy Cherono, second with 14:49.26 and Linet Masai, 14:53.93.
“It was important to win because it showed that my preparations are good for the Olympics,” said Cheruiyot.
“I am feeling okay. I will now go back to Kenya and work a bit more on my speed and then I will be ready for the Olympics.”