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Gay triumphs in year's fastest time

Tyson Gay ran a world-leading 9.77 seconds to win the 100 meters at Rome's Golden Gala on Friday and show Olympic champion Usain Bolt that he will not surrender his world sprint titles without a fight next month.

The American had to equal his personal best to see off Bolt's Jamaican compatriot and former 100 world record holder Asafa Powell, who ran 9.88 despite saying beforehand he was not fully fit after suffering an ankle injury over two months ago. Another Jamaican, Yohan Blake, came third in 9.96 in the second attempt at the race after Daniel Bailey of Antigua false started.

Bolt is favorite to steal Gay's 100 and 200 crowns at the world championships in Berlin after winning the Olympic titles in both events in Beijing last year with world record times of 9.69 and 19.30, respectively.

But Gay's current form suggests he may give Bolt a run for his money after the American's Olympic campaign was hampered by a hamstring injury.

Friday's win comes after he ran a wind-assisted 9.75 seconds in the 100 at the US world championship trials last month and 19.58 in the 200 in May in New York, the third fastest ever.

"I've been learning how to refocus at the start (after false starts) and that's what I've done," Gay told Rai television. "I don't know if it is a message to Bolt, it's not 9.69, but I'm pretty sure he knows I'm training and working hard."

Kerron Stewart ran another world-leading time of 10.75 and her personal best in the women's 100 to beat fellow Jamaican and Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser.

Victory keeps Stewart in contention for a slice of the US$1 million jackpot shared between the athletes who win at all six Golden League meetings after she took the first two.

Ethiopian middle distance great Kenenisa Bekele still has a chance of a slice of the big prize after clinching the 5,000 in 12 minutes, 56.23 seconds, the best time so far this year.

So has Sanya Richards of the US, who won the 400 in 49.46 to notch her 36th sub-50-second performance, breaking the tally set by world record holder Marita Koch of East Germany.

Russia's Olympic and world pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva remains in the hunt, too, although her winning mark of 4.85 meters was well short of her world record of 5.05.

Bahrain's world champion Maryam Yusuf Jamal also set a year-best time of 3:56.55 for victory in the women's 1,500.

Cuba's 110 hurdles Olympic champion and world record holder Dayron Robles triumphed at his first Golden League event this year in 13.17.


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