NEW YORK (Reuters) - American Tyson Gay ran the third fastest 200 meters ever when he clocked 19.58 seconds at the New York grand prix on Saturday.
Gay, 26, coming back from a hamstring injury that ruined his Beijing Olympic hopes, ran away from the field to post a time bettered only by Usain Bolt’s record world 19.30 set in Beijing, and the 19.32 run by Michael Johnson at the 1996 Olympics.
It was the first 200 meters race of the year for world champion Gay, who had only run two 400 meters events in 2009.
Fellow-American Wallace Spearmon was second in 19.98 followed by compatriot Xavier Carter in 20.27 with Jeremy Wariner another three-hundredths of a second back.
Gay was running the 200 for the first time on U.S. soil since the 2008 Olympic Trials, where he injured his hamstring.
The Icahn Stadium track has been to Gay’s liking. In 2007 he won the 100 in a wind-aided 9.76 seconds. Last year he ran 9.85 to finish second behind Bolt, who set his first 100 meters world record with a time of 9.72.
Former 100 meters world record holder Asafa Powell did not fare as well, finishing seventh in the 100 behind American winner Mike Rodgers, who clocked 9.93 seconds.
Jamaica’s Powell clocked 10.10. Olympic silver medalist Richard Thompson of Trinidad finished fifth in 10.01.
“It was disappointing for me today,” said Powell, who had missed training time due to an ankle injury. “But it will get better.”
Editing by John Mehaffey