BRUSSELS (Reuters) - World 800 meters champion Caster Semenya finished third on her Diamond League debut in Brussels on Friday after a troubled season and in-form sprinter Tyson Gay notched up another win.
Gay, who had been due to face world-record holder Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell over the 100 meters only for the Jamaican pair to pull out injured, was made to work for his victory.
The American did not get the best start but delighted the sell-out crowd by coming through late to beat Nesta Carter of Jamaica in 9.79 seconds, 0.01 outside his world-leading time set in London two weeks ago.
Former world champion Gay, who inflicted a first 100 meters final defeat on Bolt in two years in Stockholm earlier this month and also defeated Powell this season, won the Diamond League trophy for the event.
“I’m not disappointed,” Gay told reporters when asked about being denied the chance of going head-to-head with both his rivals.
“I’m a guy who wants to see my competitors healthy. I wish them the best of luck,” added the 28-year-old who has himself been troubled by a groin problem this year.
“I’m sad for the fans as they were really looking forward to it.”
South African Semenya, who was cleared to compete again last month after controversial gender tests had put her career on hold since she won the world title in August 2009, ran her best time of the season with one minute 59.65 seconds for third behind Kenya’s Janeth Jepkosgei.
It was only the fourth race of the year, and first defeat, for the 19-year-old who was selected for South Africa’s squad on Wednesday for the Commonwealth Games in October, and she appeared to take a cautious approach, spending the first lap at the back.
Semenya, running wide, moved up the field in the final 200 but could not match the speed of former world champion Jepkosgei and European gold medalist Mariya Savinova, who was second.
“She ran a little bit faster than in Berlin (1:59.90) and it was a very competitive race,” Semenya’s coach Michael Seme said.
“If everything is going well, Caster will compete at the Commonwealth Games.”
Kenyan David Rudisha followed up his world record in Berlin five days ago with a victory over Abubaker Kaki Khamis in the men’s 800 to take the Diamond League title.
Rudisha’s winning time of 1:43.50 was more than two seconds slower than his world-record 1:41.09. Third at the bell, the 21-year-old moved to the front and coolly shrugged off the challenge of Sudan’s Kaki in the home straight for victory.
Allyson Felix added the 200 meters Diamond League title to the 400 she won in Zurich last week.
The American, who has plans to run both distances at next year’s world championships and the 2012 Olympics, came off the bend just ahead of compatriot Shalonda Solomon and calmly maintained her position to the line for victory in 22.61 seconds.
Reese Hoffa got a second successive Diamond League shot put victory over fellow American Christian Cantwell with a meeting record of 22.16 meters on his final attempt.
Cantwell, whose defeat to Hoffa in London two weeks ago was his first in 21 meetings, briefly held the lead after throwing 21.62 on the last round only for his compatriot, next in the circle, to better it.
World and European champion Blanka Vlasic maintained her domination of the high jump, clearing two meters to end her Diamond League season unbeaten.
Editing by Clare Fallon