At the last World Championships, in Helsinki two years ago, Tyson Gay was muscled out of the Athletes' Village and out of the medals in the 200 metres. A rookie sprinter in the US squad, he was forced to check out of the official team quarters and into a hotel when he and his training partner, Wallace Spearmon, were subjected to what was described as "bullying" by the senior speed merchants in the party. He had been the only athlete by the name of Gay in the Athletes' Village.
Last night on the World Championship stage here on the southern coast of Japan, the 24-year-old Kentuckyan made his high-speed presence felt and etched his name in the record books. Having seen off Asafa Powell in the top-of-the bill 100m showdown on Sunday night, Tyson delivered a knockout blow to his rivals in the 200m final on day six of the action in Nagai Stadium. It was a mightily impressive delivery, too, as he overhauled the Jamaican Usain "Lightning" Bolt with an irresistible home-straight surge.
In doing so, prevailing in a time of 19.76sec, Gay eclipsed Michael Johnson's 12-year-old championship record by 0. 03sec. He also followed in the scorch-marks of his fellow Americans Maurice Greene and Justin Gatlin as a winner of the World Championship sprint double. With Spearmon in third, it was another successful day for the group of athletes guided by Lance Brauman, the coach who was released into a halfway house on Tuesday after serving 12 months in prison on fraud charges.
Brauman also supplied the narrow winner of the women's 100m on Monday, Veronica Campbell of Jamaica, who qualified as second-fastest for today's 200m final.
On this form, Gay is looking good for a third gold medal, from the 4x100m relay – more than likely at the expense of the British quartet. "This was the most exciting race of my life," he said. "I've never won a 200m championship, even in high school. This means a lot to me."
Victory in the women's 400m hurdles final meant a good deal to Jana Rawlinson, and to the man behind the second global success of her career. After pulling clear of the Russian world record holder Yuliya Pechonkina to take gold in 53.31sec, the 24-year-old Aussie gave credit to her husband and coach, Chris Rawlinson, the former British 400m hurdler and one-time Gladiators contender. "Chris worked very hard on sorting my hurdling technique," she said.
With a coach from Rotherham and a house in Loughborough, Jana, who won the same title in Paris in 2003, qualifies as something of a British success. She also rates as a universal marvel, having taken just eight months – following the birth of her son, Cornelis, last December – to make it from the maternity ward to the top of the podium here. It took Liz McColgan nine months to achieve the same feat, winning the 10,000m in Tokyo in 1991.
"There is some truth to the saying that mummies come back strong," Rawlinson ventured. "I've spoken to Paula Radcliffe about this. As a mummy, you can do anything. There were three of us in the race today." Tasha Danvers-Smith, the British mummy in the field, faded to eighth and last in 54.94sec after going for broke in the opening 300m.
Of the other Britons in action, Andy Turner finished third in his 100m hurdles semi-final but narrowly failed to make the cut, while Michael Rimmer advanced to the semis of the 800m and Mo Farah reached the 5,000m final as one of the fastest losers.Reuse content