World 100-metre champions Yohan Blake of Jamaica and Carmelita Jeter of the United States are among the stars set to race at the Diamond League meet in New York tomorrow.
Both Blake and Jeter are among those who must secure their London Olympic berths at national qualifying meets later this month, and they are among 40 world or Olympic champions competing in the meet at Icahn Stadium.
“I’m definitely excited. It’s going to be a great field,” Jeter said. “I haven’t run a 100 in a very long time so I’m excited to race.” Her rivals at New York include Jamaica’s reigning Olympic champion and 2009 world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Kelly-Ann Baptiste of Trinidad and Tobago and American Allyson Felix, a three-time world champion and two-time Olympic runner-up at 200.
Jeter has the fastest 100m time in the world this year at 10.81 seconds with Baptiste next at 10.86 and Felix third at 10.92. Qualifying for the Olympics in the 100 at the US trials later this month in Eugene, Oregon, is Jeter’s top priority. “It is what I got a (worlds) gold medal in so it is my first task,” she said. “After I make the team in the 100, me and my coach will sit down and decide what we’re going to do in the 200.”
Last year in South Korea, Blake became the youngest world 100m champion by winning the final after another Jamaican, world record-holder and reigning Olympic champion Usain Bolt, was disqualified due to a false start. Blake will face Beijing Olympic runner-up Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago and American Trell Kimmons in the 100.
Tyson Gay, a three-time world champion making a comeback from a long layoff after hip surgery, will run in a secondary 100m race at the event in his only US Olympic trials tuneup. He has not run competitively in nearly a year. “I want to see where I am before the US trials,” Gay said. Gay has not raced since withdrawing from a 100m semi-final at the US World Championships trials in Eugene last June. He pulled a hamstring in a 200m heat at the 2008 US Olympic trials and had a groin injury in 2009.
Cuba’s Dayron Robles, the reigning Olympic champion and world record-holder, withdrew from the 110m hurdles, but the event still features world champion Jason Richardson and 2008 Olympic bronze medallist David Oliver.
South African “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius, the four-time Paralympic gold medallist trying to run 45.30 to be considered for an Olympic berth at 400m, will face 2004 Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner and Jamaican record-holder Jermaine Gonzales.